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The Answer Sheet: October, 2011

Posted at 02:45 PM ET, 10/31/2011

Catholic U. responds to lawsuit charging Muslim

Catholic University has been hit with a human rights complaint charging that the school has “illegally discriminated” against Muslim students because it has failed to make available rooms for prayer that have no Catholic religious symbols.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:45 PM ET, 10/31/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:08 PM ET, 10/31/2011

Do four-day school weeks make sense?

When it comes to money to keep schools open five days a week so kids can go to class, there isn’t that much government and private money.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:08 PM ET, 10/31/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:20 PM ET, 10/30/2011

New data Bill Gates, other ed reformers should care about

Here is some new data on how people live in the United States that should inform the way education reformers like Bill Gates go about their business, but, sadly, doesn’t.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:20 PM ET, 10/30/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Anthony Cody

Posted at 11:52 AM ET, 10/29/2011

Teacher: College Board obstructs nearly blind student’s effort to take PSAT

A teacher of the visually impaired says her school had big trouble with the non-profit College Board over when a nearly blind student could take the PSAT, the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:52 AM ET, 10/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:32 AM ET, 10/29/2011

If football coaches used Teach for America logic

 Using the logic of the Huntsville City Board of Education, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban should only use his youngest, most inexperienced players when his team plays a Top Ten opponent.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:32 AM ET, 10/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/27/2011

A primer on corporate school reform

People opposed to the current school reform movement based on standardized testing and choice often refer to it as “corporate school reform.” What exactly does that mean?

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/27/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:54 PM ET, 10/26/2011

Why standardized tests for 2nd graders are nonsensical

There’s a wacky integrity to a move by D.C. public schools officials to fulfill their promise to expand standardized testing, soon down to second grade. The problem is that the promise didn’t make sense to begin with, education-wise or child development-wise, and still doesn’t.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:54 PM ET, 10/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:59 PM ET, 10/26/2011

Guess what Michelle Rhee charged a school to speak

How much do you think the former D.C. schools superintendent, who now runs an organization called StudentsFirst, charged a campus in the Kent State University system to speak about school reform?

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:59 PM ET, 10/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 10/26/2011

Ravitch: Congress should ditch NCLB, not tinker with it

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes that No Child Left Behind is a proven failure and Congress should scrap it rather than continue to try to patch it.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 10/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 10/25/2011

Report details problems with full-time virtual schools

A new report cites serious problems with full-time virtual public schools, including a lack of real oversight, and makes recommendations for improvement.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:23 AM ET, 10/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:57 AM ET, 10/25/2011

Business leaders inject themselves in school reform

It’s hard to think of a profession other than teaching about which everybody thinks they are an expert.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:57 AM ET, 10/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/25/2011

Is NCLB bill passed by Senate panel real or pseudo reform?

The bill passed by the Senate education committee that revamps No Child Left Behind makes some important changes but retains the overreliance on standardized testing.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:01 PM ET, 10/24/2011

Why a school district rejected $2.5 million federal grant

In these troubled economic times, it would take a lot for a school district to turn down a gift of $2.54 million. But that’s just what the Oregon City School District has done. Here’s why.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:01 PM ET, 10/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/24/2011

The impact of Michelle Rhee’s ‘culture of urgency’

It is almost a universal tribute offered about Michelle Rhee’s 3 1/2 -year tenure of the Washington D.C. school district that she instillled a sense of urgency about the need to fix broken schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Michelle Rhee

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/24/2011

Who is missing from this lineup to evaluate Race to the Top?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce just convened a group of prominent people in the education world to take a comprehensive look at the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative and its impact on school reform around the country. See who was there and who wasn’t.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:06 PM ET, 10/23/2011

Why Teach for America isn’t ‘the answer’

A veteran educator explains why Teach for America and programs that put minimally trained young people into classrooms filled with high-needs students are not the answer to the country’s urban education crisis.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:06 PM ET, 10/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 10/22/2011

Transporting Finland’s education success to U.S.

We hear a great deal about how excellent Finland’s public schools are and constant suggestions that we learn lessons from them. Which lessons?

