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Class Struggle: December 6, 2009 - December 12, 2009

What's with the new U.S. News high school list?

Thus anything I say about the U.S. News list may be misinterpreted. Anything negative I say will be blamed on the fact that we are competitors. Anything positive will be attributed to the fact that I welcomed the U.S. News list, and that every year it comes out the number of online hits on the Newsweek list soars, probably because people want to compare the ratings their schools got on both lists or because they are confused as to which list has just come out.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 11, 2009; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Newsweek high school list, Robert Morse, Sid Groeneman, U.S. News high school list, school ranking  
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Finally some sense about 21st century skills--part two, the Wagner book

Then comes his "Schools That Work" chapter, a remarkable piece of education reporting. He describes, based on long visits, two of the most important public school models in the country for more effective teaching, particularly students without the natural academic skills that get the most praise. These are High Tech High, a growing network of project-based-learning schools born in San Diego, and the Big Picture Company, an even larger network of schools designed to teach students through internships that began in Providence, R.I. This part of the book is a must read.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 11, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Tags: 21st century skills, Advanced Placement, Big Picture Company, High Tech High, Tony Wagner, achievement gap, new global economy  
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Why gifted classes are not enough: the Warren Buffett case

For Warren Buffett, school was a problem. He was so bored in class and so eager to pursue his business ideas that his grades fell and he dabbled in grand larceny. His prime target was Sears on Wisconsin Avenue. He stole hundreds of golf balls and once walked out of the store, unmolested, with a full bag of new clubs he had not paid for.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 9, 2009; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Extra Credit  | Tags: Morton Sherman, Warren Buffett, gifted class discrimination, gifted education, home schooling  
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Teachers who helped raise DC scores--please tell us how

This is a blog where people want to learn, not just vent.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 9, 2009; 4:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: D.C. math scores, D.C. math teachers  
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We're tied for no. 14! We're tied for no. 14!

The report shows that the gains in fourth and eighth grade math in the District began before D.C. School Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee arrived. We know there have been math gains also during her watch, but if I were she I would be careful not to celebrate this latest news too much.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 8, 2009; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: D.C. math score gain, Michelle A. Rhee, National Assessment of Educational Progress, big city math scores  
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Do we need lunch periods, or even cafeterias?

My favorite lunch was eating a sandwich while convening the student court, of which I was chief justice, so we could sanction some miscreant for stealing corn nuts from the vending machine. (I heard a radio ad for that wrongdoer's business when I was home recently---he has become a successful attorney.) At the office these days I stay in my cubicle and have crackers and fruit juice, maybe a cookie if somebody has brought them from home.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 8, 2009; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: 21st century skills, Carole Goodman, Jay Pearson, learning collaboration, school cafeterias, school clubs, school lunch period  
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Anguish in the library for kids without computers

You must go to our education page and read its lead item---Annie Gowen's heartbreaking examination of impoverished students in wealthy Northern Virginia who can't afford their own computers and find school perilous as a result. You will find kids...

By Jay Mathews  |  December 7, 2009; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Annie Gowen, digital divide, library computers  
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Why can't regular schools expand learning time?

I like longer school days because I have seen them help bring significant increases in achievement in several charter school networks, including Achievement First, Uncommon Schools, YES and KIPP. Most important are their great teachers, the flame of learning. Increased time is the fuel.

By Jay Mathews  |  December 6, 2009; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags: Christopher Gabrieli, Knowledge Is Power Program, National Center on Time & Learning, charter schools, expanded learning time  
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