A review of “The Importance of Being Little,” by Erika Christakis
A review of “Failing Our Brightest Kids” by Chester E. Finn Jr. and Brandon L. Wright
A review of The Game Believes in You, by Greg Toppo
A review of Michael B. Horn’s and Heather Staker’s “Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools”
Mark Bauerlein reviews Larry Cuban’s “Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice.”
“Radical: Fighting to Put Students First,” by Michelle Rhee, as reviewed by Mark Bauerlein
A review of Tony Wagner’s new book, Creating Innovators
Is American education racist?
Will digital learning be killed by kindness?
Evidence fails to sway in testing policies
Review of The Bee Eater by Richard Whitmire
Review of The Same Thing Over and Over by Frederick M. Hess
An audio excerpt from “The Dumbest Generation” by Mark Bauerlein
Academic discipline or instrument of personal change?
Review of The Lottery (2010), Directed by Madeleine Sackler
Student performance gaps are easily explained
Books and ideas have no deep impact
Teens write creatively in cyberspace but not in the classroom
Fewer slide rules, more paint brushes
Abundant research supports content-oriented curricula in the “softer” subjects of English Language Arts and social studies/history.
What could be more tedious and uninspiring than efforts such as “Students are taught to generate their own questions” and “Students are taught to become aware of what they do not understand”? These metacognitive strategies turn the reading experience into a stilted, halting activity, making the content students must learn a boring rehearsal. People love the humanities because of the content of them, not because of the interpretation of them.
Perhaps we should add “coping-with-boredom” to the list of college-readiness indicators, and K – 12 pedagogy should temper the quick and easy tactic of relevance.
If a state wants its high school graduates to succeed in college and the workplace, it needs to stop telling them, “Narrative writing is all about me.”
A new report from the National Endowment for the Arts confirms what politicians need to hear: If you do not bolster arts education classes in K-12 schools, your arts organizations will continue to lose audience.
There’s a story this week in the Wall Street Journal on a new initiative by reality-show producer Mark Burnett and AOL to produce funny videos based on CliffsNotes guides to literary classics.
With Google so popular and trusted and beloved, can teachers reduce the idle and distracting behaviors of the service and increase the intellectual behaviors of it?
An audio excerpt from “The Dumbest Generation” by Mark Bauerlein
Italian professors all across the country should salute the College Board and the advocates who pressed for reviving the course, including Dr. Margaret Cuomo, the Italian Language Foundation, and the Italian Government.
When high school students in English class sit down to write a short paper on a book the odds are low that they will proceed to analyze the work in detail. Students typically engage in “reader-response” exercises or in a discussion of various contexts of the work, including the biography of the author, relevant social issues at the time of publication, and the ethnic identity of the characters.
What stands out in a rendition of recent digital breakthroughs in learning is that it relies on some of the most routine progressivist assumptions about learning.
While serving at the National Endowment for the Arts, I spent many months working on arts education policy. While one had to admire the dedication and spirit of people scrambling to deliver the arts to young Americans, I soon concluded that their efforts to persuade funders and politicians to support arts education misplaced the emphasis.
There is an interesting development at Beverly High School in Beverly, Massachusetts, north of Boston. Parents have been informed that every student must use an Apple MacBook in his and her work.
In the current issue of Education Next appears a summary by Robert Pondiscio of the philosophy and practice of Edutopia. Edutopia presents its pedagogy as cutting-edge and innovative, and its motto suggests a hard focus on evidence and feedback and outcomes. Within the article, though, appears a statement by the former executive director of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, Milton Chen, that sounds more like an a priori principle than an idea derived from experience: School life should resemble real life.
A few years ago I interviewed a professor of education about the training of arts teachers. She was enthusiastic about what her school was accomplishing, citing in particular its focus on social issues in the classroom. I asked her about what she does in the classroom, and she volunteered an interesting trend. The students resist her instruction, she admitted, but over the course of the semester they come around and recognize how important these lessons in social justice really are. For her, the pattern was a sign of how much the students learned, how much their awareness had broadened from Day One to the end of the semester.
