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Class Struggle: May 23, 2010 - May 29, 2010

Technology may help poor schools by starting with rich ones

For the first time I realized that the education reforms I write about, raising achievement in the inner city, are as Paul E. Peterson puts it turning standard marketing strategies upside down. Maybe they will work better, he suggests, if we let their 21st century promoters try them out in affluent schools, seeing what works best before moving to kids who really need something better than what they've got.

By Jay Mathews  |  May 28, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: Florida Virtual School, Paul E. Peterson, Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning,, education reform has to start with the rich, virtual learning  
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Surviving the college search with family intact

Picking a college is like juggling plastic explosives. The generation gap between parent and child is large. Other family issues intrude. Popular culture insists it is the most important decision parents and children will make together. But students often do not share the parental sense of urgency. Much can go wrong.

By Jay Mathews  |  May 26, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (24)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags: avoiding paying private counselor, clever ways to force students to choose, keeping college search calm, parents use subtle bribe to change her mind, setting a schedule, student rejects William & Mary  
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How should we measure teacher effectiveness?

If you check out my Friday column post, "Improving schools by paying teachers to leave," you will find comments flying on how exactly we should measure teacher effectiveness. Some say, as I would, that all we have in place at the moment is test score improvement, which has its place but is flawed for many reasons, the most important being that many teachers' kids don't take state tests. What sensible means could we develop to figure out which teachers are in trouble and need help, or career counseling?

By Jay Mathews  |  May 26, 2010; 1:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: emphasize school effectiveness instead, how should we measure teacher effectiveness, personal inspections, test scores  
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Why transparency in college admissions is bad

Impose transparency on the holistic system used by selective colleges--a subjective judgment based on several factors--and the result is no less maddening. The admissions office would have to issue statements like "the candidate's extracurricular involvements were not as intense and her teacher recommendations not as impressive as those of candidates we accepted."

By Jay Mathews  |  May 23, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags: Andy Pettis, college admissions transparency is bad, parents upset they don't know why children are rejected, transparency will also upset people. transparency leads to unpopular standardized measures  
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