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Class Struggle: January 24, 2010 - January 30, 2010

Where Duncan went wrong

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan never should have said, as he did on a TV interview to be aired Sunday and Monday, that Hurricane Katrina was "the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans." He was hurtful and insensitive. There were nearly 2,000 confirmed deaths from the storm and the floods. Instead, he should have focused on why New Orleans schools attracted better resources, fresher ideas and a great influx of energetic teachers that they would not have gotten nearly as quickly if the disaster had not occurred.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 29, 2010; 4:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Arne Duncan, Duncan and Katrina, Duncan was right, Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans schools, Katrina comment, Recovery School district  
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Why students fail AP tests

My column last week about how to reveal the secrets of which teacher is getting the best Advanced Placement results received many more comments than I expected. This was, I thought, a topic only for insiders, AP obsessives like me. I forgot, once again, that college-level exams has become a rite of passage for at least a third of American high schoolers, with that proportion increasing every year.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 29, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: AP failing scores, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, college credit for AP, opening AP to all, subject-by-subject AP results  
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The difference between editorial and news

We news side education writers, particularly D.C. schools reporter Bill Turque, were scooped on an important story about D.C. schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee by the editorial writer who handles education issues, Jo-Ann Armao. Armao was boss of both me and Turque for several years as assistant managing editor for Metro news. She was one of the best editors I ever had.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 28, 2010; 12:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Bill Turque, Fred Hiatt, Jo-Ann Armao, Michelle A. Rhee, Post education writers, Post newsroom clash, Washington Post, fight at the Post  
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New, deeper AP program

If someone told you the College Board was about to rip apart the SAT and rebuild it, would that excite/surprise/aggravate/frighten you? Me too. It’s about to happen, not to the SAT, but to our nation’s second-most influential test, Advanced Placement, with large consequences for our high schools and colleges.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 27, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Extra Credit  | Tags: AP Biology, Advanced Placement, College Board, colleges resist AP changes, new AP program, new AP tests  
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New, deeper AP program

[This is my Local Living section column for Jan. 28, 2010.] If someone told you the College Board was about to rip apart the SAT and rebuild it, would that excite/surprise/aggravate/frighten you? Me too. It’s about to happen, not...

By Jay Mathews  |  January 27, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Extra Credit  | Tags: Advanced Placement, new AP program, new AP tests  
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Fix schools with ideas, not money

President Obama is apparently about to tell the nation he wants to freeze federal spending for three years in several areas, including education. I like the idea. I would also support cutting back entitlement payments for financially secure geezers like me, and find ways for everyone to make some sacrifices for our country.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 27, 2010; 5:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Obama state of the union, federal education spending, giving principals budgeting power, opening more charter schools, school reform, spending freeze  
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Ms. Rhee: apologize, don't leave

I think Rhee needs to be more apologetic. Her comments were over the line. All of us who mouth off in public are prone to saying things we would have edited if we had had the chance. The best thing to do is to say you are sorry to have sounded like an idiot and that you will try to be more careful in the future. My great fear is that any political battle over this might get bad enough to get her fired, or more likely convince her to leave. I think that would have terrible consequences for D.C. schools. I am interested in hearing from readers who think otherwise.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 26, 2010; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (93)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: D.C. schools, Michelle Rhee, hitting students, insulting teachers, sex with students  
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Read to expand school day

We know that we need longer days in schools full of kids who need to catch up to grade level. Schools that have increased learning time have had significant success. How do we do that without breaking the already strained school budget? Here is a small idea: make lunch period a READING and lunch period, and enforce it.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 26, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: increase learning time, longer school days, make lunch period a reading-and-lunch period, more reading time in school, students choose their books  
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Strangling another charter school

Blogger Carol A.O. Wolf reports the imminent demise of the Patrick Henry School for Science and Art in Richmond, a charter apparently about to be killed, like many charters, by the local school board before it ever got started.

By Jay Mathews  |  January 25, 2010; 3:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Carol A.O. Wolf, Richmond, charter schools, killing charter schools  
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Five college blind spots

American colleges and universities are the great strength of our education system. They are revered around the world. But those schools put heavy stress on our families, since getting into, paying for and graduating from the ones we most want often exceeds our capabilities. We need to know more about what they are doing to us, so I am happy to see washingtonpost.com launch two higher education blogs: College Inc. by Daniel de Vise and Campus Overload by Jenna Johnson. Let me celebrate that event by grumbling about what I consider higher education's five biggest blind spots:

By Jay Mathews  |  January 24, 2010; 7:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (36)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags: Advanced Placement, Collegiate Learning Assessment, International Baccalaureate, National Survey of Student Engagement, college admissions, college prestige, college privacy rules, colleges adding value, higher education blogs  
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