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Class Struggle: January 17, 2010 - January 23, 2010

Rhee vs. teacher-student sex

Bill Turque reports that D.C. schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is quoted in Fast Company magazine saying people who accuse her of firing teachers unfairly don't mention that some of the people let go hit children, had sex with children and missed many days of school.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 22, 2010; 2:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Bill Turque, Fast Company magazine, Michelle Rhee, hitting students, sex with students, teachers missing school  
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Elementary gifted ed made easy

As if by fate, I received an email shortly after from Susan Ohanian, a delightful teacher, speaker, author and blogger whose work I love even when she is portraying me as a test-addled idiot. We may disagree on policy issues, but we have shared tastes about what good teaching looks and sounds like. In her email, she describe how she brought a free-form gifted non-program to an elementary school.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 22, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: David Hawkins, Susan Ohanian, elementary school gifted education, free-form gifted ed, gifted education  
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TV, games, iPods vs. school

I was at first suspicious of the new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation saying our children are averaging 7.5 hours a day immersed in electronic media. I had been complaining for years, based on a University of Michigan study, that high schoolers are spending less than an hour a day on homework and more than two hours a day on TV. That was bad enough, but 7.5 hours a day of chatter and games and music and the tube?

By Jay Mathews  |  January 21, 2010; 2:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: TV use, TV watching hurts school, homework, iPods, kids wasting time, too much TV watching, too much time spent online, video games  
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Your school's AP secrets

Ever seen the Advanced Placement Grade Report for your high school? I thought not. Most people don’t know it exists. That is why I have so much pleasure going over the reports. It is like reading the principal’s e-mails, full of intriguing innuendo and secrets that parents and students aren’t supposed to know.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 20, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Extra Credit  | Tags: AP subject results, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Washington area schools, rating teachers  
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Challenge Index delayed, a bit

My apologies to anyone I told (including readers of this week's Thursday Local Living section) to expect the new Challenge Index rankings of Washington area high schools on Jan. 25. We are going to save them for Monday Feb....

By Jay Mathews  |  January 20, 2010; 6:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Challenge Index, higher ed blog  
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Senate shock could affect schools

Like many of you, I was too wrapped up in the drama of what the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts might do to the health care bill to think about its possible impact on education. But a bit of reflection suggests that this could be an important part of a national reversal of federal spending and influence in other areas, including schools.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 20, 2010; 3:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Brown victory and education, Mike Petrilli, Scott Brown victory, backlash against federal intervention in schools  
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Weingarten serves two masters

Weingarten is serving two constituencies---her members, many of whom don't want to use standardized test scores to evaluate teachers, and American voters, many of whom do. The dust-up at last week's Houston school board meeting is a perfect example of what happens when a creative leader tries to keep both sides happy. I think she is moving in the right direction, but it dizzying to watch all that necessary doding and weaving.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 20, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Randi Weingarten, Terry B. Grier, education labor disputes, teacher evaluations, teachers union  
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Do federal education dollars work?

Let's give a languid, scholarly cheer for Gov. Rick Perry (R) and his decision to miss the chance at hundreds of millions of dollars in federal education aid. Texas has in effect designated itself a big control group in an interesting test of this haunting question---does increased federal spending make schools better?

By Jay Mathews  |  January 19, 2010; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Obama education spending, Texas refuses Race to the Top money, federal education spending  
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National ed reporting overrated

National education stories have a place, but too often they are about ideology, politics and budget fights (Will the Adequate Yearly Progress rules be changed? Who will get the Race to the Top money?). The most important changes, I learned long ago, occur in classrooms because of the actions of educators, not members of congress.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 17, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags: Brookings Institution, Nick Anderson, local education reporting, national education reporting  
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