March 2009 Archives

Earth Day Lessons for Teachers

Earth Day, an occasion promoted by environmental organizations and advocates to raise awareness of conservation issues, is April 22. It's an event that dates back to 1970. Teachers sometimes organize lessons and activities in the weeks leading up to that day on environmental themes. That doesn't mean they have to create lessons from any particular political or ideological perspective; a good science lesson can account for the environmental and economic complexities of issues such as climate change, for instance, renewable energy, and land conservation. Teachers looking for ideas for lessons have plenty of resources. Here are a few on the ...


In Michigan, Less Testing is More

It's rare to hear of a state that is decreasing its standardized testing in a particular subject. But that's exactly what Michigan is doing, according to an Associated Press article published today. Starting in the fall of 2010, instead of giving a short writing test to all students in grades 3 to 8, the state will give a longer and more comprehensive writing test only to students in grades 4 and 7....


In Science Class, How Much Guidance Is Needed?

Teachers of science, like teachers of other subjects, often wonder how much structure and guidance they need to provide students. A pair of researchers wondered the same thing. Robert Tai and Philip Sadler, in a new study, find that students with relatively weak mathematics skills who were given self-led, less-structured science instruction in high school were at a disadvantage in college biology and chemistry classes, compared with similarly skilled peers who had come from more-structured classes. They found that students from the more free-form high school classes received lower grades in their college courses than students who had been given ...


An Update On Evolution in Texas

I've received more detail on the precise wording of changes made to the Texas science standards, which were approved by the state board of education yesterday. Since quite a few Ed Week readers are likely to have followed this debate closely, I'm providing an update on where things stand. The board approved new science standards yesterday by a 13-2 vote. As previously reported, its members voted to strip out language saying that students should be taught the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution. That wording was opposed by many scientists, who said it denigrated evolutionary theory. There's little doubt scientists are ...


Twitter In, WW II History....?

Perhaps an unnecessarily provocative title, I know. But you can bet this ongoing discussion about how to revise the British national primary school curriculum is going to be raising hackles among people from lots of subject-matter groups. I've linked to my colleague Kathleen Manzo's item, on her Digital Education blog, about that discussion, as reported in The Guardian, a British newspaper. It appears that the crux of the matter is that British schools would be given more flexibility over which historical periods to cover. The idea is to emphasize a chronological approach to history, and avoid duplication with the secondary ...


Evolution Votes in Texas

The Texas board of education approved final science standards this afternoon, which say that students will no longer have to be exposed to the "strengths and weaknesses" of evolution. The decision to remove that language was strongly supported by scientists, who said it undermined the teaching of the core biologic theory. The board approved the overall document by a 13-2 vote. Yet the 15-member board of education also approved a host of amendments that seem likely to draw objections from scientists, based on the audio discussion of the meeting that I heard. I listened to the meeting over the Internet, ...


Fast-Evolving Debate in Texas

The theory of evolution's treatment in the Texas science standards is in a state of flux. The board of education took a preliminary vote yesterday. They're meeting again right now. You can listen to a live audio of their discussion on this site. Look under "Agency News," and "listen live." You can follow it on Twitter here. Here's where things stand, as of this morning: The Texas board of education has tentatively dropped language from the state science standards that says students should learn about the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, in a move that pleased scientists. Yet the board, ...


The NEA Hosts a Meeting about '21st Century Skills'

I'm reading the Common Core's take on a meeting earlier this week hosted by the National Education Association about the approach to learning promoted by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Our reporter who inquired about attending the meeting, Stephen Sawchuk, was told he wasn't invited. Lynne Munson from Common Core reports that attendees represented education associations and the meeting had the agenda of "how quickly more students can get signed on" to using 21st century skills. She expresses her organization's concern that the teaching of skills may not be integrated with content knowledge. She says that none of the ...


The Library of Congress Pushes Primary Sources

As a newcomer to the curriculum beat, I'm excited to learn that educational resources have changed in one really big way since I was in school: Access to primary sources is now easy. I was introduced to some of the 15.3 million items that have been put online by the Library of Congress at an education forum hosted this month by that institution. It's common now for teachers to draw on the library's collection of photos taken during the Great Depression when teaching about the 1930s in the United States, but I learned that the library has much more ...


