Sarah Butrymowicz
Sarah Butrymowicz is a staff writer. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, as well as on and She was the winner of the 2012 New York Press Club’s Nellie Bly Cub Reporter Award. She received a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. As an undergraduate, she worked as a news editor and managing editor for the Tufts Daily, and she interned at both the Green Bay Press-Gazette in Wisconsin and USA Today.

Teachers weigh in on how to identify grit

Grit is one of education’s latest buzzwords, encompassing the idea that character traits like perseverance are critical to academic achievement. Now, educators around the country are trying to identify and quantify this intangible quality. In September, Angela Duckworth was awarded a $625,000 MacArthur “genius grant” to continue her work studying grit. In “How Children Succeed,” […]

Making the next generation of educational video games

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.  — The video games that Kyle Brda, a ninth-grader from Redwood City, Calif., plays at home typically involve shooting people. But on a recent day in September, he spent the afternoon at an office building in Silicon Valley, constructing wind and solar power plants in a virtual world that may soon be accessible […]

Advice for L.A. Superintendent John Deasy: Should he stay or should he go?

There is no shortage of advice for embattled Los Angeles schools chief John Deasy, who is expected to address his future after being evaluated by the school board Tuesday. At stake is leadership of the second-largest school district in the U.S., a sprawling system of more than 677,000 students, beset by a litany of crisis, […]

Common Core slow to change English classrooms

English teachers generally like the new national curricular standards known as the Common Core, but few of them have actually made the most important shifts required, according to a survey released Wednesday. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank, surveyed 1,154 English, language arts and reading teachers in the 45 states that have […]

Florida teachers caught in the middle of testing dispute

MIAMI—The pushback against the testing component of Common Core here has endangered political support for the controversial national curriculum standards in a linchpin state. But it also has left Florida’s public school teachers in an uncomfortable limbo: Officials expect them to start teaching the new standards over the next year, yet educators remain unsure when, and how, their students will be tested on them.

Concerns about testing accompany new standards

In New York starting this school year, classrooms will transform into havens of critical thinking and deeper learning—the opposite of the teach-to-the-test culture so reviled by many teachers for more than a decade. Or so promise proponents of a new set of standards known as the Common Core that the state’s schools are adopting in full for the first time this fall.

Kentucky pioneers Common Core reforms, with mixed results

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Freshmen in Kate Barrows’ English class at Liberty High School, an alternative school in Louisville, Ky., were trying to solve a crime. A wealthy man had received a letter demanding money, or else his daughter would be kidnapped. Barrows guided the students through a series of questions to identify the extortionist. Was the writer […]

Michigan school prepares students for high-tech auto jobs

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – By the time Brad Foley graduated from high school in 2012, he’d made a bicycle that served as alternative energy source, providing enough power to light its own turn signals, and helped craft a model of an eco-friendly dashboard for cars. For his senior project, he’d designed a “Mission Impossible”-inspired game […]

Unlike ‘Superman,’ Guggenheim’s new film champions teachers

In Davis Guggenheim’s “Waiting for Superman,” teachers and their unions were the antagonists. They looked out for their own interests, regardless of the impact on children, and were to blame for the U.S. educational problems. In his new film, “Teach,” Guggenheim has swung to the opposite end of the spectrum. The four teachers he follows […]

Q & A with Ember Reichgott Junge: How charters started and where they need to go next

In 1991, Minnesota became the first state in the country to allow charter schools. Since then, 41 other states and the District of Columbia have followed suit, and more than 2 million children attend charters. Ember Reichgott Junge, one of the original forces behind Minnesota’s charter law, says she is shocked by the growth over […]

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