Recess round-up: July 7, 2010

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

School turnaround: LA Unified’s Fremont high school reopens with a mostly new staff as the district attempts to address the campus’ historically dismal academic results. (Los Angeles Times)

Achievement gap: Five school systems across the country have raised achievement using five common-sense steps. (Los Angeles Times)

No Teacher Left Behind: When did it become so difficult to fire a teacher?  “The Explainer” provides historical perspective on teacher tenure. (Slate)

School reform: Q&A with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim about his new film Waiting for Superman, which takes a brave crack at explaining ed reform — but misses a beat.  (SF Gate and Huffington Post)

Math scores up; science scores fall: In Arkansas, 76 percent of 7th-9th-graders who took the statewide Algebra I test in April 2010 scored “proficient” or better, up 6 percent from last year. But on the biology test, only 36 percent of students scored “proficient” or better, down from 41 percent last year. (Arkansas News)

Special ed: Is an annual review necessary? The U.S. Department of Education has evaluated states since 2006 based on their ability to meet certain “measurable and rigorous targets” related to special-ed students. (Education Week)

Sex ed: A fundamental shift has begun, as the federal government moves away from the previous “abstinence-only” focus on which it spent over $1.5 billion since 1996. Cleveland school district officials hope to secure $1 million each year for the next five years to extend the district’s sex education program that was introduced in 2006. (The Plain Dealer)

Language learning: Disney is aiming to expand its schools program in an effort to teach english to 150,000 children a year by 2015. (Planet Money via Financial Times)

Susan Sawyers