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Follow education stimulus money

By John Published: February 27, 2010

So I'm here at the National Education Writers Association bootcamp on research and statistics and a big focus of our weekend is on tracking the federal stimulus dollars flowing to states and school districts.  EWA aims to track every dollar at a new blog called EdMoney.blog. I'll be checking in on it regularly and advise my readers to do the same.

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North to Alaska

By John Published: February 27, 2010

Jacinda Yonker (Wadsworth City Schools) is headed to Alaska on Sunday to cover the Iditarod dog sled race for her students, mostly in Medina County. But anyone can tune in. She'll post everything on a special Web site called a Glog, available here.

Not everyone is enthusiastic. I got this email from Margery Glickman, director of the Sled Dog Action Coalition, which contends the dogs are not well treated in the famous race. Her complete letter after the jump

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Chew on this -- what to look for in research

By John Published: February 27, 2010

On Friday at the Education Writers Association research and statistics bootcamp in Phoenix, we heard from Neal Finkelstein and Andrea Lash from WestEd, who talked to us about how to evaluate education research. In the example below, Andrea Lash talks about a study showing that chewing gum increased student performance on a standardized math test. The study was sponsored by the Wrigley Science Institute, which could raise a red flag about experimenter bias. But in this case, the research appeared to be solid, even if it was paid for by a chewing gum manufacturer. Lash said she was uneasy, however, with the Wrigley Science Institute's description of itself, which assumes chewing gum has benefits:

Video by Akron Beacon Journal education reporter John Higgins

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Greetings from sunny Arizona!

By John Published: February 26, 2010

I'm in the executive  boardroom  of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in Phoenix where the National Education Writers Association statistics and research bootcamp is about to kick off. I'll try to update the blog a few times during the bootcamp, which lasts through Sunday. I'll be back in Akron, flights allowing, on Tuesday.

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Where are the men?

By John Published: February 24, 2010

My colleague Laura Ofobike, chief editorial writer, had an interesting piece last week in the  Akron Beacon Journal that has sparked a conversation on our new Facebook fan page (see right column, become a fan and join the conversation. (While you're there, you can cheer on Zak Boatwright at Garfield High School who is trying to lose weight in the Garfield Loser Club).

The report Ofobike cites is available here.

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Got questions about your middle-schooler?

By John Published: February 23, 2010

Dr. Geoffrey Putt, who directs the Parenting & Family Support Services in the NeuroDevelopmental Center at Akron Children's Hospital, will speak about issues facing middle school students at a the Copley-Fairlawn Middle School (library) Wednesday night (Feb. 24) from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.  Parents will be able to ask questions at the PTA-sponsored event. The Middle School is at 1531 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Copley, OH 44321.

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Garfield Loser Club

By John Published: February 22, 2010

The Garfield High School PTA kicked off its Garfield Loser Club with guest speaker Jerry Skeabeck on Monday afternoon. Fans of NBC's The Biggest Loser remember Jerry from Season Six two years ago when the suburban Cleveland police sergeant was on with his daughter, Coleen. He made it to episode three.  She got to episode nine.

The Garfield Loser Club, which will meet three times a week through May 5, has 106 students signed up of all weights and sizes, including senior Zak Boatwright, who tips the scales at 410 and stands about 5 feet, 10 inches. Zak wants to be on The Biggest Loser and got some face time with Skeabeck to talk about his chances (not good) of making it onto the show. Skeabeck was one of 255,000 contestants who applied for 16 spots on Season Six.

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Early Ed gets half Akron Community Foundation funding

By John Published: February 22, 2010

The Akron Community Foundation is giving about half of its education grants this year to initiatives that support early education (preschool and kindergarten readiness) efforts.  Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority gets $90,000 this year to assist with its many kindergarten readiness programs and a program aimed at reducing expulsions from preschool, yes preschool, gets $50,000.

I reported last year that such projects comprised about 60 percent of the foundation's education grants. The total funding level is down from last year, too. This year's education grant total is $384,500. Last year, it was $441, 000.

