The new Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a survey of 14,000 American high school students conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control, shows that African-American and white teens are less likely to be sexually active than they were in 1991, though the declines are more precipitous for African-Americans.* In 2007, 66% of African-American students had ever had sexual intercourse, while in 1991, 82% had.* In 2007, 44% of white students ever had sexual intercourse, while in 1991, 50% had.* Hispanic students are no less likely to be sexually active in 2007 than in 1991. 2007, 52% of Hispanic students ...

Imagine that you are a public servant. This year, you've left families in a lurch by centralizing an enrollment system that you lacked the organizational capacity to run effectively. It is June, and kids and families are still in the dark about their middle and pre-school placements for September. How should you react?a) You should issue a heartfelt apology, explaining that you've make a serious mistake, that you take full responsibility for the mistake, and that you understand how terribly you've inconvenienced the families you serve. In addition, you should explain how you will be sure this doesn't happen ...

Administrators at four New York City schools that received F’s on their Progress Reports, and five that earned D’s, are eligible for bonuses, which range from $5,500 to $15,000 for principals and from $2,750 to $7,500 for assistant principals. One of my favorite haiku pretty much sums up this story:Amateur Night's spozedto be at the Apollonot at Tweed courthouse-Anonymous 7:50 AM...

McDreamy? McSteamy? You decide....

In December 2000, the New York Times introduced us to the president elect's choice for Secretary of Education, a former football coach with a penchant for "snake-, lizard-, ostrich- or alligator-skin boots." In that article, Jacques Steinberg reported that under his leadership as the superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, Rod Paige "helped nudge test scores steadily upward in the Houston district, which is largely black and Hispanic. It now ranks among the highest-performing in the state." Houston, the commentators cooed, was nothing short of a miracle. In 2002, the district won the first Broad Prize for Urban Education.By...

Ed Week's Diplomas Count report is out today, as is a warning from four distinguished academics that its figures are "exceedingly inaccurate." And having read the two papers below, I have to agree. The following is the statement issued by Jim Heckman, Paul LaFontaine, Larry Mishel, and Joydeep Roy:In our examination of the data and methodologies available to estimate high school graduation rates we have found that insights can be gained from household surveys and from administrative data on student enrollment and diplomas granted. However, we find the measures of graduation rates in Education Week’s Diploma Counts project, ...

With the release of Scott McClellan's tell-all, everyone's been asking whether the press did its due diligence on the Iraq war. Closer to home, last week's Newsweek article provides similar occasion for us to reflect on the press coverage of small schools over the last six years.Let me first throw in my prejudices about small schools - I like them. I followed the first wave of small schools that opened in the 1990s, and was thrilled when the Gates Foundation put up millions of dollars for the second wave. And I am willing to believe that students will be ...

Mike Petrilli and I have a friendly off-blog scuffle at least once a week, and here's our latest quarrel. Over at Flypaper, Mike wrote, "After arguing about race for forty years, many of which saw an expansion of the achievement gap between white and black students, even the left-left coast is agreeing that student performance is more important than the racial make-up of a classroom."Here are my two cents on this false choice: Even if you only care about student achievement, racial composition is important. Put simply, it's more difficult to attract and retain high-quality teachers in schools that ...

In the midst of this budget debacle, along comes an estimate of the cost of NYC's student incentive program at full scale - i.e. if all students in grades 4-7 were eligible to receive up to $500 per year. Even a 50% success rate would cost a cool $90 million dollars - not far off from the $99 million dollars in budget cuts that will be distributed to New York City schools unless the city ponies up....

Everyone loves equity - the US Department of Education, the New York City Department of Education, insert your hometown Department of Education here. If you've got a shaky initiative in mind, best to back it up with the equity line.Certainly that's the strategy Joel Klein has used in New York City. Want to change the admissions process for gifted and talented programs? It's about equity! (Even when doing so shuts out poor kids.) Want to close down comprehensive high schools? It's about equity! (Even if the most disadvantaged kids can't access those new small schools.) Want to use dollars ...


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