EDUCATION AND EQUITY NEWS
Below are links to recent news articles and special reports on education and equity issues at the national level and for the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. (Note: Links are often rendered inactive some time after the article's publication date. If you are unable to locate an article by clicking on the title, please search the website of the publisher.) To search the archives for older articles, please click here
Investments in Education May Be Misdirected (New York Times, April 2, 2013)Children of mothers who had graduated from college scored much higher at age 3 than those whose mothers had dropped out of high school, proof of the advantage for young children of living in rich, stimulating environments.
Honors Classes: A Need for More Diversity  (Edutopia, March 28, 2013)I work in a middle school that many would call diverse, if you were looking at nationalities rather than race. The student body is 49 percent Latino and 49 percent Asian. The Asian demographic is, however, divided into many different countries, from China to Vietnam. So it should go without saying that our honors classes, those classes helping to move students beyond simply meeting the standards and into more rigorous, pre-AP level discussions and material, should reflect that same break down, right? Wrong.
Partners Are Essential (Education Week, March 26, 2013)Leaders and their schools need partners in this business of educating society's youth and creating responsible, productive, creative and active citizens. Hopefully, these young people will possess values, conscience and courage as well. If we truly care about that whole description, we need partners.
English-Learner Achievement Mixed in Big City School Systems (Education Week, March 22, 2013)The experiences of English-language learners in some of the nation's largest school systems vary widely when it comes to who teaches them, what types of language instruction programs are available to them, and how well schools do in supporting their progress toward becoming proficient in English.
Teachers facing achievement gap try cross-race connections (Education Week, March 20, 2013)All the bleak statistics about Minnesota's achievement gap became personal to fifth-grade teacher Jen Engel, when she realized that gap was playing out in her own classroom.
Better Colleges Failing to Lure Talented Poor (The New York Times, March 16, 2013)Most low-income students who have top test scores and grades do not even apply to the nation’s best colleges, according to a new analysis of every high school student who took the SAT in a recent year.
Fragmented Data Systems a Barrier to Better Schools, Experts Say  (Education Week, March 15, 2013)The fragmented nature of data systems in school districts, a lack of common data standards across states, and the financial challenges of providing professional development to data users in schools combine to leave many districts and states struggling to provide meaningful, real-time data about student performance to educators.
Survey Suggests Hurdles for Math, Science Teaching (Education Week, March 12, 2013)A rich new set of survey data on math and science teachers highlights some big challenges the nation faces if it hopes to significantly increase student achievement in those disciplines. It also drives home, experts say, the huge need to support teachers as districts begin implementing the common-core math standards, and as an effort to develop common standards for science nears completion.
Education Department Releases New School-Level Graduation Rate Data to Better Inform Parents, District Leaders (U.S. Department of Education, March 5, 2013)The U.S. Department of Education released provisional school-level graduation rates for 2010-11 – the first school year for which all states used a common, rigorous measure for reporting high school graduates. The data release furthers the Department's efforts to provide transparent information to parents and students about their schools and ensure all schools are preparing students for college and careers.
School Climate: Missing Link in Principal Training? (Education Week, March 5, 2013)Improving a struggling school's climate can be both the foundation of long-term school improvement and a source of immediate, visible progress for a new principal. The tricky part for many principals, experts say, is translating an idyllic vision into classroom reality.
Biggest study ever says KIPP gains substantial (Washington Post, March 4, 2013)KIPP, previously known as the Knowledge Is Power Program, has had more success than any other large educational organization in raising the achievement of low-income students, both nationally and in the District. But many good educators, burned by similarly hopeful stories in the past, have wondered whether KIPP were for real.
Survey finds gap in Internet access between rich, poor students (Washington Post, March 1, 2013)Technology has become essential to middle school and high school learning, but a gap in access to the Internet between the rich and poor is leading to troubling disparities in education, according to a survey of teachers.
U.S. Department of Education Asks School Leaders to Initiate New Efforts to Reduce Gender-Based Violence (U.S. Department of Education, February 28, 2013)The U.S. Department of Education today issued a Dear Colleague letter to state school chiefs requesting immediate action to reduce gender-based violence in schools and to help ensure all students are safe. The letter and additional materials were released during a White House event on teen dating violence prevention, which was part of National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and the Obama Administration’s efforts to raise awareness of gender-based violence.
Ensuring Safe Schools for LGBT Youth (U.S Department of Education, February 20, 2013)This past weekend in San Diego, I had the opportunity to participate in the 4th Annual National Educator Conference focused on creating safe, supportive, and inclusive schools for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth. A goal of the conference, presented by the Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership (CESCaL), was to bring together education leaders and LGBT experts to empower and provide educators and school personnel with the knowledge and skills necessary to create safe, welcoming and inclusive school environments for all youth, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Why Gender Equality Stalled (The New Yorok Times, February 16, 2013)THIS week is the 50th anniversary of the publication of Betty Friedan’s international best seller, “The Feminine Mystique,” which has been widely credited with igniting the women’s movement of the 1960s. Readers who return to this feminist classic today are often puzzled by the absence of concrete political proposals to change the status of women. But “The Feminine Mystique” had the impact it did because it focused on transforming women’s personal consciousness.
