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The Answer Sheet: April 11, 2010 - April 17, 2010

Harry Potter tops list of decade's most banned/challenged books

The Harry Potter series of books were the most banned or challenged books in schools and libraries over the last decade. The list includes some literary classics. Here's the top 50.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 17, 2010; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Literature, Reading  | Tags:  American Library Association, Harry Pottery, Harry Pottery and banned books, Twilight and banned books, Twilight books banned, Twilight joins banned list, banned books, censored books, censorship, challenged books, literature, reading  
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Rhee and the confounding mess in D.C. schools

Somebody has to intervene fast to figure out who is going to be paid what, and how, in D.C. schools before the budgeting process becomes a comic farce. Perhaps it already is.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 16, 2010; 11:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  D.C. Schools  | Tags:  chancellor rhee and budget, d.c. schools and budget, d.c. schools and rhee, gandhi's letter, gandhi's letter to rhee, michelle rhee, rhee and budget, rhee and gandhi  
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"Twilight" on 2009 Most Challenged Books list

My Sister's Keeper, Jodi Picoult and banned books, Eclipse, Twilight, Breaking Dawn, Eclipse and banned books, banned books, Twilight and banned, The Twilight Saga books joined the list of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009, the American Library Association says. The list includes "Catcher in the Rye," and, believe it or not, "To Kill a Mockingbird."

By Valerie Strauss  | April 16, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Literature, Reading  | Tags:  amercan library association, challenged books  
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The rules of corporal punishment

In the 20 states that still allow kids to be paddled, school districts generally have their own rules for administering corporal punishment, or, in layman’s terms, whacking a kid. Some limit the number of hits, others specify where the kid can be hit (usually on the buttocks but sometimes other places). Here are some of the actual policies.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 16, 2010; 12:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Bullying  | Tags:  corporal punishment, paddling, school discipline  
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What should happen to kids who sext?

The principal of a middle school where kids were found to have bought and sold sexual images had no choice but to bring in authorities to see if any laws had broken. But that doesn’t mean the kids should have the legal book thrown at them.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 16, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Health, Montgomery County Public Schools, Parents  | Tags:  Pyle Middle School, Pyle and sexting, Pyle sexting scandal, Rosalind Wiseman, Whitman and sexting, sexting, sexting and Pyle and WHitman  
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Any value to U.S. News rankings?

It's the time of year for more U.S. News & World Report rankings, these of graduate schools around the nation. The methodology is very very complicated, but it's hard to find much meaning in any of this.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 16, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  U.S. News & World report rankings, U.S. News and graduate schools, U.S. News and rankings, U.S. News rankings, business school rankings, engineering school rankings, law school rankings, rankings of education schools, rankings of graduate schools  
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Sexting scandal at Montgomery County schools

Some female students at Pyle Middle School and Whitman High School in Montgomery County willingly posed for inappropriate pictures and some students sold and bought access to the pictures and videos, resulting in a police investigation, according to a letter sent home to students today.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 15, 2010; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Montgomery County Public Schools  | Tags:  Montgomery County public schools, Pyle Middle School, Whitman High school, police and pyle, police investigate sexting, sexting, sexting and Pyle, sexting and schools, whitman and sexting  
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Crist vetoes bad bill, Florida teachers win

Teachers in Florida can breathe a temporary sigh of relief now that Gov. Charlie Crist has announced that he intends to veto legislation that teachers said would have devastated their profession and harmed public education.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 15, 2010; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Race to the Top, Teachers  | Tags:  Crist and teachers, Crist and veto, Crist vetos bill, Florida governor vetoes bill, Florida teachers, Senate Bill 6 and veto, Senate bill 6 vetoes, crist and teachers, crist helps teachers, crist veto, florida and race to the top, teachers bill vetoed  
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New York to close teacher 'rubber rooms'

New York City will close the "rubber rooms" it has maintained where teachers sit doing nothing while collecting pay and waiting for disciplinary hearings, the Associated Press is reporting.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 15, 2010; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  NY rubber rooms, New York teachers, rubber rooms, teachers, teachers and rubber rooms, teachers unions  
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When school reform made teachers sick -- literally

There is a story in Diane Ravitch’s new book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System,” that policymakers should be forced to read whenever they are imposing yet another school reform plan on a beleaguered school district. It is about school reform implemented so forefully that teachers got sick. Not sick and tired of being told what to do by people who had never been in front of a classroom, but physically ill.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 15, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  Diane Ravitch, San Diego school reform, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, school reform  
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Teasing teachers in Florida

