Class Struggle: Metro Monday


Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 01/23/2011

Is KIPP abandoning the neediest students?

The Knowledge Is Power Program, the nation’s and the District’s most successful charter school network, has a new official name, KIPP, and a new approach to raising achievement for disadvantaged children. In its first decade the network---with 91 schools in 20 states and another eight in the District--focused on creating middle schools that started with fifth graders two or three years below grade level and got them up to speed by eighth grade. Now it is opening elementary schools, including three here, so it can start raising achievement in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 01/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Jonathan Cowan, KIPP, KIPP officials promise to still admit older kids, Knowledge Is Power Program, Mike Feinberg. Dave Levin, Richard Kahlenberg, Steve Mancini, Susan Schaeffler, change could hurt older children, main intake will be pre-K not fifth grade, new KIPP structure

Posted at 08:00 PM ET, 11/28/2010

If your child resists the college search

A frustrated parent brought an unnerving problem to my Admissions 101 discussion group on washingtonpost.com. The student (many of us in the group immediately assumed it was a boy) had gotten into a well-respected public university in his state and, the parent said, “adamantly refused to go on college visits or apply to any schools other than” his one and only choice.

By Jay Mathews  |  08:00 PM ET, 11/28/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Admissions 101 discussions group, be patient, child resists college search, he can always transfer. Barack Obama, student will apply to only one college

Posted at 08:00 PM ET, 11/21/2010

Let schools be creative with motivation

Two demographically similar and academically impressive local high schools — Northwood in Montgomery County and West Potomac in Fairfax County — have been debating grades. Both schools have been accused of letting too many students pass their courses without learning the material. This is in line with what millions of Americans say about schools in general. But they disagree over whom to blame. Unmotivated students? Lazy teachers? Cowardly administrators? Short-sighted parents? I wonder if there isn’t a way for all of these people to resolve the dispute by offering school choices that would approach grading and teaching in different ways

By Jay Mathews  |  08:00 PM ET, 11/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Northwood High School, West Potomac High School, educators have creative solutions, grading systems, motivating students, readers say schools and teachers should get tough, schools accused of passing students who don't master the material, why not give families the choice of some school with radical solutions

Posted at 08:00 PM ET, 11/14/2010

Top district lets average kids lag behind

The High School Assessment and Advanced Placement results put out so proudly by the Montgomery County school system suggest that it is among the best districts in the country, but that country has seen no significant increase in math or reading achievement for 17-year-olds in 30 years. Dan Stephens, who teaches math at Northwood High School, thinks he knows why. It is a reason I have never heard before from his renowned district.

By Jay Mathews  |  08:00 PM ET, 11/14/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Dan Stephens, Dana Tofig, Montgomery County schools, county says this won't work, countywide final exams, he suggests making them retake the course if final test grade is less than 50 percent, teachers says study flunk county final but still pass the course, what will?

Posted at 09:00 PM ET, 11/07/2010

Top high school should look for character as well as brains

My colleague Kevin Sieff reported last week that the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is not only the most selective public school in America, but one of the least diverse. After years of promising to reach out to the third of Northern Virginia students who are black or Hispanic, less than 4 percent of its students have that background, while ultra-selective colleges such as Harvard and MIT have about 20 percent.

By Jay Mathews  |  09:00 PM ET, 11/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, character should be an important trait in picking students, few blacks or Hispanics admitted to Jefferson, largest ethic group is Asian, need to find more students interested in science

Posted at 08:00 PM ET, 10/17/2010

Curiosity discouraged at competitive high school

Westfield High School in Fairfax County is one of the largest and most competitive public schools in America. It is not unusual that 180 sophomores enrolled in Advanced Placement World History this year, more students than most U.S. high schools have taking AP courses of any kind. What did surprise some students and their parents was a sheet titled “Expectations of Integrity” included in the materials handed out by the three AP World History teachers. Their number one rule discouraged random outbreaks of curiosity.

By Jay Mathews  |  08:00 PM ET, 10/17/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Expectations of Integrity, Fairfax County, Westfield High School, curiosity discouraged, no Internet searching, no talking to family, principal Tim Thomas, students can only use their notes and textbooks

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 10/10/2010

New film shows folly of Ivy envy

This time of year, with high school seniors slogging through one college application after another, and parents jittery about their children’s futures, I often write columns explaining why it doesn’t matter where they go to school. The invariable reaction from many readers, and some of my friends, is that I went to Harvard, so what do I know about their problem?

