September 2006 Archives

Most new teachers know it’s a lot easier to land that first job in an inner city or rural school with low-income and minority students, than it is in an affluent suburban district. But if the goal is to close the achievement gap, the schools that have the most difficulty attracting teachers, must find a way to attract the brightest and keep them, argues a panel put together by the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. Typically, the newest teachers wind up in the most challenging schools with the least amount of support, and teacher turnover is often high, ...


U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings presented her plans to improve access to higher education during a live webcast Sept. 26, 2006 (the cast is now archived for full viewing). Over the past year, Secretary Spellings' Commission on the Future of Higher Education has developed strategies for making the U.S. higher education system more accessible and affordable to the diverse U.S. population....


If you’re tuned in to American media coverage on child-rearing, you’d think the biggest problems society has today are overprotective parents, the difficulties of finding a decent nanny, or that students have too much pressure on them to achieve, according to a Time magazine story by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. The two argue that mainstream reporting isn’t reflecting the real challenges faced by the majority of families today and that inaccurate reflection may actually be hurting American families. The story opens with a lively description of a cage match between Baby Einstein and Barbie....


HBO’s series The Wire may be casting more of a negative light on the federal No Child Left Behind Act than press conferences by the National Education Association. The series is chronicling the efforts of a cop turned rookie math teacher as he tries to inspire inner city Baltimore students and get them to make adequate yearly progress at the same time. In this article from Salon.com, author James Hynes calls The Wire’s depiction of life in an underperforming school as one of the “sharpest and most high-profile” critiques of the No Child Left Behind Act, which ...


In Ephrata, Wash., there’s a group of middle school science students who each day are greeted by a man with a foot-long, graying beard—their teacher. CNN reports that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, science teacher Gary Weddle decided not to shave or trim his beard until Osama bin Laden was caught or killed. The manhunt has dragged on longer than expected. This story features a color picture of Mr. Weddle and his facial hair. Enjoy....


Here’s more on the adventures of five rookie teachers in New York City. In part five of “Making the Grade,” longtime education broadcaster John Merrow provides a look at how the new teachers are grappling with preparations for high stakes testing in a Brooklyn school struggling to get students up to grade level. The teachers, including a former business major and a former Americorps volunteer, are part of a group of Teaching Fellows assigned to some of the highest-needs schools in the city. They say they’ve left the curriculum behind in order to prep students in just English ...


Think the only thing kids read these days are Harry Potter books or instant messages from their friends? Think again, says the Chicago-based Poetry Foundation. Later this month the foundation will choose the first Children’s Poet Laureate to cite the “natural receptivity” children have to poetry written just for them. The Children’s Poet Laureate will advise the Poetry Foundation and serve for two years. The bard will also get $25,000 and give two major readings over the course of the two years....


In the education wars, it seems Asia has jumped ahead. A new study by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has found that South Korea and other Asian nations are ahead of the U.S. and European countries in getting their students educated. Even though America has some of the highest education spending levels and has the much-touted No Child Left Behind Act, Asian students are completing college degrees in record numbers and outpacing Americans and Europeans in high school. Paul Basken provides a summary of the situation in this article from Bloomberg....


This live Webcast, hosted by Realizing the Dream, part of the Civil Rights Network, will feature students and teachers tutoring Capitol Hill staffers on their successul education reform programs. The programs were singled out as examples of "best practices" by a Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund report on education reform. The report will be released during the Webcast, whose guests include Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Executive Director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Wade Henderson, Former West Virginia Governor & President of the Alliance for Excellent Education Bob Wise, and Founder and Chairman of QUALCOMM Dr. Irwin Jacobs. ...


Want to know what your kids or your students are doing when they spend all that time on MySpace.com? Well, for anyone who’s a bit electronically uncool, U.S. News provides a lengthy primer on the Internet version of a social club. It includes tips for safe use of MySpace as well as a debate over whether to snoop or not when it comes to a teen’s MySpace page....


The venerable Weekly Reader classroom magazine not only looks updated this school year—with a new layout and eye-catching graphics—but a new study proves that it makes a difference in the classroom. The magazine, which each week makes its way to more than 90 percent of the school districts in the country, provides timely, kid-friendly discussions of current events and interesting stories, with different issues tailored to students of different ages. A recent study found that students who used Weekly Reader in their classroom showed significant improvement in learning and reading facts and vocabulary over students who didn’t....


Is the school publishing giant Scholastic bringing politics to the classroom? Liberal blogger Eric Boehlert thinks so—and not in a good way. Posting on the Huffington Post, Boehlert sketches the outlines of what he views as a conspiracy between network news giant ABC and Scholastic to bring a conservative point of view on Sept. 11 and the Iraq war to students everywhere. He (and others that he links to) blast ABC for their primetime mini-series “The Path to 9/11,” saying it contains falsehoods and blames the disaster in part on the Clinton administration. Apparently Scholastic and ABC have ...


Most students think they can rock out to music or watch television (or both) while they're studying, but researchers at UCLA suggest those types of study habits aren't as successful as hitting the books without the distractions. While the news may not make students happy, it gives parents and teachers more fodder for encouraging students to study without the electronics. The story is posted in The Washington Post's Health Section....


In a mix of business and the classroom, Blackboard Inc. has been awarded a patent for the software that delivers its e-learning products. But many in the growing online education community say the company didn’t create the techniques used to help students feel at home in a virtual classroom. Those who object to the patent are registering their disapproval in a very electronic way: by online petitions and contributing to a long Wikipedia entry tracing the rise of virtual learning all the way back to 1945. Posted on CNN. You can also check out the Wikipedia entry on the ...


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