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The Answer Sheet: January, 2012

Posted at 10:38 AM ET, 01/02/2012

A fourth “r” for 21st century literacy

The 3 R’s of “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic” were deemed essentials of mandatory public schooling in the 19th century Industrial Age where mass printing and machine-made paper and ink made books available to just about everyone for the first time in history. A student today needs a fourth R. Here it is. 

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:38 AM ET, 01/02/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:29 PM ET, 12/30/2011

Obama’s Ed Dept puts Hawaii’s Race to Top grant on high-risk status

Hawaii may be delighted that President Obama is spending the holidays in his home state, but it is perhaps not so enamored with his Education Department.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:29 PM ET, 12/30/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 12/30/2011

Forging ahead with nutty teacher evaluation plan

New York State officials forge ahead with a teacher evaluation system that is unfair and entirely unworkable. How unworkable? Here’s how, step by step.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:45 AM ET, 12/30/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/30/2011

10 education predictions for 2012

Here are 10 predictions for education reform for the new year by a veteran teacher.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/30/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 12/26/2011

The Quiz: Test yourself on education in 2011

The year 2011 was monumental in education, monumentally good or monumentally bad, depending on your view. Test your knowledge of what happened — and what will continue to paly out in the year — with this quiz.

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:00 AM ET, 12/26/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 12/25/2011

Teach for America: Liberal mission helps conservative agenda

A new analysis of Teach for America says:”In its mission to deliver justice to underprivileged children, TFA and the liberal education reform movement have advanced an agenda that advances conservative attempts to undercut teacher’s unions.”

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 PM ET, 12/25/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:31 AM ET, 12/24/2011

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus school

There’s a school for pretty much everything, including learning how to be the best Santa you can be.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:31 AM ET, 12/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/24/2011

The truth about school prayer

A First Amendment scholar looks at how Republican presidential candidates wrongly discuss the issue of religious prayer in public schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/24/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/23/2011

Is there a Christmas miracle in school reform debate?

Are we seeing a cosmic shift in the education reform debate? Paul Thomas argues that we are and it reflects our larger social debates in the United States.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:00 AM ET, 12/23/2011

2011: Best and worst in education

How did the world of education fare in 2011? Here’s one take on it, with the very best and the very worst.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:00 AM ET, 12/23/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/22/2011

Newt Gingrich and the meaning of smart

As Newt Gingrich has surged in the Republican presidential polls, we’ve heard more and more in the media about his intelligence, about him being a large thinker, the big idea guy in the GOP.  What does being smart really mean? How do we commonly ascribe intelligence to others?   

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/22/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/21/2011

Education reform paralysis — and how to fix it

Don’t you get bored repeatedly reading about variations on the same topics? Standardized testing, useful or harmful. Charter schools as the answer versus charter schools as failures. Teachers maligned, teachers defended, teachers resistant to change... Here’s how we can get things unstuck.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/21/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:05 PM ET, 12/20/2011

New major test cheating scandal revealed in Georgia

A new investigative report details a second major standardized test cheating scandal in a Georgia school system, naming about 50 educators who were caught up in it.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:05 PM ET, 12/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:37 PM ET, 12/20/2011

The stories behind the story of K12 Inc.

Stories, in national and local media organizations, show the growing concern around the country about virtual education.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:37 PM ET, 12/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 12/20/2011

Who does Gov. McDonnell think he’s kidding with school funding? (correction)

Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) says he wants to boost the state’s funding for K-12 education by $438 million over the next two years. That sounds laudable — until you look at what his newly unveiled proposed budget actually says.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 PM ET, 12/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/20/2011

Are college students declaring majors too early?

A sophomore at the University of Virginia writes about how many of his fellow students came to college to major in subjects that would lead to lucrative careers. Is that, he asks, the real purpose of college?

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/20/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 12/19/2011

Why community schools are part of the answer

If there was a hearing that the D.C. Council should not have allowed to be cancelled at the last minute, it would be on this: creating community schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 12/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 12/19/2011

Why an anti-testing post went viral

A guest post on The Answer Sheet this month about a school board member in Florida who took a version of a standardized test and was horrified at what he found drew an unusually large readership. It could have been a fluke that the post went viral but it is more likely that the Dec. 5 post hit a nerve with an audience increasingly disturbed about test-based school reform.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 12/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/19/2011

‘What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate’

“What we’ve got here,” as Cool Hand Luke once said, “is a failure to communicate.”

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/19/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:45 PM ET, 12/18/2011

Justin Bieber and the principal: The real story

The story is being told about how 17-year-old sensation Justin Bieber went to a high-poverty school in Las Vegas, gave a private concert to over-the-moon students and handed a $100,000 check to the delighted principal.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:45 PM ET, 12/18/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:00 AM ET, 12/17/2011

Duncan’s dilemma: What happens to states that don’t get NCLB waiver?

Education Secretary Duncan has effectively coerced 11 states into applying for waivers from No Child Left Behind and implementing reforms he wants in exchange they will get relief from NCLB. How can he justify enforcing this unpopular law, which he has declared “broken,” on the other 39 states?

