Best of the Blogs

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The Start of an Interesting and Dangerous School Year

The most important event this summer was the release of the federal government’s regulations for the Race to the Top Fund.

What is extraordinary about these regulations is that they have no credible basis in research. They just happen to be the programs and approaches favored by the people in power. Under normal circumstances, the U.S. Department of Education would need congressional hearings and authorization to launch a program so sweeping. Instead, they are using the “stimulus” money to impose their preferences, with no hearings and no congressional authorization. —Diane Ravitch


Term Papers RIP?

The Cincinnati Enquirer poses that scary question.

The newspaper describes the challenging papers assigned to students at one Ohio school, and details the reasons that few teachers assign such projects (such as too little time to grade them). But it also quotes experts and cites research that make the case for pushing past the difficulties to make sure students master the skills learned through such work.

Are we hopelessly outdated fuddy-duddies—or right on target—when we argue for the importance of the in-depth research paper? —Catherine Gewertz


Kinder, Gentler Principals

The principal’s office has traditionally been the one place in the school where children were afraid to go. The media certainly have not helped to make principals your “pal.” They’re either portrayed as complete nincompoops or total jerks. (Remember Edward R. Rooney in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Richard Vernon in The Breakfast Club, Mr. Strickland in Back to the Future?)

I am on a crusade in my school to be the principal that kids come to when they want to talk, instead of the guy they fear and avoid.

The school leader sets the tone, and a school where kids are happy, feel safe, and want to come every morning is a school where kids are learning. —Dave Sherman

Vol. 29, Issue 04, Page 9

Published in Print: September 23, 2009, as Best of the Blogs
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