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Class Struggle Archive: Trends

Making students smarter AND better

One of the great failures of high schools, my favorite subject, is the lack of effective training in productive behaviors and attitudes, such as cooperating, being on time, making eye contact, speaking persuasively, offering suggestions and focusing on tasks. Many educators are trying to develop programs that teach these traits. Some call this character education, which has been around for decades. A few schools and school systems have made progress. Most have not.

By Jay Mathews  | March 14, 2011; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  Joseph Durlak, character education, new study of social and emotional learning  
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Randi Weingarten scolds KIPP

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. She was responding to my request for her union's view of the charge that union rules might force KIPP to close its high-performing schools in Baltimore. Weingarten was not happy. She unloaded the harshest assessment of KIPP, the nation's best-known charter school network, and its dealings with her and her union I have ever heard from her.

By Jay Mathews  | March 4, 2011; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  Baltimore Teachers Union, Baltimore schools, KIPP, KIPP Ujima Village, KIPP threatens to close its Baltimore schools, Randi Weingarten  
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'Pathway to Prosperity' authors educate me

I week ago I pummeled unmercifully a major report by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, "Pathway To Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century." I headlined that column "Smart people + big report = dreamy nonsense." I said that in calling for new pathways to give students not wanting college a good high school education, the report ignored the realities of limits on employers' capacity to offer internships and school districts' willingness to totally remake their vocational classes. Now the report authors have a chance to respond.

By Jay Mathews  | February 25, 2011; 5:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  Pathways To Prosperity,, Robert B. Schwartz, Ronald Ferguson, can vocational education be fixed?  
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Smart people + big report = dreamy nonsense

I had high hopes for the latest high-profile plan to save our schools. "Pathways To Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century" has 63 contributors, including some of the smartest people in education. The project that produced the report is based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and led by two of its brightest luminaries, academic dean Robert B. Schwartz and senior lecturer Ronald Ferguson. Those familiar with the sad history of similarly ambitious reports have already detected the signs of impending disappointment. The reference to 2lst century education is troubling. People who use that term tend to start talking gibberish, without intending to.

By Jay Mathews  | February 18, 2011; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  Pathways To Prosperity,, places too much confidence in a new social compact, unrealistic view of business's role in education  
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The myth of declining U.S. schools: They've long been mediocre

"U.S. students, who once led the world, currently rank 21st in the world in science and 25th in math," Newsweek reported in September. I hear that a lot. Politicians and business leaders often bemoan the decline of American education compared to the rest of the world. We are doomed, they say, unless we [fill in here the latest plan to save the country.] So I was surprised to find, in the latest report by the wonderfully contrarian Brookings Institution scholar Tom Loveless, that the notion of America on the downward track is a myth.

By Jay Mathews  | February 11, 2011; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  American student scores have not declined, China and Indian way behind, Finland not so good, PISA, TIMSS, Tom Loveless  
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What Wendy Kopp doesn't say about Rhee

It is rare that a great social movement can be traced to one person, but it is hard for me to see how the excitement, distress and ferment revolving around public school innovation these days could ever have occurred without Wendy Kopp. So I was disappointed that in her new book she never discusses the failure of her most famous protege, former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, to solve the problem of finding and supporting enough talented principals to get our schools on the right track.

By Jay Mathews  | February 4, 2011; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  Trends  | Tags:  DC failed to find enough good principals, Kopp created a social movement, Michelle A. Rhee, Mike Feinberg, Rhee admits to making some bad picks, Richard Barth, Steven Farr, Wendy Kopp  
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Older Entries in This Category »

