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Class Struggle: November 28, 2010 - December 4, 2010

Surprising truths from superstar principal

Henry Gradillas was the principal of Garfield High School in the 1980s when the chairman of its math department, a Bolivian immigrant named Jaime Escalante, became the most famous teacher in the United States. Escalante, about whom I wrote a book, was an amazing educator, but he would never have gained such renown and become the subject of the film "Stand and Deliver" if it had not been for Gradillas.

By Jay Mathews  | December 3, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  Henry Gradillas, Standing and Delivering,, don't start by firing weak teachers, fix the school climate first, superstar principal of Garfield High School  
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Why bar parents from helping on homework?

Westfield High School Principal Tim Thomas has wisely ruled against further use of the infamous “Expectations of Integrity” homework guidelines that caused such an uproar at his very large and competitive Fairfax County high school. I only wish he would explain his teachers’ odd view of what best stimulates critical thinking and the assumption that parental involvement in assignments should be discouraged.

By Jay Mathews  | December 1, 2010; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags:  Expectations of Integrity,, Fairfax County, Paul Regnier, Westfield High School, homework guidelines criticized, parents helpful with homework, principal Tim Thomas  
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Why should pre-holiday school days be wasted?

I wrote this two weeks ago, knowing it would appear in the Local Living section of the Post on Thanksgiving. (It is appearing five days after that on washingtonpost.com because I couldn't reach my blog entry site from my mom's house in California.) Did I have a holiday theme when I started typing? Nope. Then I saw education expert Mike Schmoker suggest that teachers have regular days in which students do nothing but read and write.

By Jay Mathews  | November 30, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags:  Mike Schmoker, wasted school time on pre-vacation days. making that time count with reading and writing projects  
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If your child resists the college search

A frustrated parent brought an unnerving problem to my Admissions 101 discussion group on washingtonpost.com. The student (many of us in the group immediately assumed it was a boy) had gotten into a well-respected public university in his state and, the parent said, “adamantly refused to go on college visits or apply to any schools other than” his one and only choice.

By Jay Mathews  | November 28, 2010; 8:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags:  Admissions 101 discussions group, be patient, child resists college search, he can always transfer. Barack Obama, student will apply to only one college  
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