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 10/10/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Mark Zuckerberg, Aaron Sorkin,, Zac Bissonnette, it doesn't matter where you go to college, little studying in college

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 10/03/2010

KIPP leaders unworried by test score drop

Fifth grade scores dropped this year at the KIPP DC charter schools. Some people wondered if the Knowledge Is Power Program’s long record of raising D.C. student achievement was in jeopardy. The woman who created KIPP DC seems unworried. She has already made a change that may drive some average scores even lower next year.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 10/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  KIPP DC, KIPP DC: College Prep in its second year, KIPP culture change, KIPP fifth grade scores go down, Knowledge Is Power Program, Susan Schaeffler, for first time KIPP adds fourth grade to middle school

Posted at 07:00 PM ET, 09/26/2010

High school barred average students from AP

Flowers High School in Prince George's County was one of the few schools in the Washington area refusing to let average students challenge themselves in an Advanced Placement course. Students were told this year that AP English, biology, American history, calculus and most of the other college-level courses at the school were open only to those with at least a 3.0 grade point average. They also had to have written permission from a teacher.

By Jay Mathews  |  07:00 PM ET, 09/26/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  3.0 average required, AP denied to average student, Advanced Placement, Charles Hebert Flowers High School, Prince George's County, principal Helena Nobles-Jones, school quickly drops its rule, violation of county policy

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 09/19/2010

Rhee initiative that will, thankfully, outlast Rhee

As prospective mayor Vincent Gray’s education advisors begin to discuss changes in the way Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee ran D.C. schools, it should quickly become apparent they should keep their hands off one of Rhee’s smartest moves — handing management of Coolidge and Dunbar high schools to a sharp team of educators from New York City.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 09/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Bevon Thompson, Coolidge High School, Dunbar High School, Friends of Bedford, George Leonard, Michelle A. Rhee, Niaka Gaston, a reform that should outlast Rhee, best reading gains in D.C.

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 09/12/2010

Teacher in troubled school likes Rhee's impatience

Anthony Priest decided teaching math would be more interesting than his big business career, so he accepted an assignment at one of the most chaotic public schools in the region, Spingarn High in Northeast Washington. Since then, he says, he has had many adventures, including a first-hand look at the inspiring and results-oriented (at least to him) management practices of D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 09/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Anthony Priest, Michelle A. Rhee, Rhee got it done in a day, Rhee intervenes when school in chaos, Spingarn High School, some teachers like Rhee's impatience, teacher could not get principal to fix broken door

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 09/05/2010

The real reason a whistleblowing teacher was transferred

My nominee for most effective whistleblower in the D.C. school system, Erich Martel, has finally gone too far in the eyes of some school administrators.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 09/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Erich Martel, Peter Cahall, principal and teacher disagreed over AP and learning styles, principal disliked teacher's anti-cheating methods, principal transfers teacher to distant school because of philosophical disagreements

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 08/29/2010

Forget about the achievement gap

The D.C. mayoral race is deeply split on most issues, but everyone agrees on one thing: We must reduce the achievement gap between minority and white students. It is too bad, then, that that the gap is such a mindless measure of school progress.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 08/29/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  achievement gap, all DC officials say it must be closed, focusing on gains for all, gaps narrow if whites don't improve, numbers show it is a mindless measure

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 08/22/2010

Rhee is central to future of DC schools

If Mayor Adrian M. Fenty loses the Democratic primary, Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee — the most divisive D.C. educator in my 39 years at The Washington Post — will probably leave. If Fenty wins, she probably stays. Whether that is good or bad depends on your point of view.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 08/22/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Michelle Rhee, divisive but effective, key to election

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 07/18/2010

Debate over school data in wealthy counties

Educational statistics expert Joseph Hawkins, one of my guides to the mysteries of test assessment, is impatient with the way the Montgomery County Public School system, as he puts it, “is always telling the world how better it is than everyone else.” He finds flaws in its latest celebration of college success by county graduates, particularly minorities.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 07/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Montgomery County's great school data, National Student Clearinghouse, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, expert Joseph Hawkins says Montgomery can do better

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 07/11/2010

Sousa's principal: hero or bully?

