Class Struggle: Fairfax County

Posted at 10:21 PM ET, 06/20/2012

Quiet teacher changed a school

The teachers we hear about are usually larger than life, but quiet teachers can also have enormous impact on their schools. Take the case of Betsy Calhoon, who died suddenly this month.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:21 PM ET, 06/20/2012 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Tags:  quiet teacher transformed a Fairfax County school, Betsy Calhoon, introduced low income students to challenging International Baccalaureate courses, Calhoon died June 11 of a heart attack

Posted at 08:00 PM ET, 10/17/2010

Curiosity discouraged at competitive high school

Westfield High School in Fairfax County is one of the largest and most competitive public schools in America. It is not unusual that 180 sophomores enrolled in Advanced Placement World History this year, more students than most U.S. high schools have taking AP courses of any kind. What did surprise some students and their parents was a sheet titled “Expectations of Integrity” included in the materials handed out by the three AP World History teachers. Their number one rule discouraged random outbreaks of curiosity.

By Jay Mathews  |  08:00 PM ET, 10/17/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Metro Monday | Tags:  Expectations of Integrity, Fairfax County, Westfield High School, curiosity discouraged, no Internet searching, no talking to family, principal Tim Thomas, students can only use their notes and textbooks

Posted at 09:00 PM ET, 10/13/2010

Required essays in a physics class

In my search for signs of serious writing instruction in America high schools, I have stumbled across a rare creature: a physics teacher in Fairfax County who makes everyone in his honors classes enter a national science essay contest.

By Jay Mathews  |  09:00 PM ET, 10/13/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Local Living | Tags:  Dupont Challenge essay contest, Ed Linz, Fairfax County Va., Linz rejects Mathews call for essays for all, West Springfield High School, physics teacher requires essay writing

Posted at 02:33 PM ET, 11/18/2009

The lost art of walking to school

For a while I lived in probably the safest village in America, Scarsdale, NY. One day, while driving my fourth-grader to school, I saw a rare thing, a 9-year-old riding his bike, his books in the front basket. Then I noticed, right behind him, his mother driving the family Mercedes, making sure he got to school safely.

By Jay Mathews  |  02:33 PM ET, 11/18/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)
Categories:  Jay on the Web | Tags:  Fairfax County school bus cut, school budget problems, school safety, walking to school