Joanne Jacobs

Joanne Jacobs

Joanne was born in Chicago and named after her grandfather, Joe Jacobs, who’d been a police reporter for the Omaha Bee-News. At the age of eight, she and her best friend became the creators and co-editors-in-chief of "The Wednesday Report" for four years. After years as a San Jose Mercury News columnist, Joanne started an education blog in 2001 and wrote "Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea and the Charter School That Beat the Odds." She freelances for online sites, newspapers, magazines, foundations and think tanks. In addition to blogging at joannejacobs.com, Joanne writes Community College Spotlight at ccspotlight.org.

Vocational ed: Path to prosperity? Or realization our grads are not prepared for college?

“All throughout high school, they made it sound like going to college was our only option,” says Derrick Roberson, a 17-year-old high school graduate in southern California. Vocational classes were seen as second-class. But he had doubts. “After you go to college, where do you go? It can open doors for you, but not as much as they make it… Read more →

Is red-shirting your kindergartener a leg up or an unfair edge?

Older students do better through college, according to a new study by David Figlio, a Northwestern economist, reports John Ydstie on NPR. Florida children who just missed the Sept. 1 cutoff and had to wait a year to start school performed better than demographically similar students who just made the cutoff. The September-born students were more likely to attend college and to graduate… Read more →

Let’s start high school later in the morning, says this bird-brained study

When schools start before 9 am, “owls” get lower grades than “larks,” concludes a new paper in Scientific Reports, writes Helge Hasselmann for Research Digests. Researchers, led by Giulia Zerbini at University of Groningen, assessed the sleep habits of students at Dutch secondary schools to determine their “chronotypes.” Those with late chronotypes — owls — earned significantly lower grades in science (except for physics) and… Read more →

We need a new model for U.S. high schools, but are European apprenticeships the way to go?

The much-admired German apprenticeship system “relies on a very stratified education system along with regulated and heavily unionized labor markets,” writes Eric Hanushek in Education Next. Furthermore, it produces narrowly trained workers who aren’t prepared for changing work demands. Half of all German youth participate in their vocational and apprenticeship system, which itself builds upon school tracking that occurs in the 4th  grade. The… Read more →

Here’s a school trend worth copying: Scrap the high school valedictorian

Is this the end of the valedictorian? asks AP’s Carolyn Thompson. Fewer high schools are naming a valedictorian: Some have dozens of honorees on graduation day, while others have stopped using grades to rank students. Reporting class rankings is going out of fashion too. About half of schools no longer report class rank, according to the National Association of Secondary… Read more →

Coveted career-tech programs become selective, college prep and mostly white

Rigorous career-tech programs such as New Jersey’s Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) prepare students for top colleges and careers, writes Catherine Gewertz in Education Week. However many career-and-college programs are selective — and primarily enroll middle-class white students. On a chilly spring morning, 18 teenagers clamber aboard a 65-foot research vessel and become marine scientists. In big blue nets,… Read more →

Why do working class whites see college as a ‘risky gamble?’

A majority of working-class whites think college is a “risky gamble,” according to a new survey, reports the Houston Chronicle. Only 44 percent of whites said getting a college education is a smart investment, while 54 percent said college may not pay off, the PRRI/Atlantic analysis found. Blacks and Latinos strongly believe going to college is worthwhile, the survey reported. Overall,… Read more →

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