September 2007 Archives

The majority of what we write about in this blog centers on academic motivation. But motivation matters in the physical education world too. That's why it's worth noting that Texas recently introduced a statewide physical fitness test, to address what one health expert calls the "fitness and fatness of our youth in Texas," according to an Associated Press story on edweek.org. (FYI: We now have an AP education news feed on edweek.org that rolls new stories online 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. There's a lot of good content in the feed that you would probably ...


In "Lessons Drawn from Sputnik 50 Years Later," Education Week writer Sean Cavanagh looks back at a defining era for math and science education. But some experts say the more recent quest to increase interest in math and science careers, and raise the rigor of courses in those subjects, is more complex today than it was 50 years ago. Rather than simply competing with the Soviets, it's about competing with the world. What lessons do you think Sputnik has for today's schools?...


Education Week writer Lesli Maxwell is spending quite a bit of time in New Orleans this school year as she tracks the progress of Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School for Science and Technology. She is filing special online-only dispatches about the school's efforts to raise student achievement. The latest dispatch, "Building Skills, Rebuilding a Home," looks at week five of the school year, when student progress reports were being sent home to parents. This story is all about motivation. And it's a good read. So check it out....


If you are concerned about getting students more motivated to study math and science, especially more difficult math and science, the results of a recent Public Agenda survey are likely to feel a bit troubling. It seems that students, and their parents, are satisfied with a less-rigorous level of instruction in those subjects. Check out the Education Week story about the survey results....


Back in May, I had promised to keep readers up to speed on any developments in the Wisconsin Covenant program, which plans to offer guaranteed college placement and financial aid to high school students in the state who maintain B averages. Well, here's the latest: Almost 10,000 ninth graders in the state have signed a pledge that promises them a route to a college in Wisconsin if they meet certain goals, according to a recent Associated Press story. That number seems like a first step toward determining how effective such external motivators can be. But it's also worth noting ...


Will Fitzhugh, the founder and president of the Concord Review, a journal of academic writing by high school students, has written a thought-provoking essay, "Absent From Class," for edweek.org that poses the question: Why do so many of our high school students do so little work? This, of course, is a question educators have been asking for years. But what was especially interesting about Fitzhugh's essay was how he contrasted the high levels of motivation today's high school students show in sports and other extracurricular activities versus the disturbingly low levels of motivation they have for academic work. "I ...


My thoughts today turn to a Tuesday exactly six years ago when I was driving into Manhattan on a beautiful, sunny morning to spend the day with New York City teacher Laura Marks. I was writing a story about her motivation to return to the classroom after recovering from a violent beating from a student. On that day, her state of mind would be put to the test....


A growing number of schools across the country are asking or requiring students to pick an academic major or specialty before they enter high school. Seems a bit premature for most kids, who probably do not have a clue what career they want to pursue. My oldest son, for one, picked engineering as his concentration. Still, if picking a major gets students more interested in coming to school and paying attention, then it's an idea worth considering. The Seattle Public Schools blog addressed this issue in a recent post. What do you think? Should high schools have incoming freshmen pick ...


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