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Class Struggle: October 31, 2010 - November 6, 2010

Wanted: Unsung high schools with strong college course programs

Other columnists spend the dark winter months reconnecting with their loved ones before a cozy fire or a richly laden holiday feast. I use that time to fill a spreadsheet with the names of high schools and their ratios of college-level tests to graduating seniors.

By Jay Mathews  | November 5, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  America's Best High Schools, Challenge Index, list moves to washingtonpost.com, list will include local college exams for the first time, new list for 2011  
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AP saves money for families, but what about taxpayers?

The St. Petersburg Times decided to see if Florida was getting its money's worth for paying its students' AP testing fees, something only two other states do. The Times analysis concluded that the program was saving college families tens of millions of dollars they don't have to pay for college courses that AP exempts their students from taking. Whether taxpayers are also saving money is more difficult to determine, the newspaper said.

By Jay Mathews  | November 3, 2010; 12:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Advanced Placement, Florida families save because of AP courses and tests, Florida taxpayers may also benefit, Ron Matus, St. Petersburg Times investigation, but analysis has not been done  
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What would a Republican Congress do for our schools?

Ah, election day. Journalists who DON'T specialize in politics, like us education writers, can treat it like a midweek paid vacation. The editors who usually ask us why in heaven's name we haven't finished our stories must instead handle the election stuff. The voting and the results fill their time and the newspaper, for at least a couple of days, giving us marginalized non-political reporters time to catch up on our fantasy football trades and maybe sneak out to a movie.

By Jay Mathews  | November 2, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Chester E. Finn Jr., GOP in the states very different from GOP in congress on school issues, How a Republican congress will treat schools, Michael Petrilli  
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Outrage at banning spelling tests

J. Martin Rochester,, Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, is our guest columnist. He is a close student of the evolution of American education practices, and often warns of the deterioration of standards.

By Jay Mathews  | October 31, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  J. Martin Rochester, better to learn to spell naturally while writing, spelling tests banned, this means dumbing down English classes.  
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