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The Answer Sheet: October 24, 2010 - October 30, 2010

Dear Jon: Let George speak

Dear Jon Stewart: George Wood, a school principal, has traveled from Sewart, Ohio, to attend your Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington D.C. The least you could do is give him a minute to talk about the insanity in his profession, education. You don’t do much of that on your show, and you could make amends here.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 30, 2010; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  George Wood  | Tags:  george wood, jon stewart, keep fear alive, rally to restore sanity, sam waterston, school reform, stephen colbert, stewart, washington rally  
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Waiting for sanity in education reform

This fall brought a lot of noise in the education world: A movie, a manifesto and a mayoral election. Now comes news Now comes the news that, in light of whatever is going to happen on Nov. 2nd, the Obama administration is looking for ways to work with the next Congress and is targeting No Child Left Behind to reauthorize. George Wood says: "Yikes."

By Valerie Strauss  | October 29, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  George Wood, Guest Bloggers, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  diane ravitch, george wood, jon stewart, jon stewart rally, mike rose, no child left behind, restore sanity, sanity rally, school reform, stephen colbert, stewart colbert, waiitng for superman  
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What Rhee's successor should do first

Michelle Rhee rather gracelessly delivered a parting shot to teachers on her way out of the building, telling them to watch their backs because the teacher evaluation system that she created, IMPACT, can tell who’s good and who’s not. Unfortunately, that’s not quite accurate. It's an unfair system open for abuse and Rhee's successor should move to fix it. Now.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 29, 2010; 9:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  D.C. Schools, Teacher assessment  | Tags:  IMPACT, d.c. schools, kaya henderson, michelle rhee, performance pay, teach assessment, teacher evaluation, teacher preparation  
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And now, a tragicomic conversation on 'differentiation'

If you liked a video I posted this week showing a funny but scary conversation about collaborative planning and teaching, here's a different one, this on "differentiation." Watch the new one even if you didn't like the first one.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 29, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Tags:  collaboration, differentiation, education video, planning meeting, school reform, teacher collaboration, teachers, you tube  
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How to evaluate students: Look at their work

The best way to find out what students know and can do is to look at their actual work, not by the results of a standardized test. Monty Neill looks at how a local assessment system can work.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 28, 2010; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Assessment, Guest Bloggers, Learning, No Child Left Behind  | Tags:  fairtest, learning record, local assessment, monty neill, nclb, nclb reauthorization, no child left behind, problem solving, standardized tests  
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Poll: How science should be taught

A national survey released today shows that big percentages of science teachers and parents believe that kids should learn science with hands-on experiments but only 22 percent of teachers feel they have the resources needed to conduct them.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 28, 2010; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Science  | Tags:  how to teach science, parent involvement, science, science lessons, science teachers, teaching, teaching science  
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New college rankings based on quality, cost

The folks at Kiplinger.com, which offers financial advice, did some numbers crunching and came up with their list of the best values in private universities and liberal arts colleges, taking quality and cost into consideration.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 28, 2010; 1:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  College Costs  | Tags:  best values in education, caltech, college costs, duke, harvard, higher education costs, kiplingers, kiplingers best values, mit, princeton, private schools, rice university, swarthmore college, total college costs, yale  
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Do we really need an ed 'enemies list'?

The University Council for Educational Administration Review has published an education "enemies list." I wish it hadn't.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 28, 2010; 11:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  arne duncan, e.d. hirsch, enemies list, rick hess, school reform  
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Why are we failing in history, science education?

An award-winning writer of history and science textbooks writes about the importance of great textbooks and explains why so many are so terrible.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 28, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, History, Science  | Tags:  history, history textbooks, joy hakim, science, science textbooks, textbook adoption, textbooks, virginia textbooks  
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Ivy League students 'out' kids who don't donate to senior fund

How's this for obnoxious? Student volunteers at Dartmouth College and Cornell University, using lists given to them by school administrators, are “outing” students who have not donated to senior class gift funds.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 27, 2010; 2:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  cornell university, dartmouth college, fund raising, ivy league, senior class, senior gifts  
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Are we raising a generation of bullies?

