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Class Struggle: May 16, 2010 - May 22, 2010

Improving schools by paying teachers to leave

Economist Eric Hanushek summarizes his plan for turning school budget cuts and more federal bailout funds into an opportunity to improve the teaching ranks: "The first-best solution, based on several decades of consistent research findings, is to lay off ineffective teachers selectively while letting class sizes drift up a bit," he writes. "When the bailout ends, schools would be in a stronger financial position because the permanent teacher workforce would be reduced by the slightly larger class sizes, and this workforce would be of higher quality."

By Jay Mathews  |  May 21, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (74)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: Eric A. Hanushek, most districts say nearly 100 percent of teachers are satisfactory, no way to determine which teachers are ineffective, school bailout, use stimulus to buy severance packages for ineffective teachers  
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Memo to charters: don't mess with D.C. teacher contract

It would be an act of betrayal for D.C. charters to try to grab some dough from the regular public schools just as Michelle A. Rhee, the greatest friend of charters ever to lead the D.C. schools, is putting into place her controversial plan to change the way teachers are compensated and motivated.

By Jay Mathews  |  May 20, 2010; 1:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Charters should not mess with D.C. teacher contract, Friends of Choice in Urban Schools, KIPP, Michelle A. Rhee, charter will not lose as many teachers as they fear  
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When looking at colleges, study their extra-curriculars

The stuff we look for in a good college, such as a high ranking, selective admissions, a national reputation, top faculty and a lovely campus, might not have as much influence on our future success as one factor that is often overlooked: the quality of extracurricular activities at those campuses. U.S. News & World Report doesn’t include that in its ranking formula. There were few, if any, questions about it when I accompanied my children on campus tours.

By Jay Mathews  |  May 19, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags: campus extracurriculars can change your life, college rankings overlook extracurriculars, how to do an extracurricular analysis, why so many Post people are most successful than Mathews  
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Does journalism's decline help education?

I am not happy about the loss of good people at the Post and other journalistic enterprises in the massive reorganization of the news business, but if schools are getting some talented wordsmiths that way, it may be a net plus.

By Jay Mathews  |  May 18, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Colette Fraley, Journalists become teachers, Mimi Gurbst, Norman Adkins, Paul Bernstein, adding wordsmiths to the classroom  
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Does denying dreams help kids learn?

Denying children cherished prizes is a controversial part of the No Excuses model. The idea is to build self-restraint. It has had an impact. Former KIPP students, now adults, tell me that losing a year-end trip was the most dramatic moment of their middle school years. They are still trying to measure its influence a decade later.

By Jay Mathews  |  May 16, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags: Denying dreams to help kids learn, KIPP schools, Kyrien Curtis, No Excuses schools, behavior has consequences, consequence of bad decision, not all KIPP students go on the year-end trip  
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