The Boys at the Back (The New York Times, February 2, 2013)Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college. Why? A study coming out this week in The Journal of Human Resources gives an important answer. Teachers of classes as early as kindergarten factor good behavior into grades — and girls, as a rule, comport themselves far better than boys.
STEM Interest on Rise Among High Schoolers, Report Finds (Education Week, January 30, 2013)High school students are increasingly interested in pursuing STEM majors and careers, a new report finds, with about 1 in 4 now stating such an inclination. But a longstanding gender gap is widening, the data show, with fewer females than males signaling STEM interest.
Internships Help Students Prepare for Workplace (Education Week, January 29, 2013)Internships and job shadowing offer a close-up look at life in the workplace, yet some high school students are so focused on academics that they pass up the opportunity, or they are uncertain about their interests and don't know where to start.
Selling a New Generation on Guns (New York Times, January 26, 2013)Threatened by long-term declining participation in shooting sports, the firearms industry has poured millions of dollars into a broad campaign to ensure its future by getting guns into the hands of more, and younger, children.
Study: Latino Children Make Up For Academic Shortcomings With Strong Social Skills (NPR, January 23, 2013)Mexican-American preschoolers start school way behind their white counterparts. Their poor language and pre-literacy skills put them at a huge disadvantage academically. But new research is showing that their social skills are fully developed and robust by the time they start school and are indistinguishable from their white peers. Experts believe the new findings have promising implications.
National High School Graduation Rate Climbs (Education Week, January 22, 2013)The national high school graduation rate has improved notably, with 78.2 percent of public school students receiving a diploma in 2009-10, up from 75.5 percent the year before, according to the newest figures released from the National Center for Education Statistics Tuesday.
School Safety and Climate: Mirrors, Tubas, and Notebook Paper (Education Week, January 22, 2013)As I read M. Kristiina Montero's article "Literary Artistic Spaces Engage Middle Grades Teachers and Students in Critical-Multicultural Dialogue" (Middle School Journal, November 2012, pp. 30-38), I thought about student voices and how critical they are to school safety and climate. Our journey to better school safety involves tentative steps and uncertain landscapes. We have safety plans, crisis teams, and protocol notebooks--and thank goodness we do. Maybe our next steps to improve school safety and climate should include other items on this new path; items that connect to the middle grades student.
Senior Mentors, Not Bonuses, Boost College Enrollment, Study Finds (Education Week, January 17, 2013)When it comes to helping students make the jump from high school to college, every little bit helps. New research presented at the American Economic Association conference suggests mentoring, even in the closing months of high school, can push students to continue their academic careers.
Anti-Poverty Program Found to Yield Few Academic Gains (Education Week, January 15, 2013)Ten to 15 years after leaving neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, children of the Moving to Opportunity program are in most ways no better off than their peers who stayed put. But new findings from the ongoing study of their urban communities suggest more comprehensive school-neighborhood improvement initiatives stand a better chance of breaking the cycle of poverty.
For Girls, Teachers' Gender Matters, Study Says (Education Week, January 15, 2013)Girls taught by a female teacher got a learning boost if that teacher had a strong math background, but had consistently lower math performance by the end of the school year if she didn't, according to a study presented at the American Economic Association's annual conference here.
Harvard, SurveyMonkey Offer Tool to Weigh Parent Engagement (Education Week, January 15, 2013)A new survey tool that school districts and parent-teacher organizations can use to measure the quality of parent-school relationships has been created by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and released by SurveyMonkey, a Palo Alto, Calif., company, for widespread use by schools, districts, and parent groups.
Future High School Graduation Classes Will Be More Diverse  (Education Week, January 14, 2013)A new report projects that, by the 2019-20 school year, 45 percent of public high school graduates in the United States will be nonwhite, up by more than 7 percent over the class of 2009 and driven by a rapid increase in the number of Hispanics completing high school.
How to Create a Boy-Friendly School (Education Week, January 7, 2013)He is sitting in your classroom, in your school, in your district. As every day goes by, more boys are disengaging, becoming apathetic. Boys are at risk. The statistics bear it out and, despite a decade of talking about it, the trend continues downward. Parents are wringing their hands and teachers are frustrated. It's time we ask the question: Why isn't school a better fit for so many of our boys?
Texting In The Classroom: 3 Tools To Do It Right (Edudemic, January 1, 2013)Whether you teacher teenagers or five-year-olds, keeping in touch with students and/or their parents is often on a teacher’s to-do list. Gone are the days of sending home hand-written and photocopied notes to parents, this is 2013. So how do important messages get passed along these days? In “real” life (read: non-school life), most people are sending text messages to pass along their most important (and unimportant!) messages to those who need to know.
U.S. Math, Science Achievement Exceeds World Average (Education Week, December 11, 2012)The math and science achievement of U.S. students continues to surpass the global average for nations taking part in a prominent assessment, results issued Tuesday show, but several East Asian countries and jurisdictions far outpace the United States, especially in mathematics.
