The AIG fiasco and the uproar over those executive bonuses might provide a timely opportunity for talking about character in the classroom. But it might be more difficult to integrate lessons on morality and ethics day to day, particularly at a time when many educators are hesitant to cover issues that can be colored by personal values and beliefs, and therefore open to misinterpretation and conflict. So I was intrigued by an announcement from the Josephson Institute that its Center for Youth Ethics is now offering free online lesson plans. The Los Angeles-based institute runs the Character Counts! program, perhaps ...


A recent article in Edutopia makes the case that interest in arts education is on the upswing. It says that states and schools are carving out more time for arts education, despite the pressure to test in other subjects, because of the belief that the arts contribute to students' development and can be used as a learning tool. Research on student cognition is fueling this interest, the article says. The story offers a lot of good links to studies and reports describing trends in arts education across the states. One of the arts advocates featured prominently in the piece is ...


One of the more fascinating and too-often underplayed aspects of the immigration debate centers on U.S. policies toward foreign college students and highly skilled workers. Many high-tech and industry leaders say those students and employees have played a vital role in our nation's business innovation and economic growth. A 2007 study, for instance, found that 52 percent of Silicon Valley startups had one or more immigrants as a key founder, compared with the California average of 38 percent. More broadly across the economy, immigrant-founded companies produced $52 billion in sales and employed 450,000 workers in 2005. One of ...


When he's not jabbing President Obama for making public his NCAA tournament picks, Sen. Lamar Alexander is introducing legislation aimed at improving the teaching of U.S. history. Alexander, a former U.S. secretary of education, is sponsoring legislation that would sponsor 100 new summer academies for outstanding teachers and students of U.S. history. The academies would be "aligned with academies in the U.S. Park System," such as Independence Hall. The measure, sponsored by Sen. Robert Byrd and Sen. Edward Kennedy, would also require states to develop standards for testing using history, though history wouldn't be made part ...


At a time when policymakers are interested in improving the quality of math and science teaching, a new book examines strategies for the professional development of educators in those subjects. It's written by Iris R. Weiss and Joan D. Pasley of Horizon Research, Inc., a private research company in North Carolina. Weiss, the president of Horizon, and her team spent several years studying the Local Systemic Change programs, professional development efforts sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The LSC program sought to reach large numbers of teachers across districts in provide them with sustained professional training (teachers were required to ...


It's been nearly a month since Jim Burke announced that his long-running CATEnet listserv, an e-mail forum for California English teachers, was heading into early retirement and it's taken me that long to get over the news. Burke, a veteran English teacher at Burlingame High School in the San Francisco area, started the listserv nearly 16 years ago to foster discussion, professionalism, and collaboration among his California colleagues. I know that he also attracted many list members from around the country. CATEnet has been required reading for me throughout my 12 years of covering reading policy and curriculum for Ed ...


The federal Institute of Education Sciences, the main research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, is sponsoring a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, the popular college-prep curriculum used in schools. The IES has awarded a $700,000 grant to the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education to carry out the project. The study will be the first quantitative study of the relationship between participating in the college-prep program and how well students actually do in higher education, according to IB officials. The study results will provide "important insights into student outcomes in postsecondary ...


The names of new staffers at the U.S. Department of Education continue to trickle out, week after week. Here's one that may be of particular interest to math and science teachers around the country: Steven Robinson, who will carry the title of special adviser to Secretary Arne Duncan. I'd heard that Robinson was working at the department, and earlier, on the presidential transition team, from math and science folks in and around the Beltway, and thought readers might like to know a bit more about him. Robinson will advise the secretary on K-12 and higher education "STEM" issues, according ...


It is difficult to figure why some education ventures attract impressive financial and political support, while others flounder despite their value to the field. For years, I've written about The Concord Review and the really amazing history- research papers it publishes from high school authors/scholars. The review has won praise from renowned historians, lawmakers, and educators, yet has failed to ever draw sufficient funding. The range of topics is as impressive as the volume of work by high school students: In 77 issues, the 846 published papers have covered topics from Joan of Arc to women's suffrage, from surgery ...


I recently came across an intriguing item about a new resource called "Wordnik," an online dictionary that is supposed to provide users with a wealth of information they would not be able to get by looking up a word in print. Created by a Chicago lexicographer (someone who writes or compiles a dictionary), Wordnik is designed to provide a wealth of resources on the meaning and even the pronunciation of words. As I understand it from reading the story in the Christian Science Monitor, Wordnik would allow a user to click on a term and receive an audio replay of ...


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