In Oakland, Calif., the Chabot Space and Science Center has morphed from a small museum into a dynamic center whose offerings help fill gaps in the local schools' science curricula. About 50,000 students annually visit the center, which features biology and chemistry-physics labs and a new million-dollar interactive exhibit on the Challenger mission.
According to "The Charter School Dust-Up," a new book-length study by the Economic Policy Institute, students in charter schools, on average, fare no better, and often do worse, on the National Assessment of Educational Progress than do students in traditional public schools. Researchers also found charter schools enroll proportionally fewer low-income students. Charters charge the study's methodology was flawed.
Texas, Indiana, Mississippi and Pennsylvania are considering legislation aimed at softening their zero-tolerance stances. Although supporters believe tough rules have helped reduce campus violent crime, some observers feel the rigid policies have, at times, led some schools to overreact.
Massachusetts plans to audit more than 600 school construction projects to determine the extent of overspending. District officials blame the overruns on the soaring prices of building materials and labor and the need to build state-of-the-art facilities for smaller student populations.
Last night, the United Teachers Los Angeles' House of Representatives voted 140 to 80 to reject a proposed contract that would give teachers a 2% pay raise. Earlier in the day, newly-elected union officers had announced their opposition to the contract, citing concerns about the size and timing of the raise and the agreement's "completely confusing" language.