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August's The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

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SA's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly<br />
SA's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

THE GOOD: The Alabama Reading Initiative may be the model to follow to boost literacy among struggling students in the secondary grades. A recent report funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and prepared by the American Institutes for Research of Washington, D.C., sings the praises of the program, which began in 1998 as an effort to improve teaching and learning. The success of the initiative is based on flexibility and creativity, so that the program meets the needs of all students. The national study, “Lessons and Recommendations From the Alabama Reading Initiative: Sustaining Focus on Secondary Reading,” will be distributed to educational officials in the governors’ offices of nearly every state.

THE BAD: The National Assessment of Education Programs released the Nation’s Science Report Card for 2005, and the results are disappointing, although maybe not surprising. In elementary schools, achievement in science has slightly improved over the past decade, from an average score of 147 to an average score of 151. Middle school achievement has remained flat at an average score of 149, and high school achievement has slightly declined, from an average score of 150 to an average score of 147.

THE BAD: There were some new prom traditions across the country this year that ignited questions about students’ rights. In Minnesota, Ada-Borup High School established an age limit for dates, subsequently making headlines by refusing to admit a 22-year-old Iraq war veteran. In Oregon, West Salem High required background checks for dates who weren’t students. And Lago Vista School in Texas prohibited same-sex dates. In every case, administrators said they set up the restrictions to curb destructive behavior and create a safe environment.

THE UGLY: As part of $9 million renovation project, the lockers in Kealing Middle School in East Austin, Texas, will be upgraded, but no one will be allowed to use them. Use of lockers in the school was banned a decade ago to curb tardiness among students and remove hiding places for contraband. The lockers, which have been sitting empty for 10 years, will be upgraded at a cost of $60,000 and continue to sit empty. Taxpayers have appealed to the district to spend the money on something else but have been denied.

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