Fascinating discussion going on between Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier on their Bridging Differences blog. They are talking about what might entice today's students to work harder and have a greater passion for learning. Check it out here....


For Benton Central High School junior Courtney Lavelle, the key to success was simply showing up. Her school, in Oxford, Ind., has a plan to get kids motivated...at least to come to school, according to a story in the Journal & Courier newspaper. Each student with perfect attendance for the year wins a key that could unlock the door of a new car. Earlier this month, 27 students tried their keys and Ms. Lavelle was the lucky winner of a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu. According to Brad Harper, Benton Central's attendance officer, the school had a 97 percent attendance rate this ...


The typical expectation of many people is that when more students are taking tougher courses the academic rigor of those courses is likely to decline to meet the lower standards of the masses. But recent results from the Condition of Education, the U.S. Department of Education's latest annual compendium of education statistics, show otherwise. The number of test takers has risen dramatically over the past eight years, especially among black and Hispanic students. Yet the increase in participation has led to only slight declines in AP-test scores. In other words, having greater numbers of students taking harder classes pays ...


I frequently go back and read the transcripts from the chats we run on edweek.org. The questions alone highlight how desperately educators are seeking answers to their problems. The answers from our featured guests try to point people in the right direction toward solving those problems. One recent chat transcript that is particularly worth noting is "Helping African-American Boys." We had very high volume of questions for that chat and our guests did a good job of answering them. There were quite a number of motivation-related questions and answers. So check it out....


Texas high school students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class would no longer be guaranteed a spot at a flagship state university under legislation the Texas House tentatively approved capping those admissions, according to the Associated Press. As it is, Texas students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their high school class are guaranteed admission to the state university of their choice. If this measure eventually goes into effect, it will be interesting to see what impact it has on the state's high achievers. Will they push themselves even harder because there is no ...


A Motivation Matters reader alerted me to a thoughtful interview that KMOX Radio in St. Louis recently did with Claire Wyneken of the Wyman Center, which is working to help reduce the dropout rate in the St. Louis area through outreach and a focus on helping teenagers develop better long-term relationships with adults. Ms. Wyneken had just attended a summit in Washington to talk about the problem of high school dropouts. Educators, researchers, and teenagers attended the summit, and she was particularly struck by some of the comments from teenagers, according to the KMOX interview. "'If people had pushed me ...


An article in USA Today, "Passion fuels seniors' ability to achieve," raises interesting questions about what motivates some of the nation's top-performing high schoolers. For example, Megan Blewett, who won a $50,000 scholarship in the Young Epidemiology Scholars competition last month for her research on multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's disease, said she was driven by the importance of her findings, while Veronica Shi, a pianist who won the Phoenix Symphony Guild Young Musicians Competition in 2005 despite a broken and bloody fingernail, said she was motivated by the beauty and challenges of creating music. "I think the process ...


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