New Executive Director at NCTM

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics has named Kichoon Yang, the provost at Northwest Missouri State University, as its new executive director. Yang, who replaces outgoing executive director Jim Rubillo, will take over the post on July 1. Rubillo had announced his intent to retire last year from that position at NCTM, an influential, 100,000-member organization based in Reston, Va. Before working at Northwest Missouri State, Yang was dean of the College of Natural Sciences and professor of mathematics at the University of Northern Iowa from 2001 through 2004, according to NCTM. He also was a program director ...


What's The Best Use Of International Data?

My colleague David Hoff has a good read about the argument, made most recently by the Alliance for Excellent Education, that the United States should more actively participate in international testing and data collection. Specifically, the Alliance says the United States should increase its participation in the research conducted by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which runs the PISA test. The Alliance also faults U.S. officials for not taking part in another, advanced study for another international test, the TIMSS. American students already take part in the PISA, but our country could benefit much more if ...


"Virtual Manipulatives" And Interactive Math And Science

Teachers often use manipulatives—boxes, shapes, figures and games—which students can handle during in-class activities to explain math and science concepts. A colleague of mine forwarded me a link to a site that offers teachers interactive math and science resources and Web-based "virtual manipulatives," which seeks to help educators build student understanding. In addition to housing interactive tests and features that allow students to manipulate shapes, the site offers general suggestions on teaching for math and science educators. The entries include tips on how teachers can use popular games to explain math ("The Math in Video Games") and the ...


Prepare Students for Tests With Knowledge

In this New York Times op-ed, E.D. Hirsch Jr. calls for improvement in the reading passages on standardized tests to reflect the content of the curriculum. Hirsch has railed against the teaching of reading strategies over subject matter, and, as the founder of the Core Knowledge curriculum, promotes a rigorous, content-laden framework for K-12 schooling. "Teachers can’t prepare for the content of the tests and so they substitute practice exams and countless hours of instruction in comprehension strategies like 'finding the main idea,'” he wrote. Test scores have not show significant improvement, however, "because the schools have ...


From Cambridge To The K-12 Classroom (For Free)

Last year I wrote about one of the nation's most prestigious universities making its lectures and audio, video, and print course materials available for free to the public online. A lot of K-12 science teachers, it turns out, were interested in making use of those resources, which were offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In a related move, MIT has announced plans to make all of the scholarly articles published by its faculty available for free online. The university will make those papers accessible at no cost through an opensource, online system called DSpace, which was developed by the ...


Evolution Fight Retuns in Texas

They're going to be debating common ancestry in Texas this week. Common ancestry is a core piece of the theory of evolution, and as such, it's broadly accepted by the scientific community. It posits that humans and other living things have descended from common ancestors through an evolutionary lineage, and that all living things share common ancestors. Yet some members of the Texas state board of education want to insert language in the standards that calls common ancestry into doubt. The board, following up on a preliminary vote in January, is scheduled to consider language that says students should "analyze ...


High Court Turns Away California Evolution Case

A few years ago, a California parent filed a lawsuit objecting to a Web site, sponsored by a public university in her state, that basically espouses the view that believing in evolution is not incompatible with belief in God. Many scientists, who are Christians and believers of various stripes, share that view, though the plaintiff in the lawsuit apparently does not. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case of that parent, Jeanne E. Caldwell. Our school law blogger Mark Walsh has a nice summary of the case, with plenty of background information, here....


Britain Targets Schools' Future Scientists

There are many efforts under way in the United States to increase students' passion for science, run by private companies, nonprofits, state and local governments, and universities. But I'm not sure that any of those programs are as large scale as the Science and Engineering Ambassadors effort, which is under way in Britain. The program arranges to have volunteers from British science, engineering, and technology companies come into schools, with the aim of encouraging students in their math- and science related studies. Currently, 18,000 volunteers from British companies are participating, which is sponsored by the U.K. government (specifically ...


Elite Math and Science Programs Taking a Hit?

It's difficult to find a set of academic programs that aren't being scaled back, or at least whose administrators aren't scrambling to reduce costs, in this economy. It appears that programs serving the most-elite students in math and science aren't being spared, either. Today's Washington Post has a story about the impact of budget cuts on the magnet math and science program at Montgomery Blair High School, almost certainly one of the nation's top secondary programs in those subjects. The magnet program was created in 1985 with the idea of turning around an underperforming school, according to the article. Now ...


