Chris Comer, a former employee of the Texas Education Agency, resigned from her job in 2007 after she forwarded an e-mail to her colleagues advising them of a public appearance by a critic of creationism and intelligent design. Comer quit her job after she said that agency officials threatened to fire her for the e-mail, warning her that her electronic message had violated the agency's policy of impartiality on such issues. Comer sued the agency, but last week a federal judge dismissed her lawsuit, according to this story in the Austin American-Statesman. The ex-employee had argued that the state did ...


I'd like to alert any educators involved in the teaching of reading to a chat at edweek.org scheduled for next week with Donalyn Miller, a 6th grade language arts and social studies teacher. She's also the author of The Book Whisperer, which was recently published by Education Week Press and Jossey-Bass. The chat will take place on Tuesday, April 7, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time. I'm sure my elementary school teachers helped expand my reading vocabulary and comprehension, but I cannot give them credit for inspiring me to love reading. I remember that in ...


Reading First failed to have stellar results not because it favored a systematic use of phonics but because it was implemented by the federal government, argues Andrew J. Coulson over at Cato @ Liberty. Coulson writes: "If we want schools around the country to continually adopt and refine the best methods available, we must create the freedoms and incentives that will cause that to happen… or get used to disappointment." Basically Coulson is saying you can't trust the federal government to recommend "best practices" for reading, or education in general, because the government's recommendations will always be subject to political winds. ...


The Education Commission of the states has unveiled an online resource that provides background, sorted by topic, on some of the education practices used by top-performing countries—and how the United States compares. The site seeks to offer resources on how policymakers, including those at the school and district level, can create policies in testing, professional development, and other areas, based on what appears to be working well in other nations. Another useful site built around a similar theme was created by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC. It offers fully-translated curriculum, testing materials, and lessons from China, Korea, Japan,...


Congressman Mike Honda, a Democrat from California, is introducing a bill titled "The Global Warming Education Act." The legislation would create an education program on global warming at the National Science Foundation, an agency based in Arlington, Va., that is heavily involved in sponsoring research on math and science teaching and curriculum. Honda, a former high school science teacher, says the bill aims to provide a range of school materials for students on climate change, including formal and informal learning opportunities about topics such as new technologies, and incentives related to energy conservation, renewable energy, and greenhouse gas reduction. The ...


We at Ed Week have written about the potential for distance learning technologies to provide improved education to students in rural, remote, and impoverished areas of this country. Internet access, video feeds, and other technologies can provide students with access to courses their schools could otherwise not afford, or to teachers with expertise that isn't available in their local schools. Move beyond this nation's borders, and the need for those services are much greater. Next month, an effort to improve students' access to education in the developing world will be taking place in Dakar, Senegal. It's a conference run by ...


When I visited an award-winning middle school a while back, I was impressed with the collaborative spirit among the teachers, the deep relationships the principal and staff had developed with the students, and the payoff in student-achievement results the school was seeing as a result of an intense focus on relevance and rigor in the curriculum. Just one thing, or one student, marred my impressions of the school. Throughout the day, that student took every opportunity to interrupt teachers, distract classmates, and waste precious class time. There were outbursts, random movements, loud pencil sharpening, and tossed objects. While the student's ...


The ASCD Express is soliciting essays on the topic of what science education should look like in the 21st Century, or "Science on the Bleeding Edge," as they call it. Here's what they're looking for: Considering that the space age began with the launch of Sputnik just over 50 years ago, what should a 'post-space age' science curriculum look like? As students hone their 21st century skills of critical thinking, problem solving, and innovation, how are they being prepared to use them in the crucible where science, technology, society, and economics meet in the world beyond school? How are schools ...


The new edition of the Carnival of Education was posted today at Rayray's writing. You can read about everything from the pros and cons of holding a child back for a year from enrolling in kindergarten to how to make social studies "expressive." I participated this time with an item from Curriculum Matters about the push by the Library of Congress to get teachers and students to use online primary sources. There's one every week. The hosts change. It's a good way to find out who is blogging about education....


A couple of bills that take very different approaches to science, technology, engineering, and math ("STEM") education topics are in play on Capitol Hill. Here's a synopsis of both: —Yesterday, a sub-panel of the House Committee on Science and Technology approved a bill that seeks to improve coordination for science and math education programs across the federal government. Sponsored by Rep. Bart Gordon, a Tennessee Democrat who chairs the House science committee, HR 1709 would establish a White House committee with the responsibility of making various STEM programs work together. The committee would be housed in the White House's National...


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