Monthly Archives: February 2017

How high schools hide dropouts-and cheat students out of a real diploma

Orlando’s Olympia High boasts a 90 percent graduation rate — not counting students who go to an alternative school where few graduate. High schools are inflating graduation rates and test scores by steering low achievers to alternative schools, reports ProPublica and USA Today. When they drop out, nobody’s accountable. Heather Vogell and Hannah Fresques focus on Orlando, Florida, where district… Read more →

Social-emotional learning in schools is so much more than ‘nicey-nice’–it can be a lifeline

More than a million U.S. school children are now enrolled in districts that have rolled out or are in the process of rolling out Social Emotional Learning (also sometimes called “whole child” learning). Austin happens to be an early adopter of this kind of learning, and I had an incredible opportunity last week to visit a freshman seminar class at… Read more →

This suburban principal’s call to action: Give ALL kids access and believe in their big dreams

It never occurred to me that I couldn’t be anything I wanted to be. As I child, I dreamed of being Diana Ross, a doctor, an engineer, a business owner and a host of other things. As a student, I took risks expressing myself by deciding to play Malcolm X in a school presentation, I spoke up about injustice during… Read more →

Think playground bullying is a problem? Check out the vitriol on “Parents of…” Facebook pages

Here on the East Coast, we just had three back-to-back school cancellations because of snow. “Oh, happy day!” said no superintendent, ever. Grief has five emotional stages, but parents during snowstorms shuffle through countless stages. The drama that ensues waiting for the answer to “will they or won’t they cancel school?” is something to behold. And no matter what decision… Read more →

States and districts now get to decide if low-income students get a break on AP and IB exams: Will they make the right call?

In my home state of Illinois, more than 112,000 high school students took at least one Advanced Placement course last school year, and more than a fourth of those students are from low-income families. An even greater proportion of low-income students were able to to access International Baccalaureate last year–of the 4,500 students taking IB classes, more than two-thirds are low-income.… Read more →

All that money poured into failing schools and nothing to show for it

The School Improvement Grants program poured $7 billion down the drain between 2010 and 2015, as a recent Washington Post article pointed out. One of the Obama Administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis. Test scores, graduation rates and college… Read more →

Redirect your misplaced fury over DeVos to the truly dangerous cabinet picks

So Betsy DeVos is our new Education Secretary, a job she secured by the skin of her teeth thanks to a historic tie-breaking vote by Vice President Pence. Her shaky approval weakened her in a department already weakened by a major change in K-12 education law that relegated nearly every meaningful accountability decision to states and local districts. Yet it  was… Read more →

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