February 2011

Assignment memo: The growing problem of the Hispanic achievement gap

Reporter Sarah Garland is working on a story about achievement gaps: California has one of the worst gaps in the nation between Hispanic and white students in reading. Only 12 percent of Hispanic fourth graders were proficient in reading in 2009 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation’s Report Card. The […]


Rural schools remembered

The U.S. Department of Education — if it wins budgetary approval for a third round of Race to the Top — is proposing to do things a bit differently this time. Instead of states competing against one another, individual districts would compete for grants from a $900 million pot — and the Department of Education […]


In tough times, even more reason to spend on innovation, Obama says

President Barack Obama unveiled plans for a significant increase in federal spending for public schools on Monday at a Baltimore middle school known for the kind of innovation he wants to see a lot more of — even if it requires spending scarce resources. “We wanted to highlight the great work you’re doing in math […]

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Teachers union embraces reforms following Milwaukee newspaper series

The Wisconsin teachers union said this week it is in favor of efforts to improve teacher quality and even would allow student data to be used in teacher evaluations. The announcement comes on the heels of an eight-part series on teacher training and evaluations reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in collaboration with The Hechinger […]


L.A. Times series ‘Grading the teachers’ wins 2010 Philip Meyer Journalism Award

The Los Angeles Times took top honors today in the 2010 Philip Meyer Journalism Award competition for its “Grading the teachers” series last fall. The award, which comes with a check for $500, is given by the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting (a joint program of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Missouri School of […]

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More lessons from Indianapolis

Ten days ago, The Hechinger Report took a look at Indianapolis, asking if charter schools — either through competition or collaboration — could be a means of improving achievement across a failing school system, as policymakers have often argued. Though charters themselves are doing well in the city, the public-school system is still struggling. Moreover, […]

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Rote memorization: Overrated, or underrated?

Among the countless catchphrases that educators generally despise are “drill-‘n-kill” and “rote memorization.” In keeping with their meanings, both sound terrifically unpleasant. To learn something “by rote,” according to the Random House dictionary, is to learn it “from memory, without thought of the meaning; in a mechanical way.” The fear is that we’re turning our […]