An A for Penmanship

Few report cards these days include a line to mark achievement in an age-old skill that our parents and grandparents toiled over in school. Even when I was a kid, a good grade in penmanship or handwriting was enough to elicit pride and boastfulness in both parent and student, not to mention the teacher who forced us to practice perfect little curves and carefully crossed 'T' s. Now with computer keyboarding and text messaging taking on greater importance than legible cursive, many a curmudgeon have decried the state of children's handwriting. There's even a new book that chronicles the history ...


Arne Duncan on Differential Pay, Stimulus for Science Teachers

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke today before a major professional organization, the National Science Teachers Association, at its annual meeting in New Orleans, delivering a message that members of the audience were likely to find appealing. I only have a transcript from NSTA, but I'm willing to bet that the secretary drew some applause when he spoke about paying science—and math—teachers more, as a way to lure them into the profession and keep them there. "We need to respond to the market by paying more to teachers in high-need subjects like science and math," Duncan...


Teaching Content, and Character

The AIG fiasco and the uproar over those executive bonuses might provide a timely opportunity for talking about character in the classroom. But it might be more difficult to integrate lessons on morality and ethics day to day, particularly at a time when many educators are hesitant to cover issues that can be colored by personal values and beliefs, and therefore open to misinterpretation and conflict. So I was intrigued by an announcement from the Josephson Institute that its Center for Youth Ethics is now offering free online lesson plans. The Los Angeles-based institute runs the Character Counts! program, perhaps ...


Study The Arts, Develop the Mind

A recent article in Edutopia makes the case that interest in arts education is on the upswing. It says that states and schools are carving out more time for arts education, despite the pressure to test in other subjects, because of the belief that the arts contribute to students' development and can be used as a learning tool. Research on student cognition is fueling this interest, the article says. The story offers a lot of good links to studies and reports describing trends in arts education across the states. One of the arts advocates featured prominently in the piece is ...


Gifted Foreign Students: Homeward Bound?

One of the more fascinating and too-often underplayed aspects of the immigration debate centers on U.S. policies toward foreign college students and highly skilled workers. Many high-tech and industry leaders say those students and employees have played a vital role in our nation's business innovation and economic growth. A 2007 study, for instance, found that 52 percent of Silicon Valley startups had one or more immigrants as a key founder, compared with the California average of 38 percent. More broadly across the economy, immigrant-founded companies produced $52 billion in sales and employed 450,000 workers in 2005. One of ...


Federal Lawmakers Pushing History, Civics

When he's not jabbing President Obama for making public his NCAA tournament picks, Sen. Lamar Alexander is introducing legislation aimed at improving the teaching of U.S. history. Alexander, a former U.S. secretary of education, is sponsoring legislation that would sponsor 100 new summer academies for outstanding teachers and students of U.S. history. The academies would be "aligned with academies in the U.S. Park System," such as Independence Hall. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Robert Byrd and Sen. Edward Kennedy, would also require states to develop standards for testing using history, though history wouldn't be made part ...


Breaking Down Math and Science Professional Development

At a time when policymakers are interested in improving the quality of math and science teaching, a new book examines strategies for the professional development of educators in those subjects. It's written by Iris R. Weiss and Joan D. Pasley of Horizon Research, Inc., a private research company in North Carolina. Weiss, the president of Horizon, and her team spent several years studying the Local Systemic Change programs, professional development efforts sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The LSC program sought to reach large numbers of teachers across districts in provide them with sustained professional training (teachers were required to ...


Burke Says Goodbye to CATEnet

It's been nearly a month since Jim Burke announced that his long-running CATEnet listserv, an e-mail forum for California English teachers, was heading into early retirement and it's taken me that long to get over the news. Burke, a veteran English teacher at Burlingame High School in the San Francisco area, started the listserv nearly 16 years ago to foster discussion, professionalism, and collaboration among his California colleagues. I know that he also attracted many list members from around the country. CATEnet has been required reading for me throughout my 12 years of covering reading policy and curriculum for Ed ...


Department Sponsors Study of I.B. Progam

The federal Institute of Education Sciences, the main research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, is sponsoring a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, the popular college-prep curriculum used in schools. The IES has awarded a $700,000 grant to the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education to carry out the project. The study will be the first quantitative study of the relationship between participating in the college-prep program and how well students actually do in higher education, according to IB officials. The study results will provide "important insights into student outcomes in postsecondary ...


