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The Answer Sheet: October 3, 2010 - October 9, 2010

The bankrupt 'school reform manifesto' of Rhee, Klein, etc.

There are so many things wrong with the new “school reform manifesto” signed by 16 school district chiefs -- including New York’s Joel Klein and Washington’s Michelle Rhee -- and published in The Washington Post that it is hard to know where to start.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 9, 2010; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  D.C. Schools, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  baltimore contract, baltimore schools, council of great city schools, joel klein, klein and rhee, michael casserly, michelle rhee, reform document, reform manifesto, school manifesto, teachers, teachers and assessment, washington post  
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Shakespeare unseated as king of high school theater

William Shakespeare has been knocked off his throne as king of dramatic high school theater productions for the first time since an annual survey began in 1937 -- and you may be surprised by who overtook him. Dramatics magazine has...

By Valerie Strauss  | October 9, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Arts Education  | Tags:  almost maine, beauty and the beast, dramatics, footloose, high school theater, high school theater productions, john cariani, midsummer night's dream, shakespeare, shakespeare plays, theater, theater productions, theater survey, top 10 musicals, top 10 plays  
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P.S.: Stephen Colbert blew it on schools, too

It wasn't enough that Lewis Black was unsuccessful in adequately skewering modern school reform on Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" earlier this week. Last night Steven Colbert blew it too.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 8, 2010; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  charter schools, colbert nation, comedy central, davis guggenheim, jon stewart, lewis black, school reform, steven colbert, the colbert report, the daily show, waiting for superman  
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Poll: Kids say their friends share too much online

A new poll of teens and parents reveals that 92 percent of parents are concerned that their children share too much personal information online, and 79 percent of kids think their friends do too.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 8, 2010; 2:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Research, Technology  | Tags:  apps, common sense media, contests on line, facebook, opt out buttons, opt-out, privacy, privacy online, privacy settings, social media  
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Using 'School Quality Reviews' to improve schools

Here is the first of three articles that will describe an assessment and evaluation system for schools that its authors, Monty Neill and Gary Ratner, argue should replace No Child Left Behind's test-centric structure.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 8, 2010; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, No Child Left Behind, School turnarounds/reform, Standardized Tests, Teacher assessment  | Tags:  assessing schools, evaluating schools, fairtest, monty neill, naep, nclb, no child left behind, school quality reviews, standardized tests, state tests  
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Still trying to make sense of NBC's Teacher Town Hall

A special education teacher who attended NBC's Teacher Town Hall is still trying to make sense out of the event, saying that it did not turn out as advertised.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 8, 2010; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Teachers  | Tags:  education nation, nbc, school reform, teachers  
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Poll: Americans misunderstand learning disabilities

A new poll shows that a majority of Americans have severe misperceptions of learning disabilities, the causes and even the definition. This can affect when children are diagnosed and given help that they need.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 8, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Learning Disabilities, Research  | Tags:  autism, learning disabilities, mental retardation, research, roper  
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Jon Stewart and Lewis Black blew it on schools

Lewis Black’s piece on “the public school crisis” that aired on Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” the other night left me wondering why education reform hasn’t been more of a high value target for Stewart or, for that matter, Steven Colbert.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 7, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  charter schools, colbert report, jon stewart, lewis black, school reform, steven colbert, the colbert report, the daily show, waiting for superman  
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An education film that gets it (No, not 'Superman')

Educator Mark Phillips writes that real success in improving schools requires attention to the emotional and psychological lives of kids, a point captured in the film "Race to Nowhere." It demonstrates an understanding of real learning that other education films, such as "Waiting for Superman," don't.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 7, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  School turnarounds/reform, Student Life  | Tags:  madeleine levine, race to nowhere, school reform, the cartel, the lottery, waiting for superman  
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Down the education rabbit hole

David B. Cohen writes, referring to Lewis Carrol's "Alice's Adventures: "Much of the education reform debate has been down the rabbit hole for a while, but I keep expecting people to act with some common sense."

By Valerie Strauss  | October 6, 2010; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, School turnarounds/reform, Teachers  | Tags:  bush initiative, bush institute, education nation, newsweek, principals, school reform, teachers  
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Paper applications for tech schools: a harbinger?

