Dell Grant -- QSO
While it may seem that every back-to-school story has been written, the well is far from dry. Are you following the blogs teachers in your district write? Have you amassed the data sets you’ll need to write that deep dive explaining why so many local high school graduates land in remedial classes when they first enter college?
No? It’s OK. You’re not alone.
I’m headed to Quebec City this week, and in preparation I’ve been reading “Champlain’s Dream: The European Founding of North America” by David Hackett Fischer. There are also quite a few education titles on my vacation reading list, and we’ll be featuring some of the authors in upcoming episodes of EWA Radio.
Nestled within the new-agey sounding concept of “noncognitive factors” are fairly concrete examples of what parents and educators should and shouldn’t do to prepare students for the rigors of college and careers. Gleaned from research into brain development and human behavior, a toolkit is emerging on how to make the best of the scholarship focused on qualities like grit, persistence and learning from mistakes.
Fifty years ago, the federal government enacted the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty. The newest version of the ESEA, the No Child Left Behind Act, became law 13 years ago and has stayed in place ever since. On Thursday, a new version of the federal government’s most far-reaching K-12 education law moved closer to adoption. The U.S. Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act, one week after the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version, the Student Success Act.
In an early glimpse of how much tougher state tests could be in the Common Core era, a new federal report released in July shows that early adopters of the controversial standards are assessing their students with a far higher degree of difficulty.
Allen Turner recently recalled the day his grade school teacher said it was time to learn about the U.S. Constitution, beginning with its famous preamble. But Turner, now a video game designer and professor at Chicago’s DePaul University, already knew it. So did all his classmates.
Five years ago, Nicholas Senn High School on the Near North Side of Chicago was one some educators felt lucky to avoid. While student discipline might have been an issue elsewhere, “you would say, at least it’s not Senn,” Principal Susan Lofton said.
Spanish professor Luis Fernando Restrepo wanted his children to be bilingual. But living in Arkansas — where Spanish classes aren’t offered until junior high — there wasn’t much institutional support for this endeavor.
Focusing on student learning, and structuring the school to fit students’ varied learning paces, is proving to be a game changer, said panelists at EWA’s recent National Seminar in Chicago, moderated by journalist Katrina Schwartz of Mindshift at KQED Public Radio.
Urban education leaders crammed a marathon of Chicago’s public education woes and wonders into a 45-minute session (more akin to a 5K race) at the Education Writers Association’s recent National Seminar in Chicago.
Sara Ray Stoelinga, the director of the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute, joined colleague Timothy Knowles for a breakfast panel titled “10 Lessons to Take Home From Chicago” at the EWA event.
Joe Nelson wasn’t the only principal along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in August 2005 to face rebuilding a school in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. But he did it with exceptional leadership, focusing on setting up reward systems for students and teachers and creating an environment where they could flourish despite the devastation around them.
The shift from high school to college or the workforce is harrowing enough, but for the 6 million students diagnosed with a disability, the stakes are higher and the transition all the more challenging.
A program that pairs celebrities with struggling schools to develop their arts education is expanding to more large cities, The U.S. Department of Education announced today.
Known as the Turnaround Arts initiative, the $10-million effort pools public and private funds to teach music, dance and other arts disciplines at schools that are considered among the worst in their respective states.
What’s most notable about the Chicago kindergarten class where assistant teacher Nichelle Bell is temporarily in charge is what is not happening. Teachers are not redirecting pupils, who are not off-task. Hands are not in other people’s spaces. Voices—those of children and adults—are not raised.
The United States should look to countries like Switzerland and Singapore – both seen as having strong, successful vocational education systems – if it wants to address the widening skills gap among young people.
That was the consensus of two of the three panelists during a discussion on rethinking career and technical education during the Education Writers Association’s 68th national seminar in Chicago.
The nation’s students are graduating from high school at record rates and the reasons can be attributed to school reform efforts, not improving economic trends, argues a new report released by several organizations, including an advocacy group backed by former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
At a speech in December, Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, took the United States to task for the way it funds schools.
“Public education spending is often lower for students in lower-income households than for students in higher-income households,” she told the audience at the Conference on Economic Opportunity and Inequality, in Boston.
Most students don’t study using methods backed by scientific research, panelists at the Education Writers Association’s deep dive on the science of learning told reporters in Chicago at the association’s 68th National Seminar.
“Why do people find learning so hard?” asked Henry Roediger, a psychology professor at Washington University in St. Louis, who participated in the April event.
Riding the subway to work the other day, I glanced over at the commuter next to me, tapping away on his smartphone. But he was not texting. Clad in jacket and tie (and earbuds), he was engaged in virtual hand-to-hand combat.
In the digital game, he was Spider-Man, battling some muscle-bound monster or alien — lots of kicking and punching, and finally K.O. flashed on the screen.
Two used buses retrofitted into state-of-the-art preschool classrooms drive around several of Colorado’s most rural and isolated communities to bring high-quality preschool right to families’ doorsteps.
A few months ago I spent time with students at Pittsfield Middle High School in rural New Hampshire. They’re participating in a program known as “Extended Learning Opportunities”, which lets them step out of the traditional classroom setting and explore their personal interests. A central goal is to help them find the connective tissue between their academic studies and potential career goals.
