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Class Struggle: July 25, 2010 - July 31, 2010

Jaime Escalante, Alfie Kohn, John Taylor Gatto and Frank Smith

The following conversation is purely fictional. No such meeting ever took place. This is merely my attempt to guess what these four experts might say to me if I could get them all in one room at one time. I wrote this in a effort to work out my own demons, in hopes that I might increase my understanding of the failings of my own teaching methods.

By Jay Mathews  |  July 29, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags: Alfie Kohn, Jaime Escalante, John Taylor Gatto and Frank Smith, imaginary conversation between California teacher Jerry Heverly and four well-known experts  
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Patrick Welsh is wrong about too many going to college

Morgan and Welsh make the mistake of seeing college as nothing more than a route to certain careers, unnecessary for those who, as Morgan says, “fix our cars and computers and clean up oil spills in Louisiana.” The life-long benefits of four years studying the world, testing one’s interests and communing with other thoughtful young adults seem lost on them. What do they say of other vital life choices that can cost as much as college and still have little connection to future job prospects? Would Morgan or Welsh argue that starting a family, joining a church or buying a home are similarly a waste of time?

By Jay Mathews  |  July 28, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags: Eugene Morgan, Patrick Welsh, encouraging people who want to limit challenge for all, they exaggerate the pressure to go to college, they overlook the non-career benefits of college, they say too many students go to college  
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Two very different AP schools, both with good news

All over the country, schools are introducing more students to college-level courses. Some educators and parents are worried that it is too much, too soon. But I think that overlooks the power of good teaching done before the AP, IB and other introductory college courses begin. If that early preparation in working in high schools as different as Friendship and Washington-Lee, it seems to me it could work anywhere.

By Jay Mathews  |  July 27, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags: Friendship Collegiate Public Charter High School in the District, Friendship has 43 percent gain in passing AP tests, Unusual progress in AP courses, W-L has almost perfect passing rate in AP course given to ninth graders, Washington-Lee High School in Arlington County  
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