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Education News From Around the Nation

Budget, security, assessment and research news, and more.

March/April 2009

Video Game School?

Posting fan fiction on a blog, creating anime on a laptop, and text-messaging friends for tips on breaking a secret math code. These are the kinds of assignments students can expect at New York City’s newest school, Quest to Learn. Scheduled to open next fall, the public 6–12 school will take a bold and innovative approach to 21st-century skills. Borrowing from games and social networking, it aims to create an immersive learning environment, says principal Aaron Schwartz. Math and literacy form the backbone of the curriculum, but content will be presented as collaborative high-tech challenges for students to solve.



What's on the Chopping Block?
Budget-strapped districts are finding inventive ways to make necessary cuts.collaborative high-tech challenges for students to solve.

1. Sports Teams
OK and MS have already trimmed their sports seasons. NY will do so next year. Districts in CA and OH are considering eliminating school sports programs altogether.

2. Free Lunch
Clayton County, GA, schools had routinely credited meals for students who did not have money to pay for lunch. The district will now enforce repayment. Albuquerque, NM, and three other districts have instituted a "cold cheese sandwich policy" for lunch debtors.

3. School Property
St. Louis is preparing to shutter and sell as many as 29 school properties. Reading, PA, and Berea, OH, also have "For Sale" signs posted.

4. Paper Products
NY is printing all tests on inexpensive recycled paper. Other districts are cutting back on consumption by requiring paperless meetings and putting meters on copying machines.

5. Teachers
Los Angeles' school board has approved laying off up to 2,300 teachers. (The Center on Reinventing Public Education projects 574,000 teacher jobs will be lost nationwide.)

6. Music
Princeton, MN, schools have cut marching band, fifth-grade band, and music lessons. Districts nationwide are following suit.

7. Fridays
Districts in FL, MT, ME, MO, WA, CO, OR, ID, and VA have all considered legislation that would allow a four-day school week, to ease budget woes.

Renaming NCLB

NCLB has been called "the least popular brand in America." Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently told U.S. News and World Report, "I think ultimately we should rebrand [the law]."'s Andrew Rotherham sponsored a contest to rename NCLB. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Double Back Around to Pick Up the Children We Left Behind Act
  • No Child Left Untested
  • National Testing Services Subsidy Act
  • Another Administration, Another Education Act
  • Weapons of Mass Education Act
  • When In Doubt, Choose C Act
  • All American Children Are Above Average Act
  • The Voucher Readiness Act
  • The Act to Help Children Read Gooder
  • No Psychometrician Left Behind
  • The Officially Mandated Governmental Learning Ordinance Legislation Act (a.k.a. OMG! LOL)


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