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The Answer Sheet: February 6, 2011 - February 12, 2011

Teacher: If I were Bill Gates (here’s how I would help improve the profession)

Here's a look at a new vision for teacher education.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 12, 2011; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Teachers  | Tags:  bill gates, gates foundation, susan engel, teacher education, teacher preparation, teachers  
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Unsolicited advice for Teach for America on its 20th anniversary

Here are five completely unsolicited ideas for Teach for America's next 20 years, on the occasion of its first two decades:

By Valerie Strauss  | February 12, 2011; 8:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Charter schools, Teachers  | Tags:  charter schools, teach for america, teach for america anniversary, teacher evaluation, teachers, tfa anniversary, wendy kopp  
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Texas district schools chief issues plea in Alamo-like letter

A Texas school superintendent issues a plea for help from legislators in an open letter patterned after a famous 1836 letter sent from the Alamo right before it fell.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 11, 2011; 11:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Educational leadership  | Tags:  alamo, gov. rick perry, school reform, texas education, texas legislature, texas schools  
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Bedbugs at school: The new lice but worse

Public schools are facing something of a plague, and, for once, I do not mean standardized tests. Rather, bedbugs.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 11, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Health  | Tags:  bedbug eradication, bedbug summit, bedbugs, bedbugs in school, how to get rid of bedbugs, lice  
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Why our metrics for quality are not objective

Choosing the right metric to measure a medical therapy or school effectiveness is not a fact-filled, objective decision. It is subjective and packed with trade-offs, a veteran educator explains.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 11, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Larry Cuban, Standardized Tests  
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Missing the point on Rhee

Enough oxygen has been sucked out of the air about whether Michelle Rhee really raised student test scores through the roof when she taught briefly at a Baltimore school a few decades ago. The real issue is what she and her supporters say she accomplished but didn’t in D.C. public schools.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 10, 2011; 12:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  Michelle Rhee, Teachers  | Tags:  d.c. schools, michelle rhee, no child left behind, rhee school reform, school reform, students first, studentsfirst, teach for america, the answer sheet  
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When should kids be able to read?

A new campaign aims at getting kids to read by the end of third grade. The problem is that schools don't give them that much time anymore.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 10, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  National Standards, Reading  | Tags:  STEM, STEM education, anne e. casey foundation, casey foundation, common core standards, kids and reading, national standards, obama and school reform, obama's education goals, president obama and school reform, reading, reading by fourth grade, reading by third grade, why boys fail  
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Principal: Congress gets it wrong again

The U.S. House is holding a hearing on education today, the first of the year, and it lost a great opportunity for a real discussion on reform.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 10, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Congress, George Wood, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  congress, education committee, education hearing, george wood, guest bloggers, innovation, rep. john kline, school reform, school reform hearing  
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When whacking kids at school is legal

Everyone is rightly horrified about the case of a first-grade teacher at a Silver Spring elementary school who was just charged with with several counts of assault after being accused of choking and/or punching eight young students. Adults assaulting students at school? That has to be wrong. Right? Wrong.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 9, 2011; 1:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Discipline  | Tags:  corporal punishment, corporal punishment in schools, discipline in schools, states that allow corporal punishment, teacher arrested, teacher charged with hitting students, teachers hitting students  
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Ravitch: Public schools are not chain stores

Education historian Diane Ravitch writes that closing failing schools actually does nothing to help students.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 9, 2011; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Diane Ravitch, Guest Bloggers, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  PEP, bridging differences, diane ravitch, mayor bloomberg, mayor michael bloomberg, new york city schools, nyc schools, panel on educational policy, small schools  
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Eliminating seniority-based layoffs: 4 things to consider

In a school reform environment in which seniority-based layoffs of teachers are considered old thinking, here are four things to consider about the alternatives.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 9, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Matthew Di Carlo, Teachers  | Tags:  seniority-based layoffs, teacher layoffs, value-added, value-added formulas, value-added methods  
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Poll on NCLB: Americans want overhaul (but does Congress?)

A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows that a strong majority of Americans support a major overhaul of No Child Left Behind or total elimination of the law. The question is what Congress will do.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 9, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Guest Bloggers, Monty Neill, No Child Left Behind  | Tags:  arne duncan, esea, low-performing schools, nclb, nclb overhaul, nclb poll, nclb sanctions, no child left behind, no child left behind reauthorization, poll on no child left behind, school reform  
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Most, least popular kids less likely to bully, study says

A new study suggests that neither the most popular students nor the least are likely to be bullies at school but rather the kids who are in the middle of the social hierarchies.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 8, 2011; 11:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Bullying, Research  | Tags:  anti-bullying programs, bulliers, bullying, bullying research, bullying victims, who bullies  
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School board conferees get tough with Duncan

Education Secretary Arne Duncan got an earful from some attendees of a National School Boards Association conference.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 8, 2011; 10:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Education Secretary Duncan  | Tags:  arne duncan, education secretary arne duncan, no child left behind, school board associations, school boards  
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How can we fairly assess teachers, students, schools?

Here's a discussion about education evaluation systems that don't obsess on standardized test scores.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 8, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Anthony Cody, Guest Bloggers, Standardized Tests, Teacher assessment  | Tags:  evauation systems, lesson study, national board certification, standardized tests, student assessment, teacher assessment, teacher qualifications  
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New study: How L.A. Times teachers data is flawed

Nobody should be surprised about a new study that finds big flaws with last year’s Los Angeles Times project in which it used “value added” methods to rate the effectiveness of more than 6,000 teachers. But feel free to be annoyed.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 7, 2011; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Research, Standardized Tests, Teacher assessment, Teachers  | Tags:  l.a. times, latimes, los angeles times, los angeles times teachers, rand corp., rating schools, rating teachers, teacher effectiveness, teacher evaluation, teacher ratings, teachers, teachers database, value added, value added methods, value added models  
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Best college essay ever?

Is this the best college essay ever?

By Valerie Strauss  | February 7, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  College Admissions, Laugh and cry  | Tags:  best college essay, college admissions, college applications, college essays, funny college essays, great college essays, harpers magazine, hugh gallagher  
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Taming teacher turnover: A lesson from Oakland

Here is one way that a school district worked to stop the drain of science teachers. The answer isn't paying them more if their students excel on standardized tests.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 7, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Anthony Cody, Guest Bloggers, Teachers  | Tags:  anthony cody, california education, california schools, education, oakland district, oakland schools, retaining teachers, schools, teacher attrition, teacher retention, teacher turnover, the answer sheet  
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Ronald Reagan's impact on education today

In the category of "the more things change the more they stay the same," it is interesting to look back at Ronald Reagan's education views on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The issues that were controversial back then -- merit pay, standardized testing, vouchers -- remain so today.

By Valerie Strauss  | February 6, 2011; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  History, School turnarounds/reform, Standardized Tests, Teacher assessment  | Tags:  merit pay, reagan, reagan 100, reagan administration, reagan birthday, reagan commemoration, reagan policy, ronald reagan, ronald reagan education, ronald reagan policy, ronald reagan views, standardized testing, vouchers  
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Where Super Bowl players went to school

Which school is most represented on the Super Bowl teams? Which conference?

By Valerie Strauss  | February 6, 2011; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Sports  | Tags:  big 10, colleges and super bowl, green bay packers, pitt, pittsburgh steelers, sec, super bowl, super bowl players, super bowl time  
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