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Big Biz meets Big Ed to talk about jobs

By John Published: February 19, 2010

 Columbus – Representatives of American Electric Power, NetJets, General Electric, Bellisio Foods, NorTech, PolymerOhio, United Auto Workers and the NASA Glenn Research Center will be among 80 presenters at the 2010 Ohio Economic-Education Summit next week. They will be sharing information and leading discussions among more than 400 leaders from high schools, career centers, colleges and state agencies during the third annual engagement Feb. 22-24, 2010, at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio.

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March STEM madness!

By John Published: February 19, 2010

March is STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) month. The statewide conference in Columbus is March 2. Agenda available here. A regional conference will be held in Akron on March 10. I've written a lot about Akron's STEM middle school, the National Inventors Hall of Fame School. Register by checking in here.

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Gold Fever! Hudson talks school finances

By John Published: February 18, 2010

The Hudson school board will hold a "Gold Mining Session" Monday, Feb. 22, at 6 p.m. at Hudson High School's Media Center, 2500 Hudson-Aurora Road. The session will be followed by the regular school board.

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Services set for Ashley Quarterman

By John Published: February 18, 2010

Our columnist, Jewell Cardwell, received this email from Sedonia J. Pool, which I'll reprint here in its entirety:

I pray that this e-mail finds you overflowing in the blessings of the Lord.   It is great sorrow that I inform you of a tragedy that has struck our family. As you may or may not know via the local news, the newspaper, or word-of-mouth that a young lady by the name of Ashley Quarterman was found in Copley and died over the weekend at Akron General Medical Center. She was my cousin. She was beautiful, intelligent, funny, faithful, all of those things that you would want in a friend, and for some reason beyond our understanding, she was taken away from us. In the sunrise of her life, just 18 years old, 3 months away from her graduation and had just been accepted to the University of Toledo, this is such a tragic loss for us all.  

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Memorial fund for Ashley Quarterman

By John Published: February 17, 2010

The EDGE program at East Akron Community House has established a  fund to help with burial expenses and other family needs for Ashley Quarterman, the 18-year-old Buchtel High School senior who died last weekend in Copley Township. Donations can be made to the Ashley Quarterman Memorial fund at any First Merit Bank branch.

Ashley was a good student (see today's story in the Akron Beacon Journal) who had her sights set on attending the University of Toledo and  becoming a pharmacist. She' d been involved in the career mentoring program since she was a sophomore. That program's coordinator, former school board member Sheila Smith, said Ashley was a great kid who had done what was necessary to plan her life after graduation.

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Coventry to try for emergency levy in May

By John Published: February 17, 2010

The filing deadline for the May 4 primary is Thursday and we'll have a story on Friday on what voters will see on their ballots. Coventry will be among the school districts braving the poor economy.  The school board voted Tuesday to take a 6.25 -mill emergency levy to the voters. The levy would raise almost $2 million a year for five years.

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Kenmore kindergarten/Stewart Black History Month event

By John Published: February 17, 2010

Akron Public Schools wants you to know about:

The Kenmore Cluster schools will host two kindergarten information nights on Wednesday, February 24, from 4-5 p.m. at the Kenmore Branch Library and on Thursday, March 4, from 5:30-7 p.m. at Rimer CLC. Children can visit with Gilby while parents learn about registration for the elementary schools in the Kenmore Cluster (Lawndale, Pfeiffer, Rimer, Sam Salem and Smith).

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More about Ashley Quarterman

By John Published: February 17, 2010

Linda Golz interviewed Ashley Quarterman's mother for  a story in today's Akron Beacon Journal. Thanks to all who have reached out to help us tell this story better. I was out for the office yesterday for a medical procedure (feeling fine and back to work today). I'd caution those who would leap to conclusions about what happened last weekend. There are many unanswered questions and a grieving family trying to make sense of it all.

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Tragedy in Copley

By John Published: February 15, 2010

We're trying to learn more this afternoon about Ashley Quarterman, an 18-year-old girl who died over the weekend in Copley Township. We have a short story up now at www.ohio.com, but we're looking for someone who can tell us more about Ms. Quarterman. The main newsroom number at the Beacon Journal is 330-996-3700. My direct line is 330-996-3792.

