After 20 Years, What Have We Learned from Teach for America?

Teach For America, an organization that puts its recruits through fast-track training to teach in U.S. regions where students have fallen behind in academic achievement, is now recruiting for its 20th cohort of new teachers.  It's not surprising, then, that TFA recently has received extra scrutiny in the U.S. press. The verdict is still out on the effectiveness of the program—it depends, really, on how you measure effectiveness—yet it's still sending thousands of teachers into U.S. schools each year....more

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Like We Needed A Study To Tell Us This

Everyday this year, the media have reported one study finding after another.  Today there were several announced.  One that caught my ear had to do with our overly connected kids.  The study concluded that the more children are plugged in to their ipods, cell phones, texting, computers, Facebook, email, video games, and TV, the lower their grades.  Hello!!!  Money spent on silly studies such as this would be much better spent on saving lives in Haiti.  Give me a break!...more

Which to Fund: Science Labs or Racial Equity?

A committee at Berkeley High School in Northern California has proposed eliminating science lab classes—and the teachers who teach them—in favor of funding activities and resources for underperforming students and closing the racial gap in performance at the school....more

If you do not have a functional science lab in your school you do not get to practice what ...more

Public School is Far from Free--Especially for Parents

On a local listserv for parents of 4-year-olds born in August or September, discussions recently became heated when one mother of three said it was tempting to send her eldest to kindergarten just as he was turning 5--many parents in my town send their fall-birthday kids to kindergarten the year they turn 6--so that she could have "free daycare."  A kindergarten teacher on the list pointed out that schools are not free--they're supported by taxpayers--and costs to taxpayers escalate when children, especially boys, are sent to school too young and end up needing special attention and services.  Of course, parents of school-age kids (public, private, or homeschool) get dinged twice--as taxpayers first, and again when they're asked to pay for supplies, classes, and services that used to be provided, at public schools at least, at no additional cost to students' families....more
I'm 18 and going into my senior year at a small public high school. I've participated in very ...more

What causes school violence, and what are the antidotes?

School violence has been in the news frequently this past month, thanks to the beating death of honors student Derrion Albert by other teenagers and the shooting death of Trevor Varinecz by a school resource officer whom Varinecz reportedly stabbed several times....more

I don't claim to have answers to school violence, but I do notice a disturbing trend ...more

The universal design for learning plans for all students

Teachers have always had students who, for whatever reason, have difficulty participating fully in class. In the past, these students were dismissed as "problem children" or declared unable to learn. Today, however, teachers are increasingly using a set of principles termed the universal design for learning (UDL) to reach all their students....more

National Academic Standards Draft Released

Earlier this week, a panel of experts charged by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers with crafting a set of national academic standards for English and mathematics skills released the first official draft of the standards. The draft outlines those skills students are expected to have developed prior to graduating from high school....more

There is no reason why a child in Mississippi shouldn't have the same standards as a child in ...more

Obama speech reaction round-up

Today K-12 students in many school districts across the country had the opportunity to listen to an address by President Obama. ...more

Many on the web have complained that more

Stanford Teacher Ed Program v. Blogger: A Draw?

Imagine this scenario: You're taking some college courses, and you're not happy with your program. Do you blog about it? If so, how far do you take your criticism? Do you do so under your own name? Do you name the program, your instructors, your fellow students? Where do you draw the line? If you work with kids as part of your program, do you blog about them? ...more

Will entrepreneurship save education?

About a week ago, in response to the edupunk panel at SXSW, Jeff Jarvis tweeted, Entrepreneurs will save education, not educators. That's my thin conclusion from #edupunk vs. #hackedu ...more

And I'll say off the top that you know way more than I do about this topic, Leslie, so this ...more