In The News

News Archives – March 2008

March 28, 2008 – The Stamford Advocate – “Gap can be closed, says Harvard prof”
A Harvard lecturer who has studied racial achievement gaps for more than a decade showed last night how life outside school affects academic performance and argued that the achievement gap can be closed. Ronald Ferguson, an economist and director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard spoke to parents, teachers and administrators at Brien McMahon High School's Center for Global Studies.

March 27, 2008 – The Economist – “Left behind: the missing debate over schools and accountability”
On March 18th Margaret Spellings, the secretary of education, announced a pilot reform to the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), George Bush's education law, which was passed in 2002. Up to ten states, she said, would be allowed to target their resources at the most severely struggling schools, rather than at the vast number needing improvement. The change… was a reminder of utter inaction elsewhere.
Read more in The Economist >>

March 27, 2008 – Des Moines Register – “Districts show closing achievement gap is possible”
In his essay earlier this month, retired Iowa State University professor Bill Posten describes closing the achievement gap as "chasing something that can never be caught" and claims that "the causes of the gap are largely out of the realm of control of schools."In spite of tremendous evidence to the contrary, Posten continues to cling to a myth that a disadvantaged family background provides an insurmountable obstacle in a child's education. Thousands of schools across the country - including districts in Iowa - are proving him wrong.

March 26, 2008 – Reuters – “AT&T CEO says hard to find skilled U.S. workers”
The head of the top U.S. phone company AT&T Inc said it was having trouble finding enough skilled workers to fill all the 5,000 customer service jobs it promised to return to the United States from India. "We're having trouble finding the numbers that we need with the skills that are required to do these jobs," AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told a business group in San Antonio, where the company's headquarters is located.

March 21, 2008 – The Oregonian – “Six schools help close state achievement gap”
Six Oregon schools, including two elementary schools in Portland and the high school in Milton-Freewater, were named state champions at raising achievement among low-income and minority students Thursday.

March 21, 2008 – Christian Science Monitor – “Romer and Mehlman join forces on education reform”
The former chairmen of the Republican and Democratic parties have come together in a bipartisan effort to push education reform to center stage in the 2008 presidential campaign. Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Colorado Governor Roy Romer and former Republican National Committee Chairman and Bush White House political affairs director Ken Mehlman were the guests at Thursday's Monitor breakfast. Mr. Romer is chairman and Mr. Mehlman is a trustee of Strong American Schools. The organization describes itself as a nonpartisan campaign to make education a top national priority by making the subject a centerpiece of the 2008 election.

March 19, 2008 – Reading Eagle – “Education law has supporters”
While many teachers have voiced frustrations and concerns about high-stakes testing associated with the federal No Child Left Behind act, not all reactions to the law have been negative. “I really think No Child Left Behind has changed the way you teach,” said Amy J. Flannery, a fine arts teacher in the Boyertown School District. “The end result is positive.”

March 18, 2008 – Education Week – “States get flexibility on targets”
As President Bush nears the end of his tenure, his administration is putting its final stamp on the No Child Left Behind Act and trying to lay the groundwork for the law’s future.

March 17, 2008 – Washington Post – “'No Child' Is Credited With Pushing Disabled students to Higher Levels of Achievement”
As Montgomery County ninth-grader Stephen Sabia reads "Romeo and Juliet" and studies the Holocaust and World War II for honors history and English, his mother credits an important ally in her years-long drive to secure the best education possible for her son with Down syndrome: the federal No Child Left Behind law.

March 14, 2008 – New York Times – “Report Urges Changes in Teaching Math”
American students’ math achievement is “at a mediocre level” compared with that of their peers worldwide, according to a new report by a federal panel, which recommended that schools focus on key skills that prepare students to learn algebra.

March 11, 2008 – Education Week – “Given Choice, Virginia Board Unlikely to Pull Out of NCLB”
The Virginia General Assembly has passed a bill that would give the state's board of education the option of leaving NCLB behind. Virginia's been down this road before. In 2004, it passed a Republican-backed resolution saying it didn't have the money to comply with the law, prompting this statement from then-Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Virginia stuck with the law.

March 11, 2008 – Courier-Journal – “Tests give food for thought”
Shawnee High School junior James Fugate says he never planned on taking the ACT college-entrance exam. He figured he'd simply get a full-time job after graduation. But today, James will join nearly 30,000 juniors across Kentucky who are taking the exam under a new state law that requires it — in an effort to get more public school kids to think about college. Lawmakers have said the goal, in addition to better preparing students for college, is to identify those who need help or should be encouraged to take more challenging courses.

March 9, 2008 – New York Times – “How Many Billionaires Does It Take to Fix a School System?”
For as long as wealthy Americans have given their money away, education has been a leading recipient of their largess. Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller: the biggest philanthropists of the 20th century all gave significant portions of their fortunes to schools, teachers and libraries. Today, according to the Foundation Center, about a quarter of all foundation giving goes to education; overall, only religious organizations receive more charitable donations.

March 5, 2008 – Washington Times – “Report urges greater federal role in education”
Local control of education has produced financial inequality in schools, inconsistent standards, no way of knowing how children are truly doing and an atmosphere dominated by unions, according to a new report yesterday that calls for national standards and a greater federal role in schools.