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The Answer Sheet: June 20, 2010 - June 26, 2010

Scary things in U.S. report on school vouchers

A new government report on a voucher program in Washington, D.C., is remarkable for what it says about things other than vouchers.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 26, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Tags:  d.c. voucher program, private school voucher program, standardized tests and student achievement, voucher program  
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Extremism in school reform is not a virtue

A longtime educator says it is time to recognize the complexity of the challenges presented by ailing school districts and to avoid simplistic, extreme positions which seem so popular today.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 25, 2010; 3:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
Tags:  charter schools and teachers, colorado and teachers law, eliminating teacher tenure, merit pay and teachers, teacher tenure, teacher tenure and reform, teachers and accountability, teachers pay and test scores, value of teacher tenure  
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The long-lasting power of a great teacher

A colleague writes about one special high school teacher and the powerful connection they forged. He just learned of her death, and what she left for him.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 25, 2010; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  great teachers, great teaching, powerful learning experiences, teachers  
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New school condom policy sparks uproar

A new policy in a Massachusetts public school district that would permit students of any age to request a condom caused so much uproar that Gov. Deval Patrick asked the superintendent to reconsider.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 25, 2010; 2:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Health  | Tags:  condoms and elementary school students, condoms and schools, kids getting condoms, massachusetts and condoms and public schools, nur, schools giving condoms, schools handing out condoms, should schools give out condoms?, students getting condoms  
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Principal: How to REALLY turn around a school

A principal talks about how he and his staff successfully improved a school--but not in the way advocated by today's school reformers.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 11:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  George Wood, Guest Bloggers, Teachers  | Tags:  obama and school reform, race to the top, school reform, school restructuring, teachers, turning around schools  
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Parents fight -- literally -- at kindergarten graduation

A kindergarten graduation is interrupted in California because parents turn an argument into a physical fight.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 6:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Parents  | Tags:  brawl at graduation, graduation brawl, kindergarten graduation and parents and fight, parents argue at graduation, parents fight at graduation  
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Gulf oil spill spawns new college course

It didn’t take long for the diastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to become the focus of academics: The University of Minnesota has created a new course called “Oil and Water: The Gulf Oil Spill of 2010” that will be offered this fall.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 3:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  Oil and Water: The Gulf Oil Spill, college course on ol spill, consequences of oil spill, deepwater horizon oil spill, effects of oil spill, environment and oil spill, gulf oil spill, researching oil spill, studying the oil spill, university of minnesota, university of minnesota and new course  
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Advice from a student campus tour guide

A student college tour guide gives you all the advice you need for a successful visit.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  advice on visiting a campus, campus visits, college admissions, college campus visits, planning a college visit, scheduling college visits  
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Choosing public higher ed for the right reasons

The president of the University of Buffalo writes about why families should choose public higher education.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  SUNY system, benefits of public education, best schools in SUNY system, choosing a college, college admissions, college applicaitons, getting into college, how to pick a college, university of buffalo  
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College Tour '10 -- Macalester College

Parent: " I love that it’s a small gem in a city, urban but not too urban." And more.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, Macalester College, college admissions, getting into college  
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College Tour '10 -- Claremont Colleges

Student: "I really like the consortium system they have because there are sooo many resources shared between the five undergrad colleges." And more.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 11:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Tour '10  | Tags:  Claremont College consortium, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Scripps College, http://www.pitzer.edu/  
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College Tour '10 -- University of Southern California

Student: "I really liked that the school had a ton of school spirit."

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 11:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Tour '10  | Tags:  USC, University of Southern California, college admissions, college applications  
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College Tour '10 resumes (with links)

For rising high school seniors, the frenzied college admissions season is about to begin -- if it hasn't already. And our College Tour '10 resumes. Here are links to student and parent impressions of schools visited this year. Send us your own.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Life, College Tour '10  | Tags:  College Tour '10, admissions process, campus visits, college admissions, college admissions process, college essay topics, college essays, college visits, common app, common app essays, common applicaiton preview, common application, common application essays, deciding on colleges, how to write a college esssay, the best college essays, visiting campuses, visiting colleges  
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A better way to evaluate students and schools

Here is a proposal for a robust and effective assessment and evaluation system for students and schools that would include three key components: limited large-scale standardized testing, extensive school-based evidence of learning, and a school quality review process.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 24, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Standardized Tests  | Tags:  accountability in schools, accountablity, assessment, fairtest, how to assess statements, how to evaluate schools, monty neill, multiple measures and student assessment, student assessment through multiple measures, teacher evaluation system, the accountability movement  
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Texas judge rejects creationist master's degree