Dwan Jordon's name has also spread quickly through the ranks of D.C. educators, for AFTER that great year of record test success, and the hard work of his staff, almost all of his teachers left, something that I have never seen before. Some were terminated. Some couldn’t stand to work for him again. He said the old staff had resisted his ideas, even though they worked. With a new hand-picked staff the next year “all of us were focused on doing what was best for students,” he said.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 07/11/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  long history of school reformers breaking rules, new principal Dwan Jordon praised, scores rise at Sousa Middle School, teachers say he verbally abused them, union and principal helping each other unintentionally

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 07/04/2010

Rhee should get out of the mayor's race

Saying she would leave if Gray is elected is good news to those people who want Rhee gone. It is bad for the principals she has appointed, the teachers who share her commitment to raising achievement and the parents who are beginning to see the same teamwork, creativity and persistence in regular city public schools that they have found in many charter schools.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 07/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Adrian Fenty, Michelle A. Rhee, Rhee should get out of Mayor's race, Vincent Gray, losing Rhee would be a disaster

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 06/27/2010

Charters beat regular schools in summer learning

Nona Mitchell Richardson, spokeswoman for the D.C. Public Charter School Board, said an estimated 9,900 of 28,000 charter students in the city are expected to be in summer school this year, or 35 percent. Among students of regular D.C. public schools, 21 percent (9,429 out of 45,000 students) are enrolling this summer.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 06/27/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  charter school kids get more summer school than regular school kids in DC, make it part of the full year plan, requiring summer school for all, summer learning loss

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 06/20/2010

Hispanic students taking AP Spanish: a scam?

Two of my children, whose parents can’t speak Spanish and didn’t take it in school, worked hard to learn that language and now use it in their jobs. They are truly bilingual. This impresses people. So why are we not similarly gratified when Hispanic students with fewer advantages than my kids work just as hard to master the same two important languages?

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 06/20/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Is Hispanic students taking AP Spanish a scam, Theresa Vargas, charge that Wakefield AP scores plummet without AP Spanish, double standard for language learners

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 06/13/2010

The principal who created a wellspring of innovation

Despite the school’s disadvantages, Jackson has produced one of the highest levels of Advanced Placement test participation in the country — top 2 percent. Thirty-seven percent of Wakefield seniors have passing scores on those tests, more than twice the national average. Wakefield has reached its federal achievement targets, unusual for a school with so many impoverished students, but also made itself a national model for imaginative instruction, outdoing even the most affluent public schools.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 06/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Doris Jackson, Wakefield High School, one of the nation's most creative principals, rare requirement for senior projects, top 2 percent in AP participation

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 05/23/2010

Why transparency in college admissions is bad

Impose transparency on the holistic system used by selective colleges--a subjective judgment based on several factors--and the result is no less maddening. The admissions office would have to issue statements like "the candidate's extracurricular involvements were not as intense and her teacher recommendations not as impressive as those of candidates we accepted."

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 05/23/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Andy Pettis, college admissions transparency is bad, parents upset they don't know why children are rejected, transparency will also upset people. transparency leads to unpopular standardized measures

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 05/09/2010

Child resisting school? Try a sabbatical for kids.

A kiddie sabbatical is a break to recharge batteries and reassess values. It isn’t the same thing as long-term home-schooling. The strain on parents is short-term. In the Internet age it is often possible to work at home for a few months. I have found no data on this, but we could be seeing a trend toward sabbaticals for the young and restless.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 05/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Laura Brodie, Love in a Time of Homeschooling,, kiddie sabbaticals, short-term homeschooling

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 04/18/2010

Principal tells ninth-graders to study, or leave

I was surprised when Charlie Thomas, principal of Crossland High School in Prince George’s County, began sending me emails. His school has been one of the worst in a low-performing district for a long time. But Thomas, who arrived in 2004, was trying to improve his school and was willing even to deal with a fault-finding columnist if it would help. Nearly 66 percent of his students were low-income, but he was not going to let that slow him down. I confess he has gotten my attention with some unusual moves.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 04/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Advanced Placement, Charles Thomas, Crossland High School Prince George's County Md., reviving a high school, telling ninth graders to shape up or leave, tough principal improves high school

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 04/11/2010

Should high schoolers read aloud in class?