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Old Glory, New Voices

By John Published: February 15, 2010

I had a busy Saturday, which started out at Summit Mall watching people sing the Star-Spangled Banner in an "American Idol" sort of competition to book singers this summer for home ball games of the Akron Aeros and Akron Racers. See the story in the Sunday Akron Beacon Journal here.

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Revere crunches the win

By John Published: February 15, 2010

Congratulations to Revere Middle School's math team, which took first place  in the 2010 MATHCOUNTS competition on Saturday and advances to the state competition in Columbus. Read the story in the Sunday Akron Beacon Journal here. Click here for results, and here for some facts about MATHCOUNTS and here for a list of schools that participated.

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MATHCOUNTS this Saturday at Old Trail

By John Published: February 11, 2010

The University of Akron will host the 27th annual MATHCOUNTS Competition for local middle school students from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the UA Student Union, third-floor ballrooms.

Thursday update: UA was closed on the 6th because of the snow, but the whole thing has been moved ahead to this Saturday, Feb. 13. Identical schedule, but at Old Trail School, 2315 Ira Road in Bath Township (near Hale Farm and Homestead in the valley).

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Blogging about school lunch

By John Published: February 11, 2010

Be heard on Hatton, King and Seiberling school projects

By John Published: February 11, 2010

The following community planning meetings begin at 3 p.m. for school staff and 6 p.m. for parents and community members, unless otherwise noted:

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Thursday morning notes

By John Published: February 11, 2010

Read the story on the Annual Day of Reading in today's Akron Beacon Journal. This was the first year the Akron Art Museum has hosted the event. They'll host it again next year, I'm told. See earlier post for video.

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Field teachers agree to pay more for healthcare

By John Published: February 10, 2010

Katie Byard has a story today in the Akron Beacon Journal detailing the new contract covering teachers in the Field Local School District. The old contract expired last June.

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Readers of all stripes at Akron Art Musuem

By John Published: February 10, 2010

This morning, the children of Akron's Leggett Elementary School visited the Akron Art Museum to hear stories on the city's Annual Day of Reading. Here is Alison Caplan, an associate educator at the museum, reading A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon to Leggett kindergarten students:

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A few words from Uncle Walt

By John Published: February 10, 2010

No City of Akron basketball tonight

By John Published: February 9, 2010

From the City of Akron:

The City of Akron has now cancelled ALL city recreation basketball for this evening.

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State auditor cites Highland Athletic Booster Club

By John Published: February 9, 2010

Ohio State Auditor Mary Taylor  released this audit  today of Highland Local School District in Medina County, which includes a  citation regarding the Highland Athletic Booster Club.  You can read the exact citation after the jump, but let me add that it sounds scarier than it is. Basically, the district wanted to help the booster club increase its membership and allowed them to include passes to athletic events as a premium for joining the boosters, kind of like getting a mug from your public radio station during a membership drive. Problem was, the school board hadn't officially approved depositing the money in the boosters' account instead of the district's account. Bottom line, there was no money missing, the school board has passed the requisite legislation and the booster club has tripled its membership with the passes. I'm writing a short story on this for tomorrow's (actually, we're going to hold this a day) newspaper and just got off the phone with Highland treasurer Mary Markle, who retires this year after 30 years in the business (25 at Highland). This was her first "finding for recovery."

But again -- no money missing and the boosters tripled their membership. Keep reading for the actual citation:

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APS board update re: Buchtel/Perkins project

By John Published: February 8, 2010

I'll have a story in the Akron Beacon Journal tomorrow about the board approving design plans for the new combined Buchtel High School/Perkins Middle school building project. The state generally pays for 59 percent of these projects and Akron (through its voter-approved city income tax) has to pay 41 percent.  But on this project, the split is about 50/50 with local taxpayers paying a little more than the state.

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This City Reads! (this Wednesday)

By John Published: February 8, 2010

Get FAFSA help online with Sallie Mae

By John Published: February 8, 2010

This from student-loan issuer Sallie Mae press release about the dreaded FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) students need to apply for federal loans to attend college:

In three brief how-to videos, available through Sallie Mae's FAFSA February Resource Center at www.SallieMae.com/FAFSA, college-bound students and parents can learn what documents they need to complete the aid form, get answers to the most commonly asked questions, and explore next steps in the financial aid process. Families may also download free FAFSA tips to guide them through the process.

