This paper (PDF) about what motivates parents' decisions about schools in an open enrollment district gets a little technical, but has a lot of good information about the factors at play. It explains the general concept of open enrollment and examines Colorado and Minnesota's systems in depth. According to the researchers' findings, parents are likely to make a decision about which school their child attends based on a myriad of factors: standardized test scores, the amount of per-pupil-spending, class size, income levels, and race. However, the school districts have their own interests as well, which sometimes conflict with the desires ...


We've heard of social studies teachers seizing the moment and using the buzz around the Presidential election as a way to motivate students to learn more about the workings of our government. With most students having little knowledge of the workings of a free-market economy, it would be nice to see social studies teachers across the country also using the buzz about the recent economic failures in the United States to teach students how our economy works. Maybe a nation that is significantly more economically literate would be more likely to prevent the kind of economic collapses we have witnessed ...


As both Kevin and I have talked about many times before, sports can have a tremendously positive effect on kids, especially those who are seeking a supportive community, and this article from the New York Times is just one more example of that. Former Philadelphia Eagles pro football player Roynell Young started an after-school program, charter school, and job training program that specifically targets at-risk youth in Houston called Pro-Vision. The program, which has grown exponentially since its beginning in 1990, is scheduled to move from the schoolhouse where it resides now to a 16-acre campus--which includes an NFL sponsored ...


It's been awhile since we talked about cash incentives for grades, but the subject has once again reared its head, this time in Chicago. About 5,000 high school freshmen in 20 Chicago schools could earn $50 for every A, $35 for every B, and $20 for each C on their report cards this year, says the article. Students who receive a failing grade cannot receive any money until they bring it up to a C or better. A straight-A student could potentially earn up to $4,000 by graduation, according to the article. That's quite a bit of money. ...


Before the school year started, I started a little narrative about my non-reader 13-year-old picking up a book called The Power of One and showing miraculous signs that he might be capable of actually reading a novel from start to finish. It looked good at first as he cruised through 100 pages in a little over a week. But since school has started, his pace has slowed considerably. He is now only inching along and is on page 117. I hope to get him back on track, but he keeps telling me he has no time for pleasure reading because ...


A few days ago, I ran across this article in the Boston Globe about the importance of daydreaming to creativity and how television has significantly cut into that time. After observing a group of children for several months, Teresa Belton, a research associate at East Anglia University in England, concluded that whenever children got bored, they immediately turned to the television for entertainment. The problem with this habit, Belton says, is that it kept the kids from daydreaming. Because the children were rarely bored - at least, when a television was nearby - they never learned how to use their ...


When I was a kid, we spent most of our family vacations in national parks. Going camping instead of staying in hotels allowed us to visit lots of places we otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to see, and from a young age, those trips fostered an excitement for conservation and preservation of the environment in both me and my sister. During my recent cross-country adventure, we spent a few nights camping in both the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. As I flipped through the parks' complementary newspaper and visitor guide, I noticed a few programs designed to teach ...


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