University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Ed Links

In OWL-OEP Weekly Links on May 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm

News Around the Natural State

District Touts Tuition Pledge: More in First Arkadelphia Promise Class Going to College

A record number of seniors at Arkadelphia High School will attend college next year, according to numbers gathered by the Arkadelphia Promise foundation. The class of 2011 is the first class to receive the benefit of the Arkadelphia Promise scholarship, which pledges to pay for tuition and fees for qualifying seniors. Of the graduating class, 120 have committed to colleges in Arkansas and around the country, compared with 88 students from the 2010 graduating class. The high school surveys graduating students but does not track them through the college-attendance process.

Judge Releases State from Obligation to Pay Desegregation Aid

U.S. District Judge Brian S. Miller stunned parties in the 28-year-old Pulaski County school desegregation lawsuit by releasing the state from its obligation to pay for desegregation efforts in the three school systems – except for the majority-to-minority inter-district student-transfer program. The judge ordered the end to the bulk of extra state aid to the districts – which totals nearly $70 million a year – in a 110-page, sharply worded order in which he found the North Little Rock School District to be unitary, or in substantial compliance with its desegregation plan, in eight of nine areas. District staffing was the exception.

Little Rock School District attorneys Chris Heller and Clay Fendley issued a response to this ruling telling Judge Miller that the state’s largest school district and its students will be irreparably harmed without a stay of Miller’s order that relieved the state from paying much of the desegregation aid it has been paying for two decades.

News from Around the Nation

Joplin Schools Chief: We Will Rebuild

The Joplin school district will be ready for school to start again on Aug. 17, despite the destruction of four schools and uncertainty about the fate of some staff and students following a devastating tornado, superintendent C.J. Huff declared. Six other buildings were damaged, and the cost estimates are as high as $100 million, he said.

US House Education Committee Votes to Scrap More Than 40 Education Programs

The House education committee took a first step toward piecemeal reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—by voting to slash over 40 programs from the U.S. Department of Education. The measure, which was approved on a party-line vote of 23-16, would get rid of programs that the committee sees as duplicative or not the right role for the federal government. The bill is the first in a series of smaller, more targeted bills, which the House committee says it will consider instead of a broader ESEA reauthorization measure. Click here to read the list of programs that could potentially be cut.

State Legislatures Notch Major K-12 Policy Changes

This legislative season now finished or wrapping up in many states has brought big changes to education policy, some forged through bipartisan compromise, others only after hyper partisan battles. Republican leaders who swept into office last fall—when the GOP won a majority of governorships and took control of both legislative chambers in 25 states—wasted no time pushing through ambitious and often controversial education agendas. Their hardest-fought victories include the passage of laws that curb teachers’ collective bargaining rights and tie educators’ tenure, advancement, and pay to their performance, including their ability to improve student test scores.

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