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Odds and ends.

* In a May 6 "Dear Colleague" letter, the Administration reminds school administrators of their obligation under federal law to enroll children, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. The letter cites Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, among other factors, by public schools. It also cites Plyler v. Doe, the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held a state may not deny access to a basic public education to any child, whether that child is present in the country legally or not. Both the letter and the accompanying materials (fact sheet; questions-and-answers) declare schools may require proof (for example, lease agreements, utility bills, or other documents) that a child lives within school district boundaries. However, schools may not discourage the enrollment of undocumented children by inquiring about their immigration status, deny enrollment to those with foreign birth certificates, or deny enrollment to children whose parents decline to provide their Social Security numbers or race/ethnicity information.

* The Nation's Report Card: Civics 2010 finds achievement by U.S. fourth-graders in civics has increased, while eighth-graders' performance was not significantly different and twelfth-graders' performance has declined. Indeed, the report shows that fourth-graders posted the highest civics score since 1998, with the percentages of students at or above the Basic and Proficient achievement levels higher than in 1998 and 2006. Yet, twelfth-graders scored lower in 2010 than in 2006 and had a lower percentage at or above Proficient compared to 2006.

* NCES's latest edition of "Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data" presents findings associated with public high school graduation and event dropout counts for the 2008-09 school year. Across the U.S., the 50 states and the District of Columbia reported that a total of 3,039,015 public school students received a high school diploma, resulting in a calculated Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate of 75.5%. On the other hand, the 50 states and the District of Columbia reported 607,789 students dropped out, resulting in a calculated overall event dropout rate of 4.1%.

* Also, IES has released the Department's first report on the revamped School Improvement Grants (SIG) program, "Baseline Analyses of SIG Applications and SIG-Eligible and SIG-Awarded Schools." This report uses publicly available data from applications, state web sites, and NCES's Common Core of Data to provide some initial information on SIG-related policies and practices that states intend to implement, as well as key characteristics of SIG-eligible and SIG-awarded schools. There are 15,518 SIG-eligible schools nationwide, with 1,247 SIG-awarded schools across 49 states. (Note: A mapping tool for the SIG data is available online.)

* The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) has launched a public media initiative to help improve high school graduation rates. American Graduate expands on public media's record of success in early learning to connect with students attending middle school, a critical point when the disengagement that leads to dropping out in high school frequently begins. Local public radio and television stations are at the core of this initiative and are uniquely positioned to educate and engage various stakeholders on the dropout problem, rally support, and help coordinate efforts in communities.
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Publication:ED Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 13, 2011
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