On Tuesday, results of a study called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies were released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), bringing to light not altogether surprising information: American adults--not just kids--lag behind their global peers in math, reading, and problem-skills. The study findings "reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation's high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven't." Adults with college-educated parents were far more likely to have gone to college themselves, and to have higher skills and better wages as a ...

This week I read this essay in the Wall Street Journal, in which writer and editor Joanne Lipman discusses her toughest teacher ever--an orchestra instructor named Jerry Kupchynsky--who, through a combination of high expectations, limited (overt) praise, and insistence on practice, practice, practice, helped his students to succeed in many areas where they would ultimately make their careers: music, medicine, writing, and tech. Lipman (and Melanie Kupchynsky, her co-author of the book Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations) summarize eight principles of "tough love" education; these include allowing kids to accept that failure is an ...

When I said I didn't think there was one single panacea for the achievement gap in every part of the country, and that if there were, I didn't think anyone (let alone TFA) had figured it out yet, the recruiter told me, "The essence of being a TFA corps member is having idealism, and it doesn't sound like you have the right attitude."

So, in the grand scheme of education reform, TFA once again proves not to be the panacea its boosters would like to believe. If you believe this study, its teachers are roughly on par with peers; not much better or worse.

Welcome to the blog. In case you're just tuning in, my name is Ilana, and I'm a teacher at a public high school in the northeast Bronx--where I've been working in the same building for nearly a decade. Generally I teach English, though occasionally I've taught math and other subjects in emergency situations (such as once when the students through a stapler at a math teacher's head on the first day of class, and she quit on the spot--that was about six years ago.)

To say that college is the only path, or to address solely the problem of college costs without looking at the issues on either side--varied post-secondary-school goals on one side (not all of which include college), and high rates of unemployment and debt on the other--is to put a band-aid on a problem that is much more far-reaching than simply the price of tuition.

I don't think our female students are receiving discouraging messages any more than the male students are--and on a larger scale, I don't think that the gender gap in STEM careers is exacerbated in inner-city schools. What I would like to see, however, is more awareness of STEM careers in general.

If the College Board is truly committed to offering opportunities to high-needs students, concerted efforts towards leveling the playing field, and making the SAT what it purports to be--a standardized test--would be a good start.

One of the on-going problems with the current SAT is not that it is "harder" than the ACT (as some would argue) but the fact that, more than its rival, it focuses on material outside of the scope of a high school curriculum.

Hi, everyone! I've been traveling in Asia for the last month, which is why you haven't heard a peep out of me. I started in Bangkok, Thailand, and then traveled eastward into Cambodia and then north through Vietnam. It was interesting and beautiful, and a really exciting change from New York City. Also, I had a chance to talk to some other teachers from England and Ireland, which I will discuss in later blog posts. (Apparently, I'm not the only teacher who thought to spend summer vacation backpacking through Indochina.) Now I'm back, re-immersing myself into all the education issues ...


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