Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quick Hits

Op Ed - Obama: Stay Away From Notre Dame's Commencement: Conservative Catholics have been berating Notre Dame for extending a commencement speaking invitation to a pro-choice president. We agree that President Barack Obama shouldn't speak at Notre Dame -- but abortion has nothing to do with it. Notre Dame practices pervasive discrimination in its admissions policies. Every year the school reserves 25 percent of the seats in its entering class for children of alumni. These "legacy preferences" result in applicants being granted or denied admission based not on their merit, but on their ancestry. Notre Dame's quota for right-ancestry students offends an American egalitarian tradition dating back to the Revolution. (American Prospect)

Task force to look at qualities of 'highly qualified' teachers: In the not-too-distance future, school districts across the state will be able to evaluate a teacher using the same criteria — not with a test, but with a research-based list of criteria. A state Department of Education task force is about to tackle the job of formulating the standards. (Arkansas News Bureau)

Former northern Ky. bus driver pleads guilty: A former northern Kentucky school bus driver has pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor. The U.S. attorney's office says 42-year-old Andrew Grabow of Florence is to be sentenced Aug. 24 in Covington. He pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of exploitation. Prosecutors say Grabow persuaded two minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct so it could be videotaped and photographed and that he traded child pornography on the Internet. (H-L)

Obama wants 5000 closed schools to rebound: President Obama intends to use $5 billion to prod local officials to close failing schools and reopen them with new teachers and principals. (USA Today)

Classrooms benefit directly from donors: All Patricia Craig had to do was ask. Within a week, an anonymous $120 donation gave her 20 second-graders Weekly Reader subscriptions. Over the next two years, Craig posted about nearly $6,000 worth of wishes on the Web. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Deputy Secretary Pick Brings Business Background: In naming Tony Miller to fill the No. 2 slot at the U.S. Department of Education, President Barack Obama has turned to a manager with extensive business experience as the department tackles the challenge of overseeing some $100 billion in economic-stimulus aid to education. (Ed Week)

Obama budget cuts funds for abstinence-only sex education: President Obama's new budget would eliminate most money for abstinence-only sex education and shift it to teen pregnancy prevention — a U-turn in what has been more than a decade of sex education policy in the USA. (USA Today)

How Do We Know What Kids Know?: It sounds like a simple question: How do we know what schoolchildren know? The answer seems just as simple: Give them a test! ...The Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act was supposed to take the complexity and uncertainty out of school results. An aggressive system of standardized testing was sold as a way to ratchet up teacher and student accountability and to facilitate the clear-eyed rating of schools. These and other assumptions are proving problematic, but the heart of the problem may be our collective unwillingness to address the question of how we accurately and confidently assess children’s knowledge. (Education Week)

Trial date set for former louisville school bookkeeper: A trial date of Oct. 20 has been set for Toneke Bullitt, the former bookkeeper at Dixie Elementary School who is accused of stealing more than $69,000 from the school.Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Martin McDonald set the trial date during a hearing this morning. Bullitt appeared in court with her new attorney.Bullitt and Adrian Sanford, the former principal at Dixie, were indicted last year and charged with theft by unlawful taking, tampering with physical evidence, fraudulent use of a credit card and abuse of public trust.Sanford plead guilty to all the charges and agreed to testify against Bullitt. He was sentenced to five years in prision by McDonald earlier this year. (Learning Curve)

How to Fix No Child Left Behind: It would be unthinkable to try to monitor the economy if businesses in every state were allowed to have their own accounting standards. In education, however, this is exactly what we do have for our students and schools. (Ed Week)

Early childhood mental health: Parents who talk and play with their babies, attend to their babies' cues and meet their needs in reliable and sensitive ways will have babies who are strongly bonded to them. Babies and toddlers who form positive relationships with adults gain in many ways. (C-J)

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