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September 14, 2010 1 min read
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COLLEGE BOUND

Poor GPA? Forget About It

Everyone deserves a second chance, right? That’s the philosophy at some Philadelphia-area colleges where academic-forgiveness programs are allowing returning students to start over and reset their GPAs.

George Boggs, the president and chief executive officer of the American Association of Community Colleges, says the programs are fairly common.

“Many young people start college unprepared and often lack the maturity and perhaps motivation to do well,” he says. “Academic-forgiveness programs can give them a fresh start and help them ... become more productive citizens.” —Caralee Adams

CURRICULUM MATTERS

Pigskin Science

What do you get when you mix the National Science Foundation with the National Football League? A chance to learn about vectors, projectile motion, and hydration, among other things.

NBC News’ educational arm, NBC Learn, is teaming up with the NSF and NFL to release the “Science of NFL Football,” a 10-part video series for teachers and students. The series puts the appeal of sports—and sports stars—to use to help students understand complicated scientific concepts, the NSF explains. —Erik W. Robelen

SARA MEAD’S POLICY NOTEBOOK

Pity the Principals

My major reaction to the LA Times value-added analysis of teachers is to pity the principals. How many parents are showing up in their offices right now, value-added results in hand, demanding that their children be assigned a different teacher?

You sure can’t blame parents for doing it. But ultimately, it only distracts school leaders, creates combative community dynamics, and locks in inequities between kids with more engaged and savvy parents and those without.

Getting beyond zero-sum would require getting parents engaged in broader systemic issues—how teachers are hired, assigned, and removed—beyond their individual child. That kind of organizing is difficult, but it can be done. —Sara Mead

A version of this article appeared in the September 15, 2010 edition of Education Week as Blogs of the Week

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