English-Learners and NCLB Waivers: A Guide for States and Districts (Education Week, December 10, 2012)As 34 states move ahead with the plans that granted them U.S. Department of Education waivers from parts of the No Child Left Behind law, a team of researchers at the American Institutes for Research have been developing guides to help states and districts keep the promises they made to win the flexibility.
A New Framework: Improving Family Engagement (Ed.gov, December 7, 2012)For many, it’s just common sense. The more a student’s family is engaged in their child’s learning and in the improvement of their child’s school, the better off the student and the school. On Wednesday, Secretary Duncan joined more than 80 family engagement thought leaders at DC’s Scholars Stanton Elementary School to discuss the strong correlation between family engagement and academic outcomes, and how the Department of Education can provide more support.
NAEP Data on Vocabulary Achievement Show Same Gaps (Education Week, December 6, 2012)A new analysis of federal data that provide a deeper and more systematic look into students’ ability to understand the meaning of words in context than was previously available from “the nation’s report card” finds stark achievement gaps in vocabulary across racial and ethnic groups, as well as income levels.
'Soft Skills' Pushed as Part of College Readiness  (Education Week, November 13, 2012)To make it in college, students need to be up for the academic rigor. But that's not all. They also must be able to manage their own time, get along with roommates, and deal with setbacks. Resiliency and grit, along with the ability to communicate and advocate, are all crucial life skills. Yet, experts say, many teenagers lack them, and that's hurting college-completion rates.
Research Traces Impacts of Childhood Adversity (Education Week, November 6, 2012)While educators and psychologists have said for decades that the effects of poverty interfere with students' academic achievement, new evidence from cognitive and neuroscience is showing exactly how adversity in childhood damages students' long-term learning and health.
Funders Set New Round of Support for STEM Teachers (Education Week, November 2, 2012)A national network is launching a second “innovation fund” with a goal of raising $20 million to support what it calls entrepreneurial approaches to bringing more high-quality teachers into the STEM disciplines.
At S.C. School, Behavior Is One of the Basics (Education Week, October 25, 2012)Along with reading, science, and mathematics classes, every student here at Haut Gap Middle School takes a course in how to be a Haut Gap student.
From STEM to ST2REAM (Education Week, October 24, 2012)Countless millennia before the acronym STEM—for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—entered our modern lexicon, early man was already engaged in STEM endeavors. Our ancestors spent significant portions of their days experimenting, tinkering, and thinking their way through myriad problems and challenges. During those prehistoric periods, the dreamers, the designers, and the builders identified the urgent problems, and subsequently crafted tools, crude instruments, and strategies to resolve them, working collaboratively for both survival and human progress.
First Focus releases America’s Report Card on child well-being (America's Promise Alliance, October 18, 2012)America earned a lackluster C- grade on child well-being, according to a national report card released by First Focus and Save the Children. Artist Ambassador for Save the Children Jennifer Garner joined Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn., retired) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) to announce the findings of America’s Report Card 2012: Children in the U.S.. Commissioned by Sen. Dodd and Sen. Casey, the report card provides a holistic picture of unmet needs in five areas of a child’s life: economic security, early childhood education, K-12 education, permanence and stability, and health and safety.
Rethinking the Classroom: Obama’s overhaul of public education (Washington Post, September 20, 2012)In 31 / 2 years in office, President Obama has set in motion a broad overhaul of public education from kindergarten through high school, largely bypassing Congress and inducing states to adopt landmark changes that none of his predecessors attempted.
Low Proficiency Seen on Computer-Based NAEP Writing Exam (Education Week, September 19, 2012)After decades of paper-and-pencil tests, the new results from the "nation's report card" in writing come from a computer-based assessment for the first time, but only about one-quarter of the 8th and 12th graders performed at the proficient level or higher. And the proficiency rates were far lower for black and Hispanic students.
Global Study Finds U.S. Trailing in Early-Childhood Education (Education Week, September 19, 2012)The United States lags behind most of the world's leading economies when it comes to providing early-childhood-education opportunities, despite improvements in recent years, a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows.
New Studies Dissect School Turnarounds (Education Week, September 19, 2012)What makes one low-performing school turn around and build momentum over time, while another, seemingly similar school tries the same strategies but continues to struggle? It's not just particular programs or practices, but the interplay of school implementation with district policies and support, according to the Institute of Education Sciences' Turning Around Low-Performing Schools project —the most comprehensive federal research on such schools to date.
NSF Awards Grants for Climate-Change Education (Education Week, August 28, 2012)Efforts to advance climate-change education in schools and communities are getting a boost from a new set of six grants awarded by the National Science Foundation, totaling more than $33 million over five years. The federal aid will support a number of initiatives, including a joint project in Delaware and Maryland to help schools deliver effective and regionally relevant instruction in grades 8-12, and work led by the New England Aquarium to enhance opportunities for climate-change education in zoos, aquariums, and other out-of-school settings.
