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 ...


President Barack Obama visited the District of Columbia's SEED School yesterday to sign the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. He described the school as "a place where service is a core component of the curriculum," according to a transcript of his remarks. President Obama added that "just as the SEED School teaches reading and writing, arithmetic and athletics, it also prepares our young Americans to grow into active and engaged citizens." I report in a story just published at edweek.org on several new programs created by the Serve America Act aimed at engaging middle and high school youths ...


NASA, or the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, has been creating curricular resources for science teachers for years. Here's a new resource for educators ready to move beyond traditional paper and pencil lessons, and even beyond traditional computer-based activities. The space agency has created a site that facilitates "do-it-yourself podcasts" for teachers and their classes. Teachers and students with camcorder or other video-recording equipment can record video and audio clips, then intersperse them with free NASA clips provided at the site. Podcast topics include Newton's laws, science lab safety, and the spacesuits worn by astronauts (you would expect no less ...


What kinds of classroom lessons and activities can improve the confidence, and ultimately the performance of minority students? A new study suggests that a series of structured writing assignments can play a strong role. According to a new research article published in the journal Science, African-American middle school students benefited academically and narrowed the achievement gap between them and their white peers, after being asked to produce written essays, which the authors describe as "self-affirmations." The 7th graders studied were asked to reflect on important personal values, such a relationships with family or friends, their musical interests, and other topics. ...


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