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The Answer Sheet: December 19, 2010 - December 25, 2010

The history of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The Smithsonian Institution tells how Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was born: As a cost-savings promotional gimmick.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 24, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Laugh and cry  | Tags:  christmas, reindeer, rudolph, rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, smithsonian institution  
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The line between sacred and secular in school

A music educator writes: "'Time for mistletoe and holly. Also, the perennial Music Teacher Question: What about Santa?"

By Valerie Strauss  | December 24, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  christmas music, christmas music and school, music in school, sacred music and school, santa claus and school  
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A student play blasting N.Y. school reform is banned

A student play that criticizes school reform in New York is banned by school principals. Here's the play, based on Antigone.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 23, 2010; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  antigone, jamaica high school, joel klein, marc epstein, michael bloomberg, new york city schools, play banned, queens collegiate high  
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Test scores can't prove whether teacher experience matters

People such as Bill Gates and Arne Duncan who say teacher experience doesn't matter much are relying on standardized test scores for evidence, even though the tests fail to provide adequate evidence for drawing such a conclusion.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 23, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Monty Neill, Standardized Tests, Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  arne duncan, standardized tests, teacher assessment, teacher evalution, teachers, test scores  
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Congress approves weird definition of 'highly qualified’ teachers

So they’ve gone ahead and done it. U.S. legislators have passed legislation that includes a provision that will turn into law a definition of a “highly qualified” teachers that would include people with only a few weeks of training.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 23, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Congress, No Child Left Behind, Teachers  | Tags:  congress, continuing resolution, highly qualified teachers, teachers  
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Bring back shop class

An educator writes: "Reinstituting manual education just might lead to a renaissance of common sense in how we educate our children."

By Valerie Strauss  | December 22, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Marc Epstein, Vocational ed  | Tags:  high schools, marc epstein, shop class, vocational education  
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The lowdown on standardized tests and how they are scored

If you think machines score all of the standardized tests kids take, guess again. Rather, an army of low-paid, poorly trained temps score them. Test scorers tell the tale.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 22, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Standardized Tests  | Tags:  common core standards, how tests are scored, no child left behind, race to the top, standardized test industry, standardized test scoring, standardized tests, test industry, test scoring  
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A sobering look at Florida school reform

With Florida increasingly being looked to as a national model for school reform, here's a clear-eyed look at exactly what has been going on in the Sunshine State.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 21, 2010; 2:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Charter schools, School turnarounds/reform, Standardized Tests  | Tags:  charter schools, florida school reform, jeb bush, school reform, sherman dorn, standardized tests  
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How a teachers' union actually helped kids (not just adults)

You've probably heard a lot about how teacher unions are obstacles to meaningful school reforms, but you probably have NOT heard about this remarkable union-involved success story in California.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 21, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Achievement gap, Anthony Cody, Guest Bloggers, Standardized Tests, Teachers  | Tags:  academic performance index, achievement gap, api, california schools, california teachers association, qeia, standardized tests, teachers union  
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So you want to be a teacher?

Student: I really want to become an elementary school teacher. Teacher: Thank God. Student: I know. There is such a shortage of good teachers. Teacher: No. I meant there is still time to save you. A video that will make you laugh and cry, and some of my favorite dialogue.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 21, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Laugh and cry, Teachers  | Tags:  fox show, glee, glee on fox, prison break, so you want to be a teacher, teacher shortage, teachers, teachers and glee  
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A 'highly qualified' gift from Congress to Teach for America -- UPDATED

Is a teacher still in training "highly qualified?" Some of our legislators think so.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 20, 2010; 12:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  Congress, Teachers  | Tags:  CR, continuing resolution, education department, highly qualified teachers, renee v. duncan, teach for america, teachers, tom harkin  
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Willingham: When teachers speak unwelcome truths about your child

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham writes about why parents should listen to their child's teachers -- especially when they don't like what they hear.

By Valerie Strauss  | December 20, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Daniel Willingham, Guest Bloggers, Parents, Teachers  | Tags:  daniel willingham, parents, report cards, teachers  
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High remediation rates cast doubt on reforms

If standardized test-driven school reform is so successful, why are college remediation rates still so high?

By Valerie Strauss  | December 20, 2010; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Community Colleges, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  jeb bush, joel klein, new york city remediation rates, new york city schools, remediation rates, school reform  
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'Burn and churn' among charter school principals

Seventy-one percent of charter school principals expect to leave their posts within five years, according to a new study. So what’s the big deal about entering and exiting charter school principals?

By Valerie Strauss  | December 19, 2010; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Charter schools, Guest Bloggers, Larry Cuban, Principals  | Tags:  charter school principals, charter school teachers, charter schools, larry cuban, principal burnout, principals, school reform  
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