News Midday Update: Ga. schools improving performance on federal law; Bush confident Congress will quickly pass bailout; Ga. school bus driver fired after leaving kid on bus

A new report shows the number of Georgia schools facing the stiffest sanctions under the federal No Child Left Behind law is decreasing, bucking a national trend.

But the report from the Center on Education Policy says the drop could be because Georgia sets the bar too low for what is considered proficient. The report looks at schools undergoing restructuring - the final resort for schools that consistently fail to meet federal benchmarks.

The number of Georgia schools undergoing restructuring fell from 51 in 2004 to 46 last year. Most other states saw the opposite trend, according to the report.

Dana Tofig, spokesman for the Georgia Department of Education, said the report shows the state has the right strategy for improving schools.

Associated Press

Bush confident Congress will quickly pass bailout

President Bush is trying to assure world leaders that his government is acting decisively and quickly to contain a financial crisis.

In a speech today at the annual U.N. General Assembly, the president said he realizes that other nations are watching how the United States deals with the financial meltdown that is shaking the global economy. He said that his administration is working with Congress to come to fast agreement on a $700 billion bailout bill, in addition to other recent actions he called "bold steps" aimed at stabilizing markets and keeping credit flowing.

Bush said he is confident that the U.S. will act "in the urgent timeframe required" to prevent broader problems. He did not ask for any action by other countries.

Associated Press

Ga. school bus driver fired after leaving kid on bus

A Richmond County school bus driver has been fired after leaving a 9-year-old on her bus earlier this month.

An internal investigation found that Mima Neal didn’t check the bus when she finished her morning routes Sept. 2. She returned home, unaware the child was sleeping on the bus.

According to her termination letter, the child woke up, didn’t know where he was and began to walk around the neighborhood. A passer-by noticed the boy and took him to school.

School board policy requires bus drivers to check each seat, but an investigation found Neal failed to do so.

An 11-year employee of the transportation department, Neal had received a "memorandum of concern" in December. Her personnel file shows that she was involved in six school bus accidents in five years.

Associated Press


- Opening arguments are expected today in the federal conspiracy trial of suspended Perry physician Spurgeon Green Jr., accused of illegally prescribing medications that resulted in several patient deaths. Come back to our Web site for the latest courtroom developments.

- We'll update you on Monday's murder-suicide of a Bonaire couple.


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