HOUSE PREVAILS IN CUTTING EDUCATION BELOW SENATE BILL AND THE PRESIDENT'S REQUEST: Final FY2005 Education Budget Fails to Make Promised Investments in Education Improvement: On November 20, as part of a $388 billion omnibus bill that includes almost the entire domestic budget for fiscal year 2005, Congress approved $56.58 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Education. The total for education programs is $920 million more than that allocated last year. However, it is $760 million less than the amount requested by President Bush earlier this year, and $2.27 billion less than the total approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee just two months ago. The final bill, which includes funding for thirteen government departments and dozens of domestic agencies, passed the House of Representatives by a 344 to 51 margin and a 65 to 30 vote in the Senate. President Bush is expected to sign the bill.
SECRETARY PAIGE STEPS DOWN: White House Adviser Margaret Spellings Appointed New U.S. Secretary of Education: Calling his work a "labor of love," U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced earlier this month that he was stepping down at the end of President Bush's first term in order to return to Texas and devote time to a "personal project." Shortly thereafter, President Bush announced that White House Domestic Policy Adviser Margaret Spellings would take Paige's place.
EDUCATION BALLOT INITIATIVES SEE MIXED RESULTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY: Creative Funding Options See Support, Tax Increases Rejected: As the results from election day become clearer, it appears that education-related ballot initiatives saw mixed results. Education funding measures were on the ballot in five states. Voters in Nevada, North Carolina, and Oklahoma approved measures to increase school funding. Tax increases for education funding were defeated in Arkansas and Washington.
NEW REPORT FINDS HIGHER MATH SCORES MIGHT NOT REPRESENT GAINS IN STUDENT ABILITY: Sharp increases in National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) math scores since 1990 may reflect little gain in student ability, a new report finds. The report, released last week by the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, reveals that NAEP test questions do not incorporate much challenging arithmetic. In fact, the study reports, questions designed for eighth graders typically require only second- to fourth-grade arithmetic skills.
NEW REPORT FINDS HIGH ATTRITION RATES AMONG TEXAS HIGH SCHOOLS: Two Million Students Failed to Graduate Between 1985 and 2004: Texas schools are failing to graduate two out of every five students, according to a new study by the Intercultural Development Research Association (IRDA), a San Antonio-based think tank. According to the study, "Texas School Holding Power Improves-But Progress Is Slow," Texas has an overall high school attrition rate of 36 percent, but much higher rates for Hispanic students (49 percent) and black students (44 percent).