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The Answer Sheet: November 14, 2010 - November 20, 2010

Testing scandal claims Atlanta schools superintendent

Atlanta schools Superintendent Beverly Hall bows for her to step down amid a major standardized testing scandal and says she won't return next year.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 20, 2010; 3:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Standardized Tests  | Tags:  atlanta, atlanta superintendent, atlanta superintendentn resigns, atlanta tests, crct, criterion referenced competency tests, georgia scandal, georgia testing scandal, hall, hall resigns, standardized tests, testing scandal  
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Why teaching experience really matters

Bill Gates just urged school districts and states to stop rewarding teachers for their experience in the classroom and/or advanced education degrees. Arne Duncan makes the same argument. But evidence shows that teaching experience DOES matter.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 20, 2010; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Matthew Di Carlo, Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  arne duncan, bill gates, class size, does experience matter, education department, education secretary duncan, lowering class size, raising class size, research on class size, research on teaching experience, school reform, schools, shankar blog, standardized tests, teacher experience, teacher pay, teacher quality, teacher salaries, teachers, teaching experience, value added  
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The Matthew Effect, Plinko, and the achievement gap

The argument for integration of low-income students into more affluent schools is that it offers an opportunity to level the playing field and provide high expectations to students who are not traditionally held to the same schooling standards as the white upper and middle class. However, as a Black male who attended Montgomery County Public Schools for high school, I am not convinced that a culture of high expectations extends beyond honors, AP, and IB classrooms.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 20, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Achievement gap, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  achievement gap, brain development, brain research, closing achievement gap, guest bloggers, plinko, the Matthew Effect, the matthew effect  
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Kohn: What 'ready to learn' really means

Alfie Kohn explores the real meaning of what he calls the "rather odd" phrase "ready to learn" as it is applied to young children.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 19, 2010; 1:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Alfie Kohn, Early Childhood, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  David McLelland, alfie kohn, early childhood education, martin haberman, readiness to learn, ready to learn  
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Was Harry Potter's Hogwarts education any good?

How well would Harry Potter do on the SAT? The question has been raised by a Harvard research fellow about just how fine an education Harry Potter and his friends received at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 19, 2010; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Tags:  arithmancy, charms, dudley dursley, harry potter, harvard, herbology, hermione granger, hogwarts, hogwarts school, j.k. rowling, nclb, no child left behind, potions, ron weasley  
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A plea to college interviewers

Two high school college admissions counselors write about problems with some college interviewers and the false hopes they can give to applicants.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 19, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  college admissions, college applications, college interviews  
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Report: Rise in college applications hurts low-income students

A new report concludes that the dramatic increase in college applications over the past 15 years is creating a rise in selectivity that will reduce opportunities for more low-income, first-generation students in all levels of higher education, including community colleges.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 19, 2010; 12:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  arms race, college admissions, college admissions competition, college applications, college arms race, national association for college admissions counseling  
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The NAEP scores problem

When you live by test scores, you run the risk of dying by them too -- or, at least, the policies that dictated their importance should.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 18, 2010; 6:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Standardized Tests  | Tags:  arne duncan, education secretary arne duncan, naep, naep scores, national assessment of educational progress, standardized tests, test scores  
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Education leaders don't have all the answers, apparently

Here’s what happened when I asked the governor of Maryland today if he would want one of his children to be in a classroom with a teacher who had five weeks of training, as the Teach for America program gives before sending out young people into America’s toughest schools: He didn’t directly answer the question. This occurred when the newly reelected governor visited a high school along with Education Secretary Arne Duncan and National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 18, 2010; 1:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Teachers  | Tags:  arne duncan, dropout rates, education secretary arne duncan, education secretary duncan, gov. martin o'malley, gov. o'malley, jerry weast, martin o'malley, mcpa, montgomery blair high school, montgomery county public schools, national education association, nea, standardized tests, teach for america, teachers, teaching profession  
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Teachers give 'Superman' director an earful

"Waiting for Superman" film director Davis Guggenheim asks teachers to tell him what they about his education film -- the one that scapegoats teachers -- and they let him have it.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 18, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Anthony Cody, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  anthony cody, attack on teachers, charter schools, davis guggenheim, superman, teachers, teachers unions, waiting for superman  
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Beyond the brain: Reading is a cultural activity

An educator writes: "Reading is a cultural activity. This statement may seem obvious, and yet in recent decades an increasing number of educators have considered reading from psychological and even neurological perspectives, as if reading were a process that happens in the agent’s mind and is ultimately regulated by brain mechanisms."

