K-12

Using better metrics to build better schools

By Anya Kamenetz

Envision runs a group of three charter high schools in the Bay Area. They champion, as many schools do these days, “deeper learning” and “21st century skills.” Envision enacts this philosophy through a “Know-Do-Reflect” process that uses projects, portfolios and presentations to integrate assessment with learning. They prompt students to turn the lens both inward […]

pallashomepage

The soft bigotry of no expectations

By Aaron Pallas

One of the most memorable phrases crafted by former President George W. Bush’s speechwriters was “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” The phrase first gained prominence in a 1999 campaign speech on education, in which Bush argued that not holding disadvantaged students to high expectations was a form of discrimination—a powerful argument that he linked, […]

Kameisha Smith, now a college student, was paddled three times between the ages of 10 and 14 in Holmes County public schools. (Photo: Jackie Mader)

Why are black students being paddled more in the public schools?

By Sarah Carr

LEXINGTON, MISS. — Students in this central Mississippi town quickly learn that even minor transgressions can bring down the weight of the paddle. Seventh grader Steven Burns recounts getting smacked with it for wearing the wrong color shirt; Jacoby Blue, 12, for failing to finish her homework on time; and Curtis Hill, 16, for defiantly […]

Three things that will make a school bad: child abuse, homelessness and mothers who dropped out of high school

By Jill Barshay

Conventional wisdom has it that schools with high concentrations of poverty are bad. But when a team of researchers from University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) studied every third grader in the Philadelphia public schools, they found strong student achievement in some schools with high concentrations of poverty. The low-achieving schools were […]

Blended learning instructor Jhonn Hernandez helps students to troubleshoot problems in addition to training their teachers. (Photo: Margaret Ramirez)

Appeals court rejects challenge to blended learning

By John Mooney

Online learning in New Jersey’s charter schools got a boost from the courts yesterday, but so did the debate over how much innovation the state should allow.

A student at Townsend Elementary in the Appoquinimink school district in Delaware taking a computer-based test. (Photo by Sarah Garland)

Students are test-driving new Common Core exams. You can too

By Sarah Garland

Millions of American students this spring are piloting new online standardized tests linked to the Common Core State Standards, which will debut next year in states that have adopted the standards. The main reason for the trial run is to see if computer systems are ready to handle millions of students logging on to take […]

Children in the Richton School District, about 20 miles east of Hattiesburg, play on outdated playground equipment. Across Mississippi, educators say that years of underfunding have left them with inadequate facilities and few supplies. (Photo: Jackie Mader)

Can voters force Mississippi to cough up cash and fund schools?

By Jackie Mader and Liz Willen

JACKSON, Miss. – Year after year, school officials in this poor and largely rural state say they scramble to stock classrooms with basic supplies like textbooks and pencils. They seek donations from outside groups and wonder if they’ll ever have enough money to hire coaches and classroom assistants. Now, a newly formed group is taking a fresh […]

bronx

Almost 70% of teachers are not engaged. Here’s why that matters so much

By Anya Kamenetz

Wednesday  Gallup released a major report on the State of American Schools. Their data paints a picture of schools performing as a complex ecosystem, with the wellbeing, engagement, and performance of teachers, students, and principals all intertwined. The report combines decades of surveys of 5 million American teachers and principals with the results of the […]

Gene Maeroff

What works — and doesn’t — in a longer school day

By Gene I. Maeroff

When Say Yes to Education, a New York-based nonprofit, took its program for school reform to Syracuse, N.Y., one of its nonnegotiable conditions was that the district stretch learning time into the late afternoon and the summer. Say Yes based its demand on the assumption that urban students like those in Syracuse generally require more […]

Pamela Cantor

Schools can overcome the challenges of poverty — with the right interventions

By Pamela Cantor

When President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper last month to help young men and boys of color reach their full potential, he shared what had made the difference in his own life: “I had people who encouraged me — not just my mom and grandparents, but wonderful teachers and community leaders — and they’d push […]

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