April 2011

A closer look at schools receiving $3.5 billion to improve

Education Sector released “A Portrait of School Improvement Grantees” today, with an interactive map that allows readers to sort federal grant recipients by state or improvement model. The map provides details on the grants that have gone to over 800 struggling schools, serving nearly 600,000 students, across the nation. The Obama administration has set aside […]

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Does lecturing trump hands-on learning in the classroom?

For decades, many have frowned upon lecture-style classrooms in the U.S., where the teacher stands at the front of the classroom while all students listen and take notes. Instead, there’s been an emphasis on hands-on learning and problem-solving, where students learn by doing the work themselves. But a working paper from the right-leaning Program on […]

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Why are video games so good at teaching?

Eduptopia has a great post up by Dr. Judy Willis that explains some of the science behind why video games are good at teaching kids. Basically, the brain encourages kids (and adults) to make correct decisions or predictions and rewards us with dopamine, which triggers a powerful sense of pleasure/satisfation. This rush helps encourge people […]

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As more high-schoolers complete rigorous curricula, achievement gaps remain

The National Assessment of Educational Progress offered insight into our country’s school system today with the release of its 2009 High School Transcript Study. The report, which scrutinized the transcripts of 37,700 graduates from the Class of 2009 at 610 public and private schools across the nation, contains few surprises. But it does stand as […]

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What video games can teach us about the educational process

Looking for a new model of education that could eliminate the need for traditional testing while also encouraging problem-solving and guaranteeing that students will be fluent by the time they finish their lessons? Most kids are already very familiar with this very system—while playing video games. Researcher James Gee recently gave a run-down on the […]

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National lessons from New York City’s Cathie Black

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s surprise announcement this morning that Cathie Black is resigning as New York City Schools Chancellor reveals some of the challenges inherent in hiring a non-educator to lead a large public-school district and inspire the confidence of teachers, parents and the public. In another shocker, New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner resigned […]

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Cathie Black out as New York City schools chief

The big news today is that Cathie Black is out as New York City schools chancellor. The former magazine executive had taken over just three months ago, filling the spot of departing chancellor Joel Klein. The New York Times is reporting she resigned at the request of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Her replacement will be Deputy […]

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Teacher merit-pay study doesn’t get a gold star — yet

The U.S. Department of Education’s “What Works Clearinghouse” issued a note of caution today about a much-ballyhooed study of teacher merit pay in Tennessee. The Project on Incentives in Teaching (POINT) study, released in September 2010 by researchers at Vanderbilt University, found that offering bonuses to middle-school math teachers in Nashville if they raised student […]

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Newspaper reporters: Proudly innumerate?

Kevin Carey, writing in a blog post yesterday that criticizes a Washington Post writer’s analysis of an academic study, says a lot of newspaper reporters are “proudly innumerate,” meaning they lack basic knowledge of mathematics and the scientific approach. Carey’s argument is used to bolster another, more run-of-the-mill complaint: that reporters are biased. The topic […]

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Online learning: A solution to the budget crisis?

As school systems around the country face severe financial problems, everyone’s talking about what might be cut from budgets. There is one area, however, where spending is likely to increase in many parts of America: online learning. Proponents say online classes have many benefits, including allowing students to go at their own pace and increasing […]

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