A Science Educator at the Department of Ed

The names of new staffers at the U.S. Department of Education continue to trickle out, week after week. Here's one that may be of particular interest to math and science teachers around the country: Steven Robinson, who will carry the title of special adviser to Secretary Arne Duncan. I'd heard that Robinson was working at the department, and earlier, on the presidential transition team, from math and science folks in and around the Beltway, and thought readers might like to know a bit more about him. Robinson will advise the secretary on K-12 and higher education "STEM" issues, according ...


Students See Value in History-Writing Venue

It is difficult to figure why some education ventures attract impressive financial and political support, while others flounder despite their value to the field. For years, I've written about The Concord Review and the really amazing history- research papers it publishes from high school authors/scholars. The review has won praise from renowned historians, lawmakers, and educators, yet has failed to ever draw sufficient funding. The range of topics is as impressive as the volume of work by high school students: In 77 issues, the 846 published papers have covered topics from Joan of Arc to women's suffrage, from surgery ...


A New Kind of Online Dictionary?

I recently came across an intriguing item about a new resource called "Wordnik," an online dictionary that is supposed to provide users with a wealth of information they would not be able to get by looking up a word in print. Created by a Chicago lexicographer (someone who writes or compiles a dictionary), Wordnik is designed to provide a wealth of resources on the meaning and even the pronunciation of words. As I understand it from reading the story in the Christian Science Monitor, Wordnik would allow a user to click on a term and receive an audio replay of ...


A Math Challenge on a Timely Topic ($)

Businesses, philanthropies, and other organizations have been staging math and science competitions and contests for years as a way to motivate students to take on independent projects and have their work judged by experts in the field. If you're interested in a competition with a theme pulled from the day's headlines, have a look at the Moody's Mega Math Challenge 2009, known as "M-3." This year, participating teams from schools around the country were given the following mission: —Determine which elements of the $787 billion economic-stimulus plan will produce the greatest increases in employment; —Figure out how quickly the money...


The Ed Department's Mike Smith Talks About 'Common Standards'

Mike Smith, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, said in a speech today at the Library of Congress that he's "somewhat skeptical" about the value of "common standards," which he said he uses interchangeably with "national standards." His biggest concern, he said, is that if common national standards are funded by the federal government, "you can't keep ideology or politics out of the ball game." Smith prefaced his speech with a statement that he was presenting only his views and not those of President Barack Obama or of Duncan. He then proceeded to lay out ...


Duncan to Speak at Science Teachers' Conference

This just in: Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is expected to address the National Science Teachers Association at its annual meeting on March 20. The event is being held in New Orleans. To the science educators out there: let's suppose the secretary opens the floor for questions after his remarks. What questions would you ask him about science education policy in this country? NSTA and some other organizations have suggested that No Child Left Behind should be changed so that it mandates that science scores count towards AYP, as reading and math do now. Do you agree? What else might ...


Offering Girls an Online Science Resources

Many organizations have taken a strong interest in increasing young girls' engagement in math and science, as a hook to leading them into "STEM"-oriented fields and careers. The congressionally chartered National Academy of Sciences is trying to do its part through a web site, "I Was Wondering," which seeks to introduce female students to the possibility of science careers, and to the curiosities of the scientific world. To date, the site has offered a number of resources for girls, including the biographies of female scientists in different fields, who talk about what they do in their work, day after ...


Moving from High School to College Science

When a college freshman doesn't do well in a first-year science course, whose fault is it? There's a lot of interest in how to better prepare students for the rigors of undergraduate study, and how to measure those skills. But this week I was reminded that it's probably important to examine the general disconnect between how various subjects are taught at the high school and college level, with science in particular. The issue came to mind when I wrote about the debate over whether it's better to focus on teaching science in more depth, or breadth. A new study, to ...


Re-Examinining a Math Skirmish

I've had a lot of people tell me there's been a reduction, however slight or gradual, in the level of bluster and acrimony emanating from various combatants in the so-called "math wars" in recent years. To the extent that there's an easing of the harshest rhetoric, I would trace it partly to the release of "Curriculum Focal Points" by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in 2006. Much of the anger from parents, mathematicians, and others who believe schools have gone too far in promoting "fuzzy math" at the expense of traditional problem-solving methods was directed at NCTM. "Focal ...


