February 2012 Archives

NOTE: This is a guest post by Steve Fleischman, deputy executive officer at Education Northwest, a nonprofit headquartered in Portland, Ore., that conducts research, evaluation, technical assistance, training, and strategic communications activities to promote evidence-informed education policy and practice. In the movie Sleepers, Woody Allen awakens in the year 2173 to find out that health food is bad for you and that deep fat, steak, cream pies, and hot fudge are all healthy. A character in the movie notes that Allen's beliefs are "precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true." The scene ends with a scientist ...


Earlier this week, John Wilson put the spotlight on a national embarrassment in his Education Week blog post entitled Flunking 3rd Graders Is Not An Intervention. His central point is worth repeating here: "Flunking 3rd graders is costly to the taxpayers and devastating to the students. Do the math. It costs $10,000 to educate a student every year or $20,000 annually for a special needs student. Is it better to fail a student and create an extra year of that cost or to create a "bridge" program for students who have not mastered reading by the end of ...


I was at a meeting in London recently, and got into a friendly argument with a colleague about strategies for scaling up proven programs. I was arguing that teachers should have an opportunity to collectively learn about a variety of proven programs appropriate to their school and then vote to adopt one or more of them, or none at all. This way, I argued, teachers would feel committed to whatever they had chosen and implement it with spirit and care. My colleague was appalled. She thought my way was too slow and would abandon kids who happened to be in ...


When I was a kid, I loved my textbooks. I loved their heft, their musty smell, and the long list of names of previous users in the back. I loved the confident, definitive prose that led into new worlds of thought and experience. When I grew up, I even wrote some textbooks myself. So it is with mixed emotions that I'm witnessing the demise of the textbook as we know it. Apple recently announced that it will be partnering with major publishers to create online textbooks, and the Obama Administration set the goal of having e-textbooks in the hands of ...


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