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Alliance Bingo

Bingo The Alliance for Excellent Education (no idea) is determined to make a week out of the President's State Of The Union speech tonight, first by demanding that education be a big part of his speech (it won't) and second by encouraging us to play SOTU Bingo (sure, why not?).

Click below for the Alliance's talking points.  Click here for the Bingo thing (via Fritzwire).

Extra points for anyone who can explain what the Alliance is, how it's different from all the other education groups in DC, and why we need it.

Link: Alliance for Excellent Education.

On Monday, January 28, at 9:00 p.m. (EST), President Bush will make the last State of the Union address of his presidency. As in past years, the president will use the address to the nation to lay out his plans for the upcoming year.


U.S. economy likely to be a big focus: Considering the huge day-to-day fluctuations in the stock market, the subprime lending crisis, high oil and energy costs, and the generally pessimistic views about the economy among the American public, President Bush will probably spend a good deal of his speech reassuring the nation that, while the economy is going through a temporary rough patch, it is still structurally sound. And, with an apparent agreement in place between the White House and Congress on an economic stimulus package, President Bush will likely talk about the help that is on the way from the government for those facing tough times.


Other subjects: Other likely subjects include the war in Iraq, health care, and opening up foreign markets for U.S. products and services.



But what about education? In previous State of the Union addresses, President Bush has announced broad education proposals such as the American Competitiveness Initiative to focus on math and science education and Jobs for the 21st Century, which was designed to boost job skills by improving high school and postsecondary education. Will President Bush mention the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was due for reauthorization in 2007, but remains unfinished? Will he announce other education initiatives?




To keep track of these and other potential education topics, the Alliance for Excellent Education has created a checklist that allows viewers to keep score at home on the president’s plans for 2008. And for individuals who seek more of a challenge, the Alliance has also created three different State of the Union Bingo cards, which will be available on January 28, at http://www.all4ed.org/2008_SOTU_Guide.






[   ]  The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB): When referring to NCLB last year, President Bush called on Congress to reauthorize the law by “building on the success, without watering down standards, without taking control from local communities, and without backsliding and calling it reform.” And largely because the president sought only small changes while most members in Congress sought more meaningful changes, reauthorization languished. This year, will the president be open to more significant change to the law? Or will he simply ask U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings to make small changes to the law through the regulatory process? Will the camera show Senator Edward M. Kennedy if or when the president mentions NCLB?




[   ]  High School Reform: In recent months, the president has emphasized the importance of making sure that a high school diploma “means something” once a graduate leaves high school and moves on to the workforce or some form of postsecondary education. Will he lay out any other high school reform efforts such as targeting the nation’s nearly 2,000 “dropout factories,” high schools where more than 40 percent of students drop out between ninth and twelfth grades?




[   ]  Low Graduation Rates: Nationwide, only about 70 percent of high school students graduate from high school on time. Among minority students, only about half receive a high school diploma in four years. And every year, more than 1.2 million students drop out of school without earning their diploma. Will the president cite low high school graduation rates as evidence of the need to reform high schools? Will he offer specific proposals to increase high school graduation rates?




[ ] More Accurate Measures of Graduation Rates: In many states and communities, unacceptably low graduation rates have been obscured by inaccurate data, misleading calculations and reporting, and flawed accountability systems. Will President Bush call for more reliable ways to measure high school graduation and dropout rates?




[   ]  Older Students Who Struggle with Reading: Nationwide, only about 30 percent of eighth-grade students read at grade level. In his 2004 State of the Union address, President Bush first proposed what became the Striving Readers program. To date, the program has yet to receive the funding levels that the president has recommended for it. Will he make another push for additional funding this year?




[   ]  Education Spending Proposals: Even though the U.S. Department of Education received a slight increase in funding last year, it was much less than the increase sought by most Democrats and some Republicans in Congress. In years past, President Bush has used the State of the Union to preview his spending plans for the upcoming year. In his 2003, he announced that his budget would include a 4 percent increase for discretionary spending—a figure he called a “good benchmark” at the time. Last year, however, President Bush called for “spending discipline” and talked about “[restraining] the spending appetite of the federal government.” What will this address tell us about what the president’s budget will look like for Fiscal Year 2009?



[   ]  Other Education Proposals: With less than a year left in his final term as president, will the president choose to focus on simply reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) or will he introduce new education initiatives? Will he talk about controlling rapid increases in college tuition? Providing greater access to early education programs? Programs to recruit and retain teachers in hard-to-staff subjects and locations?

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.