Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Answer Sheet - A School Survival Guide for parents (and everyone else). - The Washington Post

The Answer Sheet - A School Survival Guide for parents (and everyone else). - The Washington Post:

Do schools need a longer school day? A debate

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 hour ago
A policy brief released last month concluded that contrary to popular perception, 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, including Finland, Japan and South Korea. There were a lot of caveats in the report but the thrust of the brief was that calls for a longer instructional day for children in the United States to match what students in other countries get may be misguided. Read full article >>

The Answer Sheet - 1 hour ago

Three quick reads

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 3 hours ago
This* was written by George Wood, superintendent and secondary school principal at the Federal Hocking Local School District in Stewart, Ohio. He is also the executive director of the Forum for Education and Democracyand chair of the board for the Coalition of Essential Schools.* By George Wood When I left the university ranks some20 years ago to become principal, one of the first things I missed about my old job was having the time to read. Now, as both superintendent and principal, reading time seems even more precious but even more important. So I find myself grabbing quick r... more »

Whose children have been left behind? Framing the 2012 ed debate

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 21 hours ago
The battles over education policy that marked 2011 will continue, ever more heated, in the new year. As a starting point, and in honor of this Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the day when president George W. Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law, here is a speech written by education historian Diane Ravitch that addresses what is really at stake in the fight over how to fix troubled public schools. Read full article >>

Unorthodox education predictions for 2012

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 day ago
It’s not especially hard to make conventional predictions for the education world in 2012: *The U.S. Education Department will grant some states waivers from the most onerous requirements of No Child Left Behind. *Congress will fail — again — to do a comprehensive rewrite of NCLB. *Education Secretary Arne Duncan will keep pushing the Race to the Top initiative, so long as Congress provides the cash, ignoring the lack of evidence to support the reforms it requires. Read full article >>

Stories that resonated in 2011 — and will matter in 2012

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 day ago
Lists of most-read stories or blog posts are popular on the Internet, but I doubt they tell us all that much about what really matters to readers. The fact that more people read a story about Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt than about the U.S. debt ceiling doesn’t make the former more important than the latter — not even to the people who are reading, or, not reading, individual stories. Read full article >>

A fourth “r” for 21st century literacy

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 day ago
This was written by Cathy N. Davidson, a Duke University professor, self-described “technopragmatist,” and author *of Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. * By Cathy N. Davidson What basic skills do kids today need to thrive in the 21st century digital age? 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... more »

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

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 4 days ago
Hawaii may be delighted that President Obama and his family are spending the holidays in his home state, but it is perhaps not so enamored with his Education Department at the moment. Department officials have written a letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) saying that the state’s $75 million Race to the Top grant is now on “high-risk status.” Read full article >>

Forging ahead with nutty teacher evaluation plan

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 4 days ago
This *was written by Carol Corbett Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York. She was named the 2010 New York State Outstanding Educator by the School Administrators Association of New York State.* By Carol Corbett Burris New York State Commissioner John King is about to get tough with 10 school districts that have not finalized negotiations on their teacher evaluation plans. He threatened to take away their schools’ improvement grants if they do not comply. With little or no consideration of countervailing concerns, the commissioner’s approach illustrates the 'My ... more »

10 education predictions for 2012

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 5 days ago
This *was written by Larry Ferlazzo, who teaches English at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, California. He writes a popular blog for teachers and is the author of three books. He is a member of the Teacher Leaders Network. A version of this excerpt appeared on his blog, “Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day*.” Read full article >>

The Quiz: Test yourself on education in 2011

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 week ago
The year 2011 was monumental in education — monumentally good or monumentally bad, depending on your view. School reformers who believe in using business principles to run public schools had a banner year. More states expanded the number of charter schools, promoted vouchers and moved toward using student test scores to evaluate teachers. Read full article >>

Teach for America: Liberal mission helps conservative agenda

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 week ago
This *was written by Andrew Hartman, who teaches history at Illinois State University. He is the author of Education and the Cold War: The Battle for the American School. This was originally published at It is long but well worth your time. * * By Andrew Hartman Read full article >>

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus school

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 week ago
There’s a school for pretty much everything, and that includes learning how to be the jolliest Santa Claus you can possibly be. Yes, Virginia, Santa Claus School exists, and so, for that matter, does the Santa Claus Academy, and no doubt other schools that do their best to make sure their students master the tricks of the Santa trade. Read full article >>

The truth about school prayer

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 week ago
This was* written by Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum. He writes and speaks extensively on religious liberty and religion in American public life. This appeared on the The Amendment Center’s website.* * By Charles Haynes The latest attack on the “godless public schools” — a staple of Republican primaries past — is a new ad in Iowa by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaignproclaimingthere’s “something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” Read ... more »

Is there a Christmas miracle in school reform debate?

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 week ago
*This was written by Paul Thomas, an associate professor of education at Furman University in South Carolina, and a version was published at Daily Uncensored. * * By Paul Thomas Something profound appears to have occurred — a cosmic shift in the education reform debate that reflects our larger social debates in the United States. Read full article >>

2011: Best and worst in education

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 week ago
*My guest is Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a nonprofit public policy research organization, writes about education, equal opportunity and civil rights. This appeared on the foundation's blog. * By Richard D. Kahlenberg Looking back on 2011, we saw in K-12 education some continuation of the misguided obsession with teachers unions, as Republican governors sought to cripple public employee unions in Wisconsin and Ohio. To add to the drumbeat, authors Terry Moe and Steven Brill published high-profile anti-teacher union books. But if some politic... more »

Newt Gingrich and the meaning of smart

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 1 week ago
*This was written by Mike Rose, who is on the faculty of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and is the author of " Why School?: Reclaiming Education for All of Us ,” " Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America,” * and *“The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker. *” Read full article >>

The Answer Sheet - 1 week ago

Education reform paralysis — and how to fix it

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 2 weeks ago
This* was written by Mark Phillips, professor emeritus of secondary education at San Francisco State University and author of a monthly column on education for the Marin Independent Journal. * * By Mark Phillips The world of educational reform is stuck. Read full article >>

New major test cheating scandal revealed in Georgia

Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet - 2 weeks ago
A new investigative report details a second major standardized test cheating scandal in a Georgia school system, implicating 49 educators, including 11 principals. A key reason for the “disgraceful” cheating, investigators said, was pressure to meet No Child Left Behind requirements. The probe (see here and here) by the Georgia governor’s Special Investigators team into cheating in the Dougherty County School System concluded that “hundreds of school children were harmed by extensive cheating.” Read full article >>