Workers from the 2010 U.S. Census are preparing to canvass neighborhoods and crunch numbers as part of the once-a-decade survey that gives us an official headcount of the nation’s population, not to mention that of cities, states, and other jurisdictions. It’s a process that determines how congressional districts are drawn and how billions of dollars of federal aid get allocated. The Census Bureau, which orchestrates the count, is eager to promote public awareness of how it works. One way they’re doing it is through the creation of a series of lesson plans, student activities, and other ...


An Indiana program tries to lure math and science teachers to rural schools.


From Guest Blogger Stephen Sawchuk We had rather an interesting plenary at the CCSSO conference on student testing yesterday on international comparisons, and what the United States can learn from other countries' education systems using exams like the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA. Here's one way of slicing the PISA data that to me seems much more illuminating than the "rankings" of countries that seem to pop up everywhere in education debates these days: The PISA data can be broken down to show where a particular country's strengths in a given assessment area are. So, for instance, French ...


From Guest Blogger Stephen Sawchuk I went to a really interesting session yesterday about ways testing experts are using computer technology to measure science content in novel ways. Basically, the computer offers ways of testing students' knowledge of science and the scientific process, as well as ways of simulating content that can otherwise be dangerous (like chemistry experiments) or processes like erosion that occur over thousands of years. And, proponents say, it's a way of increasing cognitive demand in testing and getting at students' problem-solving capabilities. Minnesota has a science test it's using for No Child Left Behind purposes that ...


Not having cultural literacy, such as knowledge about key historical events, may cost young people some loss of respect in professional circles after they leave the world of school and enter the world of work, suggests Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, in a column in the Chronicle of Higher Education. He paints a scenario where a bright young man lands an interview with a leading law firm in Atlanta and isn't able to say anything intelligent about the Cold War during a lunch conversation with senior partners in the firm. Cultural literacy "counts a lot more ...


From Guest Blogger Stephen Sawchuk As you may have read from my regular blog, Teacher Beat, I'm out in Los Angeles at the Council of Chief State School Officers' annual conference on student assessment. This year, eschewing a formal keynote panel, the organizers decided to do something different—a parody of the TV program "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" (You may recall that Georgia Superintendent Kathy Cox won gobs of cash on this program last year and donated the money to schools in her state.) This time, a testing official from Indiana was in the hot seat, helped...


Because of what is missing from U.S. history textbooks, history teachers should ensure that their students understand their textbook's interpretation of events is only one possible perspective on what happened, concludes Michael H. Romanowski in a study of how those texts present the topics of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the war on terror. Romanowski is an associate professor in the college of education at Qatar University in Doha, Qatar. He conducted a content analysis of nine U.S. history textbooks by major U.S. publishers, including Pearson/Prentice Hall and Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. Most textbooks ...


What impact will studies about arts education, and "advanced" and "basic" students' performance, have on the No Child Left Behind reauthorization circuit?


U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan stopped by a rally yesterday and received petitions from people who want federal lawmakers to provide the money needed for music and the arts to be required core subjects in public schools, according to the Associated Press and ed.gov blog. Texas, by the way, will soon require middle school students to take one fine arts course, if the Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, signs a bill on Monday that will revamp the state's school accountability system. Folks at the Texas Coalition for Quality Arts Education are very happy about the arts provision in ...


What works in science? Teaching from the textbook, hands-on experiments, and requiring extended written answers boosts student learning in science, a study suggests.


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