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The Answer Sheet: December, 2011

Posted at 02:22 PM ET, 12/10/2011

Brother of VP Biden promotes charters, invoking family name

Francis W. “Frank” Biden, younger brother of Vice President Joe Biden, is a real estate developer in Florida. He also is playing a key role in helping a for-profit company open charter schools in the Sunshine State by employing a major asset: his last name.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:22 PM ET, 12/10/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:58 PM ET, 11/30/2011

Diocese letter pushed principals to promote vouchers

Just how involved has the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh been in the effort to promote vouchers? Very. Here’s a letter showing just how much.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:58 PM ET, 11/30/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 11/30/2011

‘Broader, bolder’ strategy to ending poverty’s influence on education

There is growing awareness among a number of educators, mayors, and policy advocates that a great deal can be done to counter the effects of poverty on children’s lives and their education, Pedro Noguera writes.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 11/30/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:00 PM ET, 11/29/2011

New Ohio State coach’s huge salary: How ridiculous?

Anybody who had thought that the Penn State child rape scandal would roll back the noxious big money culture of college sports has now been shown to be mistaken.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:00 PM ET, 11/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 11/29/2011

Gingrich on school and work: More than a bad idea

Given Newt Gingrich’s identity as a big thinker and his rising status in the GOP presidential candidate contest, we need to take his proposal to fire school janitors and hire kids to clean schools seriously as reflecting the way he thinks about poverty, school, and work. Let’s discuss.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:00 PM ET, 11/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

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

The value of a veteran teacher

Students’ appreciation of a veteran educator could offer a lesson for some of today’s school reformers.

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

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/29/2011

Common Core standards pose dilemmas for early childhood

Early childhood education — concerned with children from birth to the end of third grade — seems nearly an afterthought in the new Common Core Standards.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/29/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:07 PM ET, 11/28/2011

Kansas Gov. Brownback’s apology to tweeting student

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback admitted that his staff overreacted in getting a student in trouble with her principal after she tweeted something negative about him.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:07 PM ET, 11/28/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 11/28/2011

Should tweeting teen apologize to Kansas governor?

A high school senior got in trouble for tweeting that she had criticized the Kansas governor to his face. She hadn’t, but the principal of her school is demanding that she apologize. Should she? Or is it better to ask why the governor’s office and her principal care?

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 11/28/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 11/27/2011

Boys joining girls’ swim teams in high school

A growing number of boys are joining girls high school swim teams in Boston and authorities that regulate athletics aren’t quite sure what to make of it.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:48 AM ET, 11/27/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:18 AM ET, 11/27/2011

Library group denounces book destruction at Occupy Wall Street

The American Library Association has denounced the destruction of books at a library set up by New York Occupy Wall Street when police raided a park where protesters were staying earlier this month.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:18 AM ET, 11/27/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:05 PM ET, 11/26/2011

NASA sets high bar for wannabe astronauts

NASA, which today sent a new rover to Mars, is recruiting a new astronaut corps — and the qualifications are tough.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:05 PM ET, 11/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:38 PM ET, 11/25/2011

Lady Gaga sends anti-bullying video to student

Lady Gaga sent a personalized video to a high school student council president who had sought help with an anti-bullying assembly he was hosting.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:38 PM ET, 11/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:03 PM ET, 11/25/2011

Michigan’s embarrassing school reform legislation

There is bad school reform legislation and then there is really bad school reform legislation.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:03 PM ET, 11/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/25/2011

Should value-added models account for poverty?

Are the best D.C. teachers concentrated in the wealthiest schools, while the worst are concentrated in the poorest schools? Or does the value-added evaluation model that got this result ignore the possibility that it's more difficult to teach a room full of impoverished children?

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:07 AM ET, 11/24/2011

Thanksgiving traditions at American schools

Thanksgiving feasts, football rivalries and public service events are all part of the traditions that colleges, universities and K-12 schools around the country have honored over the years. Here are some:

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:07 AM ET, 11/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:30 PM ET, 11/23/2011

Thanksgiving: 248 million turkeys and other fun facts

Here’s everything you want to know about the state of all things related to Thanksgiving, courtesy of your friendly Census Bureau.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 PM ET, 11/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/23/2011

5 myths about Thanksgiving

What Americans think they know about the history of Thanksgiving doesn’t always square with the truth. Here are some common myths.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:36 PM ET, 11/22/2011

Famed Florida A&M band suspended after hazing death

Florida A&M’s famed Marching 100 band has been suspended following the death of a drum major in what police said was a hazing incident.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:36 PM ET, 11/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 11/22/2011

‘Exemplary’ Texas school taught only two subjects

In the latest standardized testing scandal, a public elementary school in Texas given “exemplary” status for high test scores only taught reading and math to third graders and educators there made up grades in social studies, science, music and other classes.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 11/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/22/2011

How many schools are named after JFK?

Many public schools across the country are named after past U.S. presidents. How many are named after John F. Kennedy? Which president has been honored by the most schools?

