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The Answer Sheet: April, 2012

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/30/2012

Sanjay Gupta’s great speech at U Michigan commencement

Some commencement speeches go on and on and wind up boring the audience to tears. Sanjay Gupta’s exceptional speech at the 2012 commencement at the University of Michigan was nothing of the kind.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/30/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:37 PM ET, 04/29/2012

An unintended consequence of value-added teacher evaluation

A teacher explains an unintended consequences — actually a trap — for teachers that negatively affects students that is a result of the new educator evaluation method known as “value-added assessment.”

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:37 PM ET, 04/29/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 04/29/2012

The challenge of the introverted student

Classrooms contain too many forgotten introverted students who may need help but are not getting it and/or have gifts that aren’t being either elicited or supported.

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:00 AM ET, 04/29/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:41 AM ET, 04/28/2012

A defeatist plan to restructure Philadelphia public schools

The city’s public school officials announce a plan that would radically restructure the district.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:41 AM ET, 04/28/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 04/28/2012

Parent to schools chief: ‘You don’t understand schools’

A Philadelphia parent writes a letter to Philadelphia Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen, telling him that a newly announced plan that will essentially take apart the public school system makes no sense for children.

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:00 AM ET, 04/28/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 04/27/2012

Education and the income gap: Darling-Hammond

There is an education story we rarely hear, Linda Darling Hammond wites: Our children who attend schools in low-poverty contexts are doing quite well. In fact, U.S. students in schools in which less than 10 percent of children live in poverty score first in the world in reading, out-performing even the famously excellent Finns.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:00 AM ET, 04/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 04/27/2012

A moving film about the life of a school

Too many films about schools do their best to show things at their worst. Students are rotten; teachers are bad; parents are absent. Not “Monsieur Lazhar,” a Canadian film opening in the D.C. region that shows a school as a living organism.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 04/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 04/27/2012

Pearson and how 2012 standardized tests were designed

The recent Pineapple and the Hare fiasco does more than identify a daft reading passage on New York State’s 8th grade English Language Arts test. The episode opens the door to discussing how the 2012 exams were put together. Here’s how.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 04/27/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:06 PM ET, 04/26/2012

Bank forgives loan of dead student after six years and online petition

A bank that refused to forgive the loan of a student who died six years ago has finally decided to do so after an online petition by the student’s brother collected more than 75,000 signatures.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:06 PM ET, 04/26/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/26/2012

Principal says many questions flawed on state standardized tests

Here’s a letter that a principal wrote to the New York State education commissioner about concerns she has with many of the questions on recently administered standardized tests that go beyond the now-famous “talking pineapple” questions.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/26/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 04/26/2012

How NOT to extend the school day

In poll after survey after study, teachers have said that planning time is very important to them — which is why it’s a really bad idea for a school district to extend the school day by cutting in the planning time of teachers, like P.G. County in Maryland is planning to do.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 04/26/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:51 PM ET, 04/25/2012

Deion Sanders and his charter school

Deion Sanders, who has been cited for misdemeanor simple assault in connection with a domestic disturbance that resulted in the arrest of his estranged wife, is opening a public charter school in Texas. And at that school he wants to film a reality show about how he coaches the football team. Really.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:51 PM ET, 04/25/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 08:33 PM ET, 04/25/2012

A ‘simple fix’ for school curriculum (and it’s not Common Core)

When rigor, order, competition, and privatization don’t work, we just conclude that what’s needed is more rigor, more order, more competition, more privatization.

By Valerie Strauss  |  08:33 PM ET, 04/25/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/25/2012

NY principals: A ‘wrecking ball’ of reform aimed at schools

This is an open letter that a group of New York principals sent this week to the New York State Board of Regents with deep concerns about school reform and the standardized testing regime in the state.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/25/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:00 AM ET, 04/25/2012

The meaning of the ‘talking pineapple’ test question

Though the questions about a talking pineapple on standardized test present a vivid example of how weird these tests can be, the question really isn’t significantly more problematic than any other question. And that’s the problem.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:00 AM ET, 04/25/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 04/24/2012

National resolution against high-stakes tests released

A national resolution protesting high-stakes standardized testing was released today by a coalition of national education, civil rights and parents groups, as well as educators who are trying to build a broad-based movement against the Obama administration’s test-centric school reform efforts.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:00 AM ET, 04/24/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/24/2012

‘Mr. President, public education in the U.S. is on the wrong track’

The president of the National School Boards Association writes an open letter to President Obama telling him that his education reform policies are taking the country in the wrong direction and asking him to “please bring your parent hat to determining our new direction for public education.”