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has become a big tease, but it’s hard to know if he is teasing teachers or his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature. Crist has until Friday to decide what to do about legislation sent to him that would, among other thing, end teacher tenure in Florida, link teacher pay to student test scores, eliminate experience and advanced degrees as a factor in teacher evaluation, create a slew of new standardized tests for kids to take. If he listens to one person on what to do, it should be the superintendent of Manatee County schools.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 14, 2010; 3:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  Bush and teachers, Crist and teachers, Crist and teachers bill, Florida education, Florida school reform, Florida teachers, Florida teachers tenure bill, Jeb Bush, Senate Bill 6, bush and Florida educaiton, bush and teachers bill  
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College Tour '10: Virginia Tech

landscape is attractive. Even with the solid academics and friendly atmosphere, the most impressive aspect for me was the food. I was surprised how tasty food from a college cafeteria could be. My tour guide later reminded me that VT is ranked number one in dining across the nation.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 14, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, Virginia Tech, campus visits, college visits, deciding on a college  
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College Tour '10: Tell us about your visits

Tell us about your college visits and view our map with postings from others. And learn about another way you can visit a college without actually visiting.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 14, 2010; 3:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, Collegiate Choice Walking Tours, visiting campuses  
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College Tour '10: Clark University

The campus had a good feel. Students seemed to be enjoying themselves, and we talked to a few of them. Everybody gushed. The academics seem great. Along with psychology (Freud spoke here, everybody tells you), the school is also world renowned for geography. We talked to a history major who loved all of his classes.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 14, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  Clark University, College Tour '10, visiting colleges  
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College Tour '10: Villanova University

It is obvious it is a Catholic university. Everywhere you look there are crosses, and there is a beautiful church in the middle of the campus. In front of the library there is a place where students were hanging out, and selling things made by the students. It felt very comfortable.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 14, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, Villanova University, deciding on a school, visiting campuses  
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Choosing a college isn't about cachet, rankings

A college admissions expert advices high school seniors deciding where to go to college to throw away the U.S. News and World Report rankings, and pick the school that fits them best.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 14, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  College Admissions, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  U.S. news college rankings, choosing the right college, college admissions, deciding on a college, making a final decision  
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Study says spanking can lead to aggressive behavior

A new study finds that children spanked frequently at the age of 3 are more likely to become aggressive when they are 5. It is the latest in a long line of research studies extending back decades showing that corporal punishment should be considered as a significant risk factor that increases the probability of psychological disorders in children as they grow older.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 14, 2010; 9:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Early Childhood, Health  | Tags:  Tulane study and spanking, aggressive behavior and spanking, corporal punishment, spanking, spanking causing aggression in kids, study and spanking  
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U.S. public education by the latest numbers

From 1986 to 2007, the percentage of enrolled students in public elementary and secondary schools who were white decreased from 70 percent to 56 percent. In 2007-2008, the largest number of bachelor's degrees were awarded in business. These are some of the statistics in the 2010 Digest of Education Statistics, just released by the Education Department. Here are some more.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 14, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Research  | Tags:  Education Department, NAEP scores, National Center for Education Statistics, education statistics, public school enrollment, public school expenditures, school outcomes  
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Race to the Top should help desegregate schools

President Obama recently promised to marshall more resources to drag into court school systems that have ignored civil rights laws and allowed schools to resegregate. But it is fair to ask why Obama and his education secretary, Arne Duncan, did nothing to further that goal with their Race to the Top competition in which states compete for $3 billion in federal education funds.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 13, 2010; 5:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Race to the Top  | Tags:  Justice Department, Mississippi school and desegregate, Race to the Top, court and Mississippi school, court order and desegregate and school, federa court and desegregation, resegregation of schools  
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Rhee back in trouble with D.C. teachers

It would be best for D.C. kids if Michelle Rhee’s reform effort actually works in improving schools. It’s just hard to see how that is going to happen when she keeps landing herself in situations that only increase people’s mistrust of her.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 13, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  D.C. Schools  | Tags:  Chancellor Michelle Rhee, D.C. schools, D.C. schools and budget, D.C. teacher firings and Rhee, D.C. teachers, D.C. teachers and Rhee, D.C. teachers contract, Rhee and D.C. Council, Rhee and D.C. teachers, Rhee and controversy, teacher layoffs and D.C.  
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Why Obama’s schools funding approach is upsetting educators

School superintendents across the country are becoming increasingly worried about the Obama administration's plans to turn new education funding into competitive grants, including for the government's main program for helping schools in high-poverty areas.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 13, 2010; 1:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top  | Tags:  No Child Left Behind, Obama and education, Obama and school reform, Obama's blueprint, President Obama, Race to the Top, education funding, funding for schools, school reform  
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Tennessee’s Vocabulary Project--Do you know these words?

