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Class Struggle: September 5, 2010 - September 11, 2010

America's best community colleges

Here's one more sign that community colleges don't get respect. I waited two weeks after the publication of the Washington Monthly's new ranked list of these overlooked schools before I bestirred myself to write this column. For someone whose family history is entwined with community colleges, that's bad.

By Jay Mathews  | September 9, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  America's Best Community Colleges, Kevin Carey, schools ranked by best teaching practices, top-50 list community colleges excel four-year universities  
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Savvy blogger suffers real-life school reform

The "Thoughts on Public Education" blog put out by the Silicon Valley Education Foundation had the clever idea to ask Kilian Betlach, who used to write the delightful "Teaching in the 408" blog, to ruminate on the school reform process. Betlach, previously a seventh grade teacher in east San Jose, has just had a jarring personal experience with school reform. He is assistant principal of a small middle school in Oakland, Elmhurst Community Prep, forced to fix itself under federal rules.

By Jay Mathews  | September 8, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Kilian Betlach, blogger has his school reformed, federal reform process proves insipid, former Teaching in the 408 blogger, post on Thoughts on Public Education  
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Why 17-year-olds' scores have stalled since the '70s

Columnist Robert J. Samuelson concludes, “the larger cause of [school reform] failure is almost unmentionable: shrunken student motivation. Students, after all, have to do the work. If they aren’t motivated, even capable teachers may fail.”

By Jay Mathews  | September 7, 2010; 12:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  17 year old test scores unimproved since 1970s, NAEP scores, columnist Robert J. Samuelson says the problem unaddressed problem is student motivation, good teachers can produced more motivated students, more motivated students make teachers more effecdtive  
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The real reason a whistleblowing teacher was transferred

My nominee for most effective whistleblower in the D.C. school system, Erich Martel, has finally gone too far in the eyes of some school administrators.

By Jay Mathews  | September 5, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags:  Erich Martel, Peter Cahall, principal and teacher disagreed over AP and learning styles, principal disliked teacher's anti-cheating methods, principal transfers teacher to distant school because of philosophical disagreements  
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