Starving the Future (The New York Times, August 25, 2012)America is in trouble. Emerging economic powers China and India are heavily investing in educating the world’s future workers while we squabble about punishing teachers and coddling children
AP Interview: Duncan on reform and back to school (AP Education Writers, August 6, 2012)A more well-rounded curriculum with less focus on a single test. Higher academic standards and more difficult classwork. Continued cuts to extracurricular and other activities because of the tough economy. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says those are some of the changes and challenges that children could notice as they start the new school year.
Buttoned Up: Help child organize for academic success (NewsTribune, August 6, 2012)Ensuring your students' academic success depends a lot on how organized and ready they are. To help your child this school year, make sure you work together to become organized. With school just around the corner, this is a great time to develop a plan.
Are 'No Pass, No Drive' Laws An Effective Answer To America's Dropout Epidemic? (Forbes, August 1, 2012)In 1988 West Virginia passed a law aimed at keeping high school students in school by tying their driving privileges to attendance. The following year the state reported that its high school dropout rate decreased by one-third. After the new policy’s success, others states followed suit with their own sanctions: Tennessee in 1990, Kentucky in 1991, Alabama in 1993.
Engaging Families: Supporting Students From Cradle to Career (U.S. Department of Education, August 1, 2012)The Office of Communications and Outreach family engagement specialists work with state and local education agencies to empower parents with the information and training they need to be full partners in the education and the academic progress of their children. Serving as an information conduit, the team recognizes that parents need to be equipped with the tools necessary to make them informed partners and equal stakeholders.
Jennifer Garner: 'Kids are hungry to learn' (Charleston Daily Mail, July 31, 2012)Jennifer Garner, an award-winning actress and mother of three small children, does not have much extra time. So, the fact that she chooses to serve as an advocate for Save the Children speaks volumes about what the organization means to her. "I travel to D.C. a lot to do advocate work," said Garner, who for three years has held the position of artist ambassador with Save the Children's U.S. programs.
Education secretary urges balanced budget cuts (Associated Press, July 26, 2012)Services would have to be slashed for more than 1.8 million disadvantaged students and thousands of teachers and aides would lose their jobs when automatic budget cuts kick in, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday. He urged Congress to find an alternative deficit-reduction plan that won't undermine the department's ability to serve students in high-poverty schools and improve schools with high dropout rates.
More states and D.C. receive NCLB waivers; Vermont, Alabama, Nebraska reject them (CNN, July 24, 2012)The White House announced on Thursday that it would grant seven additional waivers from restrictive provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. Arizona, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. will receive the newest flexibility waivers, according to a U.S. Department of Education press release. To date, 32 states and D.C. have received waivers.
Enrollment Off in Big Districts, Forcing Layoffs (New York Times, July 23, 2012)Enrollment in nearly half of the nation’s largest school districts has dropped steadily over the last five years, triggering school closings that have destabilized neighborhoods, caused layoffs of essential staff and concerns in many cities that the students who remain are some of the neediest and most difficult to educate.
Girls in science: Gender gaps still persist in STEM subjects (Education Week, June 27, 2012)Evidence abounds that women have made huge inroads in the academic and professional spheres since the federal Title IX law on gender equity in education was enacted 40 years ago. More than half those graduating from college each year are women. The percentage of law degrees earned by females climbed from 7 percent in 1972 to about 47 percent in 2011. Likewise, far more women are earning advanced degrees in business and medicine.
Becoming a 21st-century elementary principal (SmartBlog on Education, June 27, 2012)It seems as though being a principal has really changed. I don’t have much experience in the role compared with others — I have been an elementary principal for six years. However, day by day, it seems to be evolving into something different, which is good, because principals lead buildings that have a reputation for being caught up in the past.
Report Released on Single-Sex Education (Feminist Majority Foundation, June 26, 2012)The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) announced the release of a multi-year study (2007-10) of single-sex education in U.S. K-12 public schools today. This study reveals that after the Bush Department of Education weakened previous Title IX restrictions on sex segregated education in K-12 public schools in 2006, over 1,000 public schools sex segregated at least some of their classes.
StudentsFirst Spending: National Education Reform Group's Partial Tax Records Released (Reuters, June 25, 2012)The national education reform group StudentsFirst, which has set out to transform U.S. schools by introducing more free-market principles to public education, raised $7.6 million in its first nine months - and spent nearly a quarter of it on advertising - according to partial tax records released on Monday.
Testing Group Wrestles With 'College Readiness' Meaning (Education Week, June 22, 2012)The unprecedented work to design assessment systems for the Common Core State Standards is bringing together K-12 and higher education in new ways. But it is also forcing new and sometimes uncomfortable discussions about the heart and soul of the enterprise: the meaning of college readiness.
Common Standards Released for Career and Technical Education (Education Week, June 19, 2012)You've heard tons about the common standards in mathematics and English/language arts that have been adopted by all but four states. You've heard, also, about the science frameworks that are intended to support shared standards in that subject. Now there are common standards in career and technical education.