A federal judge has denied an effort by the Institute for Creation Research to issue masters degrees in science education from “a Biblical scientific creationist viewpoint,” instead siding with state officials who initially refused to allow the program to go forward.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 23, 2010; 2:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Science  | Tags:  creationism, creationism vs. evolution, creationist science, earth science institute and texas, institute for creation research, judge rejects creationist masters degree, judge sam sparks and ruling, texas and creationist institute, texas higher education coordinating board  
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Law student James Madison rediscovered through lost notes

The discovery that a series of aw notes thought to have been written by Thomas Jefferson were actually penned by James Madison has led to a call for a reassessment of the fourth U.S. president.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 23, 2010; 2:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  History  | Tags:  history, james madison and law, james madison notes, jefferson's papers, library of congress and jefferson, library of congress and madison, lost notes found, madison notes found, thomas jefferson and james madison  
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Question raised about new KIPP study (with update)

No sooner had a new study been released saying that middle school students in the charter school network called Knowledge Is Power Program, significantly outperform their public school peers on reading and math tests than critics began to find problems with the report.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 23, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Charter schools, Research  | Tags:  KIPP network, KIPP schools, Knowledge Is Power, charter schools, is  
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Ravitch to Obama: 'Change course before it is too late"

Education historian Diane Ravitch talks about meeting thousands of teachers and parents who are "unhappy, frustrated and demoralized" at the Obama administration's education policies. And she explains what she would tell President Obama if he gave her the chance.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 22, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Diane Ravitch, Education Secretary Duncan, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Teachers  | Tags:  arne duncan, death and life of the great american school system, diane ravitch, diane ravitch's book, no child left behind, obama blueprint for reform, race to the top, teachers, teachers unions and reform  
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Understanding ADHD -- Willingham

Yes, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a very real disorder, and cognitive scientist explains what parents and teachers should know about the condition.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 21, 2010; 1:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers, Learning Disabilities  | Tags:  add, add medication, adhd, adhd and school, adhd and symptoms, adhd medication, all about adhd, all about attention deficit disorder, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, children and adhd and dignosis, daniel willingham, diagnosing adhd, is adhd real?, kids with adhd, symptoms of adhd, treatment for adhd, understanding adhd  
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Preventing summer learning loss

Summer learning loss is real, but there are ways to prevent it.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 21, 2010; 11:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Learning  | Tags:  how to prevent summer learning loss, michelle obama, preventing summer learning loss, summer learning, summer reading  
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Christian churches oppose Race to the Top, Obama blueprint

An extraordinary letter sent to President Obama and U.S. lawmakers by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA -- which represents churches that have a combined membership of 45 million people -- should erase any doubt that the opposition to the Obama administration's education policies is wide and deep.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 21, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Teachers  | Tags:  arne duncan and school reform, charter schools and pastoral letter, churches of christ, education reform, elementary and secondary school act and reauthorization, esea reauthorization, national council of the churches of christ, national council of the churches of christ in the usa, obama and blueprint and education reform, obama and school reform, pastoral letter, pastoral letter and obama and education, president obama's blueprint for education reform, race to the top, reauthorization of no child left behind  
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A father's story: Saving a troubled son

A father tells the difficult story of how his son was brought back from a world of trouble with the help of dedicated staff at several therapeutic schools and wilderness programs.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 20, 2010; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Tags:  american jewish committee and ken stern, john dewey academy, redcliff ascent, schools for troubled children, schools for troubled kids, therapeutic schools, therpaeutic boarding schools, true north, wilderness programs, wilderness programs for troubled teens  
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Summer books for reluctant teen readers

Summer is the best time to entice reluctant readers to enter and learn to love books. It can happen, but there’s a trick: You have to let kids pick out their own books. To help you, the American Library Association has a great 2010 list of books for teens ages 12-18. Here it is.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 20, 2010; 7:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Reading  | Tags:  american library association, book lists, books about robert pattinson, books for teens, books for young adults, books on robert pattinson, books on the jonas brothers, getting kids to read, getting teens to read, reading, reluctant readers, robert pattinson biography, teen books list, the jonas brothers, the jonas brothers story, the robert pattinson story, young adult book list  
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Teacher: 'Worst year in the classroom' in decades

A public school teacher describes the conditions under which he is being forced to teach.

By Valerie Strauss  | June 20, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Race to the Top, Teachers  | Tags:  board certified teacher, diane ravitch, race to the top, teachers  
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