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June 25, 2006

Critical Facts and Data about US Education

A nonprofit report and two federal reports from the US Department of Education provides authoritative information:

The Institute Education Sciences released the new 2005 Digest of Education Statistics by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides an enormous database of facts covering topics in pre-kindergarten education through graduate school. Topics include: numbers of institutions, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, along with information about educational attainment, finances, federal funds for education, employment and income of graduates, libraries, and international comparisons.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released The Condition of Education 2006. This annual report summarizes developments and trends in education using the latest available data. The 2006 report presents 50 indicators on the status and condition of education and an analysis of international assessments.\

Another very useful report is a Public Education Primer (Basic (and Sometimes Surprising) Facts about the U.S. Education System) by the Center on Education Policy.

Together, these reports fuel writers, speakers and researchers needs for accurate and complete information about American education.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 08:43 PM | Comments (0)

Choices for "At-Risk" Students

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Experienced educators know that students do not want to drop out of school. Itís just that the usual one-size-fits-all program doesnít work for all. Youth need options. A new report by Jobs For the Future,, Making Good on a Promise: What Policymakers Can Do to Support the Educational Persistence of Dropouts, challenges conventional thinking, finding that:
-Dropouts come from all income brackets but disproportionately from poverty.
-Middle and upper income Black and Hispanic students have similar dropout rates as White students.
-Most dropouts are motivated and return to an alternative program to graduate.
-Half of the dropouts who graduate or attain a GED enroll in further education.
-Only 10% of these graduate.

Bottom line: Provide choices, individualize and personalize education. Students want to learn and graduate.

A very useful instrument for assessing employability is the SCANS Skills Assessment by Jobs For Youth.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 04:08 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2006

Choices in New Orleans

Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans infrastructure and the school district. During the first year after the hurricane 11,700 students out of 56,000 returned to school. 25 of 128 schools reopened: 9 are charter schools, 4 are district schools, and 12 (plus 2 of the charter schools) operate under state authority. It is strange to go to the New Orleans school district web site and find no schools listed.

The state is considering proposals from applicants to run semi-independent schools. Meanwhile, the Mayoral Education Committee is pondering next steps. The Orleans Parish School Board is being advised by the Council of the Great City Schools and other individuals and groups. The state has drafted, The Recovery School District Plan to assess the situation and to work with the Federal-Aid Emergency Management Agency. Expected are some 25-30 charter schools in operation by fall, 2006.

The situation creates an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent public education. Unfortunately, the situation is so fraught with controversy and overlapping realms of authority that it is unlikely a transformed system of education will emerge. See "Dual Orleans Systems Grow in Storm's Wake in Education Week for a good overview.

Posted by Wayne Jennings at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)