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Class Struggle: November 22, 2009 - November 28, 2009

Should we inflate Advanced Placement grades?

Erin McVadon Albright, the IB coordinator at Annandale High School in Fairfax County, said the extra grade point for IB was a powerful inducement for one of her most intriguing students. He came from a low-income family that did not even have an Internet connection at home. He wanted to play football, which meant he had to take a government class online over the summer to have time for IB. He was using the computer at the office where his mother was a receptionist, but she was afraid someone would complain. He almost dropped the course until Albright managed to lend him a school laptop which he could take the public library to do his work.

By Jay Mathews  | November 27, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  Advanced Placement, College Board, Erin Albright, International Baccalaureate, Jaime Escalante, Jon Gubera, Mike Reno, Rochester school board, Roy Sunada, Trevor Packer, grade weighting  
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Too hard to pick the right high school

The suburban districts themselves employ people with encyclopedic knowledge of what is available for students of every learning style. Why not put them at prominent tables at those open houses with big signs that say, “IF NOBODY HAS ANSWERED YOUR QUESTIONS, ASK ME.”

By Jay Mathews  | November 25, 2009; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Extra Credit  | Tags:  ADD, Northwood High School, high school choice, learning disabilities, special education  
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Bloomberg ties test scores to teacher tenure

Here's an item from my colleague Nick Anderson on the national education beat. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who oversees city schools, said Wednesday morning in Washington that he has directed the nation's largest school system to ensure that principals...

By Washington Post editors  | November 25, 2009; 12:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
 
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Extra Credit--Homeschooling means more writing

We are homeschooling this year, and early on, my 13-year-old son said, "You know, you're making us do a lot more writing than I'm used to." (This said, of course, as if I hadn't realized it and would give them some relief. Ha!) He has since dropped his objection and has started to make some progress on short writing assignments, which is how I'm starting out. My daughter, who is 11, embraced my writing requirements and is currently working on a 10,000 word novella for a writing contest (her idea, not mine).

By Jay Mathews  | November 24, 2009; 5:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Extra Credit  | Tags:  Kathy Rondon, home schooling, student research, term papers  
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D.C. expose--one teacher's evaluation

Overall, the evaluator gave the teacher only 2.3 out of a possible 4 points. Goldfarb got only 1 out of 4 points in one section for failing to post or say what the objective of the lesson was--to me unnecessary kid’s stuff for an AP class. He also got only 1 out of 4 points for not catering to multiple learning styles, even though some experts, like Willis D. Hawley of the University of Maryland, call learning style analysis “bunk.”

By Jay Mathews  | November 22, 2009; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags:  D.C. schools, Dan Goldfarb, IMPACT evaluation program, Jason Kamras, Michelle A. Rhee, multiple learning style, teacher evaluation  
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Dan Goldfarb's evaluation--D.C. schools and Goldfarb respond

Here are two lengthy responses to the Monday column on Dan Goldfarb's teacher evaluation, just above this blog post. First are the thoughts of Jason Kamras, the former national teacher of the year who oversees the IMPACT evaluation program for the D.C. Schools. Second is the response from Goldfarb, the subject of the column. I don't usually provide lengthy notes after every column, but in this case I thought they had many more important things to say. The Web gives journalists a chance to help readers go deeper, and I hope we continue to take advantage of it in this way.

By Jay Mathews  | November 22, 2009; 9:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  D.C. schools, Dan Goldfarb, IMPACT program, Jason Kamras, Michelle A. Rhee, multiple learning styles, teacher evaluations  
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