April 2010

Goodbye to “first in, last out”? Change is in the air

That we live in tough economic times is something we hear and read every day. What people once hesitated to call a recession — for even the act of naming it tends to erode consumer confidence further — is now being called “the Great Recession.” State revenues are not expected to recover before 2014 or 2015, meaning that […]

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Doing a better job of helping students catch up

Melinda French Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, gave hundreds of leaders of the nation’s community colleges a pep-talk and a talking-to on Tuesday.  The Foundation wants the colleges to do a better job of helping their students — 60 percent of whom need to take remedial classes — catch up. […]

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How much math do math teachers need to know?

Joanne Jacobs has a lively discussion going on about how much math elementary school teachers need to know. A new study out of Michigan State University finds that prospective elementary and middle-school teachers in the U.S.  know very little math, especially compared to their counterparts in many other countries.  For some parents who have tried to help […]

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Community colleges feeling the heat

Community colleges serve many purposes — vocational certificates, remediation, training for nurses and computer technicians, recreational courses and providing the first two years toward a baccalaureate degree. With so many missions, how should they be held accountable for results? That was the topic of a discussion at the annual national meeting of community college leaders, […]

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What’s the best way to train and certify teachers?

With education schools under attack and growing numbers of teachers entering the profession through alternative certification programs, New York State may be poised to allow programs like Teach for America and others to create their own master’s degree programs.   The New York State Board of Regents would award the degree. Newly minted teachers who […]

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When neighborhoods change, what lessons can schools learn?

Every now and then, events at one school have an uncanny resemblance to what has taken place at another. That was the case at Lafayette High School, a once-cavernous neighborhood institution at the tip of Brooklyn that served a largely Italian and Jewish population. Its sports teams at one point were nicknamed “the Italian Army.” […]

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Does doing math give you goosebumps?

His teaching career began at age 19, when he was working on his master’s degree in mathematics at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign). Forty years later, Freeman A. Hrabowski, III is President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), a position he has held for nearly two decades. I had the pleasure of hearing […]

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What will teacher tenure in Florida look like now?

Gov. Charlie Crist’s announcement on Thursday that he would veto a bill linking teacher pay to student test scores left some hurt feelings and some new questions.  There may also be lessons for any states considering similar legislation. “I say we must start over,” the Republican governor said, according to several news accounts. “This bill has negatively affected […]

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Teachers under fire in New Jersey

Teachers and their unions are under a lot of pressure to accept changes in terms of employment and compensation. Salaries, pensions, health benefits and layoffs are being discussed in many states in response to state budget deficits. Tenure, evaluations, training, performance pay and bonuses are on the table as levers to raise the overall effectiveness […]

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One way to measure teacher effectiveness: memories?

With so much debate over what makes teachers effective, it was refreshing to read a tale from Pulitzer Prize winner Kathleen Parker that looked at her own specific memory of a life-changing teacher. The piece in The Washington Post comes at a time when everyone, from governors to state legislatures, is discussing how to measure the […]

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