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.


A new Web site that performs very complex math calculations at breakneck speed is causing controversy among some math experts, who wonder if it will discourage students from being forced to work out problems the old-fashioned way. As this nice story in the Chronicle of Higher Education rightly notes, it's a variation on the unceasing debate over the role of calculators in math classes, rewritten for the age of the math super-engine. The online tool, called WolframAlpha, was created by Stephen Wolfram, the entrepreneur who invented Mathematica, one of the first computer math engines. It basically provides answers to questions ...


We don’t write that often on this blog about career-and-technical education, or what used to be called voc-ed. And that’s probably an oversight. After all, almost all students in this country take some sort of career-and-technical education class. The Perkins Act is the largest federally funded high school program in the nation. And high school students, on average, earn more credits in vocational education courses (4.01) than they do in math (3.68) and science (3.34). I’ve taken this information from the 2004 National Assessment of Vocational Education and other federal data on voc-ed. Advocates ...


Who wants to learn to read from a teacher who doesn't read much herself? It seems there's no danger of a child being in that situation if he or she has Donalyn Miller as a teacher. She's a 6th grade language arts and social studies teacher in Texas, who is otherwise known as "the book whisperer." Now that school is out, Miller has set for herself a summer challenge of reading a book a day. In a blog entry this week, she reviews Tillmon County Fire, a novel by Pamela Ehrenberg, set in Appalachia. She also interviews Ehrenberg on the ...


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 ...


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