All Hail Pi (π)

Apparently bowing to intense pressure from the all-powerful mathematicians' lobby, Capitol Hill lawmakers have approved House Resolution No. 224, calling for March 14 to be recognized as "National Pi Day." Kidding aside, the chief sponsor of the resolution, Rep. Bart Gordon, a Tennessee Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Science and Technology, and other lawmakers have a serious intent. Teachers around the country can plan math lessons and events around March 14 to celebrate Pi, or "π," which is the relationship between the diameter of a circle (its width) and its circumference (the distance around the circle). But I'm completely...


'Hamlet' Adapted to Facebook

I got my chuckle for the day over a blog post by Timothy McSweeney that's being passed around. It reduces William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" to a Facebook news feed. Even Robert Pondiscio over at the Core Knowledge Blog acknowledges that the Facebook rendition of "Hamlet" is a good example of world-class skills and world-class content working together hand in hand. My favorite stanza (if it can be called that) is the one that refers to how Hamlet's mother took a husband immediately after her first husband, Hamlet's father, went to his grave. The king poked the queen. The queen poked the ...


Testing for Depth in Science

A recent study, which I wrote about last week, makes the case for building students' depth of knowledge in science—as opposed to focusing on "breadth," a long list of topics across the subject. But in the era of high-stakes tests, how do you test for depth? It's not easy. Many states and schools, at the urging of science advocates and others, believe exams should be broad enough to cover a lot of topics in science, as my story explains. It's fine if you want to pare down the list, those advocates seem to be saying—just don't jettison...


What Works? "I Can Learn" Math, Says Clearinghouse

The federal What Works Clearinghouse, which offers reviews of education programs according to rigorous standards, has released three new reports. But only one of the programs reviewed, the I Can Learn focused on helping students with prealgebra and algebra, was found to have been studied enough to qualify for a rating—it was found to have positive effects on student achievement. A new study that I wrote about this week also found that I Can Learn, which uses computer software and hardware, is effective, particularly in working with classes where students miss a lot of school. Two other programs had ...


Finding (and Keeping) Math and Science Teachers

At an event in Washington yesterday, President Barack Obama spelled out some of his priorities for rewarding effective teaching through extra pay. "[W]e know it can make a difference in the classroom." And in the pages of Ed Week, a pair of researchers presented some surprising data on the question of what can be done to create and secure a more stable pool of math and science teachers—among the most sought-after educators in the market. Much of the attention given to Obama's speech rightly focused on what he said about performance pay, and rewarding teachers who excel with...


Is the Nation Making Progress in Meeting Its Foreign-Language Needs?

I reported some bad news recently about the status of foreign-language programs in the United States in Education Week. Fewer elementary schools are providing foreign-language programs now than a decade ago. This decade of decline follows a decade in which elementary schools had increasingly launched foreign-language programs. But this week I reported some good news in Education Week about the attention that the nation's foreign-language needs are receiving. A task force in Maryland has handed the state legislature and Gov. Martin O'Malley a report that tells state agencies how to better take advantage of the native-language skills of the state's ...


Classroom Discussion: Independent Science?

Barack Obama is expected today to announce a new policy lifting restrictions on funding for human embryonic stem cell research. He will also issue a presidential memorandum meant to protect federal scientists and scientific research from political influence, according to reports. I would argue that it's the second action has the most potential for creating intriguing discussions in science classrooms. Bush administration officials were accused repeatedly of attempting to disregard or squash scientific findings and views that did not mesh with their political ideology, especially on issues such as climate change and environmental regulation. A recent series by the Philadelphia ...


Primer on "Lesson Study"

Originally created in Japan, the practice known as "lesson study" grew more popular in the United States in the 1990s. Basically, it's a research and instructional-improvement method in which a teacher conducts a class under the observation of other educators and interested observers. The idea with these lab-type environments is that teachers discuss the teaching methods on display and how to refine them to improve student learning, engagement, and behavior. When we wrote about lesson study techniques in 2004 (I linked to it in the above paragraph), teachers in 29 states were experimenting with that practice, according to the story. ...


