Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SELECTIONS FROM CALIFORNIA EDUCATION NEWS ROUNDUP: Grad rate falls 5%, Ed reform meets politics, Bill would keep kids under 5 out of school, Teaching Engineering in K

UCLA idea| http://bit.ly/9fq1YZ

Grad rate falls 5 percentage points in a decade

Blog by John Fensterwald/Educated Guess

06-14-2010 -- Fifteen states saw a decline in their high school graduation rates from 1997 to 2007, and California, with a drop of 4.7 percentage points, from 67.4 to 62.7 percent, was the second worst, behind Nevada, according to  Education Week’s latest Diplomas Count. The national dropout rate of 68.8 percent in 2007 was 3.1 percentage points higher than in 1997, though there was a slight decrease from 2006. Although California’s graduation rate lagged the national average in 2007 by a full 6.1 percentage points, each of its major racial and ethnic subgroups actually outperformed students nationwide in 2007. (more...)

Education initiatives hit political head winds

By Alyson Klein/Education Week

06-13-2010 --  Two of the Obama administration’s signature initiatives—the economic-stimulus program’s Race to the Top competition and a massive expansion of federal School Improvement Grants—are running into some resistance on Capitol Hill.  Key lawmakers charged with crafting a renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act continue to argue that the four models offered in regulations for the $3.5 billion School Improvement Grants are inflexible, unproven, and unrealistic, particularly for rural schools.  Lawmakers also have qualms about a separate proposal from the administration to extend the $4 billion Race to the Top competition for another year, citing questions about the scoring process and the desire by some to steer as much funding as possible to formula-driven programs rather than competitive grants. (more...)

Bill would keep children under 5 out of school

By Jill Tucker/San Francisco Chronicle

06-14-2010 -- Last fall, 24 kindergarten students walked into teacher Keiko Nobusada's classroom at Oakland's Thornhill Elementary School, their ages ranging from 4 to 6 - with a 19-month gap separating the oldest and youngest.  Some knew their letters and numbers. Others struggled to hold a pencil or cut with scissors.  "The developmental levels between a 4-year-old and a 6-year-old are so great," Nobusada said. "It's very difficult for that child who turns 5 in November to compete with a child born a year earlier." (more...)

Studying engineering before they can spell it

By Winnie Hu/New York Times

06-14-2010 -- In a class full of aspiring engineers, the big bad wolf had to do more than just huff and puff to blow down the three little pigs’ house. To start, he needed to get past a voice-activated security gate, find a hidden door and negotiate a few other traps in a house that a pair of kindergartners here imagined for the pigs — and then pieced together from index cards, paper cups, wood sticks and pipe cleaners. “Excellent engineering,” their teacher, Mary Morrow, told them one day early this month. (more...)

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