First Bell 2-26-13

A first look at today's most important education news:

Fordham's latest

"One size fits all, or so they said," by Charity Hallman, Flypaper

English and U.S. History remain the most popular Advanced Placement courses—a point of concern among policymakers who aim to get students interested in STEM subjects. (Curriculum Matters)

A new report finds that high school dropouts cost the nation $1.8 billion in lost tax revenue each year. (Associated Press)

On Monday, President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico signed his country’s biggest education-reform bill in seven decades; the goal is to change a system in which “teaching positions could be sold or inherited,” thereby weakening the powerful teacher union. (Huffington Post)

Some argue that failing public schools ought to be rebranded as charter schools—if only for the positive publicity. (Education Week)

The achievement levels of L.A. County’s African American public school students is significantly lower than their counterparts of other ethnicities as early as second grade; the gap only widens with age. (Los Angeles Times)

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