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/24/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:20 PM ET, 04/23/2012

Standardized test security questioned

Tenth graders in Florida took the state’s standardized test in reading on a staggered schedule because there weren’t enough computers available for all of them to take it once, raising concerns that security of test questions could be compromised, the Miami Herald reported.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:20 PM ET, 04/23/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/23/2012

Ed Dept seeks to bring test-based assessment to teacher prep programs

The Education Department wants colleges of education to be evaluated on how students in K-12 classrooms being taught by their graduates perform on standardized test scores — and it wants to link financial aid to students at these colleges with test scores. Here’s why it’s a really bad idea.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/23/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 04/22/2012

Does Congress know reading is fundamental?

We are in the midst of a reading crisis in America, and the head of Reading Is Fundamental explains a new approach the organization is taking to ignite a love of reading across the United States.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 PM ET, 04/22/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 04/22/2012

How zoning policies affect student achievement

Communities pursuing inclusionary housing policies and socioeconomic school integration programs are demonstrating that we don’t have to accept rising economic segregation as inevitable.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:00 PM ET, 04/22/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:53 PM ET, 04/20/2012

‘Talking pineapple’ question on standardized test baffles students

A question about a “talking pineapple” on a standardized test given to eighth-grade students in New York has baffled not only students but adults who have seen it, too.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:53 PM ET, 04/20/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/20/2012

Education reform protests pick up steam

In Texas, New York, Illinois and other states, protests are getting louder against school reform that insists on using standardized test scores as the basis for evaluating students, educators and schools.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/20/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 04/19/2012

How state anti-evolution laws evolved

The model bill on which Tennessee’s new anti-evolution law was based is designed to obviate the legal hurdles raised by previous successful challenges to creationism in the classroom. Here’s the backstory.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 PM ET, 04/19/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/19/2012

What new research on extended school day says

Two new studies are flashing warning signs about the move to extend the school day and the consequences of doing it the wrong way.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/19/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:55 PM ET, 04/18/2012

Missouri closing six Imagine charter school campuses

Missouri’s Board of Education has decided to close six charter school campuses run by the Virginia-based Imagine Schools Inc.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:55 PM ET, 04/18/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 04/18/2012

Testing day: ‘More like lockdown than an elementary school’

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 04/18/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/18/2012

Ravitch: I don’t understand Michelle Rhee

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes about the philosophy and activities of education reformer Michelle Rhee.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/18/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:58 PM ET, 04/17/2012

6-year-old handcuffed for throwing tantrum in school

A 6-year-old who was throwing a tantrum in a Georgia school was handcuffed by police, according to a local television station.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:58 PM ET, 04/17/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 04/17/2012

What the U.S. can’t learn from Finland about ed reform

Finland comes up in nearly every conversation about education reform these days. What, it is asked, can the United States learn from Finnish educational success? The question has been asked and answered so often that it’s time to flip it: What can’t the U.S. learn from Finland? A Finnish education expert tells us.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 04/17/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 04/16/2012

10-year-old: ‘I want to know why after vacation I have to take test after test after test’

When kids in New York return from spring break they will be subjected to six days of New York State exams. Why?

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:00 PM ET, 04/16/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 04/16/2012

How education sausage gets made: The story behind a reform story

A push to pass school “reform” legislation in Connecticut is marked by a series of conflicts of interests that are exposed here by a former member of the state’s legislature.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 04/16/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 04/15/2012

Teacher: Step-by-step guide to how ‘reform’ is harming public schools

A teacher from Louisiana writes how public education could be improved but instead, how in her state politicians have passed pro-charter and pro-voucher legislation that will ultimately destroy it.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 PM ET, 04/15/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/14/2012

Top 5 factors to weigh when picking a college (by May 1st deadline)

April is “Decision Month” as high school seniors around the country make their college decisions before the May 1 deadline. Here are the top five factors students should consider.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/14/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 02:00 AM ET, 04/13/2012

Friday the 13th: Things you should know

Today is the day for people who suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia to try to keep their cool — but it won’t be easy. Why? The condition is a deep, blinding fear of Friday the 13th. And however irrational the fear may seem, it has some concrete consequences.