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:00 AM ET, 10/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:40 PM ET, 10/21/2011

Education Dept. issues ‘urgent’ warning about aid fraud in distance learning programs

The Education Department has issued an ‘urgent call to action’ against potential student aid fraud in distance education programs.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:40 PM ET, 10/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:01 PM ET, 10/21/2011

No! Not another education commission!

In yet another signal that the one-size-fits-all approach of No Child Left Behind is not working (as if we need one), policy makers in Ohio are pointing to an ever-growing number of college students needing remedial work.  Of course, every such problem provides a chance to convene yet another commission — and here it is, the “Regional Consortia for P-20 Alignment.”

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:01 PM ET, 10/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  George Wood

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 10/21/2011

What happens if Common App essays exceed 500-word limit?

The Common Application has reinstituted a limit of 500 words for its college admissions essay. What happens if a student exceeds it?

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 10/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 10/21/2011

Are top students being shortchanged?

How true is the persistent claim that top students are being short-changed in U.S. public education — specifically due to disproportionate time and money being spent on struggling students?

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 10/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:11 PM ET, 10/20/2011

Warren Buffett’s free financial literacy lessons

With the country wallowing in deep economic troubles that serve as testament to how little Americans understand about money, super investor Warren Buffett just launched a financial literacy program that offers free lessons for children (and adults).

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:11 PM ET, 10/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:19 PM ET, 10/20/2011

Potato farmers vs. school kids

Let’s look at the case of the U.S. Senate, which, in this troubled economic age, took the time to ensure that the interests of industrial potato farmers trump that of school kids.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:19 PM ET, 10/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 10/20/2011

Why schools should not grade character traits

The recent attention given to the character report cards being developed in KIPP charter schools raises yet another set of important questions about the wisdom of reducing human potential to a set of measurements.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 10/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Larry Ferlazzo

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/20/2011

Student: How I know trainees aren’t highly qualified teachers

A California students writes about her experience in high school with intern teachers still in training who are considered by Congress as highly qualified under No Child Left Behind. They are anything but, she explains.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/20/2011

What tea party defeat in Wake County means for schools

The defeat of tea party candidates in Wake County, N.C., has national significance because it demonstrates that if school diversity policies are pursued through choice, rather than compulsion, they can draw strong public support.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:21 PM ET, 10/19/2011

Report documents charter school growth

Six school districts across the country now have at least 30 percent of their public school students enrolled in charter schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:21 PM ET, 10/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/19/2011

More than 150 cities, counties agree to push early literacy

Washington D.C., Baltimore and Los Angeles are three of more than 150 cities and counties across the country that are pledging to concentrate on early literacy efforts to ensure that children can read by the end of third grade.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/19/2011

Will new NCLB law be less test-obsessed?

A U.S. Senate committee is working on a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law, and there are indications that the legislation may be less test obsessed than NCLB. Here’s what’s happenings.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:15 PM ET, 10/18/2011

Veteran teacher on what ‘highly qualified’ really means

Educator Anthony Cody explains what being a highly qualified teacher really means and why legislation in the Senate to rewrite No Child Left Behind has it wrong.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:15 PM ET, 10/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:37 PM ET, 10/18/2011

Letter to senators: NCLB bill weakens highly qualified teacher definition

Dozens of organizations argue that proposed legislation to rewrite No Child Left Behind actually weakens the definition of “highly qualified teacher.”

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:37 PM ET, 10/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 10/18/2011

Ravitch: Why ‘miracle schools’ aren’t really miracles

Education historian Diane Ravitch debunks stories about “miracle schools” that have suddenly turned themselves around.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:15 AM ET, 10/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Diane Ravitch

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 10/18/2011

What “no excuses” model really teaches us about reform

Researcher Matthew Di Carlo writes that most of the components that comprise the “no excuses” model in its actual policy manifestation are less focused on “doing things better” than on doing them more.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 10/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/18/2011

National discussion on Civil War led by Virginia scholar begins

A national reading and discussion program on the Civil War has just begun at 65 community libraries across the country to better understand the conflict’s impact on modern Amerian culture.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/17/2011