New venture connects US teachers online (Associated Press, June 19, 2012)Discussing education reform at Stanford University last year, the leader of one of the nation's largest teacher unions decided to turn the tables and ask a question of the audience. "You're all technology people," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. "Could you actually help us?" Weingarten said she received one call -- from Louise Rogers, chief executive of TSL Education, a United Kingdom-based company that operates an online network that lets teachers around the globe access, review and discuss lesson plans and other learning materials.
Evidence Persists of STEM Achievement Gap for Girls (Education Week, June 11, 2012)With the 40th anniversary of Title IX just days away, one key area where questions about gender equity persist is STEM education and the under-representation of women in those professions.
Black and White Women Far From Equal Under Title IX (New York Times, June 10, 2012)Last week, 20 African-American women with various connections to athletics met in Harlem at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. This was a private event — no stage, no audience — but a gathering of accomplished, like-minded women who had come to tackle the vexing issues of gender and race. The topic was “What’s Not Being Said About the Title IX Anniversary.”
Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment on Our Nation's School Buses (U.S. Department of Education, June 8, 2012)The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students and the Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center partnered with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT) to coordinate a special event on Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment on Our Nation’s School Buses. The purpose of the event was to bring together national and state leaders, representatives of key education organizations, and other federal agencies who want to improve working conditions for our nation’s school bus drivers, create a safe a respectful environment on our schools buses, and create confidence and partnerships in school with administrators, teachers, parents, students and community members.
Reviving Teaching With 'Professional Capital' (Education Week, June 6, 2012)The results of the latest MetLife Survey of the American Teacher confirm what many of us are experiencing and seeing in the depressing descent of the teaching profession. In the past two years, the percentage of teachers surveyed who reported being very satisfied in their jobs has declined sharply, from 59 percent to 44 percent. The number who indicated they were thinking of leaving the profession has jumped from 17 percent to 29 percent. Imagine being a student knowing that every other teacher you encounter is becoming less and less satisfied, and close to one in three would rather be somewhere else.
How summer increases the achievement gap (Hechinger Ed, May 24, 2012)As I was visiting a school in Delaware last month, an elementary school principal ushered me over to his computer to show me a graph that distressed him. It traced how one of his students, who came from a poor family, had progressed over the course of two years.
Dear Data, Please Make Yourself More Useful (Education Week, May 22, 2012)As surely as the trees bud in spring, night turns to day, and the Kardashians provide grist for the tabloids, another education practice—the use of education data—is turning ugly. Factions are setting up camp at two extremes: one for those who believe data is the Holy Grail, and the other for those who shun it.
Making Schools Work (New York Times, May 19, 2012)A generation later, public schools that had been ordered to integrate in the 1960s and 1970s became segregated once again, this time with the blessing of a new generation of justices. And five years ago, a splintered court delivered the coup de grâce when it decreed that a school district couldn’t voluntarily opt for the most modest kind of integration — giving parents a choice of which school their children would attend and treating race as a tiebreaker in deciding which children would go to the most popular schools. In the perverse logic of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., this amounted to “discriminating among individual students based on race.” That’s bad history, which, as Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote in an impassioned dissent, “threaten[s] the promise of Brown.”
Census: Minority babies are now majority in United States (Washington Post, May 17, 2012)For the first time in U.S. history, most of the nation’s babies are members of minority groups, according to new census figures that signal the dawn of an era in which whites no longer will be in the majority.
8th Grade Scores Inch Upward on National Science Assessment  (Education Week, May 15, 2012)Fewer than one-third of American 8th graders are proficient in science, but most students are improving, and achievement gaps are closing between students who are black or Hispanic and their white peers, a special administration of the test known as "the nation's report card" shows.
(Education Week, May 15, 2012)Fewer than one-third of American 8th graders are proficient in science, but most students are improving, and achievement gaps are closing between students who are black or Hispanic and their white peers, a special administration of the test known as "the nation's report card" shows.
Math Teaching Often Doesn't Fit With New Standards (Education Week, May 9, 2012)Many mathematics teachers are teaching topics at higher or lower grade levels—and for more years—than the Common Core State Standards recommend, according to preliminary results from new research.
Scholars Say Pupils Gain Social Skills in Coed Classes (Education Week, May 7, 2012)Preschool teacher Jacque Radke started the school year at Kenilworth Elementary in Phoenix with a pretty typical bunch of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds. Some of the girls had started to form cliques and “no boys allowed” lunch tables, while Ms. Radke and her instructional assistant worried that one quiet little girl was getting shunted to the sidelines by the boys.
Teach black and Hispanic students differently (USA Today, May 1, 2012)In late March, a panel of 10 education experts gathered in Washington to nominate four most-improved urban school districts for a national education prize. What should have been a routine review of student data, however, suddenly took a new direction.
Family Engagement: A Driving Force Behind School Turnaround Efforts (Education Week, April 19, 2012)A 2010 study examining school improvement work in Chicago's lowest performing public schools found that success depends on five necessary ingredients. Not surprisingly, family engagement is one of them. Like baking a cake, researchers found that if even one ingredient was not in place, there was no recipe for success. We know this to be true, yet we fail to see family engagement made a priority in many reform movements.
