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Class Struggle: October 10, 2010 - October 16, 2010

High schoolers barred from college-level courses

I expect there will be even more schools next year reaching the America's Best High Schools standard for inclusion than the 1,735 this year. The number has gone up every time I have done the list, beginning with just 243 schools in 1998. But proportionally, that is still quite small. This year's total represented only about 6 percent of all public high schools in the United States.

By Jay Mathews  | October 15, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (46)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  America's Best High Schools, Challenge Index, access to AP courses, data show more acceptance of average students in challenging courses, many schools bar students with average GPAs or no teacher recommendations  
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Watch The Post's new Michelle Rhee interview, and decide for yourself

Our new On Education page has just gone up with my first in a series of video interviews with education leaders. I start with D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. She will be leaving that job at the end of October, but it is clear that whatever we think of Rhee, we will be hearing from her and about her for years to come.

By Jay Mathews  | October 14, 2010; 11:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Jay on the Web, dc schools  
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Required essays in a physics class

In my search for signs of serious writing instruction in America high schools, I have stumbled across a rare creature: a physics teacher in Fairfax County who makes everyone in his honors classes enter a national science essay contest.

By Jay Mathews  | October 13, 2010; 9:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags:  Dupont Challenge essay contest, Ed Linz, Fairfax County Va., Linz rejects Mathews call for essays for all, West Springfield High School, physics teacher requires essay writing  
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KIPP school leader rejects charge of narrow teaching

Last week an erudite reader of this blog who signs on as mcstowy posted a provocative comment in response to a column of mine on the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools. He quoted from the Web site of the KIPP middle school in Lynn, Mass. as evidence of what he said was KIPP's failure to encourage imaginative, independent thinking.I told him I would ask the leader of that school, Josh Zoia, to reply.

By Jay Mathews  | October 13, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  KIPP Lynn, KIPP day is full of art, KIPP school leader Josh Zoia replies, blog reader mcstowy suggests KIPP teachers prepare students for domination, music and fun, school is growing  
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Good-bye Rhee. Hello, brave new chancellor

There was never any chance that Vincent Gray would reappoint Michelle A. Rhee as D.C. schools chancellor. Too many of the people who voted for him wanted a new start. Unfortunately for whomever replaces Rhee, many of the people...

By Washington Post editors  | October 12, 2010; 9:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
 
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What Jerry Bracey would have said about Locke High

Every once in awhile I run across a case of distorted education reporting and mourn the 2009 death of Gerald W. Bracey. For years he was the nation's watchdog of unexamined assumptions and misleading language in education policy and education writing. Instead of stewing over these mishaps, I am going to post them and say what I think Jerry would have said about them

By Jay Mathews  | October 12, 2010; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Gerald W. Bracey, Green Dot Public Schools, Locke High School, big gains in proficency hide one of the lowest proficiency rate in the country, education statistical distortions  
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New film shows folly of Ivy envy

This time of year, with high school seniors slogging through one college application after another, and parents jittery about their children’s futures, I often write columns explaining why it doesn’t matter where they go to school. The invariable reaction from many readers, and some of my friends, is that I went to Harvard, so what do I know about their problem?

By Jay Mathews  | October 10, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags:  Mark Zuckerberg, Aaron Sorkin,, Zac Bissonnette, it doesn't matter where you go to college, little studying in college  
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