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:42 PM ET, 11/21/2011

How education fares if debt supercommittee fails

Here’s what happens to public education funding if the congressional supercommittee tasked with reducing the deficit fails, which seems likely.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:42 PM ET, 11/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 11/21/2011

Who was the ‘best’ education president?

George W. Bush wanted to be known as “the education president,” and so did his father, George H.W. Bush. Jimmy Carter established the Department of Education, and other presidents were heavily involved in education. Which was the “best” for public education?

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 11/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:58 PM ET, 11/20/2011

32 Rhodes Scholarship winners named

New Rhodes Scholarships were announced and among the 32 winners is the brilliant son of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow.

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:58 PM ET, 11/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:29 AM ET, 11/20/2011

L.A. schools won’t release teachers’ evaluation scores

The Los Angeles Unified School District is refusing to release the “value-added” scores of teachers to the Los Angeles Times. It is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:29 AM ET, 11/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 11/19/2011

Syracuse chancellor’s letter to alumni

Letter addresses allegations that an assistant basketball coach molested two former ball boys for years.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:41 AM ET, 11/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:32 AM ET, 11/19/2011

Here’s who junked lunch standards on pizza, fries

Here’s who was on the congressional committee that wrote changes into legislation to make school lunches healthier.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:32 AM ET, 11/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:36 AM ET, 11/18/2011

A prep school scandal eerily similar to Penn State

At Poly Prep, a football coach was accused of sexually abusing boys, and administrators turned a blind eye, alums say.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:36 AM ET, 11/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 11/18/2011

Superintendent takes a risk with at-risk student

A school principal/superintendent asks whether he should risk enrolling a girl — who we do not have to take, who has aged out of public schooling, who is not an “official” district resident — and damaging his school’s report card?

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 11/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 11/17/2011

Hazing: 6 common myths

Hazing is thriving in schools — and not just in fraternities and sororities on college campuses but at high schools too. Here are some myths and facts about what is a misunderstood, dangerous problem.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 11/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Bullying

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/17/2011

How Bill Gates can be an education hero

Here’s what longterm educator and curriculum expert Marion Brady would want to tell Bill Gates about the reality of school reform and the accountability movement — if the billionaire would bother to listen.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:47 AM ET, 11/16/2011

Bill would label pizza a vegetable in school lunches

If you put nutritious broccoli and kale on top of a chocolate-glazed donut, can the concoction be considered equivalent to a vegetable serving?

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:47 AM ET, 11/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 11/16/2011

What the evidence on charter schools really shows

Matt Di Carlo looks at the research about the effectiveness of public charter schools and tells us what it really says: that test-based performance of both charter and regular public school varies widely and when there are differences in relative effects, they tend to be modest at best.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 11/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  The Answer Sheet, Matthew Di Carlo

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/16/2011

How children’s ‘play’ is being sneakily redefined

Alfie Kohn goes beyond the conventional wisdom about children’s imaginative play and explains how some of the new thinking about play isn’t quite right.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:05 PM ET, 11/15/2011

Ravitch: Billionaires (and millionaires) for education reform

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes about how some extremely wealthy Americans are taking an outsized role in education reform simply because they have the money to be involved.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:05 PM ET, 11/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/15/2011

Microsoft wins TEACH campaign from Education Dept

A division of Bill Gates’ Microsoft is taking over from the Education Department a campaign called TEACH that is aimed at recruiting new teachers into the profession.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:39 PM ET, 11/14/2011

Advertisements on report cards? Unfortunately, yes

A school board in Colorado is so desperate for revenue that it is selling advertising space on the report cards that students at 91 elementary schools take home.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:39 PM ET, 11/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 11/14/2011

Proof there is no proof for education reforms

A New York high school principal writes about how misleading information is guiding education reform in the state, with dangerous consequences.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 11/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/14/2011

Time to put collegiate sports into proper focus

A former university president writes: “We have made intercollegiate athletics a god or totem even at schools that don’t make money from football, which is in fact most of them.” It’s time to change this reality.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:29 AM ET, 11/13/2011

Court: School can ban American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo

Federal judge rules that a school principal had a right to send home students wearing shirts with American flags on Cinco de Mayo because of fear the shirts might spark violence.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:29 AM ET, 11/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 11/13/2011

Needed: Political boot camp for students

Too many high school students have no idea how the American political system works. They need a political boot camp.

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:00 AM ET, 11/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:54 PM ET, 11/12/2011

Research doesn’t back up key ed reforms

There is no solid evidence for many school reformers’ positions on teachers and teacher evaluation, a new assessment says.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:54 PM ET, 11/12/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

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

5 catchiest (and most annoying) reform phrases

A teacher writes about five common education reform phrases, along with tips on how to engage teachers in the real conversations that we should be having about these issues.

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

Posted at 12:01 AM ET, 11/11/2011

Veterans Day: No apostrophe in ‘veterans’ and other facts

Here’s what you should know about Veterans Day, including how it got started and how it is different from the holiday it is often confused with, Memorial Day.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:01 AM ET, 11/11/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:32 PM ET, 11/09/2011

Education Department investigating Penn State

The U.S. Department of Education is launching an investigation into the scandal at Penn State University to see if officials there complied — or failed to — with a law that requires institutions of higher education to disclose criminal offenses that occur on campus each year.