It has long been known that children from high-poverty families start school at a disadvantage, in large part because they have less than one-third of the vocabulary than better-off children. To try to address this, the state of Tennessee is implementing what it calls the Academic Vocabulary Project.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 13, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Tags:  Race to the top winners, Tennessee Vocabulary Project, Tennessee and RTTT, Tennessee and vocabulary, how to teach vocabulary, vocabulary project  
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College Tour '10: University of Maryland, College Park

I want to study architecture and really liked the program at Maryland. It’s a little different from others. I told my architecture teacher about it and she said that’s the way it used to be and that’s the way it should be. Your first two years are really about engineering. You take calculus and physics and sketch classes. You don’t even touch like Autocad or Revit [architecture software] for the first two years.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 12, 2010; 4:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Park, College Tour '10, Maryland at College Park, UMD, University of Maryland at College Park  
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College Tour '10: Tufts University

We hit Tufts in the afternoon and everybody was really nice. We were pleasantly surprised. Why I was surprised I don't really know.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 12, 2010; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, Tufts University, visiting colleges  
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College Tour '10: New York University #2

If you want to go to a traditional school, NYU wouldn’t be for you. If you like the idea of being in a city and don’t care, then it could be great.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 12, 2010; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, New York University, deciding on colleges, urban campuses, urban schools, urban vs. suburban, visiting campuses  
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College Tour '10: Brown University #2

They claim to have the happiest campus in the nation. Our tour guide said that, obviously not knowing there was a psychiatrist on the tour. The man spoke up and said, ‘I have to ask, as a psychiatrist, how are you measuring happiness?'

By Valerie Strauss  | April 12, 2010; 3:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  Brown University, College Tour '10, Ivy League, college visits, happiest campus, happiest school, happiest students  
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Willingham: Obama should stop coercing teachers and start persuading

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes about how President Obama seems to trying to coerce teachers to do what he wants rather than use his formidable powers of persuasion. Experients in psychology, he says, show that coercion gets compliance, while persuasion breeds enthusiasm and innovation.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 12, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers, Teachers  | Tags:  Daniel Willingham, Obama and teachers, Obama education policy, President Obama and teachers, guest bloggers  
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Even Megan Fox knows Calif. has an education crisis

"Crisis" is an overused word, but it is actually an understatement to explain what is happening in California public education, where massive budget cuts have left many schools without nurses, janitors, librarians and counselors, and sports programs. Teachers are being laid off in droves--and more cuts are in the offing. A video starring Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green tells it all.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 12, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  California and schools, California budget crisis, California education cuts, Fox and Green video, Megan Fox, Megan Fox and David Austin Green, Megan Fox and teachers, Megan Fox video  
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The governor and the teachers

Florida educators stage protests to urge Gov. Charlie Crist to veto a bill they say will harm public schools. At one demonstration, Crist comes to the aid of a protester.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 12, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Tags:  Florida, Florida teacher pay, Florida teacher tenure, Florida teachers, teacher pay, teacher tenure bill, teachers  
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New Harvard research on teacher effectiveness

By Debra Viadero. A new statistical analysis from a group of researchers at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research adds a new wrinkle to the known body of research on the effectiveness of teachers.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 12, 2010; 4:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Research, Teachers  | Tags:  Debra Viadero, Harvard research, research on teachers, teacher effectiveness  
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College Tour '10: Columbia University

At some other schools you got the sense that, ‘Hey, we’re a great school and you probably can’t get in.’ It wasn’t like that at Columbia.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 11, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, Columbia University, campus visits, college visits, deciding where to go to college  
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College Tour '10: Skidmore College

Not everybody may have heard about this school but we were really impressed. It was warm and welcoming. It felt very low-stress, but they have everything you want in the way of academic programs. Everyone was friendly. The town was adorable.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 11, 2010; 12:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, Skidmore College, campus visits, deciding where to go to college, visiting colleges  
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College Tour '10: Cornell University

It has seven undergraduate colleges but you have to apply separately. If you want to study engineering, you have to go into the engineering college and then if you want to change your major, you have to apply to switch into another college.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 11, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, Cornell University, Ithaca, Ivy League schools, campus visits, visiting Cornell  
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On bullying: "What are we really teaching our kids?"

By Malcolm Gauld. Our schools remain paralyzed, focused on objectives that are not only unsound; they actually fuel many of the problems we profess to want to solve. Our dynamic reminds me of an old “I Love Lucy” episode.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 11, 2010; 9:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Bullying  | Tags:  Hyde schools, Malcolm Gauld, Pheobe Prince, bullying, parenting  
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