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Akron teaches 802 students speaking 35 different languages

By John Published: February 8, 2010

Going through the school board packet for tonight's meeting (5:30 p.m., 2nd floor board room, 70 N. Broadway), I found this item noted by Treasurer Jack Pierson curious:

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Don't know much about (pre-1877) history?

By John Published: February 6, 2010

Colleen Grady at State of Ohio Education Blog worries that proposed standards for high school social studies shortchanges colonial American history, you know, founding fathers, American Revolution, "Give my liberty or give me death!"

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Time to speak up about new Hatton, King and Seiberling schools

By John Published: February 5, 2010

Akron Public Schools has announced meeting times to hear from the public about construction/renovation plans for Hatton, King and Seiberling elementary schools. We wrote about the projects here.

Seiberling: Thursday, February 18
King: Wednesday, February 24
Hatton: Thursday, February 25 (staff meeting begins at 3:30 p.m.)

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Vote early, vote often for Barberton's Memorial Elementary

By John Published: February 5, 2010

Memorial Elementary School in Barberton is trying to score $25,000 from Pepsi to fund three family nights focusing on math, literacy and writing. They want to send kids home with a tote of materials to keep working on those subjects. They need your vote. Polls close Feb. 28.  So, vote early, vote often,  according to the FAQ at Pepsi

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Perkins no longer eligible for EdChoice

By John Published: February 5, 2010

I had a caller leave a message today wondering why Perkins Middle School was not on the list of schools that qualify for EdChoice vouchers to attend private school using public money. Here's what the Ohio Department of Education says about eligibility:

Perkins has a ways to go, though. Click here for latest state report card. Perkins met just one out of 10 state indicators (attendance, and barely). However, math and reading scores at the 6th grade level, while not meeting state standards, have improved each of the last three years.

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Akron Opportunity Center, Digital Academy tagged for reforms

By John Published: February 5, 2010

Race to the Top update (with credit due to the State of Ohio Education Blog) for staying on top of doings at the Ohio Department of Education re: federal stimulus.  The state has released its list of the poorest performing schools that are eligible for school improvement grants under Obama's competitive Race to the Top stimulus program to fund school reforms. The Akron Opportunity Center and the Akron Digital Academy are listed in the first tier, which means they will have to implement one of four improvement models:

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Weekend reading, links on autism research, textbook rentals, feathered dinosaurs and EdChoice

By John Published: February 5, 2010

I'm off today (taking my kindergarten daughter to the Valentine's  daddy-daughter dance tonight, weather permitting, and didn't want to chance getting stuck at work). But here's some links to stories for your Friday and weekend reading:

1. eSchoolNews has a page of links on the latest in Autism research.

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Principals like recess

By John Published: February 5, 2010

Speaking of the PTA...

By John Published: February 4, 2010

The National PTA isn't thrilled with a provision of the Obama education budget, according to a release sent out this afternoon:

''However, the consolidation and proposed elimination of the Parental Information and Resource Centers program included in the budget request is of great concern to PTA.  This program is the sole federal initiative dedicated to supporting family engagement in education.  In its absence, schools and districts would not have the tools necessary to meaningfully partner with families to improve student success, particularly in struggling schools where family involvement is most essential.

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Akron's Forest Hill PTA receives national honor

By John Published: February 4, 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAqwNsvV8ds

 The head of the national PTA , Byron V. Garrett, will be in Akron on Feb. 11 to honor the Forest Hill elementary school PTA for it's work promoting national "Take Your Family to School" week,  Feb. 7-13.

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Former NFL linebacker Dave Robinson kicks off Black History Month tomorrow

By John Published: February 4, 2010

Lighthouse Academy principal Edward Savoy has lined up Dave Robinson to speak  at the charter school on Friday at 8:30 a.m. 

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Catholic Schools Week roundup

By John Published: February 4, 2010

This  is Catholic Schools  Week and Charita Goshay of the Canton Repository  covered Bishop George V. Murry's special mass given Wednesday at Walsh University in support of area Catholic schools.

