Texas cities are low on annual literacy list

Texas has routinely topped the national growth charts, but the Lone Star State’s biggest cities are behind the curve in an annual ranking of literacy rates.

Austin (tied with New York City at No. 22) was the only Texas city to crack the top third of the 75 cities ranked in the study of literacy resources by John Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University.

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D.C. Council Focuses On Ex-Offenders

One day after the Council for Court Excellence (CCE) held a press conference to share the findings of a major Ex-Offender study with the public, D.C. Councilmember Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) chaired a hearing focused on ex-offenders, their needs, the programs available and the countless difficulties they face once released from jail.

The Council hearing, held on Friday, Nov. 18, was the first in 10 years. For several hours, lawmakers heard testimony from 139 individuals and representatives from non-profits, governmental organizations, the private sector and city officials.

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The rise of D.C. charter schools

We don’t know whether public charter schools will raise American education to a new level. The independent, tax-supported schools just passed the 2 million student mark, but that’s only 4 percent of schoolchildren. On average, charter students are doing no better than regular public school students.

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A new bill sponsored by Rep. Tom Sannicandro aims to make the transition from school to the working world easier for students with special needs.

The legislation, which was engrossed in the House of Representatives last week and now moves on to the Senate, would revise licensure requirements for special education teachers to allow them to seek certification in transitional services by completing graduate-level courses or similar programs. That additional training will help their students better prepare for life after grade school, said Sannicandro, an Ashland Democrat who represents several Framingham precincts.

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DC Public Schools recently opened a second facility to serve DC parents who are concerned that their preschool-age child may have a disability or a developmental delay. However, as a judge’s ruling made clear last week, ineffective managers of these facilities are allowing children with special needs to fall through the cracks.

This is not only tragic for these children, but extremely expensive when DCPS identifies their special needs much later.

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DC needs better data to fight unemployment

Mayor Gray has made employment for DC residents a top priority. But without good data, policies are little more than a stab in the dark.

It’s quite surprising how little data DC collects on unemployment. What obstacles do the unemployed face in getting jobs? If the obstacle is a skills mismatch, are there training providers available that teach those skills?

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