November 2007 Archives

This op-ed in the Nov. 23 edition of the Christian Science Monitor offers pretty powerful advice on how to shut down "dropout factories" and increase high school graduation rates. Here's an excerpt: "The overwhelming number of dropouts surveyed in the report, "The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts," recognized that graduating is vital to their success. They told us they would have stayed on track to graduate if school had been more relevant, challenging, and supportive of their needs. They point the way toward reform – improved teaching and parental involvement to make school more engaging, a safe and orderly ...


I recently finished writing an article for the upcoming issue of Education Week's Digital Directions about the educational impact of Microsoft's Halo 3. It was probably one of the most interesting stories I've written so far, or at least one of the most enjoyable stories to research. Really, it just gave me an excuse to hang out with my Halo-playing friends and grill them about the ins and outs of the game. I, myself, have never played Halo. In fact, my experience with video games starts and stops with the original PlayStation, which I received for Christmas when I was ...


Written by Education Week's Katie Ash Recombining DNA and purifying proteins sound like experiments students in an upper-level college course would be doing, but researcher George Cachianes has brought those hands-on lessons to high school students, according to this recent New York Times article. Drawing on his success, high schools in surrounding areas now are using his biotech syllabus as a model for their own science classes, says the story. "Students are motivated by understanding the relationships between research, creativity and making money," says Cachianes. The way Cachianes balances the introduction of basic biotechnology concepts with engaging advanced lab work ...


Written by Education Week's Katie Ash Education Week reporter, and frequent contributor to this blog, Kathleen Kennedy Manzo has an interesting story this morning about today's students choosing to read less and less in their free time, according to a report released by the National Endowment for the Arts. Endowment Chairman Dana Gioia attributes the lack of interest in reading in part to the growth and popularity of electronic media, but also to the inability of schools to foster a love of reading in their students, the article says. The decline has serious implications for students' reading proficiency and comprehension, ...


Written by Education Week's Katie Ash A government-sanctioned organization wants to see creativity added to the list of skills taught in school, says this Associated Press article. According to Eric Lui, the founder of Creativity Matters, good teachers encourage students to tap into their imaginations when approaching problems, and that teaching style should be given more emphasis. Asking kids to think in creative ways may even help boost their resumes, the article suggests, citing Boeing Co., as an employer that lists creativity and imagination in its job requirements. Pure creativity might be difficult to teach, but thinking outside the box ...


An increasing number of college students are taking foreign language courses, according to this Associated Press article. What do you think is motivating them? Competition for jobs in a global economy? A desire to understand a different culture by learning its language? The pure joy of conversing in a different tongue?...


Are parents doing their part to ensure their children are successful in school? A school board member in Manchester, Conn., wants to know. Steve Edwards proposed last month that the district issue report cards to parents, to gauge how well they support their children’s academic, physical, and emotional well-being, according to this story in the Hartford Courant. The story suggests that Edwards' proposal faces an uphill battle, and recounts the failed experiment with parent report cards in Chicago. But there is increasing recognition that what parents do, or don't do, to help reinforce the importance of learning and working ...


Check out the latest of New York City's ideas to entice kids with cash prizes and other incentives to get them to do better in school. According to this New York Times story, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is considering a proposal to give some students free cellphones and to reward high academic performance with free cellphone airtime. Of course, this could be at odds with the city's ban on cellphones in the schools. But the Mayor sees no potential conflict. All this prizes-for-performance stuff is beginning to feel a little ridiculous....


A recent article in the New York Times, "Less Homework, More Yoga, From a Principal Who Hates Stress," made me think: Now this is the kind of principal I wish I had had in high school. He was even ridiculed by Jay Leno and Rush Limbaugh for his efforts to get kids to chill out. Joking aside, this is an issue worth debating. If teenagers are stressed out and worrying constantly about academics, are they likely to do their best in class? Might a little official endorsement of relaxation (which is promoted in quite a number successful companies around the ...


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