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Just a few questions, Mr. President

By John Published: February 3, 2010

The New America Foundation has some questions about Obama's education budget. First two questions concern early education.

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See who made UA Dean's List

By John Published: February 3, 2010

Here are the students at The University of Akron who have qualified for the Dean's List for the 2009 fall semester. These students maintained a 3.25 or better grade-point average for the semester. The students' names are listed in alphabetical order by city. Students who have not given permission for their names to be made public are not listed, even if they received Dean's List honors. Furthermore, only Ohio residents are listed.

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No APS levy this year or next

By John Published: February 3, 2010

Video by Akron Beacon Journal education reporter John Higgins

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Early Ed, Head Start get boost in Obama budget

By John Published: February 3, 2010

Here's a  summary of increases for pre-K education in Obama's proposed budget.

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Canton school doing it right, says Fordham Institute

By John Published: February 3, 2010

Jamie Davies O'Leary, writing in the Thomas B. Fordham Institute blog Flypaper today, has high praise for McGregor Elementary in Canton.

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Rejected

By John Published: February 3, 2010

Save the Date: World Math Day is March 3

By John Published: February 2, 2010

 

 Press release after the jump

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Streetsboro, Nordonia levies on ballot today

By John Published: February 2, 2010

Polls are open for Streetsboro and Nordonia Hills school district levies. Katie Byard has the scoop on elections today. Voting questions? See election board Web sites for Summit and Portage counties.

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Lancet study linking autism to child vaccines false

By John Published: February 2, 2010

BBC reporting that:

The Lancet said it now accepted claims made by the researchers were "false".

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Any teachers out there using Twitter?

By John Published: February 2, 2010

If the kids aren't paying attention in class, maybe they'll follow a teacher on Twitter, learning in 140-character bursts of knowledge. The current issue of Educational Leadership includes this story about a 6th-grade English teacher's experience using the online networking tool, both for teaching his kids and teaching himself. Want to dive in to the educational Twittersphere? Try this wiki. What's a wiki? It's an interactive site for sharing information that is built and constantly modified by the users. See Wikipedia. Any teachers in our area using Twitter? Let me know. One of these days soon we'll get this blog Twittered up.

P.S. Teachers are thinking about Facebook, too.

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Olympics science on NBC Learn

By John Published: February 2, 2010

NBC Learn has a series of videos with the National Science Foundation exploring the science behind the Olympic Winter Games. Check out the physics of aerial skiing,  the science of snowboarding or "Science Friction: Curling."

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EdChoice voucher season open

By John Published: February 1, 2010

Parents of students who attend failing schools may begin applying for EdChoice vouchers to use at private schools. Information available at the Ohio Department of Education Web site.  Apply by April 16. The voucher amount is $4,250 a year for elementary school students (grades K-8) and $5,000 for high school students (grades 9-12) or the private school's tuition, whichever is lower.

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$$$ for education in Obama budget

By John Published: February 1, 2010

Wall Street Journal reporting a 9-percent increase in federal spending on education in Obama's proposed budget.

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Wadsworth Middle School honored by state

By John Published: February 1, 2010

 

      This just in from the Ohio Department of Education:

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APS SOS RSVP ASAP

By John Published: February 1, 2010

Akron Public Schools superintendent David James will give the second annual State of the Schools address on Wednesday at the Martin University Center hosted by the Akron Press Club. See here for registration details.

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No Child Left Behind overhaul? Maybe.

By John Published: February 1, 2010

The New York Times reported Sunday that the Obama administration is seeking changes to the federal No Child Left Behind Legislation, scrapping the AYP (annual yearly progress) requirements that give superintendents heartburn and abandoning the highly optimistic goal that states reach 100 percent proficiency for all children in math and reading by 2014. Alexander Russo  ( This Week in Education blog) isn't holding his breath. Meanwhile, the president's new budget is out today. Reuters has a snap analysis showing education a big winner.

Message: the administration wants to give teeth to its commitment to improve the U.S. education system, which it sees as crucial to keeping the country competitive.

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