Testing Tech Literacy

There's a lot of debate these days about how to define "technology literacy," but in a couple years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress will take the unusual step of testing students in those skills. This week, the panel that oversees the National Assessment of Educational Progress heard an early report on how it is attempting to forge a working definition, in preparation for judging students' tech literacy in 2012. The National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the NAEP, must first develop a framework, or basic blueprint for that test. The board has put together steering and planning ...


Testing the "Mega" States on NAEP

The test referred to as "the nation's report card," is perhaps best known for producing results that allow for state-by-state comparisons of student achievement, as well as national trends across grades and subject areas. But now the board that oversees that exam, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, is considering an intriguing option: adding a special report that would provide much more detailed information on the five biggest states in the country. That option appeals to some members of the National Asessment Governing Board, which is meeting in Washington, D.C., this week. They say that a "mega report" would ...


Learning Styles: True or False

Kent Fischer has one of the most provocative local education blogs, one he's written as a reporter for The Dallas Morning News for about four years now. He focuses mostly on issues related to Dallas ISD, but writes about broader trends and concerns for K-12 schools as well. One of Kent's items has been making the rounds among education reporters this week, with a link to this video that questions the notion of "learning styles." The focus on the idea that children all have different optimal ways learning has been revelatory for many educators. But the learning-styles model also has ...


National Standards, And The Future of NAEP

I attended an interesting event in Washington yesterday: a conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the National Assessment Governing Board, which sets policy for the NAEP. The gathering brought together a lot of people from the nation's capitol and outside the Beltway who have been instrumental in shaping the exam known as "the nation's report card" and making it what it is today. Those attendees spent an afternoon looking forward, and looking back. The conference was divided into a series of panel discussions. The last one of the day brought together four people who have played insiders' roles in shaping ...


NGA: Extend Literacy Instruction Through All Grades

An issue brief by the NGA Center for Best Practices cites examples of a number of states that have developed K-12 literacy plans. It's not enough to have a literacy plan only for students in grades K-3, such as the ones many states created to participate in Reading First, the flagship reading program under the No Child Left Behind Act, according to the National Governors Association. The 15-page brief says that "reading on grade level by 3rd grade is not sufficient for preparing students for success in high school and beyond." Alabama sponsored summer training sessions to expand a statewide ...


What People Are Saying About National Standards

My colleague David Hoff, over at NCLB: Act II, is on top of this....


Teachers and Textbooks

When teacher Mike Fletcher leads students through a geometry lesson, he brings a special kind of authority to the subject. He helped write their textbook. Fletcher, a teacher from Mobile, Ala., applied and was accepted to the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project to help draft that text, titled "Geometry" and published by McGraw-Hill, which he now uses, according to this story from the Mobile Press-Register. The story provides a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes role that talented K-12 teachers sometimes play in drafting texts in math, science, and other subjects. Fletcher spent several weeks over the summer of 2006 working ...


British Prime Minister Highlights Science

Barack Obama is not the only national leader talking about the importance of education during a period of deep recession. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is seeking to revamp his nation's approach to math and science instruction, pitching that proposal as a matter of long-term economic health, according to this BBC story. Brown says he wants to double the number of British secondary students taking "triple" science—biology, chemistry, and physics. Currently, just 8.5 percent of British students take the triple science option, the story says. Brown's plan is to double that figure by 2014, which the story says...


Fair Play and Fighting Spirit

Here's another good story on the gray area surrounding "mercy" rules—policies aimed at curbing vicious blowouts that are fairly common in high school sports. This article, from the AP, is set in Nebraska, where lopsided scores in girls' basketball —92-18, 72-13, 92-11 and the like—apparently occur pretty regularly. The story does a good job of adding some nuance to the discussion of mercy rules that emerged a few weeks ago in the wake of a Dallas girls team's 100-0 demolition of a rival. In some games, even when the white flag goes up, and coaches take out their...


Today's Students and the Value of Newspapers

This video of the last day at the Rocky Mountain News, the latest newspaper to close up shop in the midst of a spiraling downturn in the news industry, was posted on Vimeo a few days ago by Matthew Roberts. Over at The Joy of Children's Literature blog Denise Johnson wonders if today's generation will remember how the news "used to be published." Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo. Of course this is a topic near and dear to me and my colleagues. It's not just the demise of the broadsheet that worries journalists, but the seeming growing indifference ...


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