Sarah Garland
Sarah Garland is a staff writer. She has written for The New York Times, Newsweek, Newsday, The New York Sun, The New York Post, The Village Voice, New York Magazine and Marie Claire. She was a 2009 recipient of the Spencer Fellowship in Education Reporting at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and received her master’s degree from New York University as a Henry M. MacCracken fellow. Her first book, Gangs in Garden City: How Immigration, Segregation and Youth Violence Are Changing America’s Suburbs, was published by Nation Books in July 2009.

Practice versus theory: Is teacher education headed for a revolution?

Should colleges that train teachers focus on educational theory, instructing future educators in how children develop and how the brain learns? Or should they focus on the more practical skills teachers need to run classrooms and teach children algebra? Is it possible for training programs to do both well? These are questions that have become […]


Online tests and the digital divide: Will poor children be left behind?

Within three years, most states will start doing standardized testing online. The Hechinger Report has been examining potential benefits and problems that may arise when schools shift to testing on computers. One of the biggest concerns—even among advocates for online exams—is that the new tests could further disadvantage poor children who already struggle to keep […]


Immigrants happy, anxious about Obama’s order to stop deporting students

The Obama administration’s announcement on June 15th that it will stop deporting young undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria prompted celebrations and fuming by those on both sides of the immigration debate. But as the news has sunk in, the people who will actually be affected by the policy change—undocumented immigrants age 30 or younger […]


Widespread dissatisfaction with new teacher evaluations in Tennessee

In many ways, Tennessee teachers have acted as guinea pigs in a new national movement to overhaul how teachers are evaluated. While many states are in the process of changing the measures used to gauge teacher effectiveness, Tennessee launched its system—which includes both classroom observations and student test-scores among the measures used to rate teachers—last […]


Study looks ‘under the hood’ of new teacher-evaluation systems

More and more states are adopting new teacher-evaluation systems in response to a growing consensus that improved teacher quality can spell improved student achievement. The idea is that measuring how teachers perform in the classroom will help schools take the first steps toward helping them get better. But so far, there’s little consensus on the […]


How summer increases the achievement gap

As I was visiting a school in Delaware last month, an elementary school principal ushered me over to his computer to show me a graph that distressed him. It traced how one of his students, who came from a poor family, had progressed over the course of two years. A test taken in September of […]


What can the failures of desegregation teach us?

In a New York Times editorial over the weekend, University of California, Berkeley professor David Kirp asks why we’ve turned away from school integration, an education reform that has quite extensive evidence showing it worked: “Economists’ studies consistently conclude that African-American students who attended integrated schools fared better academically than those left behind in segregated […]


Will cheating scandals change the focus on high-stakes testing?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has another explosive story out this week about possible cheating on standardized tests. This time, the newspaper looked at suspicious circumstances in nearly 70,000 schools across the country and found “red flags” in about 200 districts, an analysis that “suggests a broad betrayal of schoolchildren across the nation,” the newspaper said.  The […]


Little teacher support for some Obama school-reform strategies

Teachers are skeptical about several of the major reform ideas the Obama administration and education activists are pushing to turn around the nation’s struggling schools, a new survey commissioned by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has found. (Disclosure: the Gates Foundation is among the many funders of The Hechinger Report.) Fewer than a […]


As India expands higher education, questions remain about quality and competition

Will India’s higher-education system catch up to those of world leaders, and should its economic rivals be concerned? American RadioWorks aired a podcast today that addresses these and other questions about India’s education ambitions. I discussed India’s higher education building boom with host Stephen Smith, and how the country’s open universities fit into plans to expand access […]

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