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Education Department Drops Fight Over School Money

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Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Education Secretary John B. King Jr. had been in a battle over Title I enforcement for some time.

LA Johnson/NPR

The U.S. Department of Education has withdrawn a proposal that could have fundamentally changed the flow of federal dollars to schools that serve low-income students.

“The law is clear that it is unacceptable to systematically underfund low-income schools and fill the hole with federal resources,” explained Dorie Turner Nolt, a spokeswoman for the education department. “While we worked tirelessly to put forward a regulation that implements that simple requirement and to incorporate the extensive feedback we received, we ultimately did not have time to publish a strong final regulation that lives up to the promise of the law.”

This brings to an end a long and bitter fight between the Education Department, led by Secretary John B. King, Jr., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, himself a former education secretary and current chairman of the Senate committee that handles education.

“This is an intolerable situation,” Alexander said of the Department’s so-called “supplement-not-supplant” proposal back in May, in a heated speech on the Senate floor. “If the regulations are not consistent with the law, I don’t believe [states] should follow them,” he said. “If the department persists, then the state should go to court to sue the department.”

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Education

Schools Hustle To Reach Kids Who Move With The Harvest, Not The School Year

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Teacher Sarah Ross and students (from left to right) Ximena, age 4, Yareli, age 3, and Kendra, age 2 at the Indiana Migrant Preschool Center, a free preschool for migrant children ages 2 to 5. The school teaches students in English and Spanish with the goal of preparing migrant children for kindergarten, wherever it may be.

Peter Balonon-Rosen/Indiana Public Broadcasting

If you’re carving a jack-o-lantern tonight, take a minute to think about who picked that pumpkin.

Maybe it was Anayeli Camacho, one of the country’s estimated 3 million migrant farm workers, and mother of two. For part of the year she rents a trailer on farmland in Oaktown, Indiana where she works in the fields, harvesting pumpkins and other crops.

But as the fall harvest comes to a close, she and her family will head back down south for the winter, following seasonal work. This is what Camacho has done for the last decade, traveling north and south, from Florida to Indiana, bringing her family, which now includes 4-year-old Ximena, along with her.

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Education

National Science Test Scores Are Out, But What Do They Really Tell Us?

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The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, is called The Nation’s Report Card for good reason; the tests are administered the same way year after year, using the same kind of test booklets, to students across the country.

That allows researchers and educators to compare student progress over time. NAEP tests serve as a big research project to benchmark academic achievement in subjects like science, math, reading, writing, civics, economics, geography and U.S. history.

Science results were out Thursday for 4th, 8th, and 12th graders.

Among seniors, achievement was flat, and performance gaps by race, ethnicity and gender persisted.

But fourth- and eighth-graders showed modest progress: each up four points since 2009.

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Education

Green Eggs, Ham And Metaphysics: Teaching Hard Ideas With Children’s Books

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What is language? What is beauty? Who gets to decide?

Philosophers have grappled with these questions for centuries, and they’ve generated a pile of long (and often tortured) books in their efforts to answer them.

But for Tom Wartenberg, some of the best books about philosophy are much shorter and a lot more colorful: Frog and Toad Are Friends. Horton Hears a Who! The Paper Bag Princess.

Every spring at Mt. Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., Wartenberg offers Philosophy 280: Philosophy for Children. Once a week, he loads his students into a bus and drives them to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Charter School of Excellence in nearby Springfield.

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