Recently I visited a history class at a local, low-performing high school where students read in turn from the autobiography of a famous American. The teacher was bright and quick. He interrupted often with comments and questions. The 18 sophomores and juniors seemed to be into it, but it was such an old-fashioned--and I suspect to some educators elementary--approach for that I decided to see what other educators thought of it.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 04/11/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  reading aloud in high school, round robin reading, round robin reading criticized and supported

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 03/07/2010

Help schools use non-fiction books

How can we persuade teachers to give non-fiction more prominence? Any ideas? How about a non-fiction week during that limp period after the early May crunch of state, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams? Pick a book and read it for two hours a day. The rest of the time we’ll have lunch and special projects.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 03/07/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Dan McMahon, DeMatha Catholic HIgh School, schools need more non-fiction, spring non-fiction week, too much fiction in schools

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 01/03/2010

Can D.C. teacher evaluations be too admiring?

Mahoney deserves his high marks. But parts of the evaluation were vague. On multiple learning styles, the report said “Mr. Mahoney attempted and effectively targeted three learning styles: visual, kinesthetic and interpersonal,” without giving any examples.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 01/03/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  D.C. IMPACT program, Dan Goldfarb, John F. Mahoney, admiring evaluators, teacher evaluations

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 12/27/2009

More required P.E.--a bad idea from good people

Nowhere in her press release does Cheh address the key issue--the fact that the D.C. schools need to do a better job using the limited time they have, about six and a half hours a day, to address students’ weaknesses in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. She and Gray are telling teachers trying to turn around those poor performances that now they will have even less time to do it.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 12/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  D.C. schools, Healthy Schools Act, Mary M. Cheh, Physical education, Vincent C. Gray, politicians that don't understand schools

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 11/29/2009

Five reasons why I am a bad education writer

I rarely wrote about private schools: This is partly because of laziness. It takes much time and effort to report on private schools because so many are reluctant to give out information that might hurt their reputations in their annual competition with other private schools for students. I am also handicapped by the journalistic assumption, rarely discussed or debated in our newsroom, that paying attention to these private enterprises is like giving them free advertising.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 11/29/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Bill Turque, Columbia Heights Education Center, Knowledge Is Power, Michael Birnbuam, Michelle A. Rhee, Rebecca Cox, Wakefield High School, education reporting, private schools

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 11/22/2009

D.C. expose--one teacher's evaluation

Overall, the evaluator gave the teacher only 2.3 out of a possible 4 points. Goldfarb got only 1 out of 4 points in one section for failing to post or say what the objective of the lesson was--to me unnecessary kid’s stuff for an AP class. He also got only 1 out of 4 points for not catering to multiple learning styles, even though some experts, like Willis D. Hawley of the University of Maryland, call learning style analysis “bunk.”

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 11/22/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  D.C. schools, Dan Goldfarb, IMPACT evaluation program, Jason Kamras, Michelle A. Rhee, multiple learning style, teacher evaluation

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 11/15/2009

Want to eliminate at-risk kids? Call them something else.

I sympathize with those who may not be comfortable with the latest plan to rid our schools of at-risk kids. Several educators across the country, including Alexandria city schools superintendent Morton Sherman, have decided not to call them that...

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 11/15/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Alexandria City Schools, achievement gap, at-promise students, at-risk students, political correctness

Posted at 11:00 PM ET, 11/08/2009

Forget about rating teachers---rate schools instead.

Those unfortunate people in the District may worry about the quality of their teachers, and wait anxiously for the results of the school system’s controversial new evaluation of classroom techniques and test score improvement. But those of us in...

By Jay Mathews  |  11:00 PM ET, 11/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  teacher evaluation

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 11/01/2009

Perils of rating teachers--Part one, the District

In the last half of the 19th century, many inventors pursued the dream of building an airplane. Duds and crashes were frequent and skeptics numerous. Only a decade before the Wright brothers’ 1903 flight, British physicist and engineer Lord...

