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Class Struggle: November 7, 2010 - November 13, 2010

How to end a dispiriting fight over learning time

Here in Washington, well-meaning advocates of afterschool programs are fighting with well-meaning advocates of longer school days over a big pot of federal money. It distresses me, but does not surprise me, to discover that their arguments have more to do about clout in Congress than the well-being of the school children they say they are trying to help. I have a solution. But first, let's examine the dispute.

By Jay Mathews  | November 12, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  afterschool programs, each praises studies showing the best of their programs succeed, each trashes the other's research, longer school days, two sides in increased learning time debate fight over $1.25 billion in federal funds, why not agree to fund just those high quality programs?  
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How NOT to vote for school board

Last week, I voted for several people on the Montgomery County school board, one of the few times I ever thought about that body. As an education writer, I try to stay away from school boards. I know that sounds odd, but over the years, I have found school board meetings to be as interesting, newsworthy and uplifting as visits to the dentist. I avoid them.

By Jay Mathews  | November 10, 2010; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags:  difficult to find what candidates think on the most important issues, have they supported the superintendent?, school board elections, why do they think low-income students on average do poorly in school?  
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Even our best kids lag in math--middle schools to blame

I am usually among the skeptics when international comparisons make U.S. schoolchildren look like they spend their class time playing video games. I am not entirely sold on the conclusions of a new study just published in the journal Education Next. But there is enough believable bad stuff there to wonder why, after many years of mediocre results, we have not discarded our notoriously free and easy way of educating middle school students.

By Jay Mathews  | November 10, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  U.S. eighth graders look bad in math in new study, behind 30 other countries, middle schools may be at fault, only 6 percent of American students show math accomplishment  
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Top high school should look for character as well as brains

My colleague Kevin Sieff reported last week that the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is not only the most selective public school in America, but one of the least diverse. After years of promising to reach out to the third of Northern Virginia students who are black or Hispanic, less than 4 percent of its students have that background, while ultra-selective colleges such as Harvard and MIT have about 20 percent.

By Jay Mathews  | November 7, 2010; 9:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (90)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags:  Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, character should be an important trait in picking students, few blacks or Hispanics admitted to Jefferson, largest ethic group is Asian, need to find more students interested in science  
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