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.

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 →

Refugees learn more, adapt faster in ‘international’ schools

“Segregating” refugees may help them integrate, suggests the Hechinger Report’s Meredith Kolodner. Bowling Green, Kentucky has opened a special “international” high school for newly arrived refugees and immigrants next to a comprehensive high school. Faris Nakhal, 18, who survived a kidnapping in Syria, chose to attend GEO International High with “Somali, Iraqi, Burmese, Bhutanese, Ethiopian and Latin American teenagers,” writes… Read more →

Scrap the Grades: How one Connecticut district moved off the low-performing list

In Windsor Locks, Connecticut, “24 credits and a D-minus average” aren’t good enough to earn a high school diploma, Superintendent Susan Bell tells Hechinger’s Tara Garcia Mathewson. The small, formerly low-performing district has shifted to a “mastery” model, sometimes called “competency-based learning.” Coursework is broken down into skills. Students must learn the skills to move on to something new. If… 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 →

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 →

What do struggling college students need? Predictability–not flexibility

Young people go to college to search for themselves, explore, experiment, discover a passion . . . Or perhaps to retake algebra, stumble through classes that won’t fulfill a major, go into debt and drop out without a credential. Flexibility leads to failure for most students at unselective two- and four-year colleges, writes Tina Rosenberg in the New York Times.… Read more →

Foreign exchange students say U.S. high schools value sports over academics

Two-thirds of foreign-exchange students say U.S. high schools are “much easier” than schools in their home countries, writes Tom Loveless in the new Brown Center report on education. Nearly two-thirds of foreign exchange students surveyed (64.1%) view American teens as valuing success at sports “much more” than teens in their home countries. Homework and studying dominate foreign exchange students’ free… Read more →

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