Saturday, June 7, 2014

All Week @ The Answer Sheet 6-7-14

The Answer Sheet:

All Week @ The Answer Sheet

School’s eighth-grade graduating class had 9 sets of twins (but school didn’t realize it)
The eighth-grade graduating class of a middle school in suburban Chicago had nine sets of twins — that’s 18 out of 268 students, or a little over 7 percent — but officials didn’t realize it until a parent figured it out last month. The Chicago Tribune reported in this story that three sets of the […]

Newseum in D.C. to create free 9/11 curriculum for teachers
In an effort to teach current and future generations of young people about what happened to the United States in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Newseum in Washington D.C. will create a new interactive online curriculum that will be available for free to teachers and students everywhere. To create the new material, […]
Common Core testing group announces timeline for exam delivery
The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of the two multi-state consortia designing Common Core tests, on Friday announced its timeline for delivering key components of its assessment system to states for use in the 2014-15 school year. SBAC and the Partnership for  Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) are, with some $360 million in federal […]
Six rules for teaching World War II
The 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France during World War II seems like a good time to look at how that war (and all wars) should be taught to young people who know may know close to nothing about these historical events and may not see why what happened decades ago is […]
What happened when George failed his state standardized test
What happens to a young student who fails a mandated standardized test that decides whether he/she can move to the next grade, or to an older student who fails a test that determines if he/she graduates?  Here is a 20-step description of what happened to a boy named George. It was written by educator Kathleen […]

JUN 05

Two more states pull out of Common Core
Two Republican governors, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, have just signed laws pulling their states out of the Common Core State Standards initiative amid growing anti-Core sentiment around the country. Fallin signed the law on Thursday, while Haley did it last week, joining Indiana in officially rejecting the Core. A few […]
U-Va. law school mistakenly sends out e-mail with private student data (update)
(Update: Statement for University of Virginia) A University of Virginia law school official mistakenly sent an e-mail to lots of people containing private information about all of its clerkship applicants, with very detailed data about each one, including grade-point average and where friends live. The law school released a statement Thursday afternoon saying: Yesterday, a […]
Judge puts hold on Common Core contract to Pearson
Last month I wrote about how the huge education company Pearson won a huge contract with one of the two multi-state consortia designing new Common Core-aligned tests. Pearson was the only bidder for the contract — to develop test items and forms, deliver paper and online versions, etc. — but as it turns out, an education corporation […]
The education question we should be asking
One area of education that doesn’t get enough attention in the loud education reform debate is exactly what is worth learning. In the following post Alfie Kohn explores this problem. Kohn ( is the author of 13 books about education, parenting, and human behavior, including “The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom […]
A clever way to get rid of teachers
When the North Carolina Senate late last month rolled out a new step salary schedule for teachers, it was reported in the state media as offering a big raise to educators while taking away job protections. But the new plan isn’t exactly what it seems. It  ”incentivizes”  teachers at specific experience levels to leave the […]

JUN 04

What are babies doing in elementary school? Watch the video.
  Empathy is one of the five main tenets of social-emotional learning (the others being self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills and responsible decision-making). While it isn’t possible to force someone to have empathy, it is possible to facilitate the development of empathy in young people and that’s what D.C. Public Schools has been doing in a […]
Parent: Why I can’t ‘in good conscience’ leave my kids in public school
Lynne Rigby and her husband Brad live outside of Orlando, Florida, with their five children who have attended a Seminole County public elementary school. Rigby, a former public school teacher and photographer, wrote a letter to state and local officials explaining why, with great sadness, she and her husband are pulling their children out of […]
Why hedge funds love charter schools
One of the features of corporate school reform is the interest that Wall Street has shown in supporting charter schools. Why?  No doubt hedge fund managers would say they want to support education and help young people have educational choices. But here’s another part of the answer, written by Alan Singer,  a social studies educator […]

