I came across this new release from the Ed Dept. on the "Progress by Our Schools and the U.S. Department of Education." The paper outlines what the Ed. Dept. sees as accomplishments of the NCLB era, including higher test scores, a narrowing achievement gap, and progress on international comparison exams. It also recounts some of the changes the law required, including more data, disaggregated by student group, options for students in failing schools, and more support services for those schools. There are sections on teachers, higher education, and choice. I'm sure some of the claims will be challenged by ...


The What Works Clearinghouse has issued a few new reports in its Beginning Reading series, including one for Houghton Mifflin's Invitations to Literacy and another on Reading Recovery. The reviews are short. I'll let you decide if they're useful. For the four studies on Reading Recovery, the review found "medium to large for alphabetics, small for fluency and comprehension, and medium to large for general reading achievement." An earlier review of the intensive one-on-one tutoring program was mostly positive. The Houghton Mifflin program did not have any studies that met the review criteria. The clearinghouse has drawn criticism for those ...


One of the consequences of the financial shortfalls hitting states and school districts is that they are scaling back all sorts of programs, or cutting them altogether. In a variation on that dour theme, Oregon state officials said recently that they're planning to delay the implementation of a new math requirement, partly for budgetary reasons. Earlier this year, Oregon's state board of education approved tougher requirements for graduation in math, as well as other subjects. But last week, board members said that while they don't plan on putting off higher graduation standards in reading, writing, and making oral presentations, the ...


If you're an English teacher and you don't know who Jim Burke is, I just have to wonder where you've been for the last decade. Burke, an English teacher at Burlingame High School, outside of San Francisco, has been sharing his professional insights with colleagues around the country through numerous books and a popular listserv he has moderated for years. His Web site is a treasure trove of resources for novice and veteran teachers alike. Now Burke is trying to use social-networking tools to build an even more vibrant online community for English teachers. He just alerted me that he ...


In case you missed it, the TIMSS results were released this week, and U.S. students didn't fare too badly, unless you count the point difference between them and their 4th and 8th grade peers in Singapore, Korea, and Hong Kong. The report is here, Ed Week's story here, and a critique of the U.S. performance by Mark Schneider, the former commissioner of education statistics at the Ed. Dept., here. I've included the video briefing as well. There are lots of interesting data points and tidbits in the hundreds of pages that make up the report, as well as ...


The International Reading Association is looking to shift more of the decision making back to teachers when it comes to reading and writing instruction. That would be a pendulum shift away from many current policies at the local, state, and federal levels that have instituted strict requirements for the materials and methods teachers use in their classrooms. In a new policy paper, published in the Dec./Jan. issue of Reading Today, the Newark, Del.-based association outlines its recommendations for the incoming Obama administration. The association also wants more and better professional development, as well as a boost in the ...


As the clock ticks down on the Bush administration and the tenure of many appointees at the U.S. Department of Education, I keep wondering what will happen to the Commission on Reading Research. It has been a long, foggy road for this panel, and sometimes I wonder if it has just been a mirage on the horizon. Probably not to the prominent researchers who've agreed to serve on it, and who have patiently endured what may be the longest pending announcement about an education panel in history. Could they still be going through the vetting process? Troy Justesen, who ...


Public and private organizations have tried all sorts of strategies to try to get girls and women more interested in science and math studies and careers—summer camps, the use of role models and mentors in the field, outreach to parents. Now, a new, and I suppose far hipper variation on those efforts is being tried: a social- networking site, aimed at luring more females into the so-called STEM fields. The site, www.underthemicroscope.com, was created by the Feminist Press, of the City University of New York, along with IBM and support from the National Science Foundation. It aims...


Late night funnyman Stephen Colbert, of all people, examined the issue of paying students for performing well in school this week. On Monday, Colbert hosted economist Roland Fryer, who has developed a program for paying students for achievement in school. Students are taking part in these sorts of programs in Chicago, New York, the District of Columbia, and other areas. Remarked Colbert: "If it works, look forward to Secretary of Education Alex Trebek." And later: "What is wrong with the older generation's way of doing things, where they paid kids to do well in school by not opening a can ...


A new survey shows that more high school students are lying, cheating, and stealing—a reflection, it says, of the "entrenched habits of dishonesty" among young people. The 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, released by the Josephson Institute of Ethics in Los Angeles, is the result of a survey of 29,000 students at public and private high schools throughout the country. Sixty-four percent of the students said they have cheated on a test over the past year, with nearly four in 10 doing so more than once. Some 40 percent lifted information off the Internet...


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