December 6, 2006
With more U.S. public schools entering the restructuring phase under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, experts convened in Washington last week agreed that the remedies for schools and districts that don’t meet their achievement targets have so far had more bark than bite.
A prominent science educators’ group has drawn the wrath of supporters of “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore’s film about global warming, as well as some of its own members, by turning down a request that it distribute 50,000 free copies of the movie.
Yearlong research projects. Courses in quantum mechanics and vector calculus. These may sound like staples of the college experience, but such demands are also the norm at a particular brand of high school around the country: math and science academies, which offer students with superior talent in those subjects a demanding, highly concentrated academic environment.
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is promoting its new, much-publicized curriculum guidelines among state officials and textbook publishers, two crucial audiences for the organization as it seeks to refine how that subject is taught.
A civil rights group criticized Dallas school officials last week because they haven’t removed an elementary school principal who was found by a federal judge to be illegally segregating African-American and Latino children from their non-Hispanic white peers.
News in Brief: A National Roundup
People in the News
In a move reflecting the rise of new media over old, the education software maker Riverdeep Holdings Limited announced last week its $3.4 billion purchase of the Houghton Mifflin Co., among the United States’ oldest and largest education publishers.
When Western Governors University introduced its teacher-preparation program, there were those who scoffed at the idea that teachers could be trained from scratch—virtually. Now, three years later, it has earned the imprimatur of national accreditation while seeing its enrollment multiply from fewer than 100 students to 4,500.
The gap in IQ scores between African-Americans and whites narrowed over the 20th century, agreed experts at a debate held last week. They disagreed, though, on exactly when that narrowing occurred.
While many educators may see video games as distractions from schoolwork, others are starting to view them as a vehicle for honing students’ mathematical, problem-solving, and reading-comprehension skills.
An anthropologist who visited Amish schools in five states has published a scholarly book showing such schools are not frozen in time and are diverse in how they educate children to live apart from the world.
A description of coloring by students, whom Amish call “scholars,” in a school run by the Swartzentruber Amish, the most conservative of Amish groups in the United States.
Slick marketing fliers touting Scholastic Inc.’s education products are designed to coax customers into buy mode. But for the discerning consumer, the New York City-based publisher is armed with something more substantial: dense reports filled with data designed to prove the effectiveness of its offerings.
Teaching & Learning Update
More than eight months after taking Illinois’ achievement test, about 1 million of that state’s public school students and their districts still don’t know the results because of incomplete testing materials, scoring glitches, and data-entry errors.
When the country’s chief state school officers met last month to discuss education policy, they talked a lot about national academic standards. Such discussion appears to be rekindling a push for national standards.
News in Brief: A State Capitals Roundup
The Department of Education is considering ideas for revamping accreditation of higher education to place greater emphasis on measuring student-learning outcomes and making data about individual colleges more accessible to the public.
The U.S. Supreme Court last week rebuffed an appeal by eight Maine families who contend that their state has wrongly refused to pay their children’s tuition at religious high schools because the state only provides such benefits for certain students enrolled in nonreligious private schools.
News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
PAGE 26 - In Perspective
The St. Paul, Minn., school district has gained notice for its success in educating a large population of students of Hmong heritage who are learning English.
It takes support from teachers—and a little courage—for teenagers who don’t speak much English to meet college recruiters who come to their school.
PAGE 30 - Commentary
Cathy Paine discusses the preventative measures schools and communities should take, and also what they should not do, to keep children safe at school.
PAGE 31 - Commentary
Education professor William A. Proefriedt laments the "self-deception and illusory thinking" behind the insistence that high expectations for students and school officials will produce desired academic results.
On Nov. 17, Larry Cuban, Sara Hall, Don Knezek, and Keith R. Krueger answered questions on the ways that educational technology has changed K-12 schooling, and continues to do so.
PAGE 44 - Commentary
Law professor Rosemary Salomone writes that the time is now for educators to put single-sex schooling back on track and to rescue it from "the extreme rhetoric on both sides of a perplexing ideological divide."