JUN 03

National principals group urges slowdown in Common Core implementation
The National Association of Secondary School Principals is calling for a slowdown in the Common Core initiative, citing educators’ concerns about “the implementation of the new standards in their states and the inadequate training they have received to help them ensure that their teachers are able to change instructional practices.” The NASSP, the leading organization […]
Black educator: Is the education reform movement too white?
Andre Perry, the founding dean of urban education at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and author of  ”The Garden Path: The Miseducation of a City” wrote a piece on the PostEverything blog on that offers a different take on race and school reform. Perry — who tweets @andreperryedu — wrote in part: …  There’s not quite […]
‘Network routers’: a new proposal to put education research into practice
  It’s no secret that there is a huge gap between education research and practice. Here’s a new proposal to bridge that gap, by Jack Schneider. an assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross and the author of From the Ivory Tower to the Schoolhouse: How Scholarship Becomes Common Knowledge in Education. He […]
6th graders seeking payment for taking Common Core field tests
Some sixth grade students in Massachusetts who spent hours over several days taking practice versions of newly developed Common Core tests decided that they should be paid for their work and are seeking payment for serving as “guinea pigs.” The Ipswich Chronicle reported in this story about what happened after students at Ipswich Middle School  field […]
The real story behind drop in scores on N.Y. Regents exams
Two educators in New York did an analysis of scores on the June 2013 New York State Regents exams and found something  interesting that somehow never made it into news stories, including a recent “exclusive” by one New York City newspaper. Read about it what it was below in the post by Carol Burris and […]
Three innovative ways to address mental health issues
With every new traumatic shooting that rivets the nation’s attention, mental health becomes a hot topic for debate for a short while before dying down until the next disaster. In an attempt to move the dialogue into action, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, and the Cigna Foundation are hosting an all-day forum […]

JUN 02

How much do Oklahoma legislators hate the Common Core? This much.
It’s one thing to critique the Common Core State Standards. It’s another thing entirely to do what the Oklahoma legislature has done: pass a bill that not only stops schools from using the standards but also insists that new state standards are carefully compared to the Core to make sure there is no resemblance. That’s […]
Spain’s king-to-be went to Georgetown University
Spain’s Prince Felipe, who is about to become the new king of his country, went to high school in Canada, college in Madrid, and earned a master’s degree at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos, announced Monday morning that he would abdicate in favor of his son, who is 46 and whose […]
Racist stereotypes in Hong Kong textbooks spark controversy
A controversy has arisen in Hong Kong as a result of new textbooks that stereotype different nationalities in exercises intended to teach multiculturalism to young students. From a blog called comes the following pictures from textbooks, published by a Singapore company called Educational Publishing House Ltd. . From a grade 3 textbook, you can […]
You won’t believe these kindergarten schedules
Anybody paying attention to school reform knows that kindergarten today is nothing like it used to be. Kindergarten schedules used to be dominated by play, but there’s not much time — if any — for that any more in many programs.  Play has been replaced with reading, writing and arithmetic — and a slew of tests […]

JUN 01

How much will Obama’s college rating system cost? A lot.
The Obama administration is developing a college rating (not ranking) system that will be based on criteria yet to be determined but that could include data such as tuition and how much students earn when they graduate and get a job. It is intended to be used (with congressional approval) in deciding which institutions deserve […]

MAY 31

One surefire way to wreck a public school system
How do you wreck a public school system? There are plenty of ways, but right now let’s just focus on one district, the state-run Philadelphia School District, which has been starved for funding by the administration of Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and has been a guinea pig for corporate school reform, with widespread school closures […]
Bloomberg, at Harvard, blasts Ivy League ‘liberals’ for ‘trying to repress conservative ideas’
(And here’s a link to the video.) Because I am a fan of good speeches, I’ve recently posted some interesting ones from the 2014 college commencement season, including a few that were funny (Mindy Kaling at Harvard Law, Jim Carrey at the Maharishi University of Management) and one that included an extended apology to students […]