Recess round-up: July 26, 2010

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

Assessing the tests: Critics say New York City has awarded teachers and principals millions of dollars in bonuses, and ranked schools based on “phony” test scores. Meanwhile, others say it’s too easy for teachers to teach to the test. (New York Daily News and The New York Times)

Portable classrooms: South Florida schools are getting rid of portable classrooms. Such classrooms were once the answer to surging enrollments, but regional growth has slowed and school enrollments have declined. School districts are deciding what to do with hundreds of portables they no longer need. This isn’t the first time portable classrooms have been controversial. What might classrooms of the future look like? (The Palm Beach Post News, The Educated Reporter and Open Architecture Network)

Mobile technology in the classroom: With instruction from Apple, AT&T and Verizon representatives, Northeast Mississippi teachers learn to use cell phones, iPods and iPads in their classrooms. (

Graduation rates: Different calculations on the number of dropouts in Texas’ public schools. (San Antonio Express-News)

Civil rights and education: “Seven civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, called on U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to dismantle core pieces of his education agenda…” The National Opportunity to Learn campaign issued an education policy framework that includes suggested changes to the blueprint for reauthorizing the No Child Left Behind Act, also – and originally-  known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. (Education Week)

Higher ed: With only 40 percent of its young-adult population (ages 25 to 34) holding college degrees, the United States has dropped to 12th in the world. (The College Board)

Race to the Top: Will Ohio be a  finalist? Round Two finalists will be announced tomorrow.  (Dayton Daily News)

Susan Sawyers

UPDATE (July 29, 2010 11:45 a.m.): Michele [McNeil at Education Week]  just talked to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was originally on the press release as a supporter of this new framework. He told her that the critical framework was “prematurely released” and that his National Action Network, the NAACP, and the Urban League, are actually not supporters of the framework. He added that these three groups didn’t have “concerns” about the President’s education agenda, but “questions,” which were addressed in a Monday meeting with administration officials. In fact, the Rev. Sharpton said, “I agree with [the president]…I’m prepared to fight for a lot of what he’s saying.”