The Economist ranks business schools worldwide

For all of the angst out there about the growing international competition to U.S. higher education, you may be surprised to learn that in The Economist magazine’s new rankings of business schools worldwide, institutions in the United States do mighty well.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:11 AM ET, 10/16/2011

MLK quiz: His unorthodox education

Here’s a quiz on Martin Luther King’s unusual education.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:11 AM ET, 10/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:03 AM ET, 10/16/2011

MLK: Prescient on education reform

Martin Luther King understood the problems facing public education back in the 50s and 60s. Things haven’t much changed, unfortunately.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:03 AM ET, 10/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:09 PM ET, 10/15/2011

Education activists seek to collaborate with Occupy Wall Street

A group that has worked to eliminate high-stakes testing wants to join with the protest movement on specific demands regarding school reform.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:09 PM ET, 10/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 10/14/2011

A cautionary charter school tale

Some public charter schools do wonderful work. Some don’t. This is what can happen when officials who allow charter schools to open don’t pay enough attention to what happens after the doors open to students.

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:00 AM ET, 10/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/14/2011

Are we seeing glimmers of hope?

A superintendent who opposes modern school reform says he sees some glimmers of hope that just maybe, things may be improving for the better.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:53 PM ET, 10/13/2011

NYC, Los Angeles school systems failing English language learners

The two largest school systems in the country — New York City and Los Angeles — conceded this week that they are failing too many English language learners and promised to improve.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:53 PM ET, 10/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 10/13/2011

Parent relates troubled visits to children’s high-achieving schools

A mother with children in high-achieving Montgomery County schools writes about her troubled visits to those schools and what it tells us about school reform.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:30 AM ET, 10/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/13/2011

Ravitch: Why Finland’s schools are great (by doing what we don’t)

Education historian Diane Ravitch, writing about her trip to Finland, explains that the Finnish school system is amazing — even though students there don’t take a standardized test until their last year of high school.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:28 PM ET, 10/12/2011

The problems with the PSAT and National Merit program

To qualify for a national merit scholarship, students in different states have to take the same exam, but they don’t have to get the same scores to win.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:28 PM ET, 10/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:26 AM ET, 10/12/2011

Texas school districts sue state over funding

Dozens of school districts in Texas have sued the state government over what they say are unfair school funding issues.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:26 AM ET, 10/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 10/12/2011

NCLB bill: The problem with ‘continuous improvement’

State and local officials may think that changing No Child Left Behind to require “continuous progress” rather than adequate yearly progress will give them needed flexibility, but if so, they should think again.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 10/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  No Child Left Behind

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/12/2011

Parent trigger laws: Part of school reform’s ‘silly season’

There is a new wave of legislation, called the parent trigger, which has been proposed in almost two dozen states, already adopted in some, and that is taking parental involvement in education to a whole new level.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:02 AM ET, 10/11/2011

Education Dept. gives $200,000 grant to charter school not allowed to open

New Jersey officials recently declined to give permission to a group that wanted to open a charter school that offered a Hebrew-language immersion program.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:02 AM ET, 10/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Charter schools

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 10/11/2011

Schools gave students perks based on test scores

There is, apparently, no end to the way schools can misuse standardized test scores.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 10/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/11/2011

A new look at the CREDO charter school study

Here’s a new look at the frequently quoted CREDO study on charter schools, which is frequently cited to show that most charter schools are no better — or worse — than traditional public schools. Is that really what the study showed?

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:49 PM ET, 10/10/2011

Busting a myth about Columbus and a flat Earth

If you learned in school that Christopher Columbus disproved a common belief that the Earth was flat, then the lesson you learned was wrong.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:49 PM ET, 10/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 10/10/2011

Why merit pay for teachers sounds good — but isn’t

Systems where people are treated more or less the same suffer because there will always be a number of “free riders” and because some people may feel their contributions aren’t sufficiently recognized. That said, merit payp for teachers isn’t the answer. Here’s why.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 10/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:26 PM ET, 10/09/2011

Gov. Jerry Brown blasts data-based school reform

California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoes a bill that would have changed the state’s accountability system for public schools, blasting data-based school reform.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:26 PM ET, 10/09/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 10/08/2011

Why school reform can’t ignore poverty’s toll

Those who believe that “great teaching” alone can overcome the effects of living in poverty are underestimating the toll that difficult home lives have on children.

