Education News: February 8, 2008
Following are some of the top headlines from the world of education for the week ending February 8, 2008.
Dropout Rates, Suspensions on the Rise in North Carolina
(Source: The News & Observer, 2/8/08): In the 2006-2007 school year, more than five percent of North Carolina’s high school students dropped out of school despite expanded efforts to curb the state’s dropout rate. This was a six percent increase over the previous year and the highest number of dropouts in seven years. In response to the growing problem, some education leaders are calling for the legal dropout age to be raised from 16 to 18.
25 Education Protesters Detained
(Source: The Baltimore Sun, 2/7/08): Approximately 150 high school and college students gathered at Maryland’s State House to protest the governor’s plan to scale back the rate of education funding increases. The demonstrators lay as if dead in front of the government building while chanting, “No education, no life.” Police handcuffed 25 of the protesters and detained them for about an hour.
New Orleans Schools Enlist Outside Help
(Source: The Times-Picayune, 2/7/08): Under the leadership of Recovery School District Superintendent Paul Vallas, the management of some New Orleans schools for at-risk students has been ceded to for-profit companies. Vallas said the companies, Abraxas and Camelot Schools, performed strongly in Philadelphia, where he was formerly superintendent, but parents of the at-risk students say they have not been given enough information about the management change.
Dallas Charter School’s Closing Hard on Seniors
(Source: The Dallas Morning News, 2/5/08): The Lynacre Academy in Dallas abruptly shut its doors this week due to its $750,000 debt—a financial quagmire caused by the school’s failure to accurately report enrollment figures. The news was especially worrisome to the school’s 32 seniors who will need waivers to graduate from other area schools with stricter graduation requirements.
Trying to Bury the Hatchet
(Source: The Baltimore Sun, 2/5/08): A long-running feud between Maryland governor Martin O’Malley and state schools superintendent Nancy Grasmick has abruptly ended. O’Malley announced this week that he has asked the state legislature not to continue in its effort to revoke the superintendent’s contract renewal, and Grasmick said she would embrace some of the governor’s ideas for education policy. In a joint appearance, Grasmick and O’Malley said they would work together to recruit and retain good principals, survey teachers for suggestions on how to improve instruction, and increase technical course offerings for high school students.
Finding Time for Success
(Source: The Washington Post, 2/4/08): Some states, cities, and charter schools around the country are experimenting with increasing instruction time as a means of improving student achievement. Approaches to extending school time vary but include lengthening the school day, shortening breaks, and providing optional after-school, weekend, and summer learning programs. Research has not yet confirmed the effectiveness of increased instruction time, but initial anecdotal evidence is promising in many cases.
Schools Scramble to Find Questionable Meat
(Source: The Los Angeles Times, 2/3/08): After news broke that a major California meatpacking plant has been distributing ground beef from cattle that were too weak to walk, schools have been scrambling to find and destroy the affected beef products before they are served to students in school cafeterias. Some California school districts are eliminating ground-beef products altogether for added safety. Last year, the USDA said that ‘non-ambulatory cattle’ should not be consumed by humans because of the increased risk of mad cow disease.