Archive: July 2009

What the SAT-optional Colleges Don’t Tell You

I don’t much like the SAT. When the SAT-optional movement began to gain momentum a few years ago, I cheered. Dozens of colleges told their applicants that if they didn’t want to submit their SAT or ACT scores, they didn’t...

By Washington Post editors | July 31, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

Harvard Schmarvard: A Small College Shines

This will be the first in an occasional series of blog postings on little-known colleges that prove their worth. My 2003 book Harvard Schmarvard argued that the big name schools don't provide a better education than the little name...

By Jay Mathews | July 28, 2009; 6:22 PM ET | Comments (10)

Admissions 101: Can Acerbic Students Make Good Teachers?

In his Friday column, Jay Mathews wrote about Michele Kerr, username Cal_Lanier on the boards, a California teacher who was nearly thrown out of Standford University's Teacher Education Program (STEP) for blogging about her anti-progressive (thus anti-Stanford) ideals during her...

By Sarah Mimms | July 28, 2009; 2:30 PM ET | Comments (5)

AP Wars: School Board Member vs. Teachers

I received an email recently from the member of a school board in an affluent American suburb. I don't usually allow anonymous comment on this blog, but in the AP wars---the national fight over how many students are allowed...

By Jay Mathews | July 27, 2009; 6:44 PM ET | Comments (5)

Barring Gifted But Poor Students from College

I try to stay away from the New York Review of Books. It is a trap for aimless readers like me. I may enjoy a piece on the last Khan of Mongolia. But that makes me want to sample...

By Jay Mathews | July 27, 2009; 3:18 PM ET | Comments (9)

They Messed With the Wrong Blogger

Michele Kerr (she tells me it is pronounced “cur”) is a hard-working educator and Web surfer who is often mean to me. This is probably a good thing. When I post something stupid, Kerr—using her nom de Internet, “Cal...

By Washington Post editors | July 24, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (85)

Jay on the Web: Joy and Equality in Public Education

Houston high school teacher, Jesse Alred, of the Examiner, wrote an interesting analysis of one of Jay Mathews' columns about balancing hard work with play and injecting more joy into the classroom. Alred agrees with Mathews on "the joy factor,"...

By Sarah Mimms | July 23, 2009; 2:01 PM ET | Comments (2)

Jay on the Web: Which Makes A Bigger Difference - Good Teachers or Administrative Processes?

This week, Elena Silva of The Quick and the Ed blog took issue with Jay Mathews' critique of "Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools," a recent book about the successes of the Montgomery Public...

By Sarah Mimms | July 22, 2009; 1:11 AM ET | Comments (3)

Casting Doubt on My Pro-Testing Bias

The scholarly Rothstein family, father Richard and son Jesse, are taking turns removing the intellectual underpinnings of people like me who want to judge schools based on standardized tests. Richard, of the Economic Policy Institute, recently published a fine...

By Washington Post Editors | July 21, 2009; 6:13 PM ET | Comments (12)

Admissions 101: Do We Have the Guts to Tell Our Kids We Can't Afford Their Dream Schools?

Cathy W. has posed a thorny scenario over in Admissions 101: "Your child has been accepted at the school of their dreams (or perhaps yours), but the price tag is shocking. Should you have allowed you child apply to the...

By Washington Post Editors | July 21, 2009; 2:48 PM ET | Comments (4)

Metro Monday: What Is Montgomery Schools' Secret?

If you don’t like Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of schools in Montgomery County, do not take the new book “Leading for Equity: The Pursuit of Excellence in Montgomery County Public Schools” to the beach for your summer reading. Your...

By Washington Post editors | July 20, 2009; 12:25 PM ET | Comments (4)

Jay on the Web: Will Technology Save Our Kids?

Looking ahead, education policy soothsayers Terry M. Moe and John E. Chubb see our electronic miracle devices finally doing what we have long been promised — making our children better educated. I would shrug their new book off as more...

By Washington Post Editors | July 17, 2009; 6:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

Metro Monday: Should High Schools Bar Average Students From College-Level Courses and Tests?

Fifteen years ago, when I discovered that many good high schools prevented average students from taking demanding courses, I thought it was a fluke, a mistake that would soon be rectified. I had spent much time inside schools that...

By Washington Post Editors | July 13, 2009; 3:44 PM ET | Comments (8)

Jay on the Web: Middle Class Children in KIPP

It has been a while since I had a guest columnist in this space. I have never before turned the blog over to one younger than my own children. So let me introduce Catharine Bellinger, a Princeton sophomore who...

By Washington Post Editors | July 10, 2009; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (2)

Jay on the Web: What's the Best Model for School Reform?

Dwayne Betts, a D.C. school teacher, has an interesting and thoughtful post on school reform on Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog over at The Atlantic. Betts has a small quibble with Jay Mathews, who profiled the Knowledge Is Power Program of charter...

By Washington Post Editors | July 8, 2009; 3:48 PM ET | Comments (2)

Admissions 101: Are Low Grades in AP/IB Classes Better than High Grades in Regular Classes?

A few weeks ago, Jay Mathews asked readers a tough question in his Admissions 101 - which is better: an A or B in a regular course or a C in a more challenging course like an AP or IB class? Jay sided with AP, saying that all students interested in tier 1 or tier 2 schools should take at least 2 AP or IB courses. Even if that means a C on a high school transcript, Jay argued, colleges will appreciate a student who is willing to take on a challenge. Reader reactions have been pouring in ever since:

By Sarah Mimms | July 7, 2009; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (2)

New School Board Member Has Influenced a Legion of Educators

When I first met him a dozen years ago, Mike Durso struck me as an okay principal. He didn't say much about himself, but his school, Springbrook High in Silver Spring, was well-run. The students liked him. He had been...

By Washington Post Editors | July 6, 2009; 1:45 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Hot Beach Debate for Edu-Nerds Like Me

Editor's Note: If you like cool online-polling devices, feel free to skip to the bottom of this column, make some clicks and then circle back for Jay's Take.... Those of us who spend our days mesmerized by discussions of summer...

By Washington Post Editors | July 3, 2009; 5:45 AM ET | Comments (7)

Jay on the Web: Can Unions and KIPP Schools Co-exist?

Mike Klonsky has some strong words for Jay Mathews on his recent column about unions and charter schools. In the piece, Jay argues that union demands might swamp the progress that one Baltimore KIPP school has shown under the direction...

By Washington Post Editors | July 1, 2009; 3:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

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