No Child Left Behind and parental engagement (Education Week, April 13, 2012)Few would quarrel with the goal of increasing parents' and families' engagement in education in the name of school improvement. But there's far less consensus on what that engagement should look like—and on how educators and policymakers should be promoting it.
Parental Engagement Proves No Easy Goal (Education Week, April 4, 2012)Few would quarrel with the goal of increasing parents' and families' engagement in education in the name of school improvement. But there's far less consensus on what that engagement should look like—and on how educators and policymakers should be promoting it.
Arts Instruction Still Widely Available, But Disparities Persist (Education Week, April 2, 2012)Over the past decade, the availability of music and visual arts instruction has changed little, and remains high, according to a comprehensive new federal report. (Dance and theater, however, are fast becoming endangered species at the elementary level.) At the same time, disparities persist in access to arts instruction for high-poverty schools, though in a number of specific categories, those schools have seen some improvements over time. For example, a greater share of high-poverty schools now employ visual arts specialists than a decade ago.
College Degree Gap Widens (Daily Yonder, March 27, 2012)In many ways, rural America has caught up with the rest of the United States in terms of educational achievement. But over the past 40 years, the gap in the percentage of adults with college degrees has increased between urban and rural counties.
Parent, Community Groups Pressed to Fill K-12 Budget Gaps (Education Week, March 14, 2012)In states and school districts still struggling to recover from recession-induced funding cuts, parent and community groups are feeling the pressure to raise money for instructional staff, academic programs, and other services that districts once fully paid for but can no longer afford.
Book Argues for Economically Diverse Schools (Education Week, March 14, 2012)At a time when research is highlighting growing achievement gaps between rich and poor students, one group of researchers, educators, and advocates met here last week to present evidence for a strategy they hope will ultimately narrow such gaps: socioeconomic integration.
Policymakers Weigh Gathering More Data for NAEP (Education Week, March 13, 2012)As many experts raise questions about the future of "the nation's report card," the governing board for the assessment program is exploring changes aimed at leveraging the achievement data to better inform education policy and practice.
Can Stereotyping Girls Harm Boys Too? (KQED, March 9, 2012)According to new research, both males and females do worse on a spatial reasoning task when they’re told that intrinsic aptitude accounts for the gender gap in the test’s results—even though the gap favors men.
Federal data show racial gaps in school arrests (Washington Post, March 6, 2012)African American students in large school systems are arrested far more often on campus than their white peers, new federal data show. The data, from an Education Department civil rights survey to be released Tuesday, provide the government’s most extensive examination yet of how public schools across the country bring police into the handling of student offenses.
Civil Rights Data Show Retention Disparities (Education Week, March 6, 2012)New nationwide data collected by the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights office reveal stark racial and ethnic disparities in student retentions, with black and Hispanic students far more likely than white students to repeat a grade, especially in elementary and middle school.
An Open Letter From Undocumented Students (Education Week, March 6, 2012)In this election year, the dysfunctional immigration system in the United States is back in the spotlight. While presidential candidates debate how to solve its problems, and state and local governments pass reactionary legislation, it is estimated that more than 1 million undocumented-immigrant children attend our schools every day. Yet we are failing these vulnerable children. Their achievement levels and school success are among the lowest of any demographic group, and their high school dropout rate among the highest. Regardless of the political wrangling on this issue, or anyone's personal politics, it's time that we acknowledge these young people, their needs, and their potential.
Value-Added Evaluation Hurts Teaching  (Education Week, March 5, 2012)Here’s the hype: New York City’s “worst teacher” was recently singled out and so labeled by the New York Post after the city’s education department released value-added test-score ratings to the media for thousands of city teachers, identifying each by name.
School Climate: Missing Link in Principal Training? (Education Week, March 5, 2012)Improving a struggling school's climate can be both the foundation of long-term school improvement and a source of immediate, visible progress for a new principal. The tricky part for many principals, experts say, is translating an idyllic vision into classroom reality.
Students Learn Better with Engaged Parents (US News, February 20, 2012)As kids get older and advance to high school, talking to them about their school life can become more difficult for parents. With younger children, parents may have been required to sign off on report cards and progress reports, attend more parent-teacher conferences, or simply drive their kids to school. But when students reach high school, connecting with children over school can become challenging.
Girls Like Biology, Boys Like Physics? AP Data Hint at Preferences (Education Week, February 15, 2012)We all have our stereotypes about which subjects appeal more to girls or boys. Well, in perusing a new report on the Advanced Placement program, I was intrigued to discover some hard data to help shed light on the matter. In addition to reporting participation on AP exams by racial and ethnic groups, the College Board includes the gender breakdown for all subjects tested.
Broad Changes Ahead as NCLB Waivers Roll Out (Education Week, February 9, 2012)The waivers being granted to 10 of 11 states that applied for flexibility under the No Child Left Behind Act would allow them to make potentially broad changes in how school performance and the performance of student subgroups are judged under the decade-old law.
