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The Answer Sheet: April 25, 2010 - May 1, 2010

Should high schools eliminate honors at graduation?

A high school student writes that high school graduations should honor all students equally, and that icons on programs and honor cords should be eliminated.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 1, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  High School  | Tags:  Catonsville High School, awards ceremony, graduation ceremonies, graduation honors, high school graduation, honors awards ceremony  
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Rhee, smoke and mirrors in the D.C. schools budget

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s mantra is performance and accountability, and more performance and more accountability. She is, in fact, getting ready to soon judge teachers under her new IMPACT evaluation system, and, presumably, will lop off, figuratively, the professional heads of those who don’t score high enough. That’s accountability in action. But what about Rhee’s own performance?

By Valerie Strauss  | April 30, 2010; 11:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  D.C. Schools  | Tags:  D.C. schools, D.C. teachers contract, Michelle Rhee and budget, d.c. council hearing, gandhi and contract, gandhi and rhee, gandhi approves contract, gandhi's letter, teachers and D.C. and funds, teachers contract  
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Are ed reformers ignoring American values?

By Marion Brady. Perhaps most curious of all is the present education reform effort’s disregard for deep-seated American values. With the possible exception of Australia, no other country matches America in professed admiration for the non-standard person....Why, then, is there near-universal enthusiasm for national standards?

By Valerie Strauss  | April 30, 2010; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Marion Brady, National Standards, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top  | Tags:  Common Core Standards, Marion Brady, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, american values, guest bloggers, national standards, national standards and american values, schools and american values  
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It's senior prank season

Senior prank season is upon us and already some kids are in big trouble.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 30, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  High School  | Tags:  graduating seniors, high school, high school and pranks, senior pranks, seniors and pranks  
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Obama awards Teacher of the Year

President Obama presented Sarah Brown Wessling from Iowa with the 2010 National Teacher of the Year award today at a ceremony in the Rose Garden. He also supported legislative efforts to provide funding to states to keep hundreds of thousands of teachers from being laid at the end of the school year.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 29, 2010; 4:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  president obama, sara brown wessling, teacher of the year, teacher of the year winner, teachers, wessling and teacher of the year  
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The surprising educator on Time’s list of influential people

A surprising addition to Time magazine's 2010 list of most influential people is the one educator included--and no, it is not D.C. Schools Superintendent Michelle Rhee, who has become the darling of school reforms nationwide. Neither is it Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 29, 2010; 12:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Tags:  Time magazine, deborah gist, michelle rhee, most influential list, most influential people, time list of influential people, time mag's list of influential people  
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College choice: Not a one-size-fits-family deal

Education counselor Eileen Wilkinson writes about why families should view a college choice as an individual consideration and not as a one-size-fits-the-family deal.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 29, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  College Admissions, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  college admissions, prep matters, prepmatters, sibling rivalry, siblings and college  
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What does being “college and career ready” mean?

It is one of President Obama’s key education reform goals: Ensuring that all students who graduate high school are “college and career ready” by 2020 is one of President Obama's key education reform goals. But what does that mean?

By Valerie Strauss  | April 29, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  No Child Left Behind  | Tags:  ESEA reauthorization, NCLB, Obama and education reform, college and career ready and obama, college and career ready,, what does "college and career ready mean"  
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Yes and no on D.C. teachers contract funding

Yes, the contract that D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee negotiated with the Washington Teachers Union should be approved. But no, the city should not allow itself to be beholden to private foundations who have offered to donate $64.5 million to help pay for teachers raises.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 28, 2010; 6:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  D.C. Schools  | Tags:  Chancellor Michelle Rhee, D.C. schools, D.C. teachers, D.C. teachers contract, d.c. teachers contract, foundations and teachers contract, private foundations and D.C. teachers contract, rhee and contract, rhee and gandi and contract, teachers contract, teachers contract and D.C., teachers contract in trouble  
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Colleges woo accepted students as May 1 deadline nears

Every school offers admissions to some students who don’t come. Not even at Harvard. That’s why many schools try hard to woo students they have accepted to say ‘Yes.” With the national May 1 deadline for accepted students to declare where they will attend, schools are making last-ditch telephone calls and sending e-mails, holding campus tours for accepted students right up to the end of the month and even offering to pay some of the travel costs to visit the campus.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 28, 2010; 3:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  Harvard University admissions, May 1 deadline, Wesleyan admissions, college admissions, college wait lists, colleges wooing students, wooing students  
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Social media addiction: Worse than you think

