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AM News: Obama's SIG Program Yields Mixed Results

Ed. Dept. Analysis Paints Mixed Picture of SIG Program PoliticsK12: Two-thirds of chronically underperforming schools that tapped into a big new infusion of cash under the federal School Improvement Grant program made gains in math or reading, but another third saw student achievement decline in their first academic year, according to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Education.

AMNews

Obama Education Agenda In 2nd Term Driven By Loose Ends AP: Lawmakers are more than half a decade overdue to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The Education Department has been copiously granting waivers to No Child Left Behind, the Bush-era iteration of the act, giving states flexibility with performance targets.

Arne Duncan Implies He Will Remain Obama's Education Secretary For Second Term HuffPostEdu: After a week of speculation about the composition of President Barack Obama's second-term cabinet, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan implied in a Friday speech that he intends to stay in his position.

Colombia Professor and GZA Aim to Help Teach Science Through Hip-Hop NYT: Next month, the two men, along with the popular hip-hop lyrics Web site Rap Genius, will announce a pilot project to use hip-hop to teach science in 10 New York City public schools. 

Writing Undergoes Renaissance in Curricula EdWeek: It marks a departure from recent practice, which often includes little or no explicit writing instruction and only a modest amount of writing, typically in the form of stories, short summaries, or personal reflections, rather than essays or research projects on topics being studied.

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President Obama needs a new education agenda for his second term. If Secretary Duncan wants to continue with more of the same, we will need to look for leadership elsewhere. Perhaps if reform-minded teachers' union leaders could directly meet with Senator Harkin and Representative Kline, then the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as well as federal education spending might lead to better results for students. This might include a return to more empowered teachers, especially in the younger grades, who might be able to bring some passion and creativity back to our primary school classrooms, instead of the relentless test prep we've fallen into. What might be most beneficial would be to remove NCLB's mandated annual testing in reading and mathematics, the fundamentalist approach that has led to such narrowing and loss in untested subjects.

Yeah ok, we could have seen better days in education reform, though as I'm sure you know, context (in this case a warped, fiscal cliffy mess -http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=V02X5Q6A27A5&preview=article&linkid=0647025f-8e28-4875-86b1-359bd9ec1103&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d) is pretty important. I'm personally willing to cut the guy some slack, but will be worried if the picture doesn't change by, say, this time next year.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.