The latest version of the “Core Standards Initiative for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies & Science” bears the phrase, “Through wide and deep reading of literature and literary nonfiction of steadily increasing sophistication, students gain a reservoir of literary and cultural knowledge, references, and images.” This is precisely the kind of acknowledgment of cultural literacy that education conservatives and curricular traditionalists of various kinds have been advocating for more than two decades. Still, I think, another step needs to take place in the next round of revisions.
Employers shouldn’t expect colleges to instill the writing skills employees need. The duty falls on high schools whether they like it or not and whether it is fair or not.
A story last week in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that fully 191 schools in the state of Georgia, 10 percent of the total number of elementary and middle schools, are up for investigation for altering test answer sheets. The next day’s story put the count at one in five Georgia public schools.
As administrators struggle to engage wayward teenagers and make learning meaningful after hours, one can imagine a school turning an unused plot of grass on the grounds into a working garden. Some students could cultivate crops while others head to football and band practice. Getting a few credits for the work wouldn’t interfere with calculus and U.S. history, either, and it might improve attitudes toward school in general. That isn’t what happened at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, CA, though.
After the Common Core project released its first draft of standards for English Language Arts last summer, the National Council of Teachers of English had a “review team” issue a report on the document to be submitted to the project as it worked its way through subsequent versions. Apart from the immediate aim of steering the core standards in certain directions, the document also offers a vision of English education that strangely downplays the fundamental principle of the project, namely, college and career readiness.
Readers may have heard about recent developments of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative at the University of Minnesota. It’s a project to revise the training of teachers, and it has infuriated conservative, libertarian, and First Amendment groups. Among the elements of the process is the Task Force for Race, Culture, Class, and Gender, which issued its recommendations in September. The Outcomes of the document read like a parody of academic identity politics, but they stand loud and clear in black and white.
With the Council of Chief State School Officers sponsoring the creation of national standards in math and English language arts, many people are raising customary objections to the very idea of national standards. If people don’t think they can happen and please most everyone in the field, though, they’re wrong. Many readers of Education Next might be surprised to learn that we’ve had national standards in one field for 15 years.
Fifty minutes into The Providence Effect, a documentary profile of Providence-St. Mel School in Chicago, an extraordinary episode unfolds. Over the years, Providence-St. Mel and its admirable founder have received up and down attention, it has a 100 percent college acceptance rate, and its ACT scores have risen steadily. But this tiny snapshot of accountability in a math classroom says it all.
New Jersey is #1 in spending per public school student. Where does the money go, and why so much? The answers may be found in some of the bizarre and dismaying facts and stories recounted in a new education documentary entitled “The Cartel”.
BASIS is a charter school that has struggled through neighborhood protests and funding cuts, plus the usual resistances that charter schools face, but its success speaks for itself. It’s now the subject of a documentary produced by Robert Compton.
Hirsch, Willingham, and the AFT are powerful voices arguing against one of the sorriest trends in English Language Arts over the years, namely, the attempt to convert it into a skills discipline that emphasizes cross-disciplinary capacities (critical thinking, “media literacy,” reading comprehension strategies, etc.) and downplays English knowledge.
Consider this scenario. A 16-year-old boy transfers to a high school in Georgia from out of state and shows up the second day wearing a hot pink wig and high heels.
Readers of Education Next may have seen a report entitled Diploma to Nowhere from Strong American Schools last year that counted up the number of high school graduates who end up in remedial courses at the next level. The figures are dismaying.
With all the talk about workplace-readiness in education reform, one would think that students who enter college would look carefully at the coursework that leads to high-paying jobs.
Most educators probably aren’t surprised that more than two-thirds of high school seniors don’t recognize the value of what they have to learn.
The idea of selecting certain works for study, creating a canon of novels and poems and plays, fashioning a lineage, however multi-racial and filled with women writers it is, strikes all-too-many curriculum designers as a bad, bad idea.
The New York Times this week hosted a forum on summer homework, and while I voted “Yea!” many contributors and commenters thought summer homework a terrible intrusion on June, July, and August.
Not so long ago people were trumpeting multi-tasking as a new way of learning and behaving, one that was rewiring our brains.
A few years ago, in the 2006 Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well Are American Students Learning? researchers found a correlation that went against 40 years of prevailing wisdom in education circles.