There is a new poll getting a lot of attention that says half of high school students say they have bullied someone in the past year. If that's true, we're trying to fix the wrong education problem.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 27, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Bullying  | Tags:  bullies, bullying, bullying advisory, bullying definition, bullying survey, department of education, education department bullying, gay suicides, president obama, suicides, what is bullying  
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"Superman' tells false story about Emily's school

"Waiting for Superman" tells the stories of five students said to be desperate to escape their “failing” public schools. But in at least one case, that of Emily Jones, the story told isn't true.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 27, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Charter schools, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  caroline grannan, davis guggenheim, emily jones, public school, waiting for superman  
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Ravitch on how wrong 'Superman' really is

Education historian Diane Ravitch critiques the most basic things that Davis Guggenheim got wrong in 'Waiting for Superman.'

By Valerie Strauss  | October 27, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Charter schools, Diane Ravitch, Guest Bloggers, Standardized Tests  | Tags:  charter schools, davis guggenheim, diane ravitch, naep, proficient, standardized tests, waiting for superman  
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7 Class size myths -- and the truth

Across the country, class sizes are increasing at unprecedented rates. Budget pressures are weighing on school districts, but there has also been a fierce attack on the value of class size reduction. Here are the most common myths about class size (No 1: It is an unproven, ineffective reform) along with the facts.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 27, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Class size, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  class size, class size matters, class size reduction, education department, florida class size, leonie haimson, school reform, texas class size  
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In STEM era, humanities get new attention

Given all the attention STEM-related subjects get, you could be forgiven for thinking that math, science, technology and engineering are the only things college students can take. In this STEM era, the humanities are getting new attention at colleges and universities.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 26, 2010; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Curriculum, Higher Education  | Tags:  STEM, brandeis university, engineering degrees, humanities, iran, mandel center, math education, new york times editorial, president obama, science fair, social sciences, south korea, stem education, the humanities, university of connecticut, university of pittsburgh, white house  
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Safety schools matter in college admissions

A college admissions consultant advises kids applying to college to think hard about safety schools. They may be the most important schools on any individual’s college list.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 26, 2010; 10:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Bruce Vinik, College Admissions, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  college admissions, college applications, getting into college, safeties, safety schools, what's a safety?  
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A funny, scary 'education' conversation

Here's a hysterical and scary video showing two toy figures in a conversation that tells you everything you need to know about the state of school reform. You can read some of the dialogue.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 26, 2010; 9:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Laugh and cry, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  collaboration, planning meeting, school reform, teacher collaboration, teachers, you tube  
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Willingham: Is a paradigm shift really needed?

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham critiques a popular video that insists that we "do not simply need to fix or improve our schools but to completely rethink how they operate."

By Valerie Strauss  | October 25, 2010; 11:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers, Learning, Learning Disabilities  | Tags:  cognitive science, daniel willingham, reformation, renaissance, rousseau, school reform, sir ken robinson  
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College fees: Not just for books and athletics

Fees aren’t just for books, student clubs and athletics anymore. Schools keep coming up with different ways to squeeze money out of their students.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 25, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  College Costs  | Tags:  college costs, college fees, freshman orientation, health center, health insurance, late fees, late registration, library fees, parking fees, registration fees  
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The real effect of teachers union contracts

Teachers unions are a big target today of some school reformers who view these organizations as the biggest obstacle to improving student achievement. So why are states without binding teacher contracts among the lowest-performing in the nation?

By Valerie Strauss  | October 25, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Matthew Di Carlo, Standardized Tests, Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  naep, national assessement of educational progress, shanker institute, teachers union, text scores, union contracts, waiting for superman  
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Saving public education: the 'Dolly Solution'

An educator proposes a new model for school reform: cloning, which, in three easy steps, is the surest route for improving public education. It makes perfect sense.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 24, 2010; 3:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Charter schools, Guest Bloggers, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  arne duncan, cloning, dolly parton, dolly the sheep, education department, george washington, jaime escalante, led zeppelin, no child left behind, public schools, race to the top, school reform, schools, stairway to heaven, stand and deliver, teachers, ted williams  
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