EMPTY-HANDED GOVERNORS?: NGA Denied Federal Relief in Meetings with President Bush: Faced with growing state budget deficits, governors from around the country came to Washington for the National Governors Association (NGA) winter meetings and pleaded their case for more federal resources to meet federal mandates. In a unified voice, Republican and Democratic governors asked for help to meet demands for stepped-up homeland security, increasing costs of special education and the funding that was promised for the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). But their pleas fell on deaf ears at the White House.
INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION PAYS OFF: International Report Links Education Spending and Economic Growth: According to a report issued last week, investments in education that were made by 16 countries may have directly contributed to their economic growth. The report, issued by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that all but three countries-Egypt, India, and Tunisia-demonstrated a correlation between education investment and economic improvement.
PRINCIPAL'S PLEDGE: Secondary School Principals Hold Themselves Accountable for NCLB Requirements, but Ask for Resources to do the Job: Last month, at the National Association of Secondary School Principals' (NASSP) annual conference, secondary school principals and assistant principals from across the country gathered in San Diego, Calif. to sign a pledge to support the intent of the No Child Left Behind Act in return for a federal commitment to provide the necessary funding for secondary school improvement.
INVESTING IN EDUCATION IS A TOP PRIORITY: Education Spending Should be Protected from State Budget Cuts According to New Poll: A new national poll found that voters believe that state legislatures and governors should protect education spending from the cuts necessary to reduce state budget deficits. The poll, released by the Public Education Network and Education Week on Feb. 24, found that respondents rank education and health care as the number one and two priorities in a list of programs that they believe should be saved from cuts. In an unpublished finding, the poll also showed that most voters believe the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reforms should not overemphasize early education, but should focus on all grades K-12.
GATES FOUNDATION DONATES $31 MILLION FOR ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS: Gift Will Create 168 Schools for Students Failed by Traditional Large Comprehensive High Schools: Last week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged more than $31 million to create a nationwide network of 168 alternative high schools that will serve over 36,000 students who cannot get the support services they need from traditional large comprehensive high schools. The schools will be in cities across the country, including Boston, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. The gift is part of a Gates campaign to create no fewer than 1,000 new small schools in the next 18 months.
REPUBLICANS INTRODUCE NEW VOUCHER LEGISLATION: Plan Would Create Private School Choice Programs While Expanding Teacher Loan Forgiveness: On Feb. 14, Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate introduced S. 4, the "Opportunity for Every Child Act of 2003," a bill that would create a new $75 million private school voucher program and a six-year $45 million voucher program in Washington, D.C. The bill, which mirrors several programs that were included in the President's budget, also includes an expansion of the student loan forgiveness program and a small increase in the teacher tax credit for out-of-pocket classroom expenses.
Charlotte, N.C., Program Teaches Reading to High School Students: A new program in high schools throughout the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., area is working to improve the reading skills of 1,700 high school freshmen with "Corrective Reading," which is published by SRA/McGraw Hill. According to The Charlotte Observer, the program is being used in 16 of 18 high schools in hopes that it will "boost achievement by replacing shame and silence about poor reading skills with a belief that it's never too late to learn."