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Class Struggle: December 19, 2010 - December 25, 2010

What some call cheating can help learning

My daughter is with us for the holidays, having survived her first barrage of law school exams in California. The exams were longer and more difficult than anything I ever had as a graduate student in Chinese studies. But...

By Jay Mathews  | December 24, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Metro Monday  
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Why Jay's classroom focus is wrong

I often read "Dropout Nation," a blog covering education reform written and edited by a very experienced journalist and former editorial writer, RiShawn Biddle. Recently in discussing one of my pieces, he said I was wrong to put the emphasis on what happens in the classroom. I asked him what he meant by that, which led to a discussion of where we should put our faith in fixing schools---in the schools themselves or much larger institutions.

By Jay Mathews  | December 24, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  Dropout Nation,, Jay Mathews. new ways of teacher compensation, RiShawn Biddle, power of ed schools  
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Winter holiday enrichment made easy

When I think of the holidays, I envision seeing the latest films with my wife, gorging on sweets and contemplating the wonder of the schlocky ceramic village I have set up on top of the piano, the result of many visits to Christmas shops. You’ll notice there aren’t any children in this scenario. Nobody steals my chocolates or smashes the Sweet Shop from the Snow Village series. That is because only adults live in my house.

By Jay Mathews  | December 23, 2010; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Local Living  | Tags:  A.G. Wright Middle School, Audrey Williams, Columbia Academy, Denise Thiel, Florence Parry Heide, Kara Colucci, Leckie Elementary School, Linda Erdos, Liz Seymour, Margarent Brent Elementary School, Mary Shaw, Pre-K and kindergarten, Rosie Blanks, The Shrinking of Treehorn,, elementary school, high school, middle school, winter holiday activities for kids  
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How many minorities rejected by most selective high school?

It has been exactly a month since Jeanie Meikle, a frequent reader of this blog, asked me this good question: "in all the articles I have read about TJ [the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, the most selective secondary school in the country] and its failures of inclusiveness, I have never seen the statistics as to how many (and %) of applicants were African American or Hispanic or what the acceptance rate of those applicants was. . . . So you by any chance know what the numbers are?"

By Jay Mathews  | December 22, 2010; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  22.2 percent of Asians admitted, Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology, admission rates for different ethnicities, only 2.3 percent of African Americans  
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Ending deception in school safety reports

There was something strange in The Washington Post a week ago. A chart on page A16, using data provided by the D.C. public school system, showed that in late summer and fall 2009, Spingarn High School had by far the lowest number of assaults, thefts, threats and other crimes. There were just six incidents in four months compared with an average of 31 in the other eight high schools assessed. At that time, teachers at this allegedly safest of all regular D.C. high schools were reporting a rash of crimes and classroom intrusions.

By Jay Mathews  | December 19, 2010; 9:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Metro Monday  | Tags:  Dunbar High School, Kaya Henderson, Mel Riddile, Spingarn High School, assaults, false reports are common, persistently dangerous schools, school security incident reports, school theft, security guards encouraged to keep numbers down, special education students not reported because they can't be suspended, threats  
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