Recess round-up: July 27, 2010

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

Race to the Top: Round Two finalists were announced today by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.  Meanwhile, Nick Anderson of The Washington Post writes that President Obama’s education agenda is hitting a wall in Congress.  Stay tuned for The Hechinger Report’s interactive map to see how much money each finalist could win.  (Department of Education and Washington Post)

Charter schools: In light of the state budget crisis, a new report from the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee recommends cutting funds for existing charter schools and temporarily halting the approval of new charters. (New Mexico Independent)

Common standards: While 30 states have now adopted the Common Core State Standards — Florida did so today — there’s an ongoing debate about the new standards. (Orlando Sentinel and National Journal)

D is for delete: A northern New Jersey school board eliminated the “D” grade for middle and high school students, making 70 the cut-off point for a failing grade. (AP via The [Newark, N.J.] Star-Ledger)

Evaluating teachers: In Buffalo, after three years, the teachers’ union and public schools have developed a more thorough annual evaluation process that requires principals to provide support for struggling teachers. (Buffalo News)

Research/Child well-being: The Annie E. Casey Foundation 2010 KIDS COUNT Data Book includes rankings on 10 key indicators of child well-being. (The Annie E. Casey Foundation)

Research/Financial aid: With college enrollment up, demand for financial aid is also on the rise. In 2008-2009, states awarded about $10.3 billion in financial aid, up from $10 billion the year before. Yet, financial aid rules are still complicated, a fact that leads some students not to apply. (National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs and The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Susan Sawyers