State funding for pre-kindergarten programs had its largest drop ever last year and states are now spending less per child than they did a decade ago, according to a report, Philly.com reports. The report also found that more than a half million of those preschool students are in programs that don’t even meet standards suggested by industry experts that would qualify for federal dollars. Those findings , combined with Congress’ reluctance to spend new dollars , complicate President Barack Obama’s effort to expand pre-K programs across the country. While Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius continue to promote the president’s proposal, researchers say existing programs are inadequate, and until their shortcomings are fixed there is little desire by lawmakers to get behind Obama’s call for more preschool……Read More
School districts soon will be able to opt out of a common ammonia-treated ground beef filler that critics have dubbed “pink slime,” Philly.com reports. Amid a growing social media storm over so-called lean finely textured beef, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was set to announce Thursday that starting in the fall schools involved in the national school lunch program will have the option of avoiding the product. Under the change, schools will be able to choose between 95 percent lean beef patties made with the product or less lean bulk ground beef without it. The change won’t kick in immediately because of existing contracts, according to a USDA official with knowledge of the decision. Though the term “pink slime” has been used pejoratively for at least several years, it wasn’t until last week that social media suddenly exploded with worry and an online petition seeking its ouster from schools lit up, quickly garnering hundreds of thousands of supporters……Read More
From Massachusetts to California, a rising number of school superintendents who find themselves at odds with their boards of education are enjoying softer landings thanks to generous farewell fees tucked into their contracts, Philly.com reports. The $905,000 golden parachute announced with the departure last week of Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman is by all accounts the biggest buyout bonanza to date, at least in Pennsylvania……Read More
Following revelations about possible cheating on state tests, Pennsylvania’s education secretary has ordered forensic reviews of all exams since 2009, with special attention to Philadelphia, reports Philly.com.
“When you have multiple indications from multiple sources that something’s not correct, that absolutely does require a greater level of scrutiny,” Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis said in an interview Thursday.