At a time when cities are starved for revenue, New Orleans will lose a little bit of convention-related cash as a result of the state's new policy on teaching evolution. According to this story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology has told Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal that the organization is choosing Salt Lake City over New Orleans for its 2011 convention. The reason? The group's objections to the Science Education Act, signed into law by the Republican governor last year. That law gives teachers permission to use supplementary materials on topics such as evolution ...


Just in time for the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, Oklahoma legislators took up a bill that would have allowed students to "analyze, critique, and review" scientific theories, including evolution. Lawmakers, by a narrow margin, weighed and measured the proposal and found it wanting. The state's Senate Education Committee rejected the "Science Education and Academic Freedom Act," sponsored by Republican Sen. Randy Brogdon, by a 7-6 vote, according to this story in the Associated Press. The bill's language bore a resemblance to "academic freedom" measures considered in other states. It asserts that scientific subjects such as evolution, global warming, and ...


At a time when many educators are looking for ways to encourage more students, and more girls in particular, to take an interest in science, a new study suggests gender bias in male and female views of their high school teachers' abilities could be setting back those efforts. The study finds that male students rate their female science teachers significantly lower than their male teachers in biology, chemistry, and physics. Females students also rate women teachers negatively, though only in physics. Those attitudes' show up despite male and female teachers showing roughly the same level of effectiveness in preparing students ...


Now AFT President Randi Weingarten is making a case for national standards. In this Washington Post commentary, Weingarten says it is time to revisit the need for a common set of rigorous standards for all U.S. children if we are to be competitive with high-performing countries that already have such a system in place. "I am not talking about federal standards for every subject taught in American public schools, nor am I proposing that state and local education authorities lose all say on curriculum," she writes. "I certainly am not suggesting that teachers be forced to provide instruction in ...


Jim Burke, the English teacher, author, mentor, and celebrity or sorts among his peers, is now a blogger. And one of his first blog items makes quite a claim. He's been to more than his share of big education conferences, from the niche English-teacher meetings to the more all-encompassing type events. But he thinks that they are on the demise. He points to his own observations, and the fact that several of his own speaking engagements this year were canceled for lack of attendance. The cost and time away from the classroom are too much to ask anymore, he argues. ...


I mention over at Learning the Language that reporters for the Christian Science Monitor have found a refugee kid named Bill Clinton Hadam in Georgia and are following him for a series "Little Bill Clinton: A school year in the life of a new American." One of the latest installments of the series, "Who's failing—the student or the test?," explores what's at fault in that a school doesn't get credit in adequate yearly progress calculations under the No Child Left Behind Act for the progress of an English-language learner such as little Bill Clinton....


Take a guess at which countries in the world are "not free." Among them are China, Iraq, Kazakhstan, and Sudan, according to the Map of Freedom that is part of a new Web site, Democracy Web. And which countries would you put in the column of "free?" The Map of Freedom says that Argentina, India, Mongolia, Ukraine, and South Africa are all free. Jordan and Ethiopia get a partly free ranking. The site is sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute and the Freedom House and is aimed at supporting teachers to educate students about democracy. It comes with a study ...


One of the more visible benefits of the federal Reading First program was that the $1 billion-a-year funding provided for reading coaches in each participating school. Those coaches were assigned to work with teachers to improve practice and expand their understanding of the research on literacy development. Now, with the funding stream dried up and the growing economic woes across the country, schools are starting to abandon some of the basic tenets of the Reading First program, particularly when it comes to the additional staffing it required. See these news reports out of Florida and New York. The extensive professional ...


The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is accusing Scholastic Inc. of using school book clubs to sell video games, jewelry kits, and toy cars, The New York Times reported this week. A spokeswoman for the Boston-based advocacy group said it reviewed brochures for Scholastic's book club for 2nd and 3rd graders and for 4th through 6th graders and found that 14 percent of items weren't books. The group claims that an additional 19 percent of items in those brochures were books accompanied by trinkets, such as stickers or toys. Judy Newman, the president of Scholastic Book Clubs, stands by the ...


Here in the Washington area, many public schools have gotten involved with teaching children about homelessness through participation in the annual Fannie Mae Help the Homeless Walkathon, which is a fundraiser for nonprofit organizations that serve the homeless or try to prevent homelessness. Full disclosure: For five years I organized walkers to participate in this event to raise money for a local soup kitchen. And more schoolchildren in this area are increasingly homeless themselves, according to "Schools Face Sharp Rise in Homeless Students," published Feb. 8 in the Washington Post. So I was eager to take a look at a ...


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