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The Answer Sheet: November 7, 2010 - November 13, 2010

Teacher: Data, my new dirty word

A teacher explains how an obsession with data has led to the redefinition of teaching and learning: "Teaching itself has become redefined as generating, collecting, and using data, and learning has become redefined as the curve connecting data points. This is a fundamental shift in how educators think, talk, and go about educating our children. Unfortunately, it is not a shift that serves anyone but the data-collectors very well."

By Valerie Strauss  | November 13, 2010; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Learning, Teachers  | Tags:  data, education, educational data, mad math minutes, mad minutes, nclb, no child left behind, school reform, schools, teachers, teaching and learning, test data  
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So you want to be a professor? A laugh/cry video

Here's a sad/funny video showing an optimistic student in conversation with her realistic (some would say jaded) professor about going to graduate school and becoming a humanities instructor.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 13, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Higher Education, Laugh and cry, Teachers  | Tags:  college professors, college recommendations, getting a phd, grad school, graduate school, humanities, studying the humanities, video, you tube  
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Schools field teams for Quidditch World Cup

Thanks to Harry Potter, Quidditch has become a hot school sport and this weekend New York City hosts the Quidditch World Cup, draing more than 750 athletes from 60 teams -- college (including Harvard, Middlebury, Yale, Duke and Oxford), high school and recreational leagues.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 12, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Sports  | Tags:  deathly hallows, golden snitch, harry potter, harry potter and the deathly hallows, harry potter movie, j.k. rowling, middlebury, new york city, quidditch, quidditch world cup  
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A narcissistic approach to education reform

An educator writes: "I haven’t read any Kafka in recent years, but I don’t really need to. I just pick up the newspaper or turn on CNN and catch up with the latest in the worlds of politics and education."

By Valerie Strauss  | November 12, 2010; 11:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Educational leadership, Guest Bloggers, Mark Phillips, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  21st century skills, bloggers, cathie black, cathleen black, hearst mgazines, joel klein, klein legacy, mark phillips, meg whitman, michael bloomberg, michelle rhee, narcissism, new york city chancellor, new york city schools, nyc schools, popular mechanics, the twilight zone  
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What’s wrong with releasing names and scores?

A teacher writing about plans by the NYC Department of Education to release teachers’ names and value-added ratings to the press, says: "Is this sheer stubbornness on the part of school leaders, or do they not understand the harm this would cause?"

By Valerie Strauss  | November 12, 2010; 9:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  diana senechal, la times, la times teachers, new york city schools, new york times, new york times teachers, nyc doe, school reform, schools and teachers, teacher assessment, teacher evaluation, teachers, the los angeles times, value added, value added assessment  
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Palin: Parents should decide what kids eat in school

An effort by the Pennsylvania Board of Education to encourage public schools to limit sweets and introduce more healthy foods has attracted an unlikely critic: Sarah Palin.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 12, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Health  | Tags:  banning sweets, child nutrition act, cookies, michelle obama, nutrition, nutrition guidelines, obesity, obesity epidemic, palin cookies, pennsylvania board of education, sarah palin, school breakfast, school lunch  
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What you should know about Veterans Day

Here are some things you should know about Veterans Day, starting with this: Many Americans confuse it with Memorial Day.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 11, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Tags:  U.S. veterans, arlington cemetery, arlington national cemetery, armistice day, facts about veterans day, history of veterans day, tomb of the unknown soldier, tomb of the unknowns, veterans day, war veterans  
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Yes, you can teach kids to eat broccoli

I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it, but at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington D.C., chef Lisa Dobbs runs a food program that has young students relishing broccoli, tilapia encrused with panko, boureks with beef or vegetables, and other foods not commonly embraced by kids.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 11, 2010; 8:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Health  | Tags:  bill shore, charter schools, child nutrition act, elsie whitlow stokes, first lady michelle obama, jeff bridges, lisa dobbs, michelle obama, nutrition education, obesity, school lunch, share our strength, stokes charter school, whole foods  
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De-legitimizing public education

The quality of American education is going to get worse. Count on it. And contrary to the conventional wisdom, the main reason isn’t going to be the loss of funding accompanying economic hard times. Educator Marion Brady explains why.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 11, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Marion Brady, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  bill gates, marion brady, public education, school reform  
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Why the Education Dept. should be eliminated -- Wood

School principal George Wood, acknowledging that "it is peculiar for someone who values education to be arguing for what has often been a very conservative position," explains why he thinks the Education Department should be eliminated.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 10, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  George Wood, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  ed department, education department, eliminate the education department, george wood, guest bloggers  
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Bloomberg errs again with NYC public schools

There is unfortunate symmetry to today’s news that Joel Klein had resigned as New York City Schools Chancellor today to join Rupert Murdoch’s outfit, and that he was being succeeded by Cathie Black, chair of Hearst Magazines. Klein, who is becoming an executive vice president for News Corp., had taken the job as chancellor without any experience in education.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 9, 2010; 7:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  bloomberg appoints black, cathie black, chancellor and black, chancellor black, chancellor klein, hearst magazines, joel klein, klein and murdoch, klein quits, klein resigns, klein to news corp., mayor bloomberg, michael bloomberg, new york city chancellor, new york schools, news corp., nyc chancellor, nyc schools  
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Antidote to an educator’s depression

An educator writes: "After spending a few weeks watching films about the proclaimed 'Crisis in American Education' -- The Lottery, The Cartel, and Waiting for Superman -- I considered calling my doctor to prescribe an anti-depressant. I also wondered if I should have pursued a different career, maybe driving a truck or making shoes.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 9, 2010; 2:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  educational films, mark phillips, school reform, the cartel, the lottery, waiting for superman  
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Schools in a banana republic

Educator Anthony Cody takes a hard look at how today's economy is affecting public school students.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 9, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Anthony Cody, Guest Bloggers, Poverty  | Tags:  achievement gap, anthony cody, guest bloggers, poverty, school reform  
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Harvard’s strange ‘Strange Bedfellows’ education event

You might think, or at least I would, that a ticketed discussion at the Harvard University Institute of Politics on education would include people with different views. But with Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush and John Podesta as the panel, the "discussion" will sound more like an echo chamber.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 9, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Charter schools, National Standards, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  arne duncan, charter schools, education department, harvard, harvard university, institute of politics, iop, jeb bush, john podesta, margaret spellings, michelle rhee, no child left behind, obama education reform, president obama, race to the top, school reform  
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'Find x' and other unusual college essay questions

High school seniors applying to college are being asked to write some unusual essays. "Find x." "Tell us your favorite joke." And more.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 8, 2010; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  brown university, caltech, college admissions, college applications, college essays, essays, great college essays, how to write an essay, university of chicago, williams  
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Willingham: What student athletes should know

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes about the cognitive consequences about concussions in student athletes.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 8, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers, Sports  
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A public school teacher’s distress

A school teacher writes a letter about why she fears for the future of public education.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 8, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Charter schools, Teachers  | Tags:  charter schools, diane ravitch, no child left behind, school reform, tax levy, taxes, teachers, toldeo schools  
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Why technology scares (some of) us -- and what to do about it

Do old wounds from school hinder the ability of many adults to deal with Facebook, Twitter, SCVNGR , foursquare, etc. A veteran teacher thinks so.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 7, 2010; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Technology  | Tags:  baby boomers, facebook, foursquare, technology, twitter  
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