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Class Struggle: February 28, 2010 - March 6, 2010

KIPP helps worst students, study says

Among the many controversies surrounding the Knowledge Is Power Program, the nation's most successful charter school network, is the suggestion that KIPP scores look good because their weakest students drop out. A new and unusually careful survey has found that in the case of at least one KIPP school, that's not true.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 5, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (71)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: Josh Zoia, KIPP Academy Lynn, KIPP achievement gains confirmed, KIPP helps worst students, new KIPP study  
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Yikes! A charter-friendly superintendent

St. Mary's County has a different attitude toward charter schools. Does being named after the Mother of God make you nicer? I don't think so. The key factor is that the St. Mary's school board hired Michael J. Martirano as superintendent five years ago. The county Web site says he came from Howard County, but he sounds like he is from an undiscovered planet.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 3, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags: Michael J. Martirano, Stuart Gibson, charter vs. regular public schools, charter-friendly superintendent, killing charters in Montgomery and Anne Arundel counties  
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Obama right, Mathews wrong

Please wipe my recent post, "Obama wrong, Weingarten right," from your memory. I messed up. I indicated the plan to fire all of the staff at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island barred teachers from reapplying for their jobs. If I had shown the slightest bit of energy in checking this out, I would have discovered teachers at that school will have that option.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 3, 2010; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Central Falls High School, Mathews messed up, teachers can reapply for their jobs  
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Double principals' pay

How do you get good teachers? Answer: Hire great principals. When given a choice of methods to retain good teachers, the most popular response from the teachers was supportive leadership, 68 percent saying it was absolutely essential.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 3, 2010; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Gates Foundation survey, double principals' pay, teachers endorse good leadership, time for collaboration with other teachers  
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Jaime Escalante being treated for cancer

Jaime Escalante, the Los Angeles math teacher who turned me into an education writer, is in Reno getting treatment for cancer, his wife Fabiola told me today. I didn't ask her too many questions, but since she is still in Bolivia and he is in Nevada, I am going to assume that he still has some time to deal with this like he has dealt with everything else, straight ahead.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 2, 2010; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Escalante has cancer, Jaime Escalante, Stand and Deliver  
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Obama wrong, Weingarten right

It puzzles me why President Obama yesterday chose to endorse the firing of 93 teachers and other staff members at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island, as reported by my colleagues Michael A. Fletcher and Nick Anderson. Dismissing every member of the staff was overkill, and unnecessary. The president knows that, but I guess decided that he had to show some of that toughness a lot of people say he needs.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 2, 2010; 3:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Central Falls High School, President Obama, Randi Weingarten, Rhode Island teacher firings, firing all teachers  
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Why colleges hide mental illness

I'm still thinking about my colleague Jenna Johnson's front page piece last week on changing college policies toward alcohol abuse. It turns out a little-noticed amendment in the law in 1998 allows them to notify parents if undergraduate children under 21 have any booze or drug violations. If only they were as generous in letting families know when their children are suffering from mental or emotional illnesses.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 2, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: colleges failure to inform parents about students in trouble, colleges freezing parents out, helicopter parents, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974  
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Mr. President: Be bold on dropouts

The intent of President Obama's offer of $900 million to boost dropout prevention is good; the approach he is taking isn't.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 1, 2010; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Obama $900 million for dropout prevention, Obama anti-dropout plan, why students leave school  
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D.C. teacher evaluations look better

I have written four columns so far pointing out what appear to be weaknesses in the D.C. teacher evaluation system, including dubious benchmarks of good teaching and inadequate training. But I am also getting a sense that many teachers like the new system. It is far from ideal, but it is also the best evaluation system they have ever participated in, they say.

By Jay Mathews  |  February 28, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags: D.C. system criticized, D.C. teacher evaluations, George Parker, IMPACT system in D.C., Jason Kamras, Washington Teachers Union, assessing teachers, teacher like IMPACT system, training teachers  
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