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 11/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 10/25/2009

Two D.C. high schools get a New York makeover

After days of frantic blogging on the latest D.C. schools crisis and trading speculation with interested readers, I find it refreshing to visit three educators who are making major changes in two of the city’s lowest-performing high schools. Unlike...

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 10/25/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/19/2009

Test that makes U.S. look bad may not be so good

Politicians and pundits are using results from the Programme for International Student Assessment|(PISA) tests to say our kids are falling behind the rest of the world, so maybe we should get some PISA practice. Brookings Institution scholar Tom Loveless, a...

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/05/2009

School Rules Stifle Gifted Student

Anyone who wants to appreciate how strong a grip high school has on the American imagination, and how clueless some school districts are about this, should consider the story of Drew Gamblin, a 16-year-old student at Howard High School...

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/05/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 09/28/2009

Despite Test Scores, Shaw Is on the Right Track

On July 11, Brian Betts, principal of D.C.’s Shaw Middle School at Garnet-Patterson, was at Dulles International Airport about to leave for a vacation in Spain. He was feeling good. His first year running a school whose students struggle...

By Washington Post editors  |  06:00 AM ET, 09/28/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday, Metro Monday, Metro Monday

Posted at 03:19 PM ET, 09/21/2009

Elite Schools Don't Make Elite People

I promised a high school counselor in California I would update a very old online column whose printout on her wall is too faded to read. It asked a question I think students immersed in college visiting and application writing...

By Jay Mathews  |  03:19 PM ET, 09/21/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday, Metro Monday

Posted at 08:26 AM ET, 09/14/2009

Retest D.C. Classes That Had Dubious Exam Results in '08

My colleague Bill Turque's energetic coverage of suspicious erasures on D.C. school standardized tests in 2008 reminds me of my attempt many years ago to delve into the only classroom cheating scandal ever to become a major motion picture. This...

By Washington Post editors  |  08:26 AM ET, 09/14/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 09:00 PM ET, 09/07/2009

Certification Of Teachers as Painful Farce

I was flooded with e-mails after my Aug. 24 column on high school teacher Jonathan Keiler. Prince George's County officials said he was going to lose his certification because he had not taken enough education school courses, even though he...

By Washington Post editors  |  09:00 PM ET, 09/07/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 11:31 AM ET, 08/24/2009

When a Gifted Teacher Has to Jump Through Hoops Just to Keep His Job, Change Is Needed

I am not a big fan of merit pay for high-performing teachers unless the entire school staff is rewarded. But I have no doubt that our current teacher pay upgrade and certification system, based largely on education school credits,...

By Jay Mathews  |  11:31 AM ET, 08/24/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 11:35 AM ET, 08/10/2009

Metro Monday: Here's a Wise Investment: Help Students Who Need Money to Finish College

Two weeks ago, I challenged Columbia University professor Andrew Delbanco's claim that "a great many gifted and motivated young people are excluded from college for no other reason than their inability to pay." I had never found a student like...

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:35 AM ET, 08/10/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  college, college admissions, scholarships, school loans

Posted at 12:46 PM ET, 08/03/2009

IB Teacher Takes Risks, With Impressive Results

The nation's most important education policymakers are holding news conferences these days. President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have announced that they want states to strengthen their standards so more students will be ready for college. Dozens of governors...

By Jay Mathews  |  12:46 PM ET, 08/03/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 03:18 PM ET, 07/27/2009

Barring Gifted But Poor Students from College

I try to stay away from the New York Review of Books. It is a trap for aimless readers like me. I may enjoy a piece on the last Khan of Mongolia. But that makes me want to sample...

By Jay Mathews  |  03:18 PM ET, 07/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 12:25 PM ET, 07/20/2009

Metro Monday: What Is Montgomery Schools' Secret?

If you don’t like Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools in Montgomery County, do not take the new book “Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools” to the beach for your summer reading. Your...

By Washington Post editors  |  12:25 PM ET, 07/20/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 03:44 PM ET, 07/13/2009

Metro Monday: Should High Schools Bar Average Students From College-Level Courses and Tests?

Fifteen years ago, when I discovered that many good high schools prevented average students from taking demanding courses, I thought it was a fluke, a mistake that would soon be rectified. I had spent much time inside schools that...