By Valerie Strauss  |  02:00 AM ET, 04/13/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 AM ET, 04/13/2012

The newest problem with graduation rates

The U.S. government now requires schools to report new data on the number of students who actually graduate from high school. But there are difficulties getting clear data. Here’s why.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 AM ET, 04/13/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/12/2012

What teachers know vs. what education policymakers do — Ravitch

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes about what teachers works — and doesn’t work — in the classroom and how different it is from what policymakers are forcing on public educators.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/12/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 04/11/2012

Tennessee back to the future with new anti-evolution law

It’s back to the future for Tennessee, where a new law was just put on the books that could undermine the teaching of accepted scientific thought in areas including evolution and climate change.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 04/11/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:00 AM ET, 04/11/2012

Guess which states don’t fund pre-K programs

Early education is one of the few school reforms with extensive research showing its value. Yet a new report shows that funding by states has been declining over the past two years.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:00 AM ET, 04/11/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:17 PM ET, 04/10/2012

Pre-K funding drops nationally, report says

Funding for state-funded pre-kindergarten programs across the country dropped by a total of almost $60 million during the 2010-11 school year.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:17 PM ET, 04/10/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 04/10/2012

How ‘early warning systems’ are keeping kids in school

The nation’s capital has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Early warning systems, which identify kids most likely to drop out early and provide support, are cropping up all over the country because they work.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:45 AM ET, 04/10/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/10/2012

The inevitable dark side of ‘school choice’

Public education in the United States, akin to our religious institutions sharing a “theological” center, was strongest when most agreed children educated together within public-funded, community-based schools was in the best interests of the individual child and society at large. That consensus has frayed.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/10/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 04/10/2012

NASA invites students to design technologies for deep space

NASA is inviting college students to design technologies that can be integrated into a habitat in which future astronauts could live and work in deep space.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 04/10/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/09/2012

Teacher: Dear students, I’m sorry about that test I made you take

A teacher writes an apology to her eighth grade students for forcing them to take standardized tests that did not reflect what they had really learned. “I am mightily ashamed,” she writes.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/09/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 04/08/2012

State legislatures reignite war over religion in schools

Visit almost any school in America and you’ll find students sharing their faith, reading their scriptures, saying grace before lunch and, in high schools, meeting in religious clubs.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:30 AM ET, 04/08/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 04/08/2012

How school reformers elevate the wrong hero

Sam Chaltain writes: “What would you say if I told you that all of our current national efforts to improve public education were blind to the actual way people learned and interacted with the world?

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:00 AM ET, 04/08/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 04/06/2012

The homework trap and what to do about it

There’s more to the debate about homework than the mountains of work that some kids get. Here’s a different part of the discussion — and how to help homework-trapped kids.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:00 AM ET, 04/06/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/05/2012

A letter from a black mother to her son

A mother writes a powerful letter to her young song about her hopes for his education at a public school.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/05/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:00 AM ET, 04/05/2012

Fairfax school wins national family engagement award

Among the Mantua Elementary PTA’s projects: providing translators for publications to keep families informed.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:00 AM ET, 04/05/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 04/04/2012

Some 2012 college admissions rates hit new lows

Ivy League schools along with some other highly selective colleges and universities have been proudly announcing their very low admissions rates for freshmen entering next fall — as if the figures actually have some importance and/or meaning.

By Valerie Strauss  |  10:00 AM ET, 04/04/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 04/04/2012

Is Louisiana about to allow discrimination of gays in charter schools?

If a bill that passed a Lousiania Senate committee becomes law, charter schools in the state will be able to refuse to accept students based on sexual orientation or English language skills.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 04/04/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:00 AM ET, 04/03/2012

Common Core: Nobody said it was going to be easy

An educator takes issue with a strong critic of the Common Core State Standards.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:00 AM ET, 04/03/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/03/2012

Can chewing gum before a test improve score?

Chewing gum before taking a test may help improve the result, apparently by stimulating the brain with increased blood flow. That, at least, is what one study concluded amid a rash of research on how the act of chewing can have a range of positive effects.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/03/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 04/02/2012

What never to tell a college student (or a teen about to be one)

Walk around a college university bookstore and you just might see an Apple ad that says, “It makes the best years of your life even better.” Um. No, actually, not for lots of students.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:25 AM ET, 04/02/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 04/02/2012

The cinema of educational despair: A bad narrative reinforced

One of the purposes of cinema focused on social issues ought to be to enlighten the audience and effectively illuminate ways of solving our problems. Instead, Detachment, reinforcing a counter-productive narrative, is more likely to become part of the problem.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 04/02/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 04/01/2012

A new approach to school turnarounds (or ‘old dogs CAN learn new tricks’)

Veteran educator Anthony Cody says that firing teachers in school turnarounds is not the best approach, and he explains what works better.

By Valerie Strauss  |  11:00 AM ET, 04/01/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

 

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