Barack Obama sounded a JFK-style motif in a speech before the National Academy of Sciences today. It came through not only in his direct mining of quotations from the 35th president, and his references to Kennedy’s (and President Eisenhower's) scientific initiatives post-Sputnik. Obama, to be sure, indicated he'd put money and political capital into scientific research and K-12 science education. But he called for some shared sacrifice in return. Specifically, he seemed to beseech scientists to step out of their labs and research facilities a lot more often, to help sell young people on the wonder of science, and ...


Or maybe a meat cleaver ... depends on how you look it at. Florida's governing body for high school athletics approved cutting 20 percent of varsity contests and 40 percent for nonvarsity sports, in response to budget shortfalls. All sports, except the all-mighty—football—will be affected. For those wondering why football was spared, I believe it's because football traditionally brings in revenue, enough to support other sports. At least that's the reasoning that was given to me by Roger Dearing of the Florida High School Athletic Association, when I interviewed him for a story last month on cuts to sports...


Arne Duncan spoke before the nation’s largest gathering of math teachers this weekend in Washington, D.C. While I wouldn’t say there were any dramatic departures from his earlier scripts, the secretary made a few points worth noting, particularly when it comes to trying to get more math teachers into the classroom, and persuading them to stay. The secretary, addressing the annual meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics on Saturday, no doubt made some new friends when he spoke highly of differential pay—basically, paying math teachers more than teachers of other subjects, as a way...


Martin Doblmeier is the director of a documentary film, "The Power of Forgiveness," and has given talks at about 50 screenings of his film around the country. About half the screenings were sponsored by faith groups and the other half by high schools or universities, he says. More universities than schools have been interested in showing the film, but Doblmeier would like to see the film get more exposure in high schools. The film, made in 2007, has been shown in at least one community deeply affected by violence: Blacksburg, Va., the home of Virginia Tech. I chose this month, ...


The theme of this year's National Council of Teachers of Mathematics annual meeting—attended by about 12,000 educators—is “equity,” essentially trying to ensure that all students have an opportunity to learn. It comes as no surprise, then, that one of the big themes of the teachers and academic scholars presenting at various sessions, and among companies trying to peddle commercial products in the exhibit hall, was intervention. As teachers cope with pressure to lift math scores, and attempt to teach difficult courses at earlier grades (see my earlier entry on the question of when calculus should be taught),...


Politics K-12 reports that the House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday about common standards. You can weigh in over at that blog on my colleague Alyson Klein's question: Is it better for Congress to get involved in this or stay away?...


Sean Cavanagh's most recent blog entry, "Rush to Calculus?," about a math professor at Rutgers University who questions the push for students to take calculus in high school struck a chord with me. I'm someone who took calculus my senior year of high school because I thought that's what college-bound students were supposed to do. I was a transfer student to Oak Ridge High School in Tennessee my senior year; I'd gone to high school in New Wilmington, Pa., before that. My family had followed my dad to Oak Ridge for a sabbatical year. I'd taken all the hard courses ...


For many high school students who show talent in math, or at least a moderate degree of skill in that subject, their choice of a senior-year math course may not amount to much of a choice at all. They’re expected to take calculus, which they’re told will help them get into college, and succeed once they arrive there. Joseph G. Rosenstein, a professor of mathematics at Rutgers University, questions the logic of asking students to take that class in high school. He speculated that many of the students who take calculus in high school and struggle through it ...


Everywhere I turn on the education blogs this morning, I'm seeing mention of a report released by McKinsey & Co. yesterday that says the achievement gap between U.S. students and those in other nations is hurting the United States economically. See, "Achievement Gaps Drag Down Economy, Study Finds," by my colleague Alyson Klein here at EdWeek and a post by guest blogger Liana Heitin at Politics K-12. Thomas Freidman mentions the report in a column in the The New York Times (picked up by eduwonk, Gotham Schools, and This Week in Education). Update: Read Eduflack's take here. It just so ...


Earlier this month, we were discussing on this blog if it would be a good idea to have a YouTube Channel with video lessons from K-12 teachers. Well, check out the "classroom footage" section of a new project called Word Generation to get a sense for how nicely sample video lessons can be packaged so that other teachers can learn from them. The footage is about a hot topic in education: how to teach "academic language" to students. That means the words, abstract phrases, and structures students need to know to understand school subjects. It differs from the kind of ...


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