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The Answer Sheet: January 30, 2011 - February 5, 2011

What football can teach school reformers

Here's a look at how a championship football team can provide a lesson in reform to a school system (and it asks whether Teach for America is the right approach).

By Valerie Strauss  | February 5, 2011; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Sports, Teachers  | Tags:  Gene Chizik, The Answer Sheet, auburn champions, auburn football, auburn university, birmingham school board, birmingham schools, cam newton, education, football, heisman trophy, professional development, schools, super bowl, teach for america, teacher development, teacher training, the answer sheet  
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The ultimate helicopter mom -- college admissions category

A college admissions director tells a hilarious story of helicopter parenting.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 4, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  College Admissions, Parents  | Tags:  admissions process, application process, college admissions, college applications, college interviews, helicopter mothers, helicopter parents, student interviews  
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Common Core Standards: Implications for instruction

An educator writes why there is little chance the Common Core standards can enter the classroom if the way students learn does not change.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 4, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, National Standards  | Tags:  common core initiative, common core standards, national standards, race to the top  
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The mess in Arlington schools (and how to fix it)

The abrupt resignation of an Arlington middle school principal and the letter she released spelling out her grievances with the district’s superintendent has left the system in something of a mess - and nobody is looking too good at the moment.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 3, 2011; 2:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Educational leadership, Middle School  | Tags:  arlington public schools, arlington schools, kathy francis, patrick k. murphy, principal fired, principal letter; arlington schools, principal quits, supt. murphy, williamsburg middle school  
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Why aren't public school parents protesting?

A public school parent in New York writes about money and privilege, and private and public schooling in New York City.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 3, 2011; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  Avenues, Avenues The World School, Joel Klein, Mom Blog, barry diller, beccarama, manhattan private schools, new york city, new york city schools, private schools  
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The VIVA Project: What teachers told Duncan

More than 150 public school teachers put their heads together to devise solutions to problems that most affect their profession. Then they got to do something unusual with their conclusions: present them to Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 3, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan, Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  Arne Duncan, The Answer Sheet, VIVA project, education, education secretary duncan, evaluation and teachers, performance-based evaluation, school, teachers  
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That's one heavy book: 10,119 pages, 2 feet thick

There’s a new book in the University of Iowa Libraries but don’t expect anybody to read it all the way through in a single sitting. It’s a 10,119 page, 2-foot-thick book of poetry.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 2, 2011; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Literature, Reading  | Tags:  biggest book, dave morice, guinness book of world records, iowa writers' workshop, literature, longest book, poetry book, university of iowa  
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The Bartleby Project

A veteran educator writes about the country's obsession with standardized testing and what might be done about it.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 2, 2011; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Marion Brady, Standardized Tests  | Tags:  education reform, president obama, school reform, standardized test industry, standardized tests, test industry, the bartleby project  
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Obstacles to better school counseling -- and what to do about it

School counselors know full well that they can't always be there to help students. A counseling expert says that the problem is that counselors can’t change things by themselves.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 2, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Mental health, Student Life  | Tags:  counselors, national school counselors week, school counselors  
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Should Obama be commencement contest prize?

Again President Obama is offering himself as a commencement speaker to the high school that wins a new contest. So what's the problem?

By Valerie Strauss  | February 2, 2011; 4:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  High School, Race to the Top  | Tags:  commencement contest, commencement speaker, commencement speech, obama commencement, obama commencement speaker, president obama and commencement, race to the top contest, stephen colbert  
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Arlington principal resigns: Read the letter

Here's the text of an extraordinary letter released to the Arlington public school community by Williamsburg Middle School Principal Kathleen Francis, who just announced her unexpected resignation. In the letter, she blames Arlington Schools Supt. Patrick K. Murphy for creating a hostile environment.

By Washington Post editors  | February 1, 2011; 9:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
Categories:  Educational leadership  | Tags:  arlington principal, arlington principal resigns, arlington public schools, arlington schools, principal resigns, williamsburg middle, williamsburg middle school  
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Not a Rosa Parks moment

An Ohio mother of two sent to jail for nine days because she falsified documents so that her children could attend a better school is being the modern equivalent of Rosa Parks. She isn't.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 1, 2011; 1:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Equity  
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Texas student fined $637 for cursing in class

A student was slapped with $637 in fines for cursing in class. Is it a good or bad idea for schools to fine kids for this?

By Valerie Strauss  | February 1, 2011; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Discipline  | Tags:  cursing, cursing in class, cussing, discipline, school discipline, student fined for cursing, swearing  
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Peace Corps' 2011 college rankings; D.C., Va. schools on top

The Peace Corps, in its 50th year, announces its 2011 college rankings. Tops in their categories: The George Washington University in Washington D.C., the University of Mary Washington in Virginia and the University of Colorado at Boulder.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 1, 2011; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Higher Education  | Tags:  george washington university, peace corps, president john f. kennedy, president kennedy, university of florida, university of michigan  
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'It makes no sense:' A dissection of Obama's education view

Here is a dissection of what President Obama said about education in his State of the Union speech, plus more.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 1, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, International competitiveness, Race to the Top, School turnarounds/reform, Yong Zhao  | Tags:  china and india and education, china education, chinese schools, education, education policy, education reform, indian schools, international competitiveness, obama speech, president obama, president obama school reform, public schools, race to the top, school reform, schools, state of the union, u.s. education  
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Letter to President Obama: Who is a 'highly qualified' teacher?

More than 50 organizations sign a letter to President Obama about legislation that would codify a Bush-era regulation that allows states to label teachers as “highly qualified” when they are still in training – and, in many cases, just beginning training – in alternative route programs. alternative route programs.Bamajoin in

By Valerie Strauss  | January 31, 2011; 5:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Teachers  | Tags:  continuing resolution, definition of highly qualified, education groups, h.r. 3082, highly qualified, highly qualified teacher, letter to obama, president obama, public school teachers  
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The 'thinking gap' (and why teachers shouldn't keep kids busy every second)

A popular book on teaching rests on an unspoken assumption that children in urban schools cannot and should not sit still and think. This premise limits the kinds of teaching that can take place and the topics that can be taught.

By Valerie Strauss  | January 31, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Learning, Teachers  
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Legislation: Teachers should grade parents

In the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up category, a Florida (of course) state legislator is pushing legislation that would require some elementary school teachers to grade parents on how involved they are at their children's schools.

By Valerie Strauss  | January 31, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Parents, Teachers  | Tags:  bill for teachers to grade parents, florida bill teachers, florida legislature, florida schools, legislation teachers parents, parents, teachers, teachers grading parents  
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Democracy in schools: Preached but not practiced

Schools are supposed to teach democracy, develop engaged and responsible citizens, and create an intelligent and street-smart electorate. Most don’t.

By Valerie Strauss  | January 30, 2011; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  George Wood, Guest Bloggers, High School, Mark Phillips, Student Life  
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