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The Answer Sheet: May 9, 2010 - May 15, 2010

Literacy kudzu

Will Fitzhugh, editor of The Concord Review, questions, no, savages, the way students are taught to read in school.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 15, 2010; 8:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Learning, Reading, Writing  | Tags:  best practices and reading instruction, how to teach reading, how to teach writing, learning, literacy, reading, reading instruction, reading wars, will fitzhugh, writing  
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California may jail parents if kids are truant

The California Senate passes a doozy of a bill that would send parents to jail for up to a year if they can't get their kids to school enough of the time. Really.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 14, 2010; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Parents  | Tags:  california considers sending parents to jail, california passes truancy law, california's truancy bill, parents and jail and kids and truancy, senate bill 1317, truancy, truancy and california  
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Don't rush to link teacher evaluation to student achievement

The president of Teachers College at Columbia University writes about the problems with President Obama's proposal to link teacher evaluation to student performance.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 14, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, National Standards, Teachers  | Tags:  No Child Left Behind, Teachers College, guest bloggers, linking teacher evaluation to student performance, value-added measures  
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Kids, cellphones, schools and safety

The debate over whether kids should be allowed to have cellphones in school rages on.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 14, 2010; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Tags:  ban on cellphones, cellphones and schools, cellphones in school, do kids need cellphones in school  
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Did Texas school board abuse its power?

With the Texas State Board of Education getting ready to adopt controversial new social studies standards, a new report accuses the panel of abusing its power and asks the state Legislature to intervene. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of...

By Valerie Strauss  | May 13, 2010; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  History  | Tags:  history, history standards and texas, texas board of education, texas social studies standards  
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When adults hit kids at school

There is a video making the Internet rounds, shot by a student, of someone identified as a teacher beating up a student. It’s ugly. But let's not forget that in 20 states, adults are allowed to whack kids for disciplinary reasons, and more than 200,000 kids a year are subject to corporal punishment. Congress may take up a bill soon to outlaw the practice.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 13, 2010; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Health  | Tags:  corporal punishment, corporal punishment laws, paddling in school, teacher beating kid, video and teacher and hitting, when kids are paddled  
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When test scores no longer matter

Jim Horn, a college instructor, writes about why, suddenly, some school reformers have decided that standardized test scores no longer matter, when they once were the holy grail.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 13, 2010; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Charter schools, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  charles murray, charter schools, guest bloggers, jim horn, studies on charter schools  
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Getting real about super-selective colleges

Bruce Vinik, a college admissions counselor, writes about why students who seem to be perfect in every way don't get into the school of their dreams.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 13, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  brown admissions, college admissions, columbia admissions, getting into harvard, getting into stanford, getting into the ivy league, harvard admissions, ivy league, selective colleges and applicants, who gets into harvard  
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Should Breathalyzers be used at proms?

More and more high schools across the country are turning to Breathalyzers or similar devices to test kids to see if they have been drinking before they can enter the school prom. The real question is whether they stop young people from drinking.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 12, 2010; 3:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  High School  | Tags:  alcohol and proms, breathalyzers at dances, breathalyzers at proms, high school proms, proms and alcohol, should kids be tested for alchol, testing kids for alcohol, testing students for alcohol  
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In Arizona, bad ethnic studies bill becomes law

If you think that Arizona state government officials would have something better to do with their time than to go after an ethic studies program that they don’t like, you’d be wrong. The governor signed a bad bill into law today, proving that some adults can't seem to learn from their own mistakes.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 12, 2010; 11:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (214)
Categories:  Learning, Teachers  | Tags:  arizona governor signs bill, arizona law, brewer signs bill, ethnics studies and arizona, ethnics studies program and arizona, tuscon ethnics studies  
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A most unusual university investigation

A Christian university investigates whether one of its official really has the Muslim background he says he had before converting.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 12, 2010; 9:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  Liberty University, caner and muslim, caner and muslim background, falwell and liberty university, investigation into caner, liberty university investigation, was caner a muslim  
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Goodlad: How to help our schools -- Part 3

Influential educator John Goodlad completes a three-part series on how to fix our schools.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 12, 2010; 8:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, John Goodlad, Learning  | Tags:  Guest Bloggers, John Goodlad, NCLB, National Standards, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top | Tags: John Goodlad, 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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Teachers refuse to give standardized tests to kids