Education Gap Grows Between Rich and Poor, Studies Say (New York Times, February 9, 2012)Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects.
Data Tools Aim to Predict Student Performance  (Education Week, February 8, 2012)Education leaders in North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district are scrutinizing the habits and grades of elementary school students to determine who may fall off track and fail to graduate from high school a decade or more from now.
Bringing STEM Into Focus  (Education Week, February 1, 2012)What do we intend when using the acronym STEM? It literally stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but what does it mean? Arguably, attempts to provide a meaningful response to these questions have not stuck. It is not for lack of trying, however. State education agencies, national membership organizations, advocacy groups, and state policymakers have been seeking definitions for STEM for quite some time, and with good reason. Today, not only do we have numerous definitions of STEM, but we also have branded numerous entities to be STEM councils, STEM schools, STEM networks, and STEM curricular outcomes. Despite the well-intended branding, understanding of the brand itself remains elusive. It is a conundrum.
Review Gives Many States 'D' or 'F' for Science Standards (Education Week, January 31, 2012)A new report offers a "bleak picture" of the state of state science standards across the nation, with just over half earning a grade of D or F. Among the 10 states to receive a failing grade were Idaho, Oregon, and Wisconsin. (See the full list below.) Only California and the District of Columbia were given a solid A, while four states were handed an A-minus, according to the review by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington-based think tank.
Teachers Discuss the Troubles of Teaching in Rural America (Education News, January 27, 2012)The White House recently received the latest class of National Board Certified teachers, and asked those who were from some of America’s most remote and distant rural communities about the realities of what it is like to teach in rural America.
Reform for English Language Learners (Education Week, January 19, 2012)In my first post, I addressed educational drawbacks that English language learners may encounter in schools. In today's post I would like to address how schools and districts can be more resourceful in closing the achievement gap. Experts believe the way schools support, assess, and track could be pivotal in meeting the needs of this diverse group of students.
Study Finds Single-Sex Schools Benefit Some—But Not All  (Education Week, January 18, 2012)A study on publicly run schools in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has found that, while single-sex schools may benefit female students who prefer a single-sex environment, they are not inherently beneficial for boys or most girls.
What Works in School Turnarounds?  (Education Week, January 18, 2012)There is, in fact, a knowledge base about how to transform struggling schools, and it is drawn from the small but significant number of failing schools that have been transformed into models of success.
Few States Cite Full Plans for Carrying Out Standards (Education Week, January 12, 2012)Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have adopted a common set of academic standards, but only seven have fully developed plans to put the standards into practice in three key areas, according to a studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader released last week.
On Policy, Student Achievement, States Pressing to Measure Up  (Education Week, January 12, 2012)The 16th edition of Quality Counts continues the report's tradition of tracking key education indicators and grading the states on their policy efforts and outcomes. Each year, Quality Counts provides new results for a portion of the policy and performance categories that constitute the framework for the report's State of the States analysis. The 2012 edition presents updated scores and letter grades, for the states and the nation as a whole, in five of six areas perennially tracked by the report.
Justices Decline Appeals on Special Education, Title IX (Education Week, January 9, 2012)The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear appeals in cases involving special education and Title IX.
Out-of-School Time Drawing Girls Into STEM (Education Week, January 5, 2012)A group of high school girls listen eagerly for their mission: Use the tools on hand to design a self-propelled boat that can cross water with 50 passengers on board. The passengers: pennies. The tools: pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, and balloons. The water: an inflatable kiddie pool.
School Bullying Report Makes Recommendations To Address Issue, Support Victims  (Huffington Post, December 17, 2011)According to a report released Friday by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, victims of bullying are often, as a result of social and emotional hurdles, distanced from learning, disadvantaged academically and more likely to fall behind in school attendance. Although the researchers did not find a strong direct correlation between victimization and truancy, the study is limited in its quantitative analysis of just 6th graders within a single suburban Denver school district.
Civil Rights Office Expands Its Reach Into Schools (Education Week, December 14, 2011)In the 21 months since U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stood on an iconic bridge in Selma, Ala., and pledged to aggressively combat discrimination in the nation's schools, federal education officials have launched dozens of new probes in school districts and states that reach into civil rights issues that previously received little, if any, scrutiny.
Middle Schoolers Getting Prepped for Higher Education  (Education Week, December 7, 2011)A rise in college- and career-readiness programs targeted at middle schoolers, particularly disadvantaged ones, has been spurred by mounting research that shows middle school is a key time to improve the academics and attitudes needed to succeed in high school, college, and beyond.
The Teaching Evaluation Gap (Education Week, December 7, 2011)Teacher evaluation has, until recently, been a symbolic act largely without meaning or consequence. No longer. Race to the Top requirements call for performance-based pay. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's multi-million-dollar investment to define effective teaching will produce highly specified systems of teacher evaluation. Other reforms tie tenure and leadership roles to measures of teacher effectiveness.