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:00 AM ET, 10/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 10/07/2011

What should — and shouldn’t — be in Senate No Child Left Behind bill

Legislation to rewrite No Child Left Behind is expected to be introduced in the Senate on Tuesday.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 10/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  The Answer Sheet

Posted at 09:45 PM ET, 10/05/2011

Steve Jobs told students: ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish.’

Steve Jobs told seniors at Stanford University in 2005 that dropping out of college was one of the best decisions he ever made. But he didn’t exactly recommend it for everyone. His advice was something different.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:45 PM ET, 10/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:45 PM ET, 10/05/2011

Obama appoints Shakira to education commission

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:45 PM ET, 10/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:26 PM ET, 10/05/2011

India’s students will be the first to get world’s smallest computer

The people who will first benefit from the development of the world’s smallest, most inexpensive computer are students in India.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:26 PM ET, 10/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:58 AM ET, 10/05/2011

A note to the writers of ‘Bones’

I was surprised to hear on a repeat of a “Bones” episode the show’s young psychiatrist tell Seeley Booth that it was proper for a father to “torture” himself for being unable to afford private school for his young son. Ugh.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:58 AM ET, 10/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/05/2011

It’s not all about the teachers

School reform today is focused on how to recruit, train and evaluate teachers. But is academic achievement really all about the teachers? What about the responsibility of students?

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 10/04/2011

Ravitch: Do parents ‘own’ public schools?

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes about Parent Trigger laws and asks who really “owns” public schools. Students? Parents? The community?

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:45 AM ET, 10/04/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/04/2011

Reform means higher risk, lower rewards for many teachers

A central idea of market-based education reform is to improve teacher quality by increasing both the risks and rewards of the job. Whatever you think of this idea in theory, the reality in practice, in many places, is that teachers’ jobs are becoming less secure, while their compensation is flat or actually decreasing.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/04/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/04/2011

Why public education must be preserved

A school board member writes about the value of public education to American society and why it must be preserved.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/04/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:25 PM ET, 10/03/2011

New rules for school reform

Educator Sam Chaltain offers three new rules for school reform, which would assuredly not be the same new rules that Bill Maher would write.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:25 PM ET, 10/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:43 PM ET, 10/03/2011

Better late than never

It’s better later than never that the mayor of Washington D.C. suddenly found the money to keep open in the nation’s capital the last remaining public library that still served residents on Sunday.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:43 PM ET, 10/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:44 AM ET, 10/03/2011

A new college admissions bible

There are countless books that aim to help students successfully apply to the college or university of their dreams. Here is a new book on every single aspect of the process, co-authored by someone who should know--a former admissions director at Stanford and Swarthmore.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:44 AM ET, 10/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  College Admissions

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 10/03/2011

Conversations with Obama, Duncan on assessment

A principal and a professor write about conversations they had via letter and phone with President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan about assessment systems that evaluate teachers in part by how well their students do on standardized tests.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 10/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 10/02/2011

Closing libraries on Sunday is a scandal

The last library to remain open on Sunday in Washington, the Martin Luther King library, is closed today and will remain closed on Sundays because of budget cuts. This should be seen as a scandal, not just a sign of troubled economic times.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:30 PM ET, 10/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:22 AM ET, 10/01/2011

Parent: Too many tests, not enough term papers

A parent writes that standardized tests are not what students need and laments that many kids — including two of her own, who are in high school — never get papers assigned more than three papers. What happened to the term paper?

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:22 AM ET, 10/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:19 PM ET, 09/30/2011

The dangers of building a plane in the air

School and district leaders who evaluate teachers are being pulled out of their schools for mandated, taxpayer-funded training in a new teacher and principal evaluation system that is not even finished being built.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:19 PM ET, 09/30/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

 

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