Overdoing school security, Jay Mathews , January 28, 2011
No dual enrollment on Challenge Index this year, Jay Mathews , January 21, 2011
Increasing learning time with free breakfasts, Jay Mathews , January 14, 2011
Why Jay's classroom focus is wrong, Jay Mathews , December 24, 2010
A plea for peace among petulant pundits , Jay Mathews , December 17, 2010
Jay vs. Valerie: Who needs Teach For America?, Jay Mathews , December 10, 2010
Surprising truths from superstar principal, Jay Mathews , December 3, 2010
Another blue ribbon report suitable for shredding, Jay Mathews , November 19, 2010
How to end a dispiriting fight over learning time, Jay Mathews , November 12, 2010
Outrage at banning spelling tests, Jay Mathews , October 31, 2010
High schoolers barred from college-level courses, Jay Mathews , October 15, 2010
Why low standards for education are good, Jay Mathews , October 8, 2010
How to make teacher salaries look better, Jay Mathews , September 24, 2010
What No Child Left Behind did and didn't do, Jay Mathews , September 17, 2010
America's best community colleges, Jay Mathews , September 9, 2010
How AP and IB mess up college enrollment, Jay Mathews , September 3, 2010
America's worst colleges, Jay Mathews , August 27, 2010
Two students write about their futures , Jay Mathews , August 12, 2010
New evidence that SAT hurts blacks, Jay Mathews , June 17, 2010
How brain drains will save the world, Jay Mathews , June 4, 2010
How change can poison schools, Jay Mathews , May 7, 2010
Sorting out boys' school problems, Jay Mathews , April 30, 2010
Five hard truths about charter schools, Jay Mathews , April 16, 2010
Do schools change? Not much., Jay Mathews , March 19, 2010
Do you remember Equity 2000?, Jay Mathews , March 12, 2010
KIPP helps worst students, study says, Jay Mathews , March 5, 2010
Training teachers like ice skaters, Jay Mathews , February 26, 2010
Down with parent power, Jay Mathews , February 19, 2010
Va. is for virtual, not charter, schools, Jay Mathews , February 12, 2010
Readers question Challenge Index, Jay Mathews , February 5, 2010
Why students fail AP tests, Jay Mathews , January 29, 2010
Elementary gifted ed made easy, Jay Mathews , January 22, 2010
Best education blogs for 2010, Jay Mathews , January 15, 2010
Clickable data on D.C. schools, Jay Mathews , January 8, 2010
How fashion frustrates school improvement, Jay Mathews , December 25, 2009
Should we inflate Advanced Placement grades?, Jay Mathews , November 27, 2009
21st century skills: another disappointment, Jay Mathews , October 23, 2009
The Pros and Cons of Squelching Gifted Students, Jay Mathews , October 16, 2009
A Crazy Idea for Middle Schools, Jay Mathews , October 2, 2009
Egad! School Research Has Power, Jay Mathews , September 9, 2009
A Hot Beach Debate for Edu-Nerds Like Me, Washington Post Editors , July 3, 2009
Jay's Take: One Way to Save Struggling Teachers--Maybe, Washington Post editors , June 29, 2009
The Community College Placement Mess, Washington Post editors , June 19, 2009
Shocker! Some Teachers Like AP for All, Washington Post editors , June 12, 2009
Experience Corps: Tutoring That Works, Washington Post editors , June 5, 2009
The Evolution of Randi Weingarten, Part 2, Washington Post editors , June 2, 2009
Texting vs. Teaching: Who Wins?, Washington Post editors , June 1, 2009
An Attack on Preschool for All, Washington Post editors , May 29, 2009
How to Miss School Even When You're in School, Washington Post editors , May 27, 2009
An Intriguing Alternative to No Child Left Behind, Washington Post editors , May 22, 2009
AP More Open, But Not Dumbed Down, Washington Post editors , May 1, 2009
The Money Myth in Improving Schools, Washington Post editors , April 10, 2009
Voucher Parents vs. Me, Washington Post editors , April 3, 2009
Turmoil at Two KIPP Schools, Washington Post editors , March 18, 2009
Answering Your Questions: 20 Ways AP is Bad--Not!, editors , March 6, 2009
20 Ways AP is Bad — Not!, Washington Post editors , March 6, 2009
Will Depth Replace Breadth in Schools?, Washington Post editors , February 27, 2009
Trends: Banging on the PK-16 Pipeline, Washington Post editors , February 20, 2009
Trends: Charter Vs. Pilot Schools, Washington Post editors , February 13, 2009
Trends: Did Rap, Crack or TV Kill Reading?, Washington Post editors , February 5, 2009
Trends?, Washington Post Editors , November 30, 2008
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