The Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland overwhelmingly recommended the state not adopt Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick's proposal for an alternative diploma for students unable to pass all of the state's assessment tests. The group did support a proposal to allow students to graduate by achieving a combined score on the four exams, rather than requiring they pass each one.
Educators who rely too much on high-tech communication risk worsening the "digital divide," according to an Illinois State University study. The study cited data showing that just 47% Illinois households are connected to the Internet, compared with 97% of public schools. Researchers recommended that schools augment e-mail communications with newsletters, parent-teacher conferences and other traditional means of communication.
Missouri lawmakers are considering a bill that would require Missouri Assessment Program test standards to meet, but not exceed, the standards of the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress exam. The proposed law would also mandate that students be tested yearly in all subjects.
Charlotte Observer Associate Editor Fannie Flono says President Bush was premature in touting the progress of NCLB. She believes the legislation offers promise for significant school reform if schools focus on proven early-childhood learning programs and politicians commit to adequate funding.
In his second State of the State address, Gov. Rod Blagojevich blasted the Illinois State Board of Education as a "Soviet-style bureaucracy" accountable to no one and proposed replacing it with a new cabinet-level Department of Education. Blagojevich unveiled a seven-point plan for streamlining the state's education bureaucracy and purchasing processes, reforms that could save $1 billion over four years.