So 200 University of Maryland students agreed to go without social media for 24 hours--no cell phones or computers--and their reaction was akin to drug withdrawal. I don’t know if these students are clinically addicted or not, but anybody who remembers enjoying life before the cell phone was invented may find some of the student's blog posts disturbing because they reveal thinking that is markedly narrow, unimaginative and too often historically obtuse.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 28, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  College Life, Research, Technology, University of Maryland  | Tags:  University of Maryland, kids addicted to technology, kids addicted to video, research, social media, social media experiment, technology  
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How to measure student growth

By Lisa Guisbond. Growth models are pitched as a thoroughly modern, scientific way to .answer the age-old parental question: “What did you learn in school this year, my dear?” It seems reasonable enough: Test students at the beginning and the end of the year and measure the “growth” in test scores to see if student achievement is improving. Given the narrow and limited nature of the data used to measure this growth, however, there’s often less than meets the eye in the results. Fortunately, there are better, if little known or understood, ways of both measuring and stimulating real growth in learning.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 28, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Lisa Guisbond, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Standardized Tests, Teachers  | Tags:  Race to the Top, growth models, how to evaluate teachers, nclb, no child left behind, schools and growth models, standardized tests, teacher assessment, teacher evaluation, teachers  
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New study: 1 in 3 college students transfer

A new report on students who transfer from one college to another says that about one-third of students who start at a two- or four-year institution after high school wind up transferring before they get a bachelor’s degree. And it details the factors schools consider important when evaluating transfer applicants.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 28, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  college admissions, important factors in college transfers, national association for college counseling, report on transfer students, transfer student report, transfer students  
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Goodlad on school reform: Are we ignoring lessons of last 50 years?

By John Goodlad.... But, as 2009 merged into 2010, the expectations for a new dawning in schooling were slipping away. The good news was that the No Child Left Behind Act soon would be history. But the proposals for “reform” were déjà vu all over again—been there, done that. I suddenly awakened to the realization that we were tinkering, one more time, toward an ill-defined utopia. I was dumbfounded.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 27, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, John Goodlad, National Standards, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top  | Tags:  John Goodlad, NCLB, goodlad and a place called school, goodlad on school reform, guest bloggers, john goodlad and school reform, no child left behind and goodlad, race to the top, school reform  
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Draft anti-bullying policy released in Phoebe Prince’s school district

The Massachusetts school district where a 15-year-old bullied girl, Phoebe Prince, killed herself, has unveiled a draft anti-bullying policy. Meanwhile, the subject of bullying is getting new academic treatment.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 27, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Bullying  | Tags:  Phoebe P, Phoebe Prince, South Hadley schools, bullying  
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VP, Jill Biden pay respect to teachers

At a time when it has become almost a national sport to bash teachers, Vice President Joe Biden and the Second Lady, Professor Jill Biden, took a different, and welcome, tact yesterday by hosting the 2010 State Teachers of the Year.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 27, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  Biden and teachers, Bidens host teachers, Jill Biden and teachers, Teachers of the Year, Vice President Biden and teachers, teacher of the year, teachers  
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Willingham: Stanford charter school and 'confirmation bias'

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham looks at how "confirmation bias" affected the way people looked at the news that a charter school founded by Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond was closed.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 26, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Charter schools, Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  Daniel Willingham, Linda Darling-Hammong, Stanford charter school, charter schools, guest bloggers  
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The D.C. area: Obsessed with SAT scores

If you have any doubt just how obsessed folks in the greater Washington D.C. area are with getting their children into college, you need look no further than the Washington Post’s list of best-selling books.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 26, 2010; 10:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  College Admissions, SAT and ACT  | Tags:  SAT, college admissions, college board, official sat study guide, sat test advice, tips on taking the sat  
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Vote on Obama's commencement speech contest

Starting today the public can rate the six public schools named as finalists in a White House competition that offers up President Obama as the prize. Obama will give the commencement speech at the winning school.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 26, 2010; 6:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Race to the Top  | Tags:  Blue Valley Northwest High School, Clark Montessori, Denver School of Science and Technology, Environmental Charter high School, High School Commencement Challenge, Kalamazoo Central High school, MAST Academy, Obama and high schools, Obama gives commencement, Race to the Top, Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge  
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Banning cookies: Is this school going too far?

A Tucson school bans all processed foods, meaning kids can't even bring a cookie for lunch or risk having it taken away. Is this school going overboard?

By Valerie Strauss  | April 25, 2010; 3:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Health  | Tags:  Children's Success Academy, charter schools, health, obesity epidemic, school lunch, school lunch program, school that bans cookies  
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New strategy to teach vocabulary -- Viadero

A Harvard researcher develops and tests a new strategy for directly teaching all-purpose academic words to middle school students.

By Valerie Strauss  | April 25, 2010; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Reading, Research  | Tags:  Catherine Snow, Harvard research, research, teaching vocabulary, vocabulary  
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