When schools can’t get onlineNEWS

When schools can’t get online

About 70 percent of America’s elementary schools still rely on slow Internet connections. But in rural areas, the challenges—and costs—make getting broadband particularly complicated.


Q&A with Jon Bacal: Looking back on a year of starting a school from scratch

Venture Academy in Minneapolis relies, in part, on computer programs to help students who are far behind catch up. (Photo courtesy Venture Academy)
By Sarah Butrymowicz

Venture Academy in Minneapolis went through some growing pains its first year. The 6-12 charter school, which opened in August for its second year of operation, promotes entrepreneurship through technology and student-developed projects. Students are called “trailblazers” and teachers are “learning coaches.” Students spend part of the day in small groups or on computers working […]


Vergara v. California highlights the need for a teacher-powered educational strategy

Carrie Bakken
By Carrie Bakken

The Vergara v. California ruling that every student has a Constitutional right to learn from an effective teacher has been labeled bold — but it actually mirrors the counterproductive strategy long dominating reform efforts that ignores teachers’ professional expertise and then blames them for poor student outcomes. This decision pits unions against reformers. However, we’d […]


No need to teach girls differently online

File photo. (AP Photo/The Forum, Dave Wallis)
By Annie Murphy Paul

To hear some ed tech enthusiasts tell it, online learning is sweeping aside the barriers that have in the past prevented access to education. But such pronouncements are premature. As it turns out, students often carry these barriers right along with them, from the real world into the virtual one. Female students, for example, are […]


Competency catches on at community college

By Joanne Jacobs

Competency-based education isn’t an experiment at Bellevue College near Seattle, writes Paul Bradley on Community College Week. The college’s first CBE program — a business software specialist certificate program — has proven very popular. “The students seem to love it,” said Tom Nielsen, the college’s vice president for instruction. “We are seeing that most students […]


Active learning helps first-gen students

By Joanne Jacobs

Classes that require active learning — as opposed to listening to lectures — help first-generation and black students, according to a new study, reports the New York Times. Active learning raised average test scores more than 3 percentage points, and significantly reduced the number of students who failed the exams, the study found. The score […]


How the ideal student experience would look in NOLA

By Andre Perry

You have to see this handsome, new public elementary school located in New Orleans. In this neighborhood, the question of will you send your child to a public school isn’t analogous to Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac. The choice is not personal; it’s collective. The neighborhood chooses to walk to school together. If it sounds […]


College-rating proposal shines spotlight on powerful lobby

By Jon Marcus

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities this year had the tone of a revival meeting. “We have been under steady, unrelenting pressure,” declared the organization’s president, David Warren, who spoke of “an overreaching executive branch” he said sought to use unreliable statistics to measure the effectiveness […]


The teaching profession is becoming less gray and less green, but more teachers are leaving poor schools

By Jill Barshay

Much ink has been devoted to the teaching profession’s increasingly gray and green complexion — the profusion of teachers at the two extremes of the age spectrum. There are lots of veteran teachers older than 50. Meanwhile, school systems have hired hundreds of thousands of cheaper newbies without much experience in the classroom. That leaves […]


Increase in student transfers worrying alumni offices

By Jon Marcus

Maya Gunaseharan spent her first year in college at American University, then transferred to Cornell. And that was after 12 years at a private school in New Jersey. Now all three ask her to contribute money. “I do feel a pull, because I had a really great first year at American,” said Gunaseharan, who is […]


They earned a degree and then …

By Joanne Jacobs

College students don’t work very hard or learn very much, concluded Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa in their 2011 book, Academically Adrift. How did those students do when they graduated and hit very tough job market? Not well at all, they write in Aspiring Adults Adrift. Arum and Roksa followed 1,000 graduates for two years. […]

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