Financial aid nights to offer free help to college-bound students (, November 28, 2011)The Delaware Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators will host Financial Aid Nights, a statewide program designed to provide collegebound students and their families with valuable information and free assistance in applying for financial aid.
City schools launching Saturday School initiative (Baltimore Sun, November 22, 2011)The Baltimore school system will launch its first districtwide Saturday School initiative in December, a program promised by city schools CEO Andrés Alonso to help remedy declining scores on state tests. The $3 million Saturday School program will run for 10 weeks, primarily targeting students who scored basic in math on the 2011 Maryland School Assessments. Students in grades four through eight are eligible for the program, which will offer between 20 and 30 hours of additional math instruction for up to 7,000 students before the 2012 assessments in March.
How education fares if debt supercommittee fails (Washington Post, November 21, 2011)Failure of the congressional supercommittee tasked with reducing the federal deficit by at least $1.2 trillion could lead to across-the-board budget cuts, which would have a serious impact on already-distressed public education funding.
Bridging cultural divide between teachers, students (IndyStar, November 20, 2011)"Cultural competency" training is designed to give teachers techniques and strategies that can help them not only reach minority students but also capitalize on cultural diversity in the classroom. At its core, cultural competency is about understanding differences and the role those differences play in how best to teach children.
Pittsburgh schools see improvement in achievement gap (Post Gazette, November 15, 2011)Pittsburgh Public Schools still has a significant achievement gap between black and white students, but the gap is closing at a faster pace and some schools have little or no gap at all.
For States, Collaboration Key to NCLB Waivers (Education Week, November 8, 2011)States that want newly offered relief from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act are scrambling to satisfy an easily overlooked requirement that they "meaningfully" engage with teachers, unions, parents, and community organizations, and even modify their waiver proposals based on that input.
Swift Growth Found for 'Early Warning' Data Systems (Education Week, November 8, 2011)While more states and districts are developing "early warning systems" to target students most at risk of dropping out, many of them may still not be reaching students early enough, according to the first national study to look at the data-based identification-and-intervention practice.
Many Teens Endure Sexual Harassment (Education Week, November 7, 2011)As students navigate changing sexual and social norms in middle and high school, many of them confuse the line between joking and sexual harassment, according to a new report.
Half of U.S. foster kids don't graduate by 18 (Des Moines Register, November 3, 2011)Half of the nation’s 500,000 foster children have not graduated from high school by the time they turn 18 — when they are no longer eligible for foster care in most states, according to a study by Chapin Hall, a University of Chicago research institution.
NAEP Results Show Long-Term Gains, Persistent Gaps  (The Education Trust, November 1, 2011)Recently released results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed best-ever results for U.S. students overall, yet gaps between groups persist. The Education Trust has prepared a state-by-state look at the fourth-grade results for math and reading, along with those for eighth-grade math and eighth-grade reading. These new data are reminders that much hard work remains to ensure high-caliber schools for all of our country’s children.
Asian Americans most bullied in US schools: study (AFP, October 28, 2011)Asian Americans endure far more bullying at US schools than members of other ethnic groups, with teenagers of the community three times as likely to face taunts on the Internet, new data shows.
Are Single-Sex Classrooms Better For Kids? (NPR, October 25, 2011)Parents and educators have debated single-sex education for years, and the number of schools offering single gender classes has grown. But some researchers argue there is no evidence that boys and girls learn differently — and that gender separation can perpetuate sexist stereotypes.
From homeless child to star student (Washington Post, April 1, 2011)Michael Robinson is a straight-A student, three-sport athlete, student government president and musician at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring. Once homeless, he is now pondering which Ivy League university to attend.
A girl's nude photo, and altered lives (New York Times, March 27, 2011)Around the country, law enforcement officials and educators are struggling with how to confront minors who "sext," an imprecise term that refers to sending sexual photos, videos or texts from one cellphone to another.
Full Standards System in States Several Years Away (Education Week, January 6, 2011)Most states plan to revise professional development for teachers by next year to help them teach to the new common standards, but it will take two or more years to complete anticipated changes in curriculum, assessment, and other elements of the K-12 system to adapt to the new learning goals
Perry's Principles: closing the black/white education gap (CNN.com, January 4, 2011)The Council of Great City Schools reports that 11% of African American fourth grade males are proficient in reading, while the same can be said for 38% of their white counterparts.
NEA Asks Education Department for Regulatory Relief (Education Week, November 16, 2010)The Obama administration has said it wants lawmakers to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education next year, but with a new Congress coming in, it's tough to tell whether or not that will actually happen.
Court: Illegal Immigrants Can Get In-State Tuition (Education Week, November 15, 2010)The California Supreme Court weighed in Monday on the politically charged immigration fray when it ruled that illegal immigrants are entitled to the same tuition breaks offered to in-state high school students to attend public colleges and universities.
Americans Like Their Communities Because of Schools, but Don't Necessarily Like Schools (Education Week, November 15, 2010)Americans like where they live for a number of reasons, including their local schools, even though this doesn't necessarily translate into either high regard for the schools or a proclivity to become involved in public education.