My colleague Alyson Klein reports over at Politics K-12 that President Obama's budget proposes to slash the $66 million Even Start family-literacy program. During the 11 years I've worked for Education Week, I must admit I've never had the chance to observe this program in action. I read a research brief recently published by Child Trends and the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at the University of Albany focusing on low enrollment of Latino youngsters in early-childhood education programs that made the following statement about Even Start: While the most recent evaluation of the Even Start literacy program did ...


Elementary school teachers in this country, by and large, are generalists. That means they’re required to teach everything—math, science, language arts, history, you name it, regardless of how prepared they are in any particular subject. When it comes to math, a lot of people find that lack of expertise pretty troubling. After all, many elementary teachers leave college having only taken one or two courses in math, at most. Their content knowledge may be pretty shaky, to put it mildly. Yet they’re also expected to provide the essential, ground-floor knowledge of math that young students need to prosper...


A large-scale randomized control study released yesterday by the federal government doesn't give us much insight into reading programs that are effective because it found that three of the four reading programs examined didn't have a positive impact and one had a negative impact on students' reading comprehension. But Robert E. Slavin, a researcher and the founder of the Success for All Foundation, which developed the reading curriculum found to have a negative impact, dismissed the findings, saying in an e-mail to me that evaluations sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, which conducted the ...


See my other blog, Learning the Language, for news about a study of California schools released by the National High School Center that indicates English-language learners don't have the same access as other students to a college-preparatory curriculum....


The Erikson Institute staged its first-ever international symposium on math education recently. The event brought together speakers who discussed approaches to teaching early-grades math in a number of countries, including Singapore, Japan, Australia, and China. The event was part of Erikson's Early Mathematics Education Project, which seeks to improve teaching of that subject in Chicago. You can see all of the speakers' Power Points and presentations here. The guests at the forum included Lyn English, a professor of mathematics education in the School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education at Queensland University of Technology in Australia. She's also the founding ...


Roughly a year after the National Mathematics Advisory Panel released a major report on teaching and learning in that subject, two people who served on the panel will answer questions in an Ed Week forum. It's an online "chat" to be held tomorrow, Tuesday, at 2 p.m. ET. One of our guests is Francis M. "Skip" Fennell, former president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The other is Vern Williams, a math teacher at Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church, Va. You can watch the chat and submit questions (try to keep them short!) up to a ...


Two reports have been released in the last few days that stress the need for states to have a statewide focus on adolescent literacy. Both reports challenge the traditional assumption that reading instruction in schools should end at grade 3. They emphasize that quite a lot of research is available on teaching strategies for reaching struggling readers in middle or high schools. A report by the Southern Regional Education Board released on Friday at the Education Writers Association annual meeting calls on states to enact policies to support adolescent reading. See my article, "Southern States Urged to Tackle Adolescent Literacy," ...


Officials at the College Board say they are ready to adjust testing schedules for the Advanced Placement tests in case local school officials decide to close their facilities because of the outbreak of H1N1, otherwise known as the Swine Flu. As of this afternoon, about 300 schools around the country had closed out of concerns that the virus may spread. (See Ed Week's full coverage on the issue here. UPDATE: The U.S. Department of Education reported later today that 433 schools had closed, affecting 245,000 children in 17 states.) Officials at the College Board, which sponsors the AP, ...


One interesting sign of academic progress on the latest "nation's report card" results came among students who are presumably at a pretty serious disadvantage. Math scores for students who reported that their parents didn't complete high school rose on the NAEP from 287 to 292, on a 500-point scale, the biggest jump of any student group, as measured by parents' educational background. Overall, 17-year-olds' scores were flat among students in every performance level. By contrast, among students who said at least one parent had graduated from college, and those who said either mom or dad had "some education after high ...


Advocacy organizations and policymakers have sought to encourage more students to enroll in Advanced Placement classes, a popular college-prep track, in recent years. Yet teachers are torn about whether all interested students should be allowed into those classes, or only those who meet certain academic pre-qualifications, as my colleague Stephen Sawchuk explains in a new story. He's reporting on a new survey released by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute....


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