Like the gold miners of yesteryear, the nation's publishers appear to be setting out for California, hoping to stake their claims in a new online textbook market. Well, maybe the interest was not quite that intense. But Since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced plans to give districts access to free, online math and science textbooks, beginning at the high school level, the state has received interest from nine publishers, large and small. I've heard of some of them. Others were unfamiliar. The list includes Connexions, the Wellesley-Cambridge Press, Curriki, and what appear to be offers from individuals with experience in the ...


MDRC has just put out a policy brief summarizing the impact of Reading First, the flagship reading program under the No Child Left Behind Act for which funding was eliminated in fiscal 2009. Since I'm new to the curriculum beat, I walked past two rows of office cubicles to the desk of my colleague Kathleen Kennedy Manzo, who covered reading for Education Week for 12 years. I asked if the policy brief had any new information. The short answer from her is "no." It summarizes how the federal impact study for Reading First (see Kathleen's article about that research here) ...


States have a message for career-changers thinking of math and science teaching careers: We want you! A number of states have launched or are planning initiatives aimed at loosening state certification requirements and drawing people who haven’t gone through the traditional teacher-college route into the profession. In Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell says he will ask state lawmakers to establish a “residency teaching certificate” in subject areas where the state’s education secretary determines there’s a state or regional shortage. To get that certification, candidates must have either a bachelor’s degree with five years of relevant work experience, ...


The American Institutes for Research have released a study that allows for the comparison of U.S. states and cities with foreign nations, using a standard, and very familiar measure: letter grades. We've published a story about the study, authored by Gary Phillips, on our web site and in this week's print issue. Phillips uses statistical methodology to link state and city scores on a prominent domestic test, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, NAEP, with an international exam, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS. The report will be discussed at a forum in Washington today. ...


This summer, some members of the U.S. Congress hope to introduce a comprehensive literacy bill, which I wrote about in this week's pages of Education Week. The bill would authorize $2.4 billion for reading and writing programs serving children along a continuum of birth to grade 12. It would increase funding considerably for literacy programs in grades 4-12. It would replace the federal Early Reading First, Reading First, and Striving Readers programs....


It's been more than a decade since the National Assessment of Educational Progress tested 8th graders in what they know and can do in the arts. In that amount of time, the proportion of schools offering the arts at least several times a week has stayed about the same, according to the NAEP arts report released today. In 2008, 57 percent of 8th graders attended schools where music instruction was provided at least three or four times a week, while 47 percent went to schools where visual-arts instruction was offered at least as often. See my story on the report, ...


A couple items worth catching up on today: The medical-technology corporation Medtronic Inc., will provide a $1.4 million grant to support Teach For America’s efforts to find, keep, and train math and science teachers. The award follows an earlier amount of money given by Medtronic in 2007. The latest amount will support additional training for TFA educators through online resources and other means, according to a statement from Medtronic. The money will also pay for the possible expansion of TFA’s program in Minnesota this year and to enhance ongoing efforts in Memphis, Tenn., and Jacksonville, Fla., where ...


The Anne Frank Elementary School in the Philadelphia School District is having an event today to honor the school's namesake: Anne Frank. Starting on her 13th birthday, 67 years ago, Anne began writing a diary, which was published as The Diary of Anne Frank following her death in a Nazi concentration camp. As you all know, the book is widely read by school children, and the play based on the book is often put on by high school students. Today would have been Anne Frank's 80th birthday. The elementary school was scheduled to have a Holocaust survivor, Kurt Herman, speak ...


How does the U.S. fare in producing top-tier science students? Depends on how you look at it.


Williamson "Bill" Evers, a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and a conservative, expounds on why students in the U.S. don't perform as well in math and science as students do in some other countries. His views are published in a Q&A in the Stanford Review. (It's promoted on Evers' Ed Policy blog, which he infrequently updates.) Textbooks in the United States lack depth, and teachers here aren't as well prepared as teachers in some countries, Evers contends. In addition, Evers notes that U.S. culture has a current of anti-intellectualism, as Americans admire characters such as ...


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