September 2010

Federal court rules that teachers-in-training don’t count as ‘highly qualified’

After three years of court dates, appeals and petitions, Public Advocates, a nonprofit group based in San Francisco, scored a major victory yesterday when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that teachers-in-training cannot legally be considered “highly qualified.” Under 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act, if a student does not have a “highly qualified teacher” in […]


In the South, new push is on for more college grads

President Barack Obama has led the push for more U.S. college graduates, even though in a tough economy with competing demands the money to support the push hasn’t materialized — at least, not as Obama had once hoped. From the South comes another new graduation initiative — this one calling for 60 percent of adults aged […]


The education reform show – now playing 24/7

Yesterday, NBC gathered a group of more than 300 teachers from around the country in a tent built on the skating rink at New York City’s Rockefeller Center — along with thousands who logged on online — and asked them provocative questions about charter schools, merit pay, teacher tenure and, of course, Waiting for “Superman.” The Teacher […]


The transformative power of failure?

Can failure transform us in important — and healthy — ways? Should we champion failure as much as we do success? Is failure really just success by another name? And in education, should we learn not just to live with but to love leaders who fail? Such questions were at the heart of a recent […]


Promise Neighborhood winners announced; disappointment for NJ

The U.S. Department of Education today launched a new anti-poverty program, Promise Neighborhoods, with the announcement of winners in a $10-million planning-grant competition. The program is intended to foster the creation of 21 versions of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) in cities, towns and Native-American reservations across the country. Winners will receive grants of up to $500,000 […]


Has special-ed inclusion backfired?

While talking to someone with a strong background in speech pathology and literacy recently, I learned of an interesting theory: Inclusion for special-education students, this educator said, has “backfired.” Now, she didn’t necessarily mean that special-education students should be quarantined from their peers or that the inclusion movement didn’t have good intentions — just that there have […]


Performance pay for superintendents, not just teachers and principals?

At a time when teachers are under pressure to improve test scores and show what kind of progress their students are making, the superintendent of schools in Minneapolis has also decided to spell out exactly how the public can hold her accountable.  No doubt the recession and the state’s financial woes have contributed to the superintendent’s decision.  […]


Obama’s back-to-school speech: “It’s about working harder than everybody else”

In his back-to-school speech today, in Philadelphia, President Barack Obama covered many of the same themes he addressed in last year’s more controversial talk. The main ideas were rather bland, if worthy: Stay in school; do your homework; show up on time. This year, Obama also acknowledged the recession and how it might be affecting students’ personal lives. He then borrowed […]


Defaults on student loans increasing, especially at for-profit colleges

At a time when jobs are scarce, it should come as no surprise that higher percentages of students are defaulting on their college loans. Default rates increased from 5.9 percent to 6.0 percent at public institutions, and from 3.7 to 4.0 percent at private colleges and universities, new U.S. Department of Education data show. The […]


Why teachers need more training in reading skills

As the U.S. pushes hard to reform its education system, it’s troubling to learn that three in 10 teachers failed a licensing exam in Connecticut on the science of teaching reading. The exam, according to a story in The Connecticut Mirror, emphasizes phonics, fluency and other skills needed to teach young readers. Teachers have been asked […]


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