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The Answer Sheet: October 31, 2010 - November 6, 2010

Must we have the digital vs. print battle?

Do we have to have a fight over digital vs. print in children's literature? Why can't we have both?

By Valerie Strauss  | November 6, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Literature, Reading  | Tags:  barnes and noble, children's literature, digital books, digital media, digital vs. print, future of books, getting kids to read, kid lit, kindle, raising a reader  
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How Bill Maher got D.C. school reform wrong

The myth-making about the course of D.C. school reform and why Mayor Adrian Fenty was voted out of office in the nation’s capital continued last night, this time on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

By Valerie Strauss  | November 6, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
Categories:  D.C. Schools  | Tags:  adrian fenty, bill maher, d.c. schools, hbo, mayor fenty, michelle rhee, real time with bill maher, school reform, the wall street journal, the washington post  
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Montgomery County admits kids were pushed too hard in math

The highly regarded Montgomery County Public Schools now admits that it has been pushing too many kids into accelerated math when they weren't ready and will stop it. A lot of parents are going to lose bragging rights at cocktail parties.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 5, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Math, Montgomery County Public Schools, Parents  | Tags:  accelerated math, common core standards, math, math programs, moco, moco schools, montgomery county public schools, montgomery county schools  
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Who’s NOT on Forbes powerful people list -- but should be

On the Forbes list of the 68 most powerful people in the world you will find government leaders, bankers, religious figures, a drug trafficker and Oprah Winfrey. But you won't find an educator, and there's one who should have been on the list.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 5, 2010; 9:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan  | Tags:  arne duncan, china president, dalai lama, forbes, forbes magazine, hu jintao, jintao, mark zuckerberg, oprah, oprah winfrey, pope benedict, powerful people list, president obama  
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A 'doable' solution to teacher quality

Is there an alternative to firing teachers in order to improve teacher quality? How about helping average teachers improve? Steve Peha explains how, saying, "Average teachers, not super teachers, represent our greatest opportunity for positive change. They affect the most students. They’re the most likely to improve if given the right support."

By Valerie Strauss  | November 5, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Teachers  | Tags:  education, math facts, michelle rhee, public schools, schools, steve peha, teacher assessment five paragraph essay, teachers, waiting for superman, writing essays  
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Has Ravitch hurt 'Superman’s' Oscar ambitions?

Millions of words have been written about Davis Guggenheim’s “Waiting for Superman” and the education policies it promotes, but now we have a new line of analysis about its impact: What are its chances for an Academy Award, and did Diane Ravitch hurt them?

By Valerie Strauss  | November 4, 2010; 4:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Charter schools, Diane Ravitch  | Tags:  academy awards, bill gates, charter schools, davis guggenheim, diane ravitch, gates foundation, movie line, new york review of books, oscar, waiting for superman  
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Margaret Spellings: The last NCLB defender?

It's hard to find strong defenders of No Child Left Behind these days, except, perhaps, for Margaret Spellings.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 4, 2010; 1:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  No Child Left Behind  | Tags:  arne duncan, diane ravitch, education secretary arne duncan, jay mathews, margaret spellings, nclb, no child left behind, vincent gray  
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Some good news for California teachers

Public schools teachers in California got some good news from the midterm elections: Their candidate won in the race for state Superintendent of Public Instruction is still good news.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 4, 2010; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  california, california teachers, cft, charter schools, dfer, diane ravitch, gloria romero, state superintendent, tom torlakson  
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College admissions’ dirty little secrets

A college admissions advisor warns parents not to let their kids find the school first and then figure out how to pay for it because "students whose parents can 'write the check' stand a markedly better chance of getting admitted, all other factors being equal.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 4, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  College Admissions, College Costs, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  admissions process, college admissions, college applications, college tuition, financial aid, guest bloggers, sticker price  
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Where Kline stands on education policy

The man expected to be the new chairman of the House's education committee has some strong opinions about policy: He immensely dislikes No Child Left Behindy, but wants the Disabilities Education Act fully funded.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 4, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Congress  | Tags:  112th congress, IDEA, arne duncan, charter schools, congress, education committee, education policy, gop takeover, gop victory, house education and labor committee, john kline, midterm elections, nclb, no child left behind, president obama, race to the top, rep. john kline, republican victory, special ed, special education  
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Will new ed policy affect all districts equally?

