The Answer Sheet: High School

Posted at 01:13 PM ET, 10/02/2010

School dances: Another baby boomer failure

For those of you fortunate enough not to have had experience with this yet, here’s what kids do today at many school dances (as well as parties, formal and otherwise): They provocatively grind their pelvises into each other on the dance floor, sometimes standing face to face, sometimes with the boy behind the girl.

By Valerie Strauss  |  01:13 PM ET, 10/02/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:56 PM ET, 06/18/2010

Student newspapers destroyed after editorial upsets P.E. teachers

This sounds like a parody of a high school, but it really happened at Albemarle High School in Virginia.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:56 PM ET, 06/18/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 04:00 AM ET, 06/01/2010

School graduations in church ruled unconstitutional

A federal judge rules that a Connecticut school system’s practice of holding high school graduation ceremonies in a Christian church is unconstitutional and that a different venue must be found.

By Valerie Strauss  |  04:00 AM ET, 06/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:14 PM ET, 05/12/2010

Should Breathalyzers be used at proms?

More and more high schools across the country are turning to Breathalyzers or similar devices to test kids to see if they have been drinking before they can enter the school prom. The real question is whether they stop young people from drinking.

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:14 PM ET, 05/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:04 PM ET, 05/04/2010

Michigan high school wins Obama; five others get consolation prize

Kalamazoo Central High School in Michigan is the big winner in a contest that offered as its prize a commencement speech by President Obama, and five other finalists won't walk away empty-handed.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:04 PM ET, 05/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 05/01/2010

Should high schools eliminate honors at graduation?

A high school student writes that high school graduations should honor all students equally, and that icons on programs and honor cords should be eliminated.

By Valerie Strauss  |  07:00 AM ET, 05/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 04/30/2010

It's senior prank season

Senior prank season is upon us and already some kids are in big trouble.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 04/30/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 03/23/2010

One teacher’s cure for senioritis

An award-winning high school teacher in Virginia has come up with a cure for senioritis, that "crippling disease" that affects high school seniors in a big way from now until graduation.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:00 PM ET, 03/23/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 02/08/2010

Up to Montgomery County principals to challenge fliers

I asked Montgomery County schools officials to explain who is responsible for challenging fliers that non-profit groups are permitted to send home with students four times a year. The issue arose when my colleague Michael Birnbaum reported that were passed out to some Montgomery County high school students from an organization that insists that therapy can turn gays into heterosexuals. It turns out that it is up to school principals to raise any concerns about the material. The fliers in question, from the group Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, were distributed at Churchill High School and other schools last week under a district rule that allows non-profit groups from distributing information that is not deemed to be hate speech.

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 02/08/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:24 PM ET, 02/01/2010

Challenging Jay’s Challenge Index

Someone has to say it, so I will. Today my esteemed colleague Jay Mathews published his Washington region version of the Challenge Index, that annual exercise in which he ranks high schools. How does he do this? With this formula that he devised years ago: The number of Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate tests taken by all students at a school, divided by the number of graduating seniors. That’s it. Is that enough? I don't think so.

By Valerie Strauss  |  12:24 PM ET, 02/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:30 AM ET, 01/21/2010

Writing for knowledge

By Will Fitzhugh. One major literacy study and report recently pointed out, in an aside, that the idea that reading books will do a lot for the literacy of students is sadly misguided. What students need, it was felt, is lots more technique and process classes, K-12, on “finding the main idea,” “identifying the author’s audience,” and all like that there. I would argue to the contrary. Not only does reading books contribute powerfully to the knowledge that students need in order to read more and more difficult material (such as they should face in high school and will certainly face in college), but, also, the work of writing a serious research paper will lead students to do a lot more reading and to gather a lot of knowledge in the process.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:30 AM ET, 01/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 01/21/2010

Academic journal for high schoolers

Since 1987, educator Will Fitzhugh has been publishing what is probably the world’s only journal for the academic history papers of high school students writing in English. It’s called The Concord Review, and its contents belie the common thinking that young people today can not analyze their way out of a paper bag and can’t write a lick. The work produced for the review is impressive. Fitzhugh, a former teacher, accepts submissions from around the world though most of the 879 papers that have been published in the quarterly journal are from the United States, and the topics run the gamut. Student authors often send the papers to colleges as part of their application packages (more than 90 have been sent to Harvard University.)

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 01/21/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 03:41 PM ET, 01/01/2010

Take The Sheet's 2009 Education Quiz

Happy and healthy new year to all of you ... and now let’s start off the new decade with, appropriately for an education blog, a quiz. I thought about doing one of those top 10 education story of the year or decade lists, but realized it would be repetitive: Budget cuts hurt K-12; budget cuts squeeze community colleges big-time; budget cuts and endowment losses bring pain to colleges and universities ... etc. A quiz sounded more fun. Here are some unusual education stories you may not have read in 2009. Take a look and guess from where they came. Where, for example, did a university professor try to teach math to middle school students but give up after two months because the kids were so unruly? Where did a teacher accidentally put pornography on a DVD of school memories? What books were more challenged?

By Valerie Strauss  |  03:41 PM ET, 01/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 05:40 AM ET, 01/01/2010

Answer Sheet to education quiz

Here are the answers to the 10-question education quiz for 2009.

By Valerie Strauss  |  05:40 AM ET, 01/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:51 AM ET, 12/02/2009

School closes bathrooms because of security shortage

In the category of “it makes you wonder,” the student newspaper at Montgomery-Blair High School reports that bathrooms on the second and third floors are now being locked during lunch. Why? The school has a security shortage and couldn’t figure out a better way to deal with it.

By Valerie Strauss  |  09:51 AM ET, 12/02/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:30 AM ET, 10/19/2009

The Best High School in America?

A reader asked if Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Va., is, in fact, “America’s best high school.” It says so on the cover of Washingtonian magazine’s October issue. The answer: For whom is it the best?

By Valerie Strauss  |  06:30 AM ET, 10/19/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)