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The Answer Sheet: October 25, 2009 - October 31, 2009

Enough feuding! It's time for a D.C. schools summit

I just may scream if I hear one more person invoke what is “best for the kids” in the growing conflict between D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and her critics....It’s time for someone to make a high-level intervention and put a stop to this feuding. I’d vote for the man who hired Rhee in the first place and made her more powerful than previous schools chief. That would be Mayor Adrian Fenty.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 31, 2009; 12:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  D.C. Schools  | Tags:  D.C. Schools, Mayor Adrian Fenty, Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee  
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Pets, history, the universe, 'The Parent Trap'--Things I learned about this week

You don't want a male platypus as a pet, data on kindergarteners is released, and what the Tea Act of 1773 was about.... and other things I learned (or remembered) this week.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 31, 2009; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Tags:  Things I Learned This Week  
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Levine: Ed schools should grab Duncan's lifeline--and not 'carp' about his critique

By Arthur Levine. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's speech at Columbia University's Teachers College represents a reversal of a recent trend: Government and philanthropy have tended to turn away from education schools, increasingly viewing them as poor in quality and unwilling to change..... He called for "revolutionary change" at these schools.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 30, 2009; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Tags:  Education Secretary Arne Duncan, education schools  
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D.C. region leads U.S. list of top 'green power' schools

The greater Washington region tops a new U.S. list of leading schools and school in the use of green power.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 30, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Tags:  green power in schools  
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Should sick kids have to make up all missed school work?

So your kid is sick for a week, misses two tests, three quizzes, four papers and a week’s worth of homework in every class. He/she goes back to school, and the teachers in each class say, “Welcome back. Now you have to do your current work and make up everything you missed. And don’t take too long.” Unless, of course, your child’s teacher is one of those who tell the kids to do the work WHILE they are sick....Not all kids need to do all the work to get caught up so they can participate and feel comfortable in the classroom. Not all homework is actually necessary, not all quizzes/tests have to be taken, not all reports must be written.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 29, 2009; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Homework  | Tags:  homework, make-up work, sick kids, swine flu  
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Mom takes on critics over who is responsible for kids after school

Melanie Klein says this to her critics: Children should learn to be self-reliant step-by-step, given their individual strengths and weaknesses, and their circumstances. Does the foster child who is in his ninth placement of the school year, and his ninth school, know his way “home”? ... Just because we’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t make it right, or the best way.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 29, 2009; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Montgomery County Public Schools, Parents  | Tags:  bus policy  
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Alexandria Schools changes bus procedures after incidents with kindergarteners

Alexandria City Public Schools revised its bus procedures following two incidents in which kindergartners were let off when they should not have been. Superintendent Morton Sherman said in a release that he had found “some system-wide issues at several levels”...

By Valerie Strauss  | October 29, 2009; 11:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Tags:  Alexandria bus policy, child lost  
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Should teachers reveal their political opinions in class?

The Group splits on whether teachers should reveal their own political opinions to their students in class.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 29, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Civics Education, Teachers  | Tags:  Teachers, The Group  
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Rich: Make students accountable for more than grades, test scores

By Dorothy Rich. We talk about teacher and parent accountability. But what about the accountability that students have for their own education?... When I visited Japan, I saw young students required to help clean their schools every day. Why should adults keep children from giving back, from participating, from being involved in their education?

By Valerie Strauss  | October 28, 2009; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Tags:  Accountability, Dorothy Rich  
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'Talking Out of School' .... with musician John Legend

Musician John Legend talks about skipping two grades, his first school crush, why he went to the Ivy League and more in a conversation about education with The Answer Sheet.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 28, 2009; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Talking Out of School  | Tags:  John Legend, Talking Out of School  
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Should student drama productions be restricted to PG themes?

You would think people have better things to fight about, but across the nation people are arguing--and even going to court--over high school plays. Yes, the drama productions that high school kids stage for other high school kids.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 28, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Arts Education, High School  | Tags:  censorship, high school plays  
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Who is responsible for kids after school?

A recent story on The Sheet about a 5-year-old boy who was mistakenly put on a school bus in Arlington and then let off in a strange neighborhood sparked a number of responses. One reader, Melanie Klein, shared a letter she had just sent to the school system’s director of transportation, Todd Watkins. Here is it. Do you agree with her, or the school system?

By Valerie Strauss  | October 27, 2009; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Montgomery County Public Schools, No Child Left Behind  | Tags:  Montgomery County Public Schools, bus policy  
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My obit for Dorothy Rich

Dorothy Rich was a pioneer in mobilizing parents' interest in their children's education.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 27, 2009; 11:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Tags:  Dorothy Rich  
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Why most schools don't teach about mental illness

Lorraine Kaplan had a son who was a star at school. At 17, he had top grades, was a debater and first trombonist in his school’s orchestra. But seemingly overnight, his brain turned on him. He became obsessive and then started hallucinating. A doctor told her not to tell anybody--and she didn't, for a decade because of the stigma associated with mental illness. Now she is trying to get schools to destigmatize mental illness.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 27, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Health  | Tags:  mental illness  
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Do test scores prove private schools are better?

The NAEP results showing better math/reading scores for students in private schools may not be a result of anything the private school did.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 26, 2009; 5:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Private Schools  | Tags:  private schools  
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Are private schools better than public schools?

Private school admissions season is now in full swing, which is perhaps why I cringed more than I otherwise might have by this part of a recent magazine article about Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia: “About nine out of ten students arrive at Jefferson from public middle schools. Families who can’t afford the $30,000 price tag of a Potomac School or Sidwell Friends see Jefferson as a private school equivalent."

By Valerie Strauss  | October 26, 2009; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Tags:  Private Schools  
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30 books to read BEFORE the college interview

Take a look at this unusual list of 30 books recommended to students in Britain who have applied to Oxford and/or Cambridge universities and are preparing for their admissions interviews. How many have you read? How many do you think American college-bound students should read?

By Valerie Strauss  | October 26, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  College Admissions, Reading  | Tags:  Books, College Admissions  
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