Howard University Teams Up With D.C. High Schools
University is one of thousands to offer college courses to high school students
Another university in Washington, D.C., has partnered with high schools to offer their students college-level courses for free, allowing them to earn high school and college credit at the same time.
Afterschool programs can do more than reinforce academic lessons taught in the classroom or introduce new skills kids don’t have time to learn during school hours.
Chicago Public Schools has announced the debut of a new interdisciplinary Latino and Latin American Studies curriculum that will be taught to students in kindergarten through 10th grade.
The new curriculum includes complete units and lessons across a range of disciplines, Melissa Sanchez reports for Catalyst Chicago.
Education reporters spend plenty of time writing about what happens during the regular academic day – but what about the enrichment activities that can benefit students after hours? And how do those extra-curricular opportunities factor into an individual child’s long-term chances of success in school and beyond?
As many states dig out from yet another winter storm, school districts are struggling to keep the academic calendar – and student learning – from being derailed as a result of record numbers of snow days.
But increasingly, educators are using technology to turn campus closures into opportunities for students to complete academic assignments on their own.
At Summit Public School: Denali, young learners do it differently. Most of the students at this Bay Area-area school complete their coursework on school-issued Chromebooks, where they access a portal to online videos, assigned readings and interim assessments they take at their own pace. It’s a competency-based approach to proving they have mastered the subject at hand.
Grappling with achievement gaps between their rich and poor students, a growing number of schools and districts are resolving to add more minutes or days to the academic calendar, and Boston has emerged as a leader in this trend.
How much do you know about your district’s approach to hiring principals? Is there a cohesive effort to attract, train, and retain the most talented leaders? Or is it a scattershot approach that ultimately lets strong prospects slip away?
The United States has a gifted and talented student problem: Mainly, too few of the nation’s students score high on domestic and international assessments, and those that do are disproportionately well-off, Asian-American or white.
In a union vote Wednesday, Boston teachers approved the school district’s plan to add 40 minutes to the K-8 instructional day at more than 50 campuses, a move experts say could help improve the quality of classroom instruction, boost student learning, and yield long-term benefits to the wider community.
How Do Reporters Answer the Question ‘What School Is Best for My Kid?’
Webinar on School Choice Data
Is there an objective way of presenting school data that transcends the politics of school choice?
How do reporters and news outlets more broadly serve their readership with relevant information about schools in their communities?
As tools and data profiles of students become easier to use, are teachers sufficiently data literate to make sense of the information at their fingertips? Do teachers have the skills and access to data in useful formats, and are the school leaders and institutions responsible for their professional development providing them the training they need? The stakes are high: Teachers behind in data literacy may miss out on innovative ways to track student progress, personalize instruction, and improve their own practice.
As more research emerges on the sizable effect school principals have on student learning, some experts are asking whether removing principals who are rated poorly can lead to learning gains among students.
A new report scrutinizing schools in the nation’s capital suggests replacing low-performing principals with new ones is correlated with a modest boost in student academics.
By his third year of teaching, Jonas Chartock was overwhelmed, acting as a department head and taking on a variety of other roles at his school in addition to his regular duties at the front of the classroom.
“What I could tell you is I wasn’t being trained to do any of them,” Chartock said.
Those experiences helped drive Chartock’s decision to leave the classroom and to pursue a career in education leadership outside the school.
On a recent Wednesday morning, 11th-grader Sophia Wellington took to the undersized stage at the front of her high school gym and with seamless poise demonstrated what smarter student assessment could look like.
If 49 multiplied by 5 is 245, why would a student think the answer is 405? And who is more likely to know this – a mathematician or an elementary math teacher?
Elizabeth Green, the author of “Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (And How to Teach It to Everyone), posed this question to a roomful of education reporters at EWA’s October seminar in Detroit.
Deborah Loewenberg Ball began her career as an elementary school teacher, working for 15 years with a diverse population of students. But math stumped her.
“That troubled me,” Ball said Oct. 21 during her keynote presentation at the EWA seminar on teaching held in Detroit. “I would work really hard on how could I make the math make sense to the students, … but on Fridays they would know how to do things and on Monday they would have forgotten.”
EWA’s Emily Richmond and Mikhail Zinshteyn speak with Annie Gilbertson of KPCC, Southern California’s NPR affiliate, about her investigation into the Los Angeles Unified School District’s $1.2 billion investment in classroom technology.
Five Questions For New York Times Education Reporter Javier Hernandez
On The Common Core, Building Narratives, and Negotiating Access
For an in-depth feature on the Common Core State Standards, New York Times education reporter Javier C. Hernandez told the story through the eyes of a 9-year-old student: Chrispin Alcindor, one of a family of triplets in Brooklyn.
The Common Core State Standards initiative, arguably the most sweeping change to public education in at least a generation, is facing mounting skepticism – and still drawing many blanks.
More than a few reporters at EWA’s National Seminar who signed up for the visit to Pearl Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School in Nashville suggested that the campus would certainly be infused with country music elements. Perhaps cowboy hats and boots on each student, with future Taylor Swifts and Scotty McCreerys singing their way through the halls – right?
