I have a Google alert programmed for the word “school,” and one of the e-mails I received today was a sobering reminder of where we are today in education. In just five stories we hear about:

*budget cuts for schools and financial aid

*a debate on whether charter schools should replace traditional public schools in Detroit

*online education

*more about online education

*how and who should fund public education

Here are the five stories that were in this alert:

1. North Fond du Lac schools invest in iPads

Fond du Lac Reporter

The North Fond du Lac School District [in Wisconsin] will be investing $63000 in iPads as part of an initiative to have new technology in the hands of all students by fall 2012. The Board of Education voted on May 23 to approve an initial purchase of 110 iPads for ...

Part of the plan is for everyone in the system, kindergarteners included, to get iPads at some point, even though there is no research showing that this will actually improve student achievement. But it sure sounds “innovative.”

2. Is Detroit Public Schools worth saving? Charter process sparks debate

Detroit Free Press

Fifth-graders at DPS’s Foreign Language Immersion & Cultural Studies School, above, participate in Chinese classwork. At right, student Derrick Lotharp is seen on a webcam reading Chinese as his teacher -- who is in Beijing ...

The fact that we are talking about whether an entire public school system should be abandoned and replaced by charters tells you how far charter proponents have come.

The New Orleans Recovery School District is nearly 75 percent charter — the highest concentration of any district in the country. District officials claim the schools have made great strides, but there remain pesky problems, like poor students and children with disabilities finding it hard to win a seat in any of the charter schools. A lawsuit was filed last year against the the state Department of Education charging that the department was violating the U.S. Individuals With Disabilities Education Act by systemically failing to guarantee that students with disabilities received equal access to educational services.

3. With HOPE cuts coming, students turn to summer school

Atlanta Journal Constitution

While final numbers won’t be in for months, colleges are seeing a modest uptick in summer school enrollment. As of last week, Georgia Southern University reported a summer enrollment increase of more than 5 percent, and Southern Polytechnic State ...

The story starts out talking about a young man who had hoped to graduate from Georgia Tech in December, but then the state legislature changed the HOPE scholarship program, which provided college scholarships for students who maintained a 3.0 and above average in high school. Now he has to take a full load this summer while his scholarship money still exists, because the program is being cut back significantly.

4. Frog dissections go virtual at California school

Sacramento Bee

A Southern California high school is taking the scalpel to frog dissections in biology class as it becomes the first US school to take up animal welfare supporters’ offer of free anatomy software.

5. NH school funding amendments before House, Senate

Boston Globe

CONCORD, NH—New Hampshire lawmakers are wrestling with competing amendments to the state constitution to allow the state to decide how much, if anything, to pay for school aid. The House is taking up an amendment proposed by the Senate on Wednesday ...

In this Associated Press article run by the Globe, it says that the legislature is trying to take back control of school funding from the state Supreme Court. Why? The story says, “The state Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that New Hampshire must provide an adequate education to all public schoolchildren and adequately fund it.”

How cheeky of that court to insist that all public school children get an adequate education.

So, what was missing from this Google alert that would have rounded out our look at the state of education today?

A story about Michelle Rhee saying again that poverty is an excuse for bad teachers who can’t raise the test scores of their students? About how every state in the nation is linking test scores to teacher and principal and superintendent evaluation? Bill Gates starting his own charter school network?

Follow The Answer Sheet every day by bookmarking http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page. Bookmark it!


Follow The Answer Sheet every day by bookmarking http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page. Bookmark it!