By Valerie Strauss  | November 17, 2010; 11:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Reading  | Tags:  guest bloggers, reading, reading strategies, teaching reading  
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What Ravitch told KIPP and Teach for America

Education historian Diane Ravitch gave a speech at Rice University about school reform in which she directly challenged officials from Teach for America and the Knowledge Is Power Program who were present -- the very people who had invited her.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 17, 2010; 9:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Diane Ravitch, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  arne duncan, charter schools, diane ravitch, finland, finland education, kipp, knowledge is power program, nclb, no child left behind, obama school reform, president obama, rice university, secretary duncan, teach for america, teachers, tfa  
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The sad story of an L.A. school labeled 'failing'

A teacher at a Los Angeles middle school writes about why her school was just declared to be "failing" and why the designation is patently unfair: "In today’s world of testing and sanctions, best efforts are irrelevant if scores do not increase at a fast enough rate."

By Valerie Strauss  | November 17, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Teachers  | Tags:  failing schools, la schools, los angeles unified school district, public school choice, schools, teacher assessment, teachers, value-added measurement  
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Some advice for Cathie Black on NYC schools job

Cathie Black is doing her homework to gear up to be the chancellor of New York City schools, including reaching out to Michelle Rhee and others for advice. But why would she want the job given that intense opposition has arisen because of her lack of credentials?

By Valerie Strauss  | November 16, 2010; 3:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Educational leadership  | Tags:  broad foundation, cathie black, cathleen black, david steiner, eli broad, hearst magazines, joel klein, mayor bloomberg, michael bloomberg, michelle a. rhee, michelle rhee, new york city schools, nyc schools, waivers  
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Eminent biologist cites anti-Semitism for union resignation

A prominent biologist explains why anti-Semitism led him to resign from England's University and College Union.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 16, 2010; 1:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  academic boycott, academic boycott of israel, anti-semitism, boycott of israel, teachers union  
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Experts: How to overhaul teacher ed (and my problem with their report)

A major report released today calls for overhauling teacher education programs. It offers a number of strong recommendations, but, unfortunately, continues a reliance on standardized tests.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 16, 2010; 10:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Standardized Tests, Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  blue ribbon panel, blue ribbon panel report, education programs need overhauling, effective teachers, preparing teachers, report on clinical practice, report on teacher education, report on teacher preparation, standardized tests, teacher assessment, teacher ed, teacher education, teacher education programs, teacher education through clinical practice, teacher preparation, teacher quality  
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Teacher: ‘Maybe it is time for me to go’

A teacher looks back on a quarter-century in the classroom and says that, for the first time, she is being told what to teach, how to teach it and when, preventing her from helping her students in the way she knows they need. "Hold me accountable, but let me do it my way," she says.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 16, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Learning, Teachers  | Tags:  literacy, literacy blocks, race to the top, teachers, veteran teachers  
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Willingham: How 'mind-wandering' affects students

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes about "mind-wandering" --or zoning out of what you are doing -- and how it affects students at school.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 15, 2010; 12:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  brain research, cognitive science, daniel willingham, mind-wandering  
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China overtakes India as No. 1 source of foreign students in U.S.

China zoomed past India as the main source of foreign students coming to the United States to go to school, with a 30 percent jump in Chinese students in a single year, according to a new report released today. It was the first time that China had sent the most students to American schools.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 15, 2010; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Research  | Tags:  china overtakes india, china tops india, foreign students, international students, international students increase, open doors  
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NYC Chancellor Cathie Black, in her own words

In an effort to learn about Cathleen Black, the woman that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose to succeed Joel Klein as head of the city’s public schools, I turned to the book she wrote: “Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life.)”

By Valerie Strauss  | November 15, 2010; 9:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Educational leadership  | Tags:  basic black, cathie black, cathleen black, educational leadership, joel klein, leadership, mayor bloomberg, naep, new york city schools, nyc schools, school leadership  
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Lisa Simpson and why reform isn't really reform

What we’re seeing today in the world of education is most accurately labeled “intensification,” not reform. It’s changing things, but it’s changing them in the same direction we’ve been moving for well over a decade. Lisa Simpson

By Valerie Strauss  | November 15, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Kevin Welner, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  charter schools, kevin welner, lisa simpson, school reform, the simpsons  
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Are Rhee and Florida interested in each other?

The talk in education circles in Florida is that the governor elect, Rick Scott, may be looking for a new education commission and one name that seems dominant in the discussion is Michelle Rhee, who just resigned as Washington D.C. Schools chancellor.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 15, 2010; 1:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Educational leadership  | Tags:  arne duncan, florida, florida education, florida education commissioners, florida governor, florida schools, george bush, george w. bush, jeb bush, michelle a. rhee, michelle rhee, rhee, rick scott  
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Be careful of 'snap apps' in college admissions

If your home life revolves around the college application process at the moment or will someday, you should know about “snap apps” to avoid being fooled.

By Valerie Strauss  | November 14, 2010; 10:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  College Admissions  | Tags:  college admissions, college applications, getting into college, snap apps, vip applications  
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