Not Teacher Quality, but Quality Teaching

Any pedagogy, curriculum, approach, or technology has to be within the skills of ordinary teachers to implement well and effectively. If it takes a superstar teacher it’s a nonstarter.

Americans Stink at Math (But We’re Much Better Now)

Elizabeth Green’s story for Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “Why Do Americans Stink at Math?” is a must-read. But for all the time Green spends documenting the ways Americans stink at math, she never mentions that we’ve gotten much better.

Why Kids are Hiring Competency- Based Education

An alternative school in Boston offers flexibility in pacing, help when students need it, and the chance to continuously reengage on material even if you didn’t master it the first time around–in all, the flexibility, support, and hope that human beings, and particularly teenagers, crave.

Implementing Common Core: Curriculum Part 2

A look at key curricular decisions that will be encountered as CCSS makes its way through the school system and the potential political controversies that this process may provoke.

Why Johnny Won’t Learn to Read

We know for a fact that “balanced literacy” has had little effect on closing stubborn achievement gaps. So why is New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina bringing it back?

A Missed Opportunity for Common Core

Common Core supporters should be showcasing lessons that represent a sharp break with the skills-driven, all-texts-are-created-equal approach that has come to dominate too many classrooms.

The ‘Balanced Literacy’ Hoax

Balanced literacy is neither “balanced” nor “literacy,” at least not in the sense that poor kids taught to read via this approach will end up literate.

GPAs, SATs, and TMI?

Our elite universities, should they wish, could end epic oversharing, help student writing, and improve college readiness in one fell swoop.

Is Differentiated Instruction a Hollow Promise?

Teachers are expected to be all things to (almost) all youngsters, but most acknowledge that, while technology and small classes surely help, they do not feel like they’re differentiating all that well.

What High Schools Can Do for ‘Unprepared’ Students

New York’s small schools have produced powerful results for students—many of whom fall squarely within the cohort of the “underprepared.”

By Michele Cahill and Leah Hamilton    Blog, Curriculum, Editorial  

‘College and Career Ready’ Sounds Great. But What About the Kids Who Are Neither?

What should we do with these students while they are in high school? What education offerings would benefit them the most?

A Concluded Battle in the Curriculum Wars

Abundant research supports content-oriented curricula in the “softer” subjects of English Language Arts and social studies/history.

Behind the Headline: Barack Obama vs. the Culture of Poverty

Two giants of the blogosphere, Jonathan Chait of New York magazine and Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic, have been engaging in an epic debate this month over the concept of “the culture of poverty.”

“Kid, I’m Sorry, but You’re Just Not College Material”

Is exactly what we should be telling a lot of high school students.

Alternatives to the Traditional

Montgomery County, Md. will overhaul its struggling alternative school program using personalized, competency-based, and online components.

Navigating the Common Core

Complexities threaten implementation

Complexities threaten implementation

The Common Core Takes Hold

Implementation moves steadily forward

Implementation moves steadily forward

The Common Core Sanity Check of the Day: Estimation Is Not a Fuzzy Math Skill

Those who criticize the Common Core standards for asking kids to estimate the answer to a math problem get a few things wrong.

Knowledge at the Core

For thirty years, Don Hirsch has tried to persuade policymakers to undertake perhaps the one reform we’ve never tried: the widespread adoption of a coherent, sequential, content-rich curriculum. What might change the outcome over the next thirty years?

Strategies for Third Graders, Theories for Graduate Students

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.

Little Learners Need Better Curriculum

Any gains provided by a massive new investment in preschool will quickly fade away if Mayor de Blasio doesn’t also tackle New York City’s mediocre elementary schools.

Grit v. Knowledge: Round 2

Much of what we read in Adam Bryant’s “Corner Office” columns would certainly justify Paul Tough’s applause for persistence and grit. But though certainly gritty and persistent, all of the subjects of the column show signs of having a remarkable background in knowledge acquisition (e.g. professional parents, high SATs, college degrees) probably earned their success by putting their grit at the service of learning.

Paul Tough’s Grit Hypothesis Doesn’t Help Poor Kids

We can only hope that policymakers, teachers, and administrators understand the limitations of the grit hypothesis so we don’t disadvantage yet another generation of hard-working, gritty, and determined poor kids by not teaching them what they need to know to succeed.

Behind the Headline: Who Says Math Has To Be Boring?

The New York Times editorial board yesterday weighed in on why American students hate math and how instruction needs to be changed.

Behind the Headline: Pulling a More Diverse Group of Achievers Into the Advanced Placement Pool

A front-page article in the New York Times looks at efforts to enroll more minority students in Advanced Placement classes. Andy Mollison wrote for Ed Next about the explosive growth of the AP program and at whether the high academic standards of the program are being maintained.

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The Hoover Institution at Stanford University - Ideas Defining a Free Society

Harvard Kennedy School Program on Educational Policy and Governance

Thomas Fordham Institute - Advancing Educational Excellence and Education Reform

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