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Class Struggle: June 20, 2010 - June 26, 2010

NYC success suggests better fix for urban high schools

Urban high schools throughout the country are, on average, very bad. They are full of confused teenagers who are often not well taught and given little of the support and structure they need to learn. Several D.C. high schools are under new leadership now, as Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has installed new principals. But they are trying, as edlharris recommended, to turnaround their entire schools, grades 9 to 12, at the same time. The results so far are not impressive.

By Jay Mathews  |  June 25, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: Friends of Bedford, MDRC, New York high school study shows small schools work, creating new schools better than reforming entire schools, fixing high schools  
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Kind lady rides to the rescue of frustrated commenters

Hard-working washingtonpost.com producer Erica Pytlovany, henceforth known as the Godmother of this blog, has blessed us again, this time with a new way to keep excessively wordy commenters (like your blogger) under some useful restraint.

By Jay Mathews  |  June 24, 2010; 6:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: 000 character limit on comments, 3, Erica Pytlovany saves our blog, brevity is divine.  
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Pretend your college interviewer is grandma's friend

The point of a college interview is to show that you are a good person and that you are polite and interesting and have a sense of humor about yourself and the unnerving admissions process. That means you have to be, as you have been told many times, yourself, which is not so easy in those circumstances.

By Jay Mathews  |  June 23, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags: express an contrarian political view, handling college interviews, make a joke, pretend the interviewer is a friend of grandma, take risks, think of some questions beforehand  
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Progress report from big study of KIPP

In this study, any student who spends at least a year at KIPP is considered part of the KIPP group, not the control group, even if they spend sixth through eighth grade in a non-KIPP school. So if KIPP's achievement rate increase looks good after four years, it will be in spite of, not because of, low achieving students leaving early.

By Jay Mathews  |  June 22, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: KIPP achievement rates strong, Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), little difference in attrition rates, new KIPP preliminary study, randomized results won't be released until 2014  
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Hispanic students taking AP Spanish: a scam?

Two of my children, whose parents can’t speak Spanish and didn’t take it in school, worked hard to learn that language and now use it in their jobs. They are truly bilingual. This impresses people. So why are we not similarly gratified when Hispanic students with fewer advantages than my kids work just as hard to master the same two important languages?

By Jay Mathews  |  June 20, 2010; 10:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags: Is Hispanic students taking AP Spanish a scam, Theresa Vargas, charge that Wakefield AP scores plummet without AP Spanish, double standard for language learners  
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