The new political landscape created by the midterm elections could mean that education policy will not affect all school districts in the same way. Some may get the flexibility they have craved since No Child Left Behind was passed; others may not.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 3, 2010; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Congress, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  arne duncation, bush and nclb, congress, education policy, george bush, midterm elections, nclb, no child left behind, president bush, reauthorization nclb  
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Why so many bright kids fail to launch in college

Nationwide, there is a large and growing group of bright kids whose brains aren’t wired right for a demanding college routine. The strategies and supports that worked in high school when they were living at home are not adequate to the new demands that college places on the executive functions of the brain.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 3, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Higher Education, Learning Disabilities  | Tags:  SAT scores, add, adhd, college dropouts, college freshmen, college graduation, college work, executive functioning, graduation rates, high school, higher education, landmark college, learning disabilities  
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Education policy: What will happen now

If you think things have been unexpectedly bad in the world of education under President Obama, the Republican takeover of the House could just make things even worse.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 3, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Congress  | Tags:  boehner, boehner speaker of the house, congress, democrats, education department, education policy, gops takes house, john boehner, nclb, no child left behind, obama, obama democrats, president obama, rand paul, republican takeover, republicans, speaker of the house  
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What Michelle Rhee did in D.C.: Point by point

Here's a final critique of Michelle Rhee's legacy as chancellor of D.C. public schools, point by point, by a former D.C. schools student and teacher.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 2, 2010; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  D.C. Schools, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  d.c. schools, diane ravitch, michelle rhee, naep, rhee's legacy, standardized tests  
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Rhee's testing legacy: An open question

Michelle Rhee's aim was to raise standardized tests scores, and with few exceptions, even those who objected to her “abrasive” style and controversial policies seem to believe that she succeeded wildly in the testing area. This conclusion is premature.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 2, 2010; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  D.C. Schools, Guest Bloggers, Matthew Di Carlo, Standardized Tests  
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What other countries are really doing in education

For a while education mavens keep pointing to other countries as models for education reform. Let's look at what some of them are really doing. Guess what? It's not what we're doing.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 2, 2010; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Sean Slade  | Tags:  arne duncan, education finland, education singapore, finland, finland schools, finland teachers, singapore, teachers  
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Is Duncan out of bounds?

I have one question about this poster promoting Education Secretary Arne Duncan's speech on school reform at UNESCO headquarters in Paris this week: Who thought showing Duncan playing basketball with President Obama was a good idea?

By Valerie Strauss  | November 2, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan  | Tags:  arne duncan, education department, president obama, school reform, secretary arne duncan, secretary duncan, unesco  
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The peculiar ‘ovation’ for D.C. teachers

It’s hard to settle on the strangest part of Monday night's grand event at the Kennedy Center called “A Standing Ovation for D.C. Teachers.”

By Valerie Strauss  | November 1, 2010; 3:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  D.C. Schools, Teacher assessment, Teachers  
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Willingham: How sugar really affects kids

As parents eye bags of Halloween candy, cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes about the real effect sugar has on kids.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 1, 2010; 11:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers, Health, Learning  | Tags:  daniel willingham, health, sugar, sugar and health, sugar and kids, sugar and learning  
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Teacher apologizes for achievement gap: 'My fault'

An eighth grade Earth sciences teacher, surrounded by family and friends, tearfully admits that the achievement gap is his fault. Yes, it's fake news. You'll laugh and cry.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 1, 2010; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Laugh and cry  | Tags:  achievement gap, fake news, teachers  
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Is D.C.'s teacher evaluation system rigged?

A professor writes about teacher evaluation systems: "The pendulum has simply swung from one end of absurdity to the other; if many systems have historically rated 99 percent of teachers 'satisfactory,' ... we now have in D.C. a system that declares exactly 50 percent of teachers ineffective or minimally effective."

By Valerie Strauss  | November 1, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  D.C. Schools, Guest Bloggers, Teacher assessment  | Tags:  d.c. and impact, impact, michelle rhee, nyc teacher ratings, rhee legacy, teacher evaluation, teacher ratings, value added measures, value-added  
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The importance of being unprincipled

Teacher Larry Ferlazzo writes that sometimes, sticking to our principles isn't the right thing to do, and suggests that we sometimes aim to be "unprincipled."

By Valerie Strauss  | October 31, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Larry Ferlazzo, Teachers  | Tags:  larry ferlazzo, teachers, waiting for superman  
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A real Halloween fright: Costume contracts

Lots of schools have banned Halloween. Some say they don’t have time for Halloween frivolity; others worry that the day has religious overtones and families could be offended. And then there are those that set down so many rules about wearing a costume that the fun can get knocked out of it. Here's a contract kids and parents had to sign at one school.

By Valerie Strauss  | October 31, 2010; 9:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Tags:  costumes, first amendment, halloween, halloween and schools, halloween costumes, history of halloween  
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