When Banned Books Week is commemorated for the 27th time this fall, the annual list of texts slated for possible removal from school libraries will be shorter than previously, if it follows the trend of the last few years. And it's expected that there will be many more books on the list that were "challenged" than those that were "banned" from library shelves, since librarians and library advocates have become very skilled at fending off such demands. For that they should probably thank Judith F. Krug. "Censorship dies in the light of day," Krug, who died this week of stomach ...


Students—even very young students—bring a lot of curiosity about the natural world, and assumptions about how it works, with them to school. How can preschool teachers tap into this enthusiasm, and build students' understanding of science? Researchers and advocacy organizations have been exploring the connection between early childhood education and science instruction for years. A philanthropy, the PNC Foundation, is announcing a grant to support those science efforts, which is going to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum and the Washington, D.C., public schools. (More details will be available next week on the particulars of the award....


Read "NGA, CCSSO Launch Common Standards Drive," by my colleague Michele McNeil, to learn about a meeting in Chicago today in which representatives from 37 states are discussing common national standards. She said that the process is expected to start with voluntary rigorous math and language arts standards aligned with college- and career-ready expectations. Even a year ago, who'd've thunk it?...


Across the country, one of the strategies schools are trying to help struggling students in algebra is essentially doubling the amount of time spent on that course. It's a popular tactic in other areas of math, and in reading, too. A new study, however, says that double-dose courses produced mixed results in Chicago schools. On the one hand, the 9th graders studied saw their test scores rise. But the policy did not appear to result in fewer students failing the course, as school officials had hoped, the authors report. The grades of some struggling students increased, after the double-dosing, though ...


A proposal to strip the Texas board of education of its powers to approve curriculum and textbooks is moving forward in the state's legislature. The basic idea of the bill, which is sponsored by Republican lawmaker Kel Seliger, is that the board has become too consumed with political-cultural debates, as evidenced by the recent evolution-in-the-science-standards saga, rather than the nitty-gritty of school policy. The measure would shift responsibility for textbooks and curriculum to the state's education commissioner (a post currently held by Robert Scott) and to expert committees drafting recommendations on materials. The board would be able to overrule the ...


Eduflack contends in an essay-like blog entry, "Arts Education and Quantification," that positive academic outcomes from arts education can be quantified. He implies that educators may have to make use of this kind of data to ensure that the arts keeps a strong presence in U.S. schooling. I gleaned some new information from the essay. I hadn't known, for example, that the National Assessment of Educational Progress includes data on arts proficiency. I felt sad reading the essay, however, because I don't want to accept the idea that the arts, which feeds our spiritual and creative sides, needs to ...


A post over at Core Knowledge Blog drew my attention to an article published in the New York Times this week about how market researchers at the Walt Disney Company and other media companies try to figure out how to engage boys in entertainment. Here's an excerpt: The guys are trickier to pin down for a host of reasons. They hop more quickly than their female counterparts from sporting activities to television to video games during leisure time. They can also be harder to understand: the cliché that girls are more willing to chitchat about their feelings is often true. ...


The New York Times published an article this week that makes a case that the stimulus package contains clues for what kind of revisions the Obama Administration will push for with reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. Among them are toughening requirements for teacher quality and academic standards, according to the Times....


As usual, the topics presented in submissions to the Carnival of Education are so diverse that Joanne Jacobs, the host of this week's edition, threw up her hands and said the theme of the carnival is: "We don't need no stinking theme." Blog entries include a discussion about whether homework is busywork, a proposal that the school year should be 200 days, and an analysis of a study that says Experience Corps tutors (senior citizens) have helped struggling readers. A blog entry from Curriculum Matters about the gender gap in reading in Japan is part of the carnival. Check out ...


When a principal at a school visits a teacher's classroom, it's easy for those visits to carry an aura of suspicion and anxiety, particularly for the teacher. The principal may be there to gather information for an evaluation of the teacher's work, or simply to check up on what's occurring in the classroom. In an essay published online this month, Henry Kepner, the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, calls for principals and teachers to forge a more cooperative relationship, which he predicts will result in better math instruction. Principals can, in a "nonthreatening" way, encourage teachers ...


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