April 2010

Colorado seeking to define “highly effective” teachers?

Colorado, which finished 14th among the 16 finalists in round one of the Race to the Top competition, is considering major changes to state teacher-tenure laws. Senate Bill 191 was introduced on Monday by a high-school-principal-turned-legislator named Michael Johnston (D-Denver). Though the bill has bipartisan and bicameral support, it will face an uphill battle from the 40,000-member Colorado Education […]


Wanting kindergartners to critique George Washington

Joanne Jacobs has the story of the growing reaction to a post by a mother/teacher/blogger on the Edutopia site complaining that her kindergartner son told her he’d learned in school that George Washington was a good president. The seething mother wanted her son to know that Washington had been a slaveowner and that he joined […]

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Education and employment

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich notes in the Wall Street Journal today that 5 percent of college graduates are jobless, compared to 15.6 percent of high-school dropouts. — Richard Lee Colvin

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Don’t forget the adults

The Hechinger Report has this story in today’s Washington Post about the inadequacies of the non-system in the U.S. for educating adults — 30 million of whom read English poorly. Key point: “Adult education classes, a patchwork system operated by public schools, colleges and charities, have space for only a small fraction of those who […]

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Pay for performance? Try pay for acceptance

It’s harder to get into U.S. community colleges these days, as the newly unemployed seek job training and others felled by higher prices at four-year state schools or private institutions decide they’d rather stay local and pay less. That means longer waiting lists and students shut out of classes they need. So what’s an overtaxed […]

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Paying kids for performance?

The current issue of Time magazine features a cover story entitled “Should Schools Bribe Kids?” Amanda Ripley reports on a contentious study by a Harvard professor about how incentives influence student performance — but with a twist. Instead of paying teachers more for improved student performance, the idea in this study was to pay students […]


Lessons from an auto assembly plant

I just listened to the recent “This American Life” podcast* that explored the rise and fall of the NUMMI auto assembly plant in Fremont, California and what it says about the auto industry. (In 1984, the then-dominant General Motors and the insurgent Toyota agreed to build cars together: Toyota would learn to adapt its renowned […]

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More, more, harder, harder

The Florida Legislature also sent to Gov. Charlie Crist a bill (SB4) requiring students graduating in 2012 to take four math courses (including Algebra II or its equivalent), and those graduating in 2013 to take three science classes (including biology, chemistry and physics) and pass new end-of-course exams in those subjects. That doesn’t necessarily mean […]

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Merit pay and end of tenure in Florida move ahead

The Florida Legislature has sent to Gov. Charlie Crist a bill that would put all teachers hired after July 1 on one-year contracts and not offer them tenure. Raises would be based on student achievement. The governor, who previously had said he supported the bill, now says he may not sign it. — Richard Lee […]

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Taking classes without learning much

Over the past 25 years,  students have been required to pass more and more math, science, English, history, and foreign language classes to graduate from high school. Today’s sophomores in 10 states will have to take more math than did students who graduated five years earlier; nine states will require them to take more science. […]

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