Earlier this week I attended an event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education and the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences, an umbrella group representing 17 math organizations. The event was focused on the recent report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel and how to interpret its findings and translate them into school policy. Some members of the math panel spoke, as did Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. But the event, held Oct. 6-7, was also arranged to allow groups of state and local school officials, math curriculum experts, and college faculty to meet in small groups to discuss ...


Reading First may benefit from the lack of action on the fiscal 2009 federal budget. As my colleague Alyson Klein reported this week, Congress passed an extension bill that would essentially provide the same level of funding for the federal reading program as in fiscal 2008. That's $393 million. The figure is less than the $1 billion or more the program had received each year since it was implemented in 2002. But it is far more than the zero funding that two congressional panels proposed in their versions of the fiscal 2009 budget. Congress passed the extension bill late last ...


Mark Schneider, who has served as director of the U.S. Department of Education’s top statistical office since 2005, is resigning from his post to take a job at a leading Washington research organization. You can read more on this at Ed Week's home page. The NCES official is leaving to accept a job at the American Institutes for Research, a major research center headquartered in the nation’s capital. Before joining NCES, Schneider, 61, was a widely published scholar and professor of political science at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was named deputy ...


If Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings has her way, "the nation's report card" will soon have its own place on state and local report cards. Back in April, her department proposed federal rules that would require states and local education agencies to report state results on the National Assessment of Educational Progess (dubbed "the nation's report card") on their report cards, which detail results on state assessments. Those proposals were put out for public comment, and the secretary said the final regulations are likely to be issued in October or November. On Tuesday, Spellings said she still favors going forward ...


Why are more minorities not pursuing undergraduate and advanced degrees in computer science? A new book examines that question and finds that the answer can be traced to a number of factors in K-12 systems, including high school course offerings, access to counseling, the influence of teachers, and students' beliefs about their own abilities. "Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing" by UCLA Senior Researcher Jane Margolis, was published by the MIT Press last month. The book focuses in part on the experiences of students and teachers in three public high schools in Los Angeles, including an overcrowded ...


The International Reading Association has established a RTI Commission to address issues and concerns raised by members related to the response-to-intervention approach to reading instruction. RTI is being implemented across the country as a way of improving instruction for all students, as well as identifying students who need intervention or intensive special education services because of reading failure. The commission will be communicating with IRA's network of state affiliates to expand participation and plan related activities and events. The commission is chaired by Marjorie Y. Lipson of the University of Vermont and Karen K. Wixson of the University of Michigan. ...


Accelerated Math, a software tool for middle school math used in an estimated 30,000 schools nationwide, has been found to have "no discernable effect" on student achievement by federal officials who studied the program. That review was completed by the What Works Clearinghouse, an online source of independent reviews of education programs, which is run by the Institute for Education Sciences, the top research office of the U.S. Department of Education. The clearinghouse, which was created by the department in 2002, sets a high bar for judging the effectiveness of education programs in math and other subject areas. ...


People have been debating the proper place of calculators in math classes almost as long as those hand-held devices have been around. Those disagreements boil down to this: Are calculators necessary tools to help students cut through tedious procedural steps they already know on the way to performing more challenging math? Or are they crutches that keep students from mastering the basic steps they need to master in that subject? A new study takes up that issue once again. Researchers at Vanderbilt University found that elementary students' pre-existing knowledge of basic multiplication facts was the factor that determined whether calculators ...


Texas officials are embarking on a revision of their state's science standards, a process that has generated a furious debate in several states in recent years—most of it focused squarely on the topic of evolution. A first draft of the new standards, released this week, seems likely to please the scientific community. The new document removes language from the current document that says students should study the "strengths and weaknesses" of scientific theories. Many scientists consider that to be code language used to suggest—falsely, they say—that the theory is pocketed with holes, rather than being one of...


The editors here at Ed Week like us to have a sense of history and context when we write about school reform. Each week a copy of the front page from the newspaper's archives is hung on the wall next to the editorial-floor refrigerator, so everyone is certain to see it. The long-ago headlines often elicit double takes, and perhaps a chuckle or two. I usually have to scan the publication date for a reminder of when the article was written because most of the time the news touted in the headlines could make it in the paper today. Hanging ...


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