Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Quick Hits

Swine Flu: The Centers for Disease Control provides interim planning guidance for state, and local communities that focuses on several nonpharmaceutical measures that might be useful during this outbreak of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus aimed at reducing disease transmission and associated morbidity and mortality.

Mild cases of swine flu close several U.S. schools as Obama urges calm: As a handful of schools in New York, Texas, California, Ohio and South Carolina closed to protect students from confirmed cases of swine flu, President Barack Obama urged Americans to be cautious but not panic. More than 25 cases of swine flu have been confirmed at a New York City parochial school; more are expected as officials await test results. Classes in all schools in Mexico have been canceled in an attempt to curb the spread of the disease, which has killed more than 150 there. (The Washington Post), (The Washington Post), (Houston Chronicle), (San Francisco Chronicle), (The Plain Dealer), (The Columbia State)

Are small high schools worth the expense?: A 300-student Utah high school prides itself on its personal approach, but the school may be closed because some district officials say it's too expensive. While the school does have higher per-pupil costs, its principal says it better serves students at risk of dropping out and its approach should be a model for other schools. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

Report highlights differences among Baltimore charter students: Baltimore students who attend the area's charter schools are less likely to come from low-income families or to be eligible for special-education services, according to a district report. While they are, in general, more racially diverse, some charters were segregated almost completely, the report said. (The Baltimore Sun)

Florida senators press for greater charter-school accountability: More than 360 Florida charter schools may be subject to stricter controls under a measure unanimously approved by the Florida Senate. The bill -- which has yet to be considered in the House -- would limit nepotism, ensure student performance is reported and allow sponsors to terminate contracts if financial problems develop. Most charter-school leaders approve of the measure. (Orlando Sentinel)

Safety rules added for high school athletes following PRP player's death: High school athletes in the Jefferson County Public Schools will have to disclose all medication and supplements they are taking and attend a health seminar with their parents about heat stroke and other topics before participating in sports this fall. The new rules were explained to the school board last night as part of the district's review of its policies and procedures for students playing in heat following the death last summer of 15-year-old football player Max Gilpin. (C-J)

Op Ed - Time to go: Jeff May should step down as Lawrence ... County School District. As long as he remains, the controversy surrounding the superintendent will dominate public education in the county and thwart progress on other, more important issues.Controversy is nothing new for May. It began soon after the former award-winning teacher from Pike County was named to succeed the retiring Eddie Michael as superintendent six years ago. Some were disappointed because an “outsider” from Pike County was chosen over the candidate they wanted to succeed Michael. Almost everything May has done — or tried to do — in the last six years has generated controversy. (Daily Independent)

Study: College affordability may shape children's motivation: Low-income seventh-graders who believe college is out of reach financially are more likely to give up on school immediately, according to a study from two University of Michigan researchers. Children given information about need-based financial aid were more likely to say that they would study for longer that day and expected to do better in school than students who were told about college expenses but not about such aid. (United Press International)

California school's "Teacher of the Year" likely to be laid off: Phil Hohensee accepted his "Teacher of the Year" award on Thursday night. It's an honor, Hohensee said, one that would have been a bit sweeter if he knew he'd be returning next year to his English classes at Cypress High School. Instead, he's almost certain to be laid off. (The Orange County Register)

Report: Achievement gaps hurt economy: The negative economic effects of poor performance by U.S. students -- especially those with economic, racial or geographic disadvantages -- has exceeded those of the recession, according to an independent report. Closing such achievement gaps would increase the nation's gross domestic product by some $3 billion to $5 billion per day, the report says. (The New York Times)

"Heritage rallies" offend some students, parents: Race-based assemblies used in some schools in the Sacramento, Calif., area to encourage better performance on state tests are troubling some students and parents. The principal at one of the schools said the groupings were used to prevent students from feeling singled out, but others felt the rallies sent the wrong message. (The Sacramento Bee)

Writing can transform student learning: Schools must focus on writing if they want to reform education, writes nationally certified English teacher Mary Tedrow, who co-directs the Northern Virginia Writing Project. Teachers who are trained to incorporate writing into classroom learning are not only more likely to stay in the profession, she writes, they are better able to help students process what they learn. (Teacher Magazine)

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