By Washington Post Editors  |  03:44 PM ET, 07/13/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Advanced Placement, Cambridge, International Baccalaureate, classes, high school

Posted at 01:45 AM ET, 07/06/2009

New School Board Member Has Influenced a Legion of Educators

When I first met him a dozen years ago, Mike Durso struck me as an okay principal. He didn't say much about himself, but his school, Springbrook High in Silver Spring, was well-run. The students liked him. He had been...

By Washington Post Editors  |  01:45 AM ET, 07/06/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Mike Durso, Springbrook High School, principals

Posted at 11:54 AM ET, 06/29/2009

Metro Monday: Note to Union: Don't Mess With Success at This High-Achieving Charter Middle School

Sometime last year, while negotiating a teacher contract for the KIPP Ujima Village charter middle school in Baltimore, founder Jason Botel pointed out that his students, mostly from low- income families, had earned the city's highest public school test scores...

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:54 AM ET, 06/29/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  KIPP, Randy Weingarten, teachers union

Posted at 02:09 PM ET, 06/15/2009

Grading the Column's First Year

Summer arrives in a few days, so this will be the last Schools & Learning page until August. I am not happy about that. It's shameful to admit, but this column is both my occupation and my favorite recreation....

By Washington Post Editors  |  02:09 PM ET, 06/15/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Jay Mathews

Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 06/08/2009

Is AP for All A Formula For Failure?

I spend much time with aggressive Advanced Placement teachers. They tell me, quite often, that students must be stretched beyond their assumed capabilities. Whenever I try to pass on this advice, however, I become a target for ridicule and...

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:20 AM ET, 06/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 10:26 AM ET, 06/01/2009

Charter Schools Provide Good Model on Teacher Pay

It is hard for me to find a school leader with a track record for raising student achievement who does not admire almost everything Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is doing with the D.C. schools. Yeah, I said almost. One...

By Washington Post Editors  |  10:26 AM ET, 06/01/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  charter schools, merit pay for teachers

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 05/25/2009

At-Risk Need a Mix of Good Teachers, Social Services Help

Karen Kaldenbach, an 18-year-old high school senior in Arlington County, remembers vividly what life was like when she was 11: "I saw Social Services almost as much as I saw my mother, who was always drunk. Her best friends,...

By Washington Post Editors  |  12:00 PM ET, 05/25/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  at-risk students

Posted at 11:46 AM ET, 05/18/2009

Senioritis Is One Symptom of a Creative Deficit in Class

Last year, I wrote a defense of high school senioritis as a useful break from academic drudgery. This made me, briefly, a hero to teenagers across the country. Then I returned to my usual theme that classes leading up...

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:46 AM ET, 05/18/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  high school, senioritis

Posted at 01:00 AM ET, 05/11/2009

A $100 Billion Question: How Best to Fix the Nation's Schools?

If you had $100 billion to fix our schools, what would you do? A surprisingly smart list of suggestions for the education portion of the federal stimulus money is circulating in the education policy world. A group of experts...

By Washington Post Editors  |  01:00 AM ET, 05/11/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 11:08 AM ET, 05/04/2009

Rare Alliance May Signal Ebb In Union's Charter Opposition

I didn't see many other reporters Tuesday in the narrow, second-floor meeting room of the Phoenix Park Hotel in the District. A U.S. senator's party switch and new National Assessment of Educational Progress data were a bigger draw. But...

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:08 AM ET, 05/04/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  American Federation of Teachers, charter schools

Posted at 11:06 AM ET, 04/27/2009

Senior Projects Encourage Insight Via Sustained Effort

Jay's column from The Post today: When Wakefield High School first required senior projects 12 years ago, students suspected it was a plot to drain the last precious drops of joy from their teenage years. "We were pretty disgruntled,"...

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:06 AM ET, 04/27/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  senior projects

Posted at 10:17 AM ET, 04/20/2009

Schools May Pass High Stakes Tests, But Fail Low Performing Students

Sarah Fine, a 25-year-old English teacher at Cesar Chavez Public Charter School on Capitol Hill, vividly recalls a conference with the mother of a 10th-grader who read at a third-grade level. "Shawn is a real asset to our class because...

