I would be the first to jump on any plan to impose three-day weekends for Ed Week reporters! I would gladly promise to check my e-mail at least once on Mondays and read all my favorite blogs and news sites if that would help the editors approve a four-day work week. But I don't think most of the 700 students in the Maccray, Minn., district will be thinking about school each Monday, now that the state has approved the district's cost-saving alternative schedule. The measure shortens the school week by a day, but lengthens the school day Tuesdays through Fridays. ...


Teachers, parents, and researchers will probably be interested in a new book that focuses on why so many students seem to dislike math and what can be done about it. At the very least, I give it points for its catchy title. What's Math Got to Do With It? Helping Children Learn to Love Their Favorite Subject—and Why It's Important for America, is the work of Jo Boaler, a professor of math education at the University of Sussex, in England. Boaler has spent years studying middle and high school students and the impact of different teaching methods. I interviewed...


With the collapse of the subprime-mortgage market—and the crisis it has created for the economy—there have been calls for schools to take on yet another task: financial literacy. Many are, apparently, if you consider that more 20,000 high school students in 20 states took the Financial Literacy Certification Test this year, according to WISE, or Working in Support of Education, a nonprofit that promotes financial and business education. About three-fourths of the students who've taken the test since it was introduced in 2003 have passed, a statistic that may help improve the bottom line: "A national...


Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has quietly signed into law Senate Bill 733, which allows local education agencies to use supplemental classroom materials that will help students "analyze, critique, and review" scientific theories, including evolution. The governor's action was described in a list of 75 bills that he announced he had approved on June 26, with a one-sentence statement that makes no mention of evolution. The measure, which was sponsored by state Sen. Ben Nevers, a Democrat, and drew overwhelming support from Louisiana's legislature, specifically states that it is not meant to promote any religious doctrine or belief. But several scientific ...


Teachers College, Columbia University, is launching an effort to improve instruction in math- and science-related subjects in its backyard, with the help of a corporate gift. The GE Foundation has given Teachers College $5 million to boost teacher training and classroom work that is tied to relevant academic standards at 10 schools in Harlem. Teachers College will work with the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, also at Columbia, and the Morningside Area Alliance, a neighborhood organization. Corporations and their philanthropic branches have taken a major interest in "STEM" topics in recent years, supporting teachers' academies, the hiring ...


The first lady plans to host her second international literacy meeting in September, two years after the first, which my colleague Mary Ann Zehr covered here. The next one, however, will include discussions summarizing six regional meetings on literacy held around the world by UNESCO over the past year, and strategies for further action. While some longtime UNESCO staffers have seen Mrs. Bush's participation in the organization's literacy program as a political distraction, international development experts have seen it as a sure-fire strategy for raising the profile of the program and awareness of the education crisis in poor nations. See ...


Young people's understanding of government (or lack thereof) has become a prime target of late-night television comics and political parody. That bothers Sandra Day O'Connor, who has spent much of her time since her retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court promoting civic education. Justice O'Connor, 78, who stepped down from the high court in 2006 after 24 years, has been touring the country to make a pitch for a greater focus on civic education in schools. According to the online industry news site Silicon Alley, she is heading up a video-game project to help teach middle school students about ...


For years, American policymakers have looked with increasing wonder and envy at high-performing nations that consistently outperform the United States on heavily publicized international tests, such as PISA and TIMSS. And those assessments don't even provide information about the academic prowess of students in China, a nation of 1.3 billion people. (The People's Republic does not take part in them.) The truth is that for politicians, researchers, journalists, and others, the school practices in many of those countries remain a mystery. It's difficult to get reliable, firsthand information on those countries' standards, curricula, and teaching practices—not to mention...


A new report strongly criticizes the way in which teacher colleges, and by extension, states, are preparing aspiring educators to teach math. Count on it receiving a good amount of attention, given all the worries these days about American students lacking sound skills in that subject. Published by the National Council on Teacher Quality, the report says the curricula used by ed schools cover too little of the math content elementary teachers need—and that what's required varies greatly from campus to campus. Many states don't help the situation, the report found. Eighteen states have no requirements for what teacher-candidates need...


A Senate appropriations subcommittee has also voted to eliminate funding for Reading First, according to this article by my colleague Alyson Klein. So it looks like these efforts by the Reading First Advisory Committee to send a statement to committee members may be too late. Meanwhile, there's all kinds of discussions going on via the listservs and bloggers, including a very interesting take on the situation by Tim Shanahan here. Shanahan says that RF could have survived through the scathing inspector general's reports or the disappointing results of the federal impact study, but not both. "Under the circumstances, Reading First ...


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