Monthly Archives: April 2017

Stop with the handcuffs and train teachers to deal with special needs

I couldn’t watch the video of the Florida child being handcuffed in the principal’s office. As a writer and a policy wonk, I am not supposed to confess that. I shared it, I thanked people for sharing it. I contemplated the deeper issues behind it, considered the relative importance of policy and activist responses at the district, state and national… Read more →

Think holding back your kindergartner a year will give him an edge? Think again

“Redshirting” five-year-olds may do more harm than good, concludes a study published in Education Next. The academic advantages of being older disappear by high school, write Diane Schanzenbach, a Northwestern education professor, and Stephanie Larson, director of Rose Hall Montessori School in Wilmette, Illinois. “Redshirted children can be educationally and socially harmed by being with others who are performing and… Read more →

California wants to fix its college remediation epidemic: Time to consider high schools as Ground Zero

It’s heartening to learn that hundreds of thousands of college students in California might be offered a welcome detour from the dead-end route of remedial courses, which serves only to waste tuition money and discourage them from persevering in classes. A piece of legislation cleared an important hurdle in the California legislature this week. It would require all two-year colleges… Read more →

3 Ways Teachers Can Support Special Ed Parents, Like Me

Just three days into my son Taylor’s first week of kindergarten, I began receiving phone calls about his behavior. According to the school, Taylor spent a great deal of time under his desk, and would often wander out of the classroom. He found it difficult to sit still for long periods of time, and would cope by rocking back and… Read more →

PTA donations worsen school funding inequity–it’s time to redistribute the wealth

I’ve been thinking  a lot about a recent New York Times story, which detailed the parental donation divide in a suburban Los Angeles school district. The district includes two communities with very different fortunes–Malibu (overwhelmingly affluent) and Santa Monica (more mixed income, with nearly a third of students qualifying as low-income). Turns out Malibu was taking in a lot more money than… Read more →

Dual credit classes in high school: A leg up or a college cheat?

Schools are cheating their students by offering “dual-credit lite,” charges Kevin Teasley, founder of the Greater Educational Opportunities Foundation in Indianapolis, on Flypaper. Offering dual-credit (aka dual-enrollment) classes on the high school campus gives students no experience of learning on a college campus with college-age students, he writes. Often, “dual” instructors are high school teachers, not college instructors. Students who take… Read more →

Two sons, two grades apart, reading the same book: Should I be worried?

My fourth grader and sixth grader are reading the same book in school right now.  That’s right. The book is The Lightning Thief.  And what’s more,  my sixth grader already read (and loved!) this very same book when he was in fourth grade at his prior school. Both schools, one charter and one traditional district school, are similar in that… Read more →

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