Opinions on Education

63% Say It’s Too Hard To Get Rid of Bad Teachers

Sunday, Feb, 13 at 12:06 pm,

Governors of several major states in an effort to improve lagging student performance are seeking ways to get rid of poor teachers by weakening or eliminating longstanding teacher tenure policies. Most Americans agree that it’s too difficult right now to get poor teachers out of the classroom.

Parents Should Not Feel Hopeless About Their Child’s Educational Options

Saturday, Feb, 12 at 11:59 am,

When Congress began phasing-out the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program in 2009, some parents were forced to send their kids to public schools that are failing and often unsafe. When asked by these parents about what options exist for them, I was at a complete loss as to how to advise them. It troubles me greatly

Truth Rheeduced

Saturday, Feb, 12 at 11:33 am,

Ron Isaac – Their lips were sealed. Those poor kids who had done nothing wrong and yet wound up in the class that Michelle Rhee (U.S. Education Secretary Duncan’s pet) taught for the blink of an eye before rising by merit of the Peter Principle to the D.C. schools chancellorship adhered by adhesive tape to the gentle persuasion of Rhee’s own fanciful discipline code.

Community College or Adult Ed?

Friday, Feb, 11 at 11:47 am,

Joanne Jacobs – Lansing Community College in Michigan no longer enrolls students with less than seventh-grade reading skills. Some 60 percent of new community college students aren't ready for college-level classes. Those placed in basic math or reading rarely make it out of the remedial sequence, much less to a degree. Do they belong in college?

A Valiant Effort to Teach History to the Middle School Crowd

Thursday, Feb, 10 at 12:50 pm,

A. Graham Down – Welcome to the world of the journalist turned newly minted middle school history teacher! Welcome to the world of the journalist turned newly minted middle school history teacher! David Awbrey’s transition from one professional field of endeavor to another is a leap of faith few would even contemplate, let alone undertake. This account of his journey is as riveting as it is sobering.

Nobody Deserves Tenure

Saturday, Feb, 05 at 11:09 am,

Chester E. Finn, Jr. – Nobody deserves tenure, with the possible exception of federal judges. University professors don’t deserve tenure; civil servants don’t deserve tenure; police and firefighters don’t deserve tenure; school teachers don’t deserve tenure.

A manifesto for effective PD

Friday, Feb, 04 at 11:42 am,

Hayes Mizell – Stephanie Hirsh's important new paper, Building Professional Development to Support New Student Assessment Systems, does more than provide guidance for using professional learning to successfully implement the Common Core State Standards and the assessments that will follow. It is a manifesto for effective professional development, and a call for states and school systems to treat professional learning as seriously as the new standards and assessments themselves.

Coping with Pagan Prejudice in Public School

Thursday, Feb, 03 at 10:21 am,

V. Sanders – Back to School Prep for Pagan Parents. Public school can be nothing short of a nightmare for pagans. When my daughter was in public school the worst thing that I grew to dread was the beginning of each back to school season. While other parents were worrying over the cost of back to school wardrobes I was fixated on the fact that we were Pagan of all things.

Even Shakespeare Had Structure

Wednesday, Feb, 02 at 10:27 am,

Harry & Rosemary Wong – Give Them the Structure to Create – As the Theater Arts Director at Rainier Junior/Senior High School and the Student Services Director for her district, Laurie Kash has directed over fifty theatrical productions and showcases. She also teaches English, Writing, World Literature, Basic Theater, Advanced Theater, and Alternative Education Arts classes. She typically directs two mainstage productions and two showcases each year.

Three Things the NY Times Article on Florida Virtual School Missed

Sunday, Jan, 30 at 11:36 am,

Bill Tucker – The recent New York Times article, “In Florida, Virtual Classrooms with No Teachers,” takes us to Miami, where schools are using a blended learning approach. There’s a lot to discuss here, including the fact that the implementation has been rocky — most notably because several of the schools made no effort to tell either students or parents that they wouldn’t be in traditional classrooms. But as we’ve seen in the past with the Times, the article is framed by an assumption that the traditional classroom is best.

Those who can really do teach

Saturday, Jan, 29 at 10:31 am,

Nducu wa Ngugi – It is almost that time of year again. Your kid comes home forlorn and stressed out, their eyes staring wide-eyed at you, dazed, wishing they had listened more instead of pulling that prank of the LA teacher.

The education of Michelle Rhee

Thursday, Jan, 27 at 1:36 pm,

BEN SMITH & BYRON TAU – Michelle Rhee turned up at work last September 13 utterly stunned. “I really did think he was going to win,” she told her staff of her boss, Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.

The Science Scores: Why?

Thursday, Jan, 27 at 11:09 am,

John Jensen, Ph.D. – So far, no one has sounded pleased at the NAEP report on Science scores just released. I’m relieved. Perhaps we’ll skip the positive spin. Since they imply a significant need remaining unmet, however, we might try to parse one of the outcomes for latent meaning: That only 21% of high school seniors are at or above proficiency in science says what?

If I Could Wave a Magic Wand

Wednesday, Jan, 26 at 9:33 am,

Robert W. Sweet, Jr./Former Reagan White House Staffer – Education reform has been a topic since antiquity. In the past two centuries, there has been a revolution in teacher education during the late 1800’s, dumping phonics in the 1920’s, compulsory schooling in the 1940’s, federal involvement in education funding in the 1960’s, forced busing in the 1970’s, teachers unions vice grip on tenure today, family disintegration in the cities, and apathy from parents.

Does College Make You Smarter?

Tuesday, Jan, 25 at 10:26 am,

First there was the news that students in American universities study a lot less than they used to. Now we hear, in a recent book titled "Academically Adrift," that 45 percent of the nation's undergraduates learn very little in their first two years of college.

Review of Charter Schools: A Report on Rethinking the Federal Role in Education

Thursday, Jan, 20 at 9:29 am,

Gary Miron – The report summarizes evidence from five studies of student achievement in oversubscribed charter schools and two studies on charter school revenues and outlines a number of recommendations relevant to the federal role in charter schools. While many recommendations are reasonable, those related to charter school facilities and charter school finance are more likely to be disputed because they are poorly developed and based on a narrow and misleading view of the evidence.

Feeling Too Good About Our Schools

Wednesday, Jan, 19 at 11:46 am,

Eric A. Hanushek – Each time international tests of student achievement are released, there is a parade of glib commentators explaining why we should not pay much attention to the generally poor performance of U.S. students.

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