Today's NYT article on graduation rates touches briefly on the push out problem. But there's another approach to improving grad rates that has run rampant in NYC - awarding credit even after students fail courses. Seat time credit has received some play (see these old posts from Edwize and NYC Educator), but there's an important story waiting to be written about how schools have changed failing course grades if students attended tutoring or completed independent projects.None of these tactics is necessarily problematic from an educational standpoint. In fact, offering multiple chances may be an important way to keep a ...

Related to this post, Alexander Russo makes an interesting point about academics and politics:Switching from academics to politics and back again is no easy task....Eduwonkette seems to miss the political point I was making about making NCLB seem more fair (and powerful) by calling for -- you guessed it -- better data. She may be right, but politics doesn't wait for better data, and educators of all stripes are going to have to think more politically if they are ever going to get into the political debate where the policy decisions are made.Over in TWIE's comments, skoolboy ...

Yesterday, Alexander Russo applied the concept of NCAA divisions to the comparison group debate. He suggested:What about creating NCAA-like divisions (I, II, III) within public school systems based on student poverty, in order to help someone (educators) get past the poverty- achievement trap and help others (politicos) see that performance varies even with schools with similar demographics?The trouble is that public schools only have access to blunt measures of students' socioeconomic status and other non-school conditions. In particular, free and reduced lunch eligibility poorly captures degrees of disadvantage. Imagine two schools in which 60% of students qualify for ...

Following up on the Quick and the Ed's March Madness graduation rate post, check out the black-white grad rate gaps for players on this year's teams:* 61 percent (33 schools) of the men’s tournament teams graduated 70 percent or more of their white basketball student-athletes, while only 30 percent (19 schools) graduated 70 percent or more of their African-American basketball student-athletes, creating a 31 percent gap.* 83 percent (45) graduated 50 percent or more of their white basketball student-athletes, but only 57 percent (36) graduated 50 percent or more of their African-American basketball student-athletes, creating a 26 percent gap....

NYC's Panel for Education Policy voted tonight to require 8th graders to score above level 1 on reading and math tests and pass core courses in order to be promoted. Meanwhile, last week Joel Klein wanted to invest a hypothetical billionaire's bling in a research institute - "There are two things that I would do with this money. One, I would try to set up a national institute for educational policy that does serious research. This is an industry in which there are so many myths, and that’s because there are such large gaps in our knowledge right now."Really,...

Dina Strasser, who writes the terrific blog The Line, is live blogging the ASCD conference. When she asked for burning questions, I existentially whimpered, "Does research really matter?" - and Dina has the answer here....

Lands' End is sponsoring a teacher awards program. Between now and April 17th, you can nominate a teacher for a Teachers Light the Way award here....

An event so rare that it deserves its own blog post: Charlie points to a Washington Post article on NCLB and students with disabilities. The article argues that NCLB has forced schools to focus on disabled students because their scores are separately disaggregated and only a small fraction of students can be exempted. Before NCLB, too many state accountability systems had gaping loopholes that allowed these students to be ignored (for more, see here). Of course, this brings us back to the NCLB incentives debate. If we credit the structure of the law when students with disabilities receive more attention, ...

Weighing in at ~500 pages, the AERA program is a good weapon, but a crappy guide to a professional meeting. Hopefully, skoolboy and I will save you the trouble of opening it. Below, we've listed some promising sessions on topics frequently discussed on this blog (skoolboy's picks are marked with an *.) Session titles, first authors, and discussants are listed below. Readers, please suggest other sessions that we have overlooked.Monday 2:15-3:45*: Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching: Explicating and Examining a Program of Research. (Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Jennifer Lewis, Heather Hill, Imani Goffney, Laurie Sleep, Hyman Bass, Pamela Grossman, Stephen ...

I get all big picture in a guest post over at SharpBrains. Here's an excerpt:"Schools," Stanford historian David Labaree wrote, "occupy an awkward position at the intersection between what we hope society will become and what we think it really is." What do we want our schools to do, and for whom?Schools, like most organizations, have many goals. These goals often compete with and displace each other. Relying heavily on the work of David Labaree, I will discuss three central goals of American schools – social efficiency, democratic equality, and social mobility. Throughout the history of American education, these ...


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