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The Answer Sheet: February 28, 2010 - March 6, 2010

The link between counselors and kids going to college

A new study tells us what high school counselors already know: They are overworked and lots of kids are left to their own devices. Now it's time to stop spending money on reports that tell us what we already know and use it hire and train more counselors.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 6, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  College Admissions, High School  | Tags:  high school counselors  
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‘Safe Students Act’ doesn’t keep kids safe: Paddling still allowed

The "Keeping All Students Safe Act" doesn't really keep all students safe. The House of Representatives this week passed a bill that bars schools from using seclusion and restraints on students in most cases. But it doesn't stop many thousands of kids from being paddled--and sometimes hurt--every year.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 5, 2010; 12:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Bullying  | Tags:  corporal punishment, keeping kids safe  
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Wiesel's 'Night,' 'Hamlet' in 60 seconds?

What would you say about an effort to boil down the plots of great literary works into a 60-second video? Would that entice young readers to run to the library and grab the book? Here's a program that thinks it would. I don't.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 5, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Literature  | Tags:  literature, videos  
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Campus visiting season begins at spring break

By Bruce Vinik. Spring break is the unofficial kick-off to the college visiting season, a season that begins with the first exhibition baseball games and ends with the NFL playoffs. The early visits of March and April are particularly important for eleventh graders because it is the first time that many of them will set foot on campuses as prospective students. Here's what to do when you are visiting a campus.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 5, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Bruce Vinik, College Admissions, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  college admissions, college tours, spring break  
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Race to the Top finalists and the 'ick' factor

The Obama administration today formally, irrevocably, launched its Race to the Top brand by naming the first 16 finalists in the funding sweepstakes. How unfortunate that funding schools has been turned into a contest. How unfortunate this contest has such bad rules.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 4, 2010; 5:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Elementary School, Race to the Top  | Tags:  Race to the Top  
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Don't send grade hackers to jail

The criminal code of Maryland says that computer hackers can go to jail for several years. Should Churchill High School students who hacked into the school's computer system to change grades go to jail or face some other kind of punishment?

By Valerie Strauss  | March 4, 2010; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Montgomery County Public Schools  | Tags:  churchill high school, computer hackers, criminal investigation, student hackers  
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Congress moves quickly to stop abuse at schools--NOT

You might think Congress would act swiftly when it learned of hundreds of cases of alleged abuse and death of children who were subjected to seclusion and restraints in public and private schools over the previous two decades. I guess it all depends on your definition of "swiftly."

By Valerie Strauss  | March 4, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Bullying  | Tags:  Congress, abuse in school  
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Linking college academics to careers

But Rick Cherwitz. Too many students graduate without appreciating how their academic studies can affect their the potential contribution of academic knowledge to their future careers and to the broader goal of solving society problems. The answer is an entrepreneurial laboratory where students can discover how to make these connections.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 3, 2010; 6:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  academic/community mentorship, higher education, university of texas at austin  
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Gap year planning time; Sidwell hosting gap year fair Saturday

Now is a good time for college seniors who have applied to college to think about planning a gap year before actually starting classes. College admissions directors, believe it or not, encourage kids to take a year off.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 3, 2010; 1:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  college admissions, gap year  
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'Transparency' and credibility in Race to the Top

My guest is Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the non-profit American Enterprise Institute, writes about the problems with the way Education Secretary Arne Duncan is leading the Race to the Top initiative, and warns that it could have some of the same problems as No Child Left Behind's Reading First program.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 2, 2010; 10:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Guest Bloggers, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top  | Tags:  Arne Duncan, Frederick Hess, Race to the Top  
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Teacher firings and Obama comments stir serious backlash

The firings of all the educators at a Rhode Island high school--and the subsequent comments by President Obama praising the move--seem to be causing a backlash among public school teachers, some of whom are talking about marching on Washington to express their frustration over federal education laws.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 2, 2010; 2:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Teachers  | Tags:  fired teachers, restructuring schools  
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College students still have time to transfer for fall

It is still not too late to transfer out of one college or university into another for this fall, even at some of the most highly selective schools in the country. And in some cases, it can be easier to get in as a transfer rather than as a freshman.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 2, 2010; 2:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  college admissions, transfer students  
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Harvard gets first Egyptologist in 68 years

Harvard University is only now getting the first Egyptology professor it has employed since the last person holding the job died--68 years ago. The new professor is a student of the world of the great Harvard professor eorge A. Reisner, a graduate of the class of 1889.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 2, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Higher Education, History  | Tags:  egyptology, harvard university, history  
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Obama's unfortunate comments on teacher firings

President Obama unfortunately waded today into a debate about the firings last week of all of the educators in a high school in Rhode Island. Someone apparently has never told the president that these kinds of restructuring efforts rarely work well.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 1, 2010; 3:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (173)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Teachers  | Tags:  arne duncan, president obama, school reform  
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If Reading is Fundamental, why cut it?

First Lady Michelle Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are kicking off Tuesday's Read for America Day. But at the same time that events are being held to teach kids that reading is fun and important, the Obama administration's proposed 2011 budget cuts funds for a successful program, Reading Is Fundamental, that has given free books to millions of children.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 1, 2010; 12:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Reading  | Tags:  Arne Duncan, Michelle Obama, Read Across America  
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'Intelligences' misunderstood

Educator explains what confuses people about the theory of 'multiple intelligences.'

By Valerie Strauss  | March 1, 2010; 10:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers, Intelligence  | Tags:  daniel willingham, howard gardner, multiple intelligences  
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For seniors, March is most anxious month

By Bruce Vinik. March is the only month that is longer than 31 days. It’s a fact. Ask almost any high school senior who has applied to college; he or she will tell you that March is the longest month of the year. As late winter turns into early spring, the anxiety level around the country is about to spike as 12th graders await news from colleges.... There was a time when April 1st was the obsessive focus of attention for high school seniors; this was the date when students rushed home from school to rifle through their mailboxes in search of those cherished thick envelopes. It was an American rite of passage. But times have changed.

By Valerie Strauss  | March 1, 2010; 7:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Bruce Vinik, College Admissions, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  college admissions  
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How to build real ‘American Schools’

The controversy over a school girl disciplined by her teacher for refusing to stand up or recite the Pledge of Allegiance threw a spotlight on the First Amendment and how little most of our schools do to educate young people to be smart, active citizens in American democracy. We talk a lot about the need for kids to be able to compete in the 21st century economy, but far less about how to create citizens capable of participating fully and smartly in our democracy’s civic life. Educator Sam Chaltain, in his new book, "American Schools: The Art of Creating a Democratic Learning Community," tell us how.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 28, 2010; 2:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Civics Education, Sam Chaltain  | Tags:  democratic learning communities, first amendment  
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World Math Day competition--Sign up NOW

If your child--or your class--likes numbers, sign up quickly for Wednesday’s World Math Day, a live one-day contest in which nearly 2 million kids from most of the countries on the planet participate. Kids ages 5 to 18 and teachers can register here by Monday. Kids play at home and at school against other students around the world in live math games, each of which lasts for 60 seconds. Each child can play up to 500 games, earning points for each correct answer. Participants cannot select their own levels but move up as they progress.can registerages

By Valerie Strauss  | February 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Math  | Tags:  World Math Day, math  
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