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Class Struggle: July 18, 2010 - July 24, 2010

Admissions office probes applicants’ scary depths

Psychology is beyond my competence. I took a course in that subject my freshman year of college, but that was because I needed an easy A. So I wondered if I really wanted to write anything at all about an article I found in the spring 2010 issue of the Journal of College Admissions with this unsettling title: “One College’s Journey Into the Unconscious Mind of its Prospective Students: How a New Research Methodology is Helping Us Recruit.”

By Jay Mathews  |  July 22, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: Ashley Memory, Gerald Zaltman of Harvard, Jennifer Kretchmar, Jerry Olson of Penn State, UNC study of 13 male high schoolers, college search desires, importance of a journey, looking deeper inside the applicant's head, personal growth  
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Jay Mathews on the lam

By the time this post pops up on the blog, I will be somewhere in West Virginia, maybe even Ohio if my wife, a more conservative driver, let's me take the wheel. We are driving our 25-year-old daughter's Honda to Berkeley, Calif., where she will start law school next month.

By Jay Mathews  |  July 22, 2010; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Jay on vacation, he and his wife like road trips, he wonders why expensive hotels charge for Wifi and cheap motels do not  
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Power of books my wife grew up with

A new study, based on 20 years of research, suggests that children who have 500 or more books in the home get, on average, 3.2 years more schooling than children in bookless homes. Even just 20 books makes a difference. The availability of reading material has a strong impact on a child’s education, even when controlling for the effects of parental education, father’s occupation, gender, nationality, political system and gross national product.

By Jay Mathews  |  July 21, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags: 500 books means 3.2 more years of education on average, Reno, University of Nevada, in China 6.6 years, more books in the home advances children's education, my wife's 300 books, scholar Mariah Evans  
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Alexander Russo hits me hard on Harlem Children's Zone

I don't know enough about HCZ to reach any conclusions about it. But I wrote that blog post because I agree with Alex that it is very important, and needs careful watching. It is the embodiment of one side of one of our most vital arguments about schools---should we focus on helping kids in class or helping them at home?

By Jay Mathews  |  July 21, 2010; 11:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Alexander Russo attacks me, I plead no content, the importance of the Harlem Children's Zone  
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Rare attack on Harlem Children's Zone

President Obama has requested $210 million to create programs similar to the Harlem Children's Zone throughout the country. That’s a lot of money, but how can anyone oppose prenatal care, parenting classes, fitness and nutrition programs for poor families, as well as the thriving charter schools Geoffrey Canada and his team have created? So it is hard to believe what I am seeing---a short paper from the prestigious Brookings Institution taking a shot at the Harlem Children’s Zone and its premier charter school, the Promise Academy.

By Jay Mathews  |  July 20, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Brookings Institute criticizes HCZ results, Dave Levin, Geoffrey Canada, HCZ Promise Academy charter school not as successful as other charters that lack zone support, Harlem Children's Zone, KIPP, Russ Whitehurst  
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Debate over school data in wealthy counties

Educational statistics expert Joseph Hawkins, one of my guides to the mysteries of test assessment, is impatient with the way the Montgomery County Public School system, as he puts it, “is always telling the world how better it is than everyone else.” He finds flaws in its latest celebration of college success by county graduates, particularly minorities.

By Jay Mathews  |  July 18, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags: Montgomery County's great school data, National Student Clearinghouse, Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, expert Joseph Hawkins says Montgomery can do better  
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