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:32 PM ET, 11/09/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/09/2011

Reports on charter schools expose new problems

Two new reports about public charter schools expose serious issues about the way they are run and their effectiveness.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/09/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:44 PM ET, 11/08/2011

What Ohio vote means for teachers nationwide

Ohio voters gave public school teachers and other public sector employees something they haven’t received in a while — respect — by agreeing to a referendum to repeal a law that limited collective bargaining rights.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:44 PM ET, 11/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:50 PM ET, 11/08/2011

The most misleading ranking of educators yet

Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp’s list of “The World’s 7 Most Powerful Educators” reveals more about her own power than those of her honorees.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:50 PM ET, 11/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/08/2011

What ‘college and career ready’ really means

“College and career ready standards” have become a central focus of school reform today. But what does it really mean to ensure that students are college and career ready? Not exactly what schools are being asked to do.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:20 PM ET, 11/07/2011

Michigan anti-bullying bill may change amid uproar

Legislation passed in the Michigan Senate that allows bullying via an exception for religious or moral beliefs may be changed after all.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:20 PM ET, 11/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:30 PM ET, 11/07/2011

Five myths about ‘gifted and talented’ students

Here are five myths about gifted and talented students that may surprise you. No, they don’t get all As.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:30 PM ET, 11/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:07 AM ET, 11/07/2011

Report: Sexual harassment common in schools

Nearly half of students in a nationally representative sample of students in seventh through 12th grades reported that they had been subjected to some form of sexual harassment in the 2010-11 school year, according to a new study.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:07 AM ET, 11/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/07/2011

A history of failed reform

In another age, revelations that school reforms are little more than a series of phony claims that cost an extra $100 billion in taxpayer money would have resulted in some sort of political retribution. Not today.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:48 AM ET, 11/06/2011

How Bill Gates throws his money around in education

What would happen if one of the wealthiest men in the world decided to remake the institution of public education in America? Here’s how Bill Gates has been trying to do it.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:48 AM ET, 11/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:16 PM ET, 11/05/2011

Anti-bullying legislation attacked for allowing bullying

Activists say legislation that just passed the Michigan Senate actually allows bullying via an exception for religious or moral beliefs.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:16 PM ET, 11/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Bullying

Posted at 10:08 AM ET, 11/05/2011

Should legislators meddle in sex education (and other subjects)?

Sex education has become a new focus of interest for lawmakers who are trying to pass laws telling public schools how to teach it. Is this a good idea?

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:08 AM ET, 11/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

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

NAEP: A flawed benchmark producing the same old story

New scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tell the same old story:

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

Posted at 02:54 PM ET, 11/03/2011

Principals rebel against ‘value-added’ evaluation

Scores of principals unite to fight New York’s new educator evaluation system that requires that assessments be linked to student test scores.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:54 PM ET, 11/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 11/03/2011

Ravitch updates best-selling book on ed reform

Education historian Diane Ravitch does what critics say she doesn’t do in her expanded edition of her best-selling ‘The Death and Life of the Great American School System. But they still won’t like it.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 11/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Diane Ravitch

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/03/2011

How Zuckerberg’s money is being spent in Newark schools

You may be surprised to see where some of that $100 million has been going. Or maybe you won’t.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/03/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:04 PM ET, 11/02/2011

Teacher evaluation systems getting nutty

How’s this for nutty? A teacher who has a chance meeting with a parent at a grocery store and chats about school can earn credit toward a financial bonus.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:04 PM ET, 11/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:28 PM ET, 11/01/2011

Ravitch: A place where public education is working

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes about an urban school district where public schools are working — but that is threatened by budget cuts.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:28 PM ET, 11/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:04 PM ET, 11/01/2011

‘Freshman 15’ weight gain a myth, study says

A new study that says that college freshmen gain on average three pounds, not 15.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:04 PM ET, 11/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:26 PM ET, 11/01/2011

Are teachers paid too much?

I’m going to call Michelle Rhee, superstar school reformer who can’t do enough to diminish the role of teachers unions, as a witness on the subject of teachers.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:26 PM ET, 11/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:43 PM ET, 11/01/2011

What the new NAEP test results really tell us

Someone should be printing up a T-shirt about now that says: “My nation spent billions on testing and all I got was a 1-point gain.”

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:43 PM ET, 11/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 11/01/2011

The complete list of problems with high-stakes standardized tests

Here are the 25 definitive reasons that many teachers oppose high-stakes standardized tests even as they gain more importance in modern school reform.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 11/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Marion Brady

Posted at 03:07 PM ET, 10/31/2011

What we can expect from new NAEP scores

Tomorrow the education world will get the results of the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often referred to as the “nation’s report card.” The findings – reading and math scores among a representative sample of fourth and eighth graders – will drive at least part of the debate for the next two years. Here’s what’s going to happen.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:07 PM ET, 10/31/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Matthew Di Carlo

 

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