Voucher schools unaccredited
Florida—Ten of 34 schools that received vouchers this year under an education bill touted by Gov. Jeb Bush were unaccredited, according to the May 26 Palm Beach Post. Last year, six of 24 voucher schools were unaccredited. Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings says the law does not demand accreditation. But members of Bush’s own Republican party are demanding an investigation. “I know what I meant. The schools had to be accredited,” said Sen. Anna Cowin, who sponsored the bill.
Reading readiness improves
Arizona—Kindergarteners in the state’s 63 lowest-performing schools showed dramatic improvements in reading readiness over the school year, thanks to new reading programs and intensive teacher training, according to the May 20 Arizona Republic. Last year, only nine percent of full-day kindergarten students at the 63 schools had adequate pre-reading skills. Nine months later, more than half those students had improved their skills and were ready for 1st grade.
Teacher tests may be dropped
North Carolina—Lawmakers are considering dropping subject-area exams to make it easier for more out-of-state teachers to obtain in-state licenses, according to the April 28 News & Observer. Gov. Mike Easley opposes the idea, saying he does not want to lower standards to meet federal No Child Left Behind mandates, which state that schools must have fully licensed teachers in every class. A third of some 10,000 middle and high-school teachers hired every year in North Carolina are recruited from out of state.