By Washington Post Editors  |  10:17 AM ET, 04/20/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  DC-CAS, low performing students

Posted at 09:11 AM ET, 04/13/2009

Accelerated Math Challenge, For a Student and Her Mom

Anne McCracken Ehlers's third-grade daughter was not doing well in accelerated fourth-grade math at Whetstone Elementary School in Gaithersburg. Becca was spending far too long on her assignments. She was confused. She was unhappy. Ehlers is a teacher herself, in...

By Washington Post Editors  |  09:11 AM ET, 04/13/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Accelerated Math, Advanced Classes

Posted at 08:44 AM ET, 04/06/2009

You've Been Wait-Listed. Here's What You Do Now.

Are you stuck on a college waiting list? Frustrating, isn't it? You feel disrespected, unlucky. But you are not alone. Some selective schools send more wait-list letters than acceptance letters. This year's economic uncertainties might produce the largest number...

By Washington Post Editors  |  08:44 AM ET, 04/06/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  college, waitlist

Posted at 08:22 AM ET, 03/30/2009

Some Happy D.C. 8th-Graders Moving Up Without Moving On

Christian Carter's conversation with his mother began last fall just before dinner. The eighth-grader said he didn't like any of next year's D.C. high school choices. The places were too scary or too disorganized, he said. He wanted to stay...

By Washington Post Editors  |  08:22 AM ET, 03/30/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 07:55 AM ET, 03/23/2009

Saying 'When' On D.C. School Voucher Program

I'm not trying to be a hypocrite. I have supported D.C. school vouchers. The program has used tax dollars well in transferring impoverished students to private schools with higher standards than D.C. public schools. But it has reached a dead...

By Washington Post Editors  |  07:55 AM ET, 03/23/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 07:16 AM ET, 03/16/2009

One Principal Knows What to Do With Stimulus Money. Do Others?

I doubt we will get much school improvement out of the roughly $100 billion in stimulus funds the Obama administration is about to spend on education. The windfall will save the jobs of many hardworking educators, which is good, but...

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  07:16 AM ET, 03/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 11:56 AM ET, 03/09/2009

St. Mary's Builds New Path To College

Just before Christmas in 2000, Layla Wynn's college dreams evaporated. A philanthropist broke a promise to support higher education for her sixth-grade class. She had become a top student at Cardozo High School in the District, but her parents --...

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:56 AM ET, 03/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 06:37 AM ET, 03/02/2009

Better Teachers, Not Tinier Classes, Should Be Goal

Here and in the rest of the country, school superintendents who have been forced to raise class size hope they can reduce the number of students per class when budget troubles ease. Having seen many successful large classes and many...

By Washington Post Editors  |  06:37 AM ET, 03/02/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 09:06 AM ET, 02/16/2009

Boosting Schools' Value Without Spending a Dime

As happens in every recession, Washington area school systems are cutting back. It's depressing. Here's an antidote: Harness the creativity of educators, parents and students to improve our schools without more spending. Some teachers I trust helped me come up...

By Washington Post Editors  |  09:06 AM ET, 02/16/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 07:10 AM ET, 02/09/2009

Test Scores Provide Valuable Measure Of Success in D.C.

Brian Betts, a new principal in one of the District's most troubled neighborhoods, excitedly displayed his school's latest reading test results. Tall green bars on the graphs meant that in some classes a majority of students were proficient. This was...

By Washington Post Editors  |  07:10 AM ET, 02/09/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 02:18 PM ET, 02/02/2009

In Cutting Sports Funding, Everyone Loses

Times are tough, particularly in our schools. We don't have the money, beleaguered education officials say, for every student who wants to play games after class. Some school sports have to go. Loudoun County is talking about cutting junior varsity...

By Washington Post Editors  |  02:18 PM ET, 02/02/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 01:58 PM ET, 01/19/2009

Sorting Children Into 'Cannots' and 'Cans' Is Just Racism in Disguise

Tomorrow marks a turning point in the history of our schools as well as our country. Note how the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., whom we honor today, had to confront the cold, hard, in-your-face prejudice of a legally segregated...

By Washington Post Editors  |  01:58 PM ET, 01/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday

Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 11/30/2008

What is Metro Monday?

Every Monday Jay Mathews has a column that appears in print on the Schools & Learning page. Read more of Jay's Metro Monday here....

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:05 AM ET, 11/30/2008 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday