"Students at Adams Middle School have been feverishly speculating about the true circumstances surrounding seventh grade history teacher Mr. Benson's unannounced second-semester leave of absence—now approaching one month—raising the mysterious disappearance well into the status of legend among the student body at large," according to this article from, yes, The Onion (Teacher's Leave Of Absence Shrouded In Legend). "I heard he was a pot addict, and he went mental, and they took him away to a mental institution," said Gregory Oswald, 13, a student of Benson's, adding that he remembered noticing a growing impatience in Mr. Benson in ...

If you've been reading along this week, you've already seen most of what the weekly newsletters have to say.  But there are some new things, too. At the PEN NewsBlast, there are posts about financial inequalities in Illinois, more about the FY08 budget, some things from the TC Record (which I never seem to get to), an English-only pledge of allegiance, more about NCLB and gifted students, and a fascinating little article about just how hard school boards (and board members) are to contact. Over at The Gadfly, they're looking for fellows, fighting against fatalism, railing against What Works, and......

A little bit of Enron in all of us? JS Online Lynn Brewer, the former Enron Corp. executive who blew the whistle on corrupt practices at the energy giant, delivered a chilling message about wrongdoing in corporate America to the 800 students, faculty and members of the public who came to hear her speech Thursday at Marquette University. Schools Picked to Pilot Sex-Ed Lessons WaPo Should the pilot program go forward, it would mark the first time sexual orientation has been addressed directly in eighth- and 10th-grade county health classes. Gender Gap in GPAs Seen as Linked to Self-Discipline EdWeek ...

"When Senator John Kerry said last fall that students who didn’t do well in school were more likely to “get stuck in Iraq,” he was immediately attacked for insulting the intelligence of U.S. troops," according to this Harper's Magazine article (Kerry Was Right). "Of course, Kerry’s comment was entirely accurate—not because American soldiers in Iraq are dumb, but because the Pentagon, in seeking to overcome serious recruiting shortfalls, has enlisted growing numbers of high school dropouts." Felons, too, according to CNN's Paris Hilton Anderson Cooper -- but of course that's someone else's problem....

The teacher quality provisions of NCLB are some of the most important -- and least effectively implemented -- provisions of the law, and there's more than enough blame to go around for all the delays, gimmicks, and obfuscation that's taken place. However, the Center on Education Policy has some answers, based on meetings held in the fall, about what to do the next time around. They include encouraging states to develop performance-based certification measures and more nuance in the definitions of HQT, incentives to address equity, and better data systems. It's core, achievable stuff -- some of it too tame, ...


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