This week, Emily and Mikhail talk to Joy Resmovits of The Huffington Post, who discusses her story (written with colleague Christina Wilkie) about the Charles G. Koch Foundation’s creation of Youth Entrepreneurs: a public high school finance course being used in schools in the midwest and south, which was designed to introduce students to free market theory and economics with a distinctly conservative point of view.
State takeover districts have been lauded as the savior of children left behind by inept local school boards — and derided as anti-democratic fireworks shows that don’t address the root causes of poor education. Three panelists took an hour during EWA’s National Seminar in Nashville to get beyond the flash and noise and discuss the real challenges of state school takeovers, a process all acknowledged is disruptive.
When Sandra Ruppert was growing up in Los Angeles every classroom at her school, Hancock Park Elementary, had a piano. And every teacher could play it.
“I made my first trip to the opera in third grade, learned ballroom dancing in the fourth grade and took violin in fifth grade,” Ruppert told those in attendance at “Kids Got the Beat,” one of the final panels of EWA’s 2014 National Seminar, held last month in Nashville. At her school, “there was artwork in the halls and seamlessly integrated into all kinds of classes.”
Data journalism is more than just reporting on numbers. It’s taking the records of a half-million students and uncovering alarming absentee rates. It’s tracking the attrition of students from neighborhood schools.
The current generation of assessments being taken by students across the country is something like a bad boyfriend.
That’s according to Jacqueline King of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, who made the point at EWA’s National Seminar held last month at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. When a better guy (or test) comes along, she continued, it’s hard to take it seriously.
How should we judge the performance of Baton Rouge education reporter Charles Lussier?
That was the question posed by Vanderbilt University education professor Joseph Murphy, who suspected that by the second afternoon of EWA’s National Seminar his audience was ready for a fun exercise. Murphy talked about the difference between Lussier’s inputs (such as his education and technical skills), the work he does and his results (readership and response to his articles).
“What if we measure him on whether the paper increases circulation? Do you buy that?” Murphy asked.
A class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday accuses the state of California of failing to provide adequate classroom instructional time to minority and low-income students.
The suit, Cruz v. State of California, was brought by students who attend seven economically disadvantaged schools in the state. Schools in Los Angeles and Compton are included in the lawsuit, as are Bay Area schools.
We’re in countdown mode for EWA’s 67th National Seminar, which starts Sunday at Vanderbilt University. This week, I’ll be revisiting a few earlier posts that provide good background reading for some issues we’ll be tackling in Nashville. First up: School leadership. (For more on this and other key issues, check out EWA’s Topics Pages.)
When it comes to the decisions that most directly affect the business of public education and what happens in classrooms, few people are as influential – and often as unacknowledged – as local school board members.
Indeed, a new report from the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute suggests the makeup of local school boards can have a measurable effect on student achievement.
Earlier I shared “10 Questions to Ask” about expanded learning time. Today, I’m giving you three story ideas to steal. As with any education topic, it’s a good idea to start with the definition. The Glossary of Education Reform has a helpful explanation of expanded (sometimes called “extended”) learning time, and the different forms it can take.
In my prior post, we talked about “10 Questions to Ask” when writing about school leadership. This time I’m offering three stories to steal.
When I was covering the education beat in Las Vegas, an annual survey of teachers in the Clark County School District (the nation’s fifth-largest) always yielded plenty of fodder for stories. But what struck me in particular was the No. 1 reason – year in and year out – given by teachers when asked why they had decided to leave a school. It wasn’t overly challenging students, or low pay or a long commute. Rather, it was dissatisfaction with their principals.
With lawmakers on both sides of the aisle touting the value of a computer science education, and President Obama using a video message to urge every American to learn how to code, it seemed like the ideal time to revisit a session from EWA’s 66th National Seminar, which held at Stanford University in May. We asked some of the education reporters attending to contribute blog posts from the sessions
A conservative think tank is offering an online quiz to help parents identify their educational priorities – and to demonstrate that diverse groups have more in common in their expectations for schools and students than many people might think.
My inbox is filling up with back-to-school pitches, for everything from the latest vocabulary-building phone app to a microwave bag that will allow college students to cook ears of corn and whole potatoes. (The latter sounds like a potential starchy straight line to the Freshman 15.)
EWA’s 66th National Seminar was recently held at Stanford University, and we asked some of the education reporters attending to contribute blog posts from the sessions, including one examining President Obama’s universal preschool proposal.
We asked some of the journalists attending EWA’s 66th National Seminar, held at Stanford University in May, to contribute posts from the sessions. Michelle Sokol of the State Journal in Frankfort, Ky. is today’s guest blogger.
Students used to receive their technical education in one classroom and academic education in another — but it’s not your father’s shop class anymore.
As the Q&A concludes, Khan fields questions on adapting lessons for an international audience, the MOOC model, and solving the problem of credentialing in online ed.
During the Q&A, Khan discusses the history of distance learning, the structure and composition of his videos, and how Khan Academy is beginning to approach assessments.
John Merrow of Learning Matters talks with the founder of Khan Academy about the beginnings of the online education startup.