A college counseling director finds an unusual applications twist: Technological universities using paper applications.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 6, 2010; 11:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  College Admissions, Technology  | Tags:  college admissions, college applications, college counselors  
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Ravitch: Why teachers should never be rated by test scores

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes: "...Value-added assessment should not be used at all. Never. It has a wide margin of error. It is unstable. A teacher who is highly effective one year may get a different rating the next year depending on which students are assigned to his or her class. Ratings may differ if the tests differ. To the extent it is used, it will narrow the curriculum and promote teaching to tests. Teachers will be mislabeled and stigmatized. Many factors that influence student scores will not be counted at all."

By Valerie Strauss  | October 6, 2010; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Diane Ravitch, Guest Bloggers, School turnarounds/reform, Standardized Tests, Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  diane ravitch, how to assess teache, l.a. times, l.a. times database, los angeles times, ravitch book, rigoberto ruelas, school reform, teacher and suicide, teacher assessment, teacher commits suicide, teacher database, teacher evaluation, teachers, test scores, value added  
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Report: Schools, teacher ed programs ignore how kids really learn

James Comer and Robert Pianta write about a new report that says: "Despite big advances in our understanding of how children and adolescents grow and learn, little of that knowledge has found its way into schools or educator preparation programs."

By Valerie Strauss  | October 5, 2010; 12:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Learning, Research  | Tags:  achievement gap, education research, james comer, research, robert pianita, student achievement, teacher education, teacher evaluation, teacher quality  
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Jill Biden, Obama host summit on community colleges

Jill Biden, a longtime community college instructor who happens to be the country's Second Lady, hosts the first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges today.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 5, 2010; 8:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Community Colleges  | Tags:  community college summit, community colleges, dropout rates, graduation rates, jill biden, obama, president obama, white house summit  
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The nutty demonization of Randi Weingarten

It isn't easy being Randi Weingarten these days. The American Federation of Teachers finds herself being unfairly demonized from all sides.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 5, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  aft, american federation of teachers, bin laden, charter schools urban schools, davis guggenheim, democrats for education reform, dfer, education nation, hedge fund, huffington post, joe williams, national education association, nea, osama bin laden, public school reform, public schools, randi weingarten, school reform, teachers, teachers unions, terrorism, unions, waiting for superman  
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What public school teachers really need

A teacher at the SEED Public Charter School in Washington D.C., which was featured in the film "Waiting for Superman," explains what makes his school work for teachers.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 4, 2010; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Teachers  | Tags:  center for teaching quality, certified teachers, charter schools, dan brown, davis guggenheim, guest bloggers, school reform, seed charter, seed public charter school, seed school, superman, superman film, waiting for superman  
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Willingham: How to teach collaboration

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes that “collaboration” and “working effectively in groups” are often deemed 21st century skills that young people must learn. But how to teach them? Researchers just made headway in characterizing what good group members do.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 4, 2010; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Curriculum, High School, Higher Education, Intelligence, Research  | Tags:  21st century skills, collaboration, dan willingham, daniel willingham, how to teach collaboration, teaching 21st century skills, willingham, working in groups  
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How to make schools safer for gay students

Here are new recommendations for schools to address safety concerns of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students in the wake of four suicides of gay students in three weeks.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 4, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  College Life, Guest Bloggers, Kevin Welner  | Tags:  gay students, gay suicides, harassment of gays, harrass and gays, lgbt, lgbt students, lgbt suicides, safe campuses, safe schools, students suicide, suicides  
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Book blasts research base for Obama reform plan

A new book analyzes the research base for President Obama's blueprint for education reform and finds that it is, at best, very weak.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 4, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Research, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  diane ravitch, education research, esea, no child left behind, obama blueprint, obama schools, reform blueprint, research, research summary, school reform, welner  
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Where kids study in Europe, and what they should do now

Europe is the top destination for college students studying abroad. Here's information for families with students there now, or planning to go, in light of the State Department's travel alert issued today.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 3, 2010; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  College Life  | Tags:  al-Qaida, bin laden, europe, students in europe, study abroad, study europe, terrorism, terrorism alert, terrorist attacks, travel alert, travel destinations, travel safety, travel tips, travel to europe  
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