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Class Struggle: March 14, 2010 - March 20, 2010

Grill Washpost's education team for free!

Come to the auditorium of Richard Montgomery High School at 250 Montgomery Road in Rockville (behind the big Marlo furniture store on Rockville Pike) between 6 and 8 p.m. this Wednesday, March 24, and meet the Post's education team.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 19, 2010; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Washington Post education team forum, embarrassing questions welcome  
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Do schools change? Not much.

Tom Loveless is a former California public school teacher who has become one of the nation's most contrarian education scholars, always looking for something to upset us conventional thinkers. Maybe you, like me and most people, believe that most schools can be significantly improved if done the right way. Guess again, says Loveless.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 19, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: Brookings Institution, Tom Loveless, pro sports teams change more than schools, schools don't change, the power of school culture  
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KIPP, union settle Baltimore dispute

KIPP's high-achieving school in Baltimore said it might have to close because reducing the time for instruction, as forced by union demands, meant it could not honor the promises it made to its students and families to prepare every child for college. But Jason Botel, founder of the KIPP Ujima Village and executive director of KIPP Baltimore, sent a letter to local KIPP supporters today saying his organization and the Baltimore Teachers Union had reached an agreement that will allow the school and a new KIPP elementary school, Harmony Academy, to operate through the next school year on its full 9.5 hours a day time schedule, with Saturday sessions restored.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 18, 2010; 4:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: American Federation of Teachers, Baltimore Teachers Union, KIPP Ujima Village public charter school, KIPP settles dispute with Baltimore union, Knowledge Is Power Program, charter school/union clash  
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New Admissions 101 topic

Today's Local Living column on this blog inspires the latest topic for my Admissions 101 discussion group: Should we rate high schools based a long essay designed to show how much students' analytical abilities have improved?

By Jay Mathews  |  March 18, 2010; 3:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Admissions 101 topic, new high school rating system  
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Daring new high school rating system

I never thought anyone would try such a daring concept, judging schools by how much their students' analytical abilities improve. If your high school’s seniors didn’t score much better than your freshmen, what would you do? What schools would have the courage to put themselves to that test or, even worse, quantify the level of their failure, as the program does?

By Jay Mathews  |  March 17, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags: College and Work Readiness Assessment, Collegiate Learning Assessment, John Turner, Severn School, high school rating, judging high schools by analytical ability  
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Star principal retires

Doris B. Jackson, one of the best high school principals I have ever seen, just announced her retirement from Arlington County's Wakefield High School. With her mentor and predecessor Marie Shiels Djouadi, Jackson made Wakefield--where half the students are low-income and two thirds black or Hispanic--one of the nation's best known educational successes.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 17, 2010; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Doris B. Jackson retirement, Wakefield High School, educational success story  
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Should we let students reject college prep?

Dumping the college option in sophomore year makes no sense, and high schools that allow that are taking us back to the bad old days when kids from certain kinds of families were told, in sometimes subtle and sometime less subtle ways, that college was not for them and the metal shop teacher would love to have them.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 17, 2010; 5:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: college not for everyone, non-college options, students who mature early, too young to decide on college  
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LSAT: the devil's work?

Various people I respect, including my boss, tell me I should be less secretive on this blog about another forum at which I spend time, my Admissions 101 discussion group. We have very lively---some think occasionally too lively---exchanges over issue related to getting into college and other forms of higher education.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 16, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Admissions 101, college admissions, raucous admissions discussion group  
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Valerie Strauss v. me on tests

I didn't intend to pick a fight with my blogging wonder of a colleague Valerie Strauss, but she wouldn't let go of the issue. (I least that is what I tell my mom if this were the playground and not the world's finest Web site.) She says the standardized tests we use now are too inaccurate and unreliable to tolerate. I don't like them that much myself, but I still think they are useful, and don't see Valerie providing any evidence on her side.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 15, 2010; 6:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: AP, IB, Valerie Strauss v. Jay Mathews, Vermont research, are standardized tests useless  
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How to handle students cheating

What should we do about the computer hackers at Winston Churchill High School in Montgomery County who changed dozens of grades? What is the solution to student cheating in general? Research suggests that rising pressure to get into good colleges...

By Washington Post editors  |  March 15, 2010; 9:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
 
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Obama plan flaw: achievement gap

I see a problem in the president using the achievement gap as a measure of schools in his suggested revisions. This could mean that a wonderfully diverse school like T.C. Williams High in Alexandria, a recent subject on this blog, would be motivated to ignore its best students, who want to get even better, and focus all its money and time on those at the bottom of the achievement scale so they can narrow the gap. That is not a good idea, and I hope the president will get it out of his proposal.

By Jay Mathews  |  March 14, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Obama education plan, achievement gap emphasis wrong  
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