Maybe there is a lesson in this for American teachers. Saying that they are sick and tired of forcing kids to take standardized tests, thousands of teachers in England are refusing to administer high-stakes standardized tests in English and math this week.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 12, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Standardized Tests, Teachers  | Tags:  boycott in Britain, standardized tests, teachers, teachers boycott test, test boycott  
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A new source for education news, analysis

Here's a new source for the public to get news and analysis about education.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 11, 2010; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Tags:  Hechinger Report, Teachers College, education news  
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Horse, then cart, on teacher evaluation -- Hess

American Enterprise Institute's Frederick M. Hess writes about why Colorado's school reform bill is in one sense a giant step forward, but is overreaching in an "impatient rush to 'fix' teacher quality in one furious burst."

By Valerie Strauss  | May 11, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Standardized Tests, Teachers  | Tags:  Colorado and teachers, Colorado school reform, Frederick Hess, Rick Hess, standardized tests, teacher assessment, teachers  
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John Lennon and Arne Duncan

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is visiting the Department of Education today, and we imagine what it would be like if Education Secretary Arne Duncan fully supported arts education.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 11, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Learning  | Tags:  Arne Duncan, John Lennon and music, John Lennon bus, John Lennon bus and Education Department, an, arts education, arts education and Arne Duncan  
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Yale and Harvard at the Supreme Court

If President Obama wins confirmation for Elena Kagan, his choice for the Supreme Court, it will mean that every justice on the court went to law school at Harvard or Yale. Does this matter? Should it?

By Valerie Strauss  | May 10, 2010; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Tags:  Harvard and Yale and supreme court, Ivy League and Supreme Court, Kagan and Harvard, Supreme Court justices and Harvard, Supreme Court nomination, elite and law school, justices who went to harvard  
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Why student attitudes toward school change -- Willingham

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham talks about the differences he sees between first-graders and sixth-graders, and the reasons kids change in their attitude toward school.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 10, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers, Learning  | Tags:  Daniel Willingham, about first graders, about sixth grade, guest bloggers, learning  
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Say what, Secretary Duncan?

Education Secretary Arne Duncan must have been kidding when he said he has no public opposition to his education reforms. Because if he isn't kidding, the alternative is far worse.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 10, 2010; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Race to the Top  | Tags:  Education Secretary Duncan, Race to the Top, Race to the Top opposition, Wall Street Journal and Duncan, public opposition to reform, race to the top proposals, states pull out of race to the top  
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How to get the right college roommate

Graduating high school seniors heading for college will soon get a questionnaire from the school of their choice about housing and roommate preferences. Under no circumstances should they take this form lightly because their freshman year is at stake.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 10, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Life, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  campus housing, college admissions, college dormitories, college dorms, college housing, college roommates, dormitories, getting a college roommate, getting along with a roommate  
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Charter schools: Is this the way it was supposed to work?

With Education Secretary Arne Duncan promoting the expansion of publicly funded charter schools as if they had been proven to be the silver bullet for school reform (they haven’t), it seems reasonable to look at what can happen when schools are opened without enough regulation.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 9, 2010; 5:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Charter schools, Education Secretary Duncan  | Tags:  Arne Duncan, Central Avenue School, Duncan and charter schools, Education Secretary Duncan, Florida and charter schools, Imagine Schools, New York Times and charter schools, St. Petersburg Times and charter schools, charter schools  
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The funniest commencement speeches

Most graduation speeches are boring; who really remembers theirs? But some classes get lucky, and are graced with a speaker who says something memorable because it is profound rather than sappy, or because it is really funny, or because it is profound and funny at the same time. I like the funny ones, so here are excerpts of some of the funny ones.

By Valerie Strauss  | May 9, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  commencement speeches, degeneres speech, ellen degeneres and tulane, funny commencement speeches, funny graduation speeches, graduation ceremonies, graduation speeches, hilarious commencement speeches, jon stewart and commencement address, jon stewart and william and mary, lady gaga and commencement address, lady gaga and new york university, obama and commencement, obama and graduation, obama at hampton, will ferrell and harvard  
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