Sex education is a thorny subject for most school systems; only 13 states specify that the medical components of the programs must be accurate. Shrinking budgets and competing academic subjects have helped push it down as a curriculum priority. In reaction, some health organizations and school districts are developing Web sites and texting services as cost-effective ways to reach adolescents in the one classroom where absenteeism is never a problem: the Internet.
It has been nearly 50 years since the Supreme Court ruled that officially sponsored prayer in public schools violated the separation of church and state. But in some corners of the country, especially in the rural South, open prayer and Christian symbols have never really disappeared from schools, with what legal advocates call brazen violations of the law coming to light many times each year.
I, of course, happen to live and teach in a southern state that unapologetically embraces such brazen violations of the law on a daily basis. This miseducation and indoctrination of children in public schools needs to be addressed and exposed, especially the implementation of “bible history” classes that directly conflict with basic science courses down the same hallway.
Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote.
Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election. Some have openly acknowledged doing so because students tend to be liberal.
Flubaroo is a free auto-grading tool that you can use with Google Spreadsheets to instantly assess your students. Students simply complete a fill-in-the-blank or multiple choice quiz or test and their grades are automatically compiled and available for viewing by the teacher, class, parents and whomever else the teacher chooses.
Seven more states will receive $200 million in federal funds in the latest round of the Race to the Top competition, President Barack Obama’s controversial signature educational reform program, administration officials announced Friday.
Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will bring the total of winning states up to 22, forming a critical mass of states that have committed to implementing Obama’s education agenda. But appropriations have decreased since funds were awarded in earlier rounds, so these states will rake in significantly less. Illinois, for example, is receiving $43 million, just 10 percent of what it might have won in earlier rounds.
When a college football team is successful, students put down their books and pick up some beers.
At least, that is the case made by three University of Oregon economists whose study was released this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
In examining the grade-point averages of the Oregon student body and the performance of the Ducks’ football team, the researchers found a relationship between declining grades and success on the field.
“Our results support the concern that big-time sports are a threat to American higher education,” the paper’s authors — Jason M. Lindo, Isaac D. Swensen and Glen R. Waddell — wrote. They said their work was among the first to take a look at the “nonmonetary costs” of college sports.
“The idea that we’re testing kids and we’re tying teachers salaries to how kids are performing on tests, that kind of mechanized thinking has nothing to do with higher order. We’re training them, not teaching them.”—Matt Damon March 2011
“Let her be bored. Let her have long afternoons with absolutely nothing to do. Give her a whole summer of lazy mornings and dreamy afternoons. Make sure she has a library card and a comfy corner where she can curl up with a book.
Give her a notebook and five bucks so she can pick out a great pen. Insist she spend time with the family. It’s even better if this time is spent in another state, a cabin in the woods, a cottage on the lake, far from her friends and people her own age…Make her go on long walks with you and tell her you just want to listen to the sounds of the neighborhood.
Let her be lonely. Let her believe that no one in the world truly understands her. Give her the freedom to fall in love with the wrong person, to lose her heart, to have it smashed and abused and broken. Occasionally be too busy to listen, be distracted by other things, have your nose in a great book, be gone with your own friends. Let her have secrets.”—Make Your Kid A Writer (via creatingaquietmind)
More than 40 percent of Michigan’s school districts are seeking waivers from a new state law requiring them to adopt a uniform teacher evaluation system by 2013.
"In virtually every case, the existing evaluation systems do not meet the requirements of (the law)," Schornack said.
Lawmakers in July approved changes to the state’s teacher tenure system that make it easier to remove ineffective teachers from the classroom.
The legislation makes teacher performance rather than seniority the key factor in awarding tenure and deciding layoffs. It also outlines standard and detailed criteria that all districts would use for teacher evaluations.
“Let us teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of a desire to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community. … You may ask what kind of republic I dream of. Let me reply: I dream of a republic independent, free, and democratic, of a republic economically prosperous and yet socially just; in short, of a humane republic that serves the individual and that therefore holds the hope that the individual will serve it in turn. Of a republic of well-rounded people, because without such people it is impossible to solve any of our problems — human, economic, ecological, social or political.”—
The Department of Labor reports that nearly 200,000 educators have lost their jobs in the past 12 months and the Council of Economic Advisers estimates another 280,000 are at risk of being laid off in the coming year. President Obama’s American Jobs Act proposal would invest $30 billion to enable up to 400,000 educators to continue teaching, helping our students learn.
The President’s September proposal will provide funding to hire, retain, or rehire up to 400,000 educators and modernize at least 35,000 public schools…will make sure that 400,000 educators would stay on the job, while supporting the hiring of tens of thousands more…[and] also modernize at least 35,000 public schools. Click the link to explore how the AJA affects your state and district.
The number of homeless students in Michigan public schools increased by 37% between the 2009-10 and 2010-11 school years.
Local districts report that about 2% of students in Michigan’s public schools last year were either living with family or friends, living in a shelter, hotel/motel, or were unsheltered, sleeping on the streets or in a car.
Search this database to find the number of homeless students in your Michigan district in the 2010-11 school year.
How do we know if a student is ready for high school algebra—or college-level English or math? Most K-12 schools and universities rely on placement tests, high-stakes standardized exams, to decide. And, if you don’t do well on that single test, you’re out of luck.
At the college level, one third of students—even those who earned A’s and B’s in high school—have to take remedial courses that don’t count toward their degrees because they didn’t score well on a placement test. But are all those students really that far behind or is there a misalignment between the work they can actually do and what the test questions ask?
Thinking structurally about social ills, rejecting excessive individualism for community-based, it-takes-a-village-style responsibility, has been out of favor in America for a long time. In education reform, what’s been in style instead is vilifying teachers and their unions. For some schools, making the grade has meant cooking the books to show results. Let’s hope that the time to reform this business-modeled mindset has finally come.
“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”—
“Teaching is not a matter of (as we too often say) ‘making a subject (poetry, physics, philosophy) interesting’ to students but of students coming to see how such subjects are intrinsically interesting. It is more a matter of students moving beyond their interests than of teachers fitting their subjects to interests that students already have. Good teaching does not make a course’s subject more interesting; it gives the students more interests — and so makes them more interesting.”—GARY GUTTING from What is College for? (via scarofthoughts)
[Hitchens] was a master of the extended peroration, peppered with literary allusions, and of the bright, off-the-cuff remark…
He also threw himself into the defense of his friend Mr. Rushdie. “It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved,” he wrote in his memoir. “In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual and the defense of free expression.”
“I personally want to ‘do’ death in the active and not the passive,” he wrote, “and to be there to look it in the eye and be doing something when it comes for me.”
Nearly half of America’s public schools didn’t meet federal achievement standards this year, marking the largest failure rate since the much-criticized No Child Left Behind Law took effect a decade ago, according to a national report released Thursday.
The Center on Education Policy report shows more than 43,000 schools — or 48 percent — did not make “adequate yearly progress” this year. The failure rates range from a low of 11 percent in Wisconsin to a high of 89 percent in Florida.
The findings are far below the 82 percent failure rate that Education Secretary Arne Duncan predicted earlier this year but still indicate an alarming trend that Duncan hopes to address by granting states relief from the federal law. The law requires states to have every student performing at grade level in math and reading by 2014, which most educators agree is an impossible goal.