In an opinion piece in the New York Sun this week, Diane Ravitch charges that people too frequently blame teachers but neglect to consider the role of popular culture and a lack of student drive as culprits in American students' failure to compete globally. "It's time to stop beating up on teachers and ask why so many of our children arrive in school with poor attitudes toward learning," she writes. "If the students aren't willing to work hard, if they aren't hungry to succeed, then even the best teachers in the world—laden with merit pay, bonuses, and other perks—are...


With the U.S. Department of Education’s clarification of the rules on single sex-education last year, which made it clear that public schools could legally educate boys and girls separately, the number of such public school programs is on the rise, reports the Hartford Courant in Connecticut. The article takes a look at Hartford’s Fox Middle School, one of the oldest single-sex public school programs in the country, but also points out that the research on single-sex education is very mixed. Researchers have been unable to say definitively that educating girls and boys apart increases (or decreases) academic ...


Nine specialty schools that cater to dropouts in Detroit will have to prove their effectiveness in order to stay open, The Detroit News reports. The district's contracting office has notified the schools that their contracts won't be renewed because of questions about their effectiveness and the accuracy of their attendance figures. A district spokesman told the News that the district has paid $4.5 million this year to the schools, which are run by church groups and community organization and reportedly serve about 1,200 students. School officials will be allowed to reapply for new contracts. "It's alarming," board member ...


At racetrack Belmont Park on Long Island, there’s a lot more than horse racing going on. National Public Radio reports on the track’s model preschool, Anna House, where the children of racetrack workers can go for quality care while their parents are working. Racetrack workers, who spent their days exercising thoroughbreds and cleaning stalls, drop their children off as early as 5 a.m. The school takes about 50 children from infants to age 5—nearly all Hispanic—and though the teachers are bilingual, the instruction is in English. One parents reports that this has made it possible ...


A girls-only event offered Muslim teens in Minnesota a fun alternative to the more traditional proms some forgo for religious or cultural reasons, according to a story in the Pioneer Press. The Saturday night PROM—Party foR Only Muslimahs, or Muslim girls—was organized by the Muslim Youth of Minnesota and co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota’s Al-Madinah Cultural Center. “I’d hate to miss this,” Sabrina Wazwaz, 15, a freshman who goes to Twin Cities Academy in St. Paul, Minn., told the Pioneer Press. “I think it’s really nice how they thought of the Muslim girls who...


Edutopia features a fascinating video look at Heifer International’s Global Village in Perryville, Ak. A humanitarian organization, Heifer International works to end world hunger. The group is best-known for its work using donations to purchase livestock, like cows, goats and chickens, for residents of poverty stricken areas in 125 countries to provide a sustainable food source and sometimes a source of income for families. But here in the United States, the group also runs its Heifer Ranch in Arkansas as well as some other domestic learning centers. The Edutopia video features a class of Colorado middle school students who ...


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