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:00 AM ET, 12/17/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:04 PM ET, 12/16/2011

Jon Stewart takes on Obama’s school reform — again

Jon Stewart showed considerable restraint when he welcomed Melody Barnes, President Obama’s chief of domestic policy, on The Daily Show.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:04 PM ET, 12/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/16/2011

What research exposed about market-based ed reform in 2011

If 2010 was the year of the bombshell in research in the three “major areas” of market-based education reform – charter schools, performance pay, and value-added in evaluations – then 2011 was the year of the slow, sustained march.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 AM ET, 12/16/2011

How students can survive finals — and the rest of the school year

Over the course of finals week, students usually have two goals: (1) Do well on exams and (2) keep stress to a minimum. Here a student explains how they can do both.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 AM ET, 12/16/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:30 AM ET, 12/15/2011

Why strong afterschool programs matter

The research is clear: children in quality afterschool programs are more likely to come to school and stay in school, more likely to hand in their work and get better grades. 

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:30 AM ET, 12/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/15/2011

7 key questions to ask about ed technology, online learning

Here are seven key questions designed to help any parent or student sort out the competing interests that currently drive technology into our schools—or keep technology out of some other schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/15/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/14/2011

Ravitch: What Scrooge might think of modern school reform

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes about research demonstrating that the gaps between the most affluent and the least affluent children more than doubled in the past half-century, and that the income-based achievement gap is now much larger than the racial achievement gap.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/14/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:15 PM ET, 12/13/2011

Try these 10th-grade quizzes created from Florida’s standardized test

Here are two quick 10th-grade quizzes we have created with questions taken from a published standardized test that Florida uses to assess its students, called the FCAT, or Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. See if you can pass.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:15 PM ET, 12/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:20 PM ET, 12/13/2011

Teach for America ‘research’ questioned

An assistant professor of education analyzes research that Teach for America has on its website to support the power of its program. His results tell a different story than TFA does.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:20 PM ET, 12/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/13/2011

Report busts myth that U.S. class time is much lower than that of high-performing nations

Most U.S. public schools require at least as much or even more instructional time for students than countries touted for their high performance on international tests.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/13/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

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

A superintendent calls school reformers’ bluff

A Texas superintendent writes: “As a public school administrator, I have been a steadfast critic of the legacy of No Child Left Behind. But I’ve recently figured out a way that school reformers can get me on their side. It’s very simple.”

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

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/09/2011

Ravitch: ‘Miracle schools’ not so miraculous after all

It has been the vogue, Diane Ravitch writes, to make bold claims for "miracle schools," where dramatic gains supposedly happened either because the school was a charter without a union or because the school was "transformed" by using federal funds to fire the staff and start over. If only it were that simple!

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/09/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/08/2011

Do teachers really come from the ‘bottom third’ of college graduates?

The conventional wisdom among many education commentators is that U.S. public school teachers “come from the bottom third” of their classes. Is it true?

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/08/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/07/2011

Are half of New York’s teachers really ‘not effective?’

A high school principal explains that New York state’s teacher evaluation system assumes that half of all teachers are not effective though there is no evidence that that is the case.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/07/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:43 PM ET, 12/06/2011

Revealed: School board member who took standardized test

Here is an interview with the school board member who took the standardized test in Florida that public school students are forced to take and declared it to be useless.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:43 PM ET, 12/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/06/2011

What ‘multiple measures’ really means in evaluation

Some states say they are are using multiple measures to evaluate student progress. But they are really just slicing and dicing the same standardized test scores — not using different kinds of measures. Here’s what multiple measures really means.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/06/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 12/05/2011

When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids

A school board member takes versions of his state’s standardized tests in math and reading, and realizes something is really wrong with these high-stakes exams.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 12/05/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:52 PM ET, 12/04/2011

Students win $100,000 scholarships by tossing footballs

There are a lot of college scholarships available that can be classified as unusual, even eccentric. But this may be the nuttiest around.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:52 PM ET, 12/04/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

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

Choking on the Common Core Standards

Many things that are commonplace activities for adults — driving, voting, and paying taxes, for example — are not appropriate for children. Educator Joanne Yatvin counts the Common Core Standards, proposed for all our country’s public schools, among them.

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

Posted at 11:11 AM ET, 12/02/2011

Penn State applications up amid scandal

The sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University has not taken a big bite of its application pool for next year.

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

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/02/2011

What matters most in college admissions — money or merit?

What does it mean when admissions officers are willing to come right out and say that they’re screening applicants based on money and not just merit?

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 12/02/2011

Why gifted students can be so challenging

Our schools are relatively effective at identifying gifted children but still fall short in understanding, reaching, and strengthening some of our most gifted kids, and none more so than those we experience as defiant and/or unreachable.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 12/02/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 12/01/2011

Has teacher quality declined over time?

One of the common assumptions lurking in the background of our education debates is that “quality” of the teaching workforce has declined a great deal over the past few decades. Has it really?

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 12/01/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Matthew Di Carlo

Posted at 11:16 PM ET, 11/30/2011

Report: How much high-poverty schools get cheated on funding

A new Education Department report says that more than 40 percent of schools that serve mostly students from low-income families are being shortchanged in state and local funding.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:16 PM ET, 11/30/2011 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

 

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