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Class Struggle: November 29, 2009 - December 5, 2009

Carjacking at a top D.C. charter school

KIPP DC founder and executive director Susan Schaeffler said one non-KIPP high school student was shot and killed on the Benning Road campus last year. Ten KIPP staff cars have been vandalized and three cars have been stolen, two owned by KIPP staffers and one by a KIPP parent. "We need help securing our schools just like the traditional schools," Schaeffler said.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 4, 2009; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: D.C. charter schools, Friendship Collegiate Academy, Knowledge Is Power Program, Phil Mendelson, Susan Schaeffler, Victor Reinoso, school police protection  
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Finally some sense about 21st century skills--part one, the Jerald report

(1) Should we make more time for thinking in school by finding a more efficient --and quicker--way to teach the facts our students need to think about? (2) If collaboration is so important to the 21st century workplace, and if (as Jerald and Wagner report) students appear to learn the most about teamwork in sports and other extracurricular activities, should we require everyone to participate in games or clubs in the same way we used to make P.E. mandatory?

By Jay Mathews  |  December 4, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: 21st century skills, Craig Jerald, Tony Wagner, critical thinking, extracurricular activities, factual knowledge, fads  
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Would suburban parents send their kids to D.C. schools?

“Nationally, there were 2,736 magnet schools educating roughly 2 million students in the 2005-06 school year,” Kahlenberg said in his paper. “By comparison, in that year, there were 4,000 charter schools educating about 1 million students. Like charter schools, there are good magnet schools and bad ones — and not all, by any means, are able to attract middle-class students into schools located in disadvantaged areas. But the best ones can serve as models for turning around failing schools.”

By Jay Mathews  |  December 2, 2009; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Extra Credit  | Tags: Knowledge Is Power Program, Richard Kahlenberg, Tobin school, Wexford elementary school, achievement gap, charter schools, economic backgrounds, economic integration, magnet schools  
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Teacher incentive watch: why Prince George's County matters

What I find most appealing about FIRST is that it is voluntary---only teachers who want to participate have to. (For principals, the choice part is trickier, since they have to do the special evaluations for their participating teachers even if they don't want to try for the money themselves.) Also, for those of us who don't like the idea of bonuses based on an individual teacher's success in raising test scores, FIRST puts more emphasis on other factors.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 2, 2009; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Bill Hite, FIRST program, John Deasy, Prince George's County, principal incentives, teacher incentives  
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How to raise minority participation in Advanced Placement

My colleague Nelson Hernandez reports on the extraordinary progress Montgomery County has made raising both participation and success in college-level courses in high school. Black and Hispanic students in the county are also doing significantly better on AP tests...

By Jay Mathews  |  December 1, 2009; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Advanced Placement, Montgomery County  
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Mr. President: Be the bad guy, start closing schools.

Start closing bad charter schools, Mr. President. The teachers union officials who have long thought charters, most of them not unionized, as the enemy will applaud your squashing those vermin. The pro-charter people will support you too, because they have long argued that the great advantage of charters is that unsuccessful ones can be closed quickly and easily.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 1, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Arne Duncan, Blue Ribbon Schools, Obama the Terminator, Race to the Top, bad schools, charter schools  
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Understand the charter school debate in just 2 minutes

I will have a blog post shortly on a way President Obama could bring both sides of the charter debate together in a joint effort on a particular issue that would help everybody.

By Jay Mathews  |  November 30, 2009; 12:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Carolyn Hoxby, President Obama, charter schools  
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Five reasons why I am a bad education writer

I rarely wrote about private schools: This is partly because of laziness. It takes much time and effort to report on private schools because so many are reluctant to give out information that might hurt their reputations in their annual competition with other private schools for students. I am also handicapped by the journalistic assumption, rarely discussed or debated in our newsroom, that paying attention to these private enterprises is like giving them free advertising.

By Jay Mathews  |  November 29, 2009; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags: Bill Turque, Columbia Heights Education Center, Knowledge Is Power, Michael Birnbuam, Michelle A. Rhee, Rebecca Cox, Wakefield High School, education reporting, private schools  
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