California will offer "free, open-source" digital textbooks in math and science for high school students, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced. The governor says his state would be the first in the nation to take that step. Maybe there is something to Rahm Emanuel's quip about not letting a good crisis go to waste. Schwarzenegger, in a statement about the plan, suggests that the idea for digitalizing textbooks has come about partly because of California's severe and well-documented budget problems. He says the move will cut costs and encourage collaboration among districts. Schools have shown an increased interest in digital textbooks ...


The Washington Post published an editorial on Sunday offering support for "common, national standards." The editorial also says that improvements on the long-term National Assessment of Educational Progress trend data for younger students, particularly minority students, "can be traced to the standards-based reforms embodied in the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law and the state efforts that predated it." As I indicated in a story about the long-term data published in this week's Education Week, not everyone would agree with that assessment. Chester E. Finn, the president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, noted that at least he'd be cautious ...


After completing a legendary pro basketball career for the Detroit Pistons, Dave Bing left to see out the twilight of his career with professional teams in other cities. Then he did something unusual, given the socioeconomic forces that have been battering the Motor City for decades: He came back. As Detroit's population and economic wealth evaporated, and many residents fled for surrounding suburbs, Bing returned to the city after his playing days and founded an ultimately successful steel company. He became active in the community, on issues such as neighborhood revitalization, as his business grew. Bing has traced the origins ...


Eduflack highlights a small but notable cut in President Obama's education budget in this post about the potential demise of the National Institute for Literacy. He's right when he describes the quasi-federal agency as struggling, both to tackle its ambitious mission to address literacy from birth through adulthood, and to be a leader in promoting research and innovation in the field. I've written a number of times about the institute's misadventures in trying to launch the Commission on Reading Research, to take on the much-needed task of following up on the work of the National Reading Panel. Several other efforts ...


My colleague Alyson Klein reports over at Politics K-12 that President Obama's budget proposes to slash the $66 million Even Start family-literacy program. During the 11 years I've worked for Education Week, I must admit I've never had the chance to observe this program in action. I read a research brief recently published by Child Trends and the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis at the University of Albany focusing on low enrollment of Latino youngsters in early-childhood education programs that made the following statement about Even Start: While the most recent evaluation of the Even Start literacy program did ...


Elementary school teachers in this country, by and large, are generalists. That means they’re required to teach everything—math, science, language arts, history, you name it, regardless of how prepared they are in any particular subject. When it comes to math, a lot of people find that lack of expertise pretty troubling. After all, many elementary teachers leave college having only taken one or two courses in math, at most. Their content knowledge may be pretty shaky, to put it mildly. Yet they’re also expected to provide the essential, ground-floor knowledge of math that young students need to prosper...


A large-scale randomized control study released yesterday by the federal government doesn't give us much insight into reading programs that are effective because it found that three of the four reading programs examined didn't have a positive impact and one had a negative impact on students' reading comprehension. But Robert E. Slavin, a researcher and the founder of the Success for All Foundation, which developed the reading curriculum found to have a negative impact, dismissed the findings, saying in an e-mail to me that evaluations sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences, which conducted the ...


See my other blog, Learning the Language, for news about a study of California schools released by the National High School Center that indicates English-language learners don't have the same access as other students to a college-preparatory curriculum....


The Erikson Institute staged its first-ever international symposium on math education recently. The event brought together speakers who discussed approaches to teaching early-grades math in a number of countries, including Singapore, Japan, Australia, and China. The event was part of Erikson's Early Mathematics Education Project, which seeks to improve teaching of that subject in Chicago. You can see all of the speakers' Power Points and presentations here. The guests at the forum included Lyn English, a professor of mathematics education in the School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education at Queensland University of Technology in Australia. She's also the founding ...


Roughly a year after the National Mathematics Advisory Panel released a major report on teaching and learning in that subject, two people who served on the panel will answer questions in an Ed Week forum. It's an online "chat" to be held tomorrow, Tuesday, at 2 p.m. ET. One of our guests is Francis M. "Skip" Fennell, former president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The other is Vern Williams, a math teacher at Longfellow Middle School in Falls Church, Va. You can watch the chat and submit questions (try to keep them short!) up to a ...


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