Recess round-up: July 12, 2010

A daily dose of education news around the nation – just in time for a little mid-day break!

Introduction to college: A new program in Alaska targets high school juniors who would be the first in their families to go to college and introduces them to campus life. (Anchorage Daily News)

Across the country, colleges are emphasizing college orientations – and getting mom and dad more involved. (Chicago Tribune)

Teacher placement: The Denver Public Schools tried out a new teacher placement system this year, which was designed to avoid “forced placements” of teachers in the district’s lowest-performing schools. (Denver Post)

Online degrees: The University of California hopes soon to offer an online bachelor’s degree, proposing a “highly selective, fully online, credit-bearing program.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Merit pay: Bonus checks for teachers whose students performed well on standardized tests this year have begun to make their way out in Florida – but not everyone is happy about the checks. (Orlando Sentinel)

‘Recapturing’ dropouts: A superintendent in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is considering hiring groups to “recapture” dropouts and enroll them in new, alternative schools. (The Advocate)

High school standards: South Dakota students will now have to pass geometry, algebra II, physics and chemistry to graduate from high school. But some worry that these classes will simply become dumbed down. (Argus Leader)

Stimulus money: Thirty-nine states put stimulus money toward higher education this year. So what happens when those funds dry up? (

College completion: West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III announced over the weekend that higher education productivity would be the focus of his term as chair of the National Governors Association. (Inside Higher Ed)

Sarah Butrymowicz