Monthly Archives: November 2016

How an Army base in Kansas kept thousands of military kids on track in school

When the 7,000 troops of the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division, a.k.a. “The Big Red One,” returned home from Germany a decade ago, they brought their wives and children with them. This influx of nearly 20,000 new residents threatened to overwhelm many of the services offered around Ft. Riley, Kansas–including the schools in northeastern Kansas. The situation could have been… Read more →

Who cares about high school achievers?

Only four states — Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas — have accountability systems that encourage high schools to focus on high achievers, concludes Fordham’s High Stakes for High Schoolers Alabama, Idaho, Louisiana and New York are moving in that direction. Most states measure proficiency in English and math: Schools get no credit for helping students move from proficiency to excellence. Twenty-two… Read more →

College remediation rates shine a light on deep problems with Illinois’ education system

Two years ago, I published a commentary in my local newspaper entitled “Data Must Drive Education Decisions” that read in part as follows: “I have a suggestion for those who believe standardized testing in our public schools is untenable, unreasonable, and unfair: look at the national and local data on the numbers of college freshmen who require remedial coursework when they… Read more →

‘You ain’t all that’: Looking closer what value teachers add in high-performing schools

There was this saying that got thrown around when I taught at one of the elite selective enrollment schools in Chicago: “You can throw a book in a room with these students and walk out and close the door behind you and they will still learn.” Who doesn’t want to work in a school like this? Compliant students who perform… Read more →

How should school districts respond to a shocking election? Not with silence

All across the nation, school leaders are struggling with how to respond to the results of the most divisive and shocking elections in recent American history. Many of our children are confused and reeling and scared, and they are looking to the adults around them–their parents, teachers, coaches and friends–to help them process this and move forward. It might feel like… Read more →

Parents, are there enough hours in the day for THAT much homework?

Homework is a topic that elicits emotional responses from parents and students of every background. Rarely do children and families approach homework with unbridled joy and enthusiasm, and at times, it can cause significant stress. There are only so many hours in the day and our students seem to be increasingly overscheduled and under-rested. Most children spend at least 6.5… Read more →

An all-American town with an all-too-common American gap in college attainment

In Senior Year at Topeka High in the New York Times, Anemona Hartocollis talks to 12th graders, their parents and their counselors at her old high school. Nearly all students want to go to college, but some never enroll and many who do never earn a degree, she writes. It’s called the “aspirations-attainment gap.” “Applying to college requires a huge… Read more →

Race and Charters: Facing not-so-friendly fire in Mr. Pondiscio’s war against social justice school reformers

In his latest burst of fragging, conservative school reformer Robert Pondiscio recently argued that social justice-minded school reformers have only themselves to blame if suburban Massachusetts voters reject a ballot proposal to lift the cap on urban charter schools. Under this reasoning, I qualify as culpable because I recently called out white middle-class voters for organizing against a ballot measure… Read more →

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