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AM News: Federal Grant Will Place 650 AmeriCorps Volunteers in Low-Performing Schools

New AmeriCorps Program to Put Volunteers in Low-Performing Schools PoliticsK12: Arne Duncan told participants at the Building a Grad Nation Summit today that a $15 million grant over three years will place AmeriCorps volunteers in persistently underachieving schools around the country. AmeriCorps is managed by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, which in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education plans to place 650 volunteers each year in 60 rural and urban schools.

AMNewsAll Chicago Public Schools will offer full-day kindergarten ChicagoSun-Times: All Chicago Public Schools will provide full-day kindergarten under an initiative Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett will announce Monday. Currently, the city’s public schools have the option of offering full-day kindergarten — rather than the minimum half-day required by state law — and most do. Next school year, they will be required to provide the full-day program, according to the mayor’s office.

More Mergers for NEA, AFT Affiliates Joining N. Dakota and Wisconsin EdWeek: The movement is notable not only as the latest sign of attempts by the teachers' unions to marshal their forces during a period of uncertainty in the profession and, indeed, the labor movement, but also for the different contexts in which the mergers are occurring. North Dakota's merger took place in a state that has been relatively unscathed by the recent recession or anti-union legislation. In Wisconsin, membership has fallen in the wake of laws passed in 2011 curbing collective bargaining for most public employees.

High School Drop-Outs Cost 1.8 Billion Every Year  AP: High school dropouts are costing some $1.8 billion in lost tax revenue every year, education advocates said in a report released Monday.If states were to increase their graduation rates, state and federal lawmakers could be plugging their budgets with workers' taxes instead of furloughing teachers, closing drivers-license offices and cutting unemployment benefits.

Capitol Hill education consultant helps parents navigate D.C. school choice WashingtonPost: When Capitol Hill mom E.V. Downey went into business as an education consultant, she thought she’d cater to parents angling for advice on admission to private schools. Instead, almost all of her clients are clamoring for help getting their children into a good D.C. public school. It’s a sign of the times in the District, where a thriving charter-school movement and a commitment to public pre-kindergarten have given rise to more education options — and more parental angst and competition — than ever before.

Story Follows Chicago High School Where 29 Students Were Shot Last Year ThisAmericanLife: We spent five months at Harper High School in Chicago, where last year alone 29 current and recent students were shot. 29. We went to get a sense of what it means to live in the midst of all this gun violence, how teens and adults navigate a world of funerals and Homecoming dances.

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That high school dropouts are a drag on the economy is clear; but the advocates' method of calculating increased tax receipts is suspect. If you increase the supply of high school graduates, you decrease their relative wage premium, since high school graduates are then easier to find and replace. A key to driving up wages and tax receipts is increasing the productivity of the workers; and our standard model comprehensive high school, which Secretary Duncan apparently wants to pour more money into, is not efficient at that. Better would be to adopt the vocational education model that is part of the dual system of upper secondary education to be found in the Germanic countries of northern central Europe, which have much lower youth unemployment rates that will be found in countries like the United States that use the comprehensive high school model.

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