Count a parents' coalition as one of the interest groups asking for a say in the ongoing, multi-state effort to draft common standards, which is being led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The organization, which calls itself the United States Coalition for World Class Math, is a group of parents, mathematicians, and other interested parties from across the country. You can read more about their principles on their Web site. Generally speaking, they believe mathematicians should have a strong role in shaping math standards; that the math standards of states like Massachusetts ...

Boys like to read about trucks, boys being bad, sports, and war. They like humor. They like action. I'm picking all of this up from well-acclaimed children's authors who are presenting at a conference I'm attending here at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., on how to get boys hooked on reading. But here's a thought from the conference that may not exactly be intuitive: Boys also like to read books that grab them emotionally, according to Jack Gantos, the author of the Rotten Ralph series and Joey Pigza books, which are about boys who are bad. Gantos said that when ...

Organizations that promote science and geography lessons want to help students hone "21st Century Skills."

Few areas of education have proved as politically popular at the state level in recent years as efforts to improve math and science through teacher education and professional development, outreach activities to students, and other means. Governors, state legislators, and state boards of education in both Republican- and Democratic-dominated states, often at the urging of the business lobby, have taken up the cause. Yet a story in the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal is a reminder that as budget pressures mount, legislators are facing increasing pressure to cut math and science programs, too. State lawmakers in Michigan are considering chopping $2.5...

Brenda Dann-Messier, the leader of a Rhode Island nonprofit focused on adult education and literacy issues, will oversee the U.S. Department of Education's career-and-tech ed programs.

Another voice, representing parents, calls for national standards in reading and math.

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 ...

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