Behind the Headline: KIPP leaders unworried by test score drop

Fifth grade test scores are down at KIPP schools in Washington, DC, but KIPP leaders are not concerned, and the network is continuing to add schools and grade levels, reports Jay Mathews. In Spring 2009, Ed Next published an excerpt from Jay’s book about KIPP, Work Hard. Be Nice.

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Behind the Headline: Making Math Lessons as Easy as 1, Pause, 2, Pause …

Winnie Hu writes in the New York Times about school districts adopting Singapore Math, which is thought to provide a better foundation for higher-order math skills by teaching fewer topics but in more depth. Barry Garelick investigated Singapore Math in the Fall 2006 issue of Ed Next.

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Behind the Headline: Hurricane Katrina swept away years of dysfunction in New Orleans public schools

Five years after Hurricane Katrina hit, Cindy Chang of the New Orleans Times Picayune describes the transformation that has taken place in the city’s school system. In the Fall 2006 issue of Ed Next, Kathryn Newmark and Veronique de Rugy wrote about the changes that were underway.

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Behind the Headline: Unions Lose Election Bid

In New York, a judge has rejected a demand by the teachers union that the union be allowed to spend significantly more money on a Senate race than is permitted under the state’s current campaign finance law. In an article that appears in the Fall 2010 issue of Ed Next, Mike Antonucci took a close look at campaign spending by teachers unions.

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Behind the Headline: Unions’ Tactics Diverge in Engaging Obama Agenda

In Ed Week, Stephen Sawchuk looks at how the NEA and the AFT are responding to the reforms being advanced by the Obama administration, and at what might explain the different responses from the two unions. In the Winter 2009 issue of Ed Next, Linda Seebach wrote about the two teachers unions, which had just chosen new presidents at their national conventions.

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Behind the Headline: Who’s teaching L.A.’s kids?

The Los Angeles Times has obtained seven years worth of test scores for individual students and used them to calculate “value added” scores for over 6,000 teachers. The teachers will be identified by name (and scores) in a series of articles and a database that will be made public. Kati Haycock and Eric Hanushek discussed the importance of identifying ineffective teachers in a forum that appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of Ed Next about strategies for increasing the number of effective teachers in high-poverty schools.

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Behind the Headline: E Is for Fail

In Slate, Brian Palmer looks at the history of letter grades for an explanation of why schools assign grades of A,B,C,D, and F—but not E. A study by David Figlio and Maurice Lucas that was published in Ed Next in 2004 found that elementary school students learn more from teachers who are tough graders.

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Behind the Headline: Venture Philanthropy gives $5.5 million for expansion of KIPP DC charter schools

A $5.5 million gift will allow KIPP to more than double the number of students enrolled in its schools in DC (to 3400 students) by 2015. In an article that appeared in Ed Next in 2008, Julie Bennett explored how KIPP has been able to expand while maintaining quality.

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Behind the Headline: A food bill we need

First Lady Michelle Obama urges Congress to pass the Child Nutrition Bill, which would bring healthier school lunches to more kids. In an article that appeared in Ed Next in 2005, Ron Haskins wrote about the forces behind the federal school lunch program.

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Behind the Headline: Least-Disruptive Turnaround Model Proving Popular

School districts attempting to turn around low-performing schools using federal funds are overwhelming choosing the least disruptive interventions. An article by Andy Smarick that appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of Ed Next argued that turnaround efforts like these are unlikely to succeed.

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Behind the Headline: Standards Raised, More Students Fail Tests

Passing rates on state tests plummeted this year in New York after state education officials raised the cut score on the state’s reading and math tests. New York said that the tests had become significantly easier to pass.  A study by Paul Peterson and Carlos Xabel Lastra-Anadón that will appear in the Fall 2010 issue of Ed Next finds that New York is not the only state that had been dumbing down its tests.

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Behind the Headline: Rhee aims to build voucher programs

In Washington, schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is considering a plan that would offer vouchers to special ed students in need of full-time placements. Jay Greene and Stuart Buck explained how special ed vouchers work and dispelled myths about the vouchers in an article appearing in the Winter 2010 issue of Ed Next.

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Behind the Headline: The Case Against Summer Vacation

Summer learning loss is among the most pernicious — if least acknowledged — causes of achievement gaps in America’s schools, notes David von Drehle in this week’s Time Magazine, and lengthening the school year is the answer. In an article published in the Winter 2010 issue of Ed Next, Dave Marcotte and Ben Hansen reviewed the research on the impact of extending the school year on student achievement.

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Behind the Headline: ‘Common Core’ standards clearer, more rigorous

The Fordham Institute has released an analysis of the Common Core standards and the state academic standards in all 50 states which finds that the Common Core standards are better than those in three quarters of the states. In an article that appeared in Ed Next in 2009, Chester Finn and Deborah Meier debated the merits of a national curriculum.

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Behind the Headline: Rare attack on Harlem Children’s Zone

A new Brookings study by Russ Whitehurst and Michelle Croft finds that students attending the charter school connected with the Harlem Children’s Zone do not outperform students at other New York City charter schools, but Jay Mathews warns that it is too soon to draw conclusions about the impact of the HCZ’s services. Cara Spitalewitz reviewed Paul Tough’s book about the Harlem Children’s Zone in the Summer 2009 issue of Ed Next.

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Behind the Headline: Changes urged for Mass. schools

In Massachusetts, the commissioner of education is recommending that the state replace its highly regarded academic standards with the Common Core Standards. In an article that appeared in Ed Next last year, Charles Chieppo and Jamie Gass worried that Massachusetts might turn its back on the nation’s most successful reform strategy, including its high academic standards.

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Behind the Headline: New Evaluation Laws Split Teachers Even More

In Colorado and other states, teachers’ job security will now be tied to how well their students perform on state tests. In an article appearing in the Summer 2010 issue of Ed Next, Rick Hanushek and Kati Haycock debate the best ways to get more effective teachers into high-need schools. They both note that removing poorly performing teachers is an important part of any strategy to boost teacher quality.

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Behind the Headline: NJ teacher drain

In New Jersey, a flood of teachers are retiring this month in response to a proposal to reduce pension benefits for future retirees. In an article that appeared in Ed Next in 2008, Bob Costrell and Mike Podgursky investigated the peculiar incentives that are built into teacher pensions, incentives which can encourage teachers to leave teaching when they are still effective or to remain in their jobs when they have burned out.

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Behind the Headline: How Many Graduates Does It Take to Be No. 1?

On Top of the News How Many Graduates Does It Take to Be No. 1? 06/26/10 | New York Times Behind the Headline Competition Makes a Comeback Summer 2010 | Education Next Many high schools are naming multiple students–sometimes dozens–as valedictorians to reduce pressure and competition among students. An article by June Kronholz in the […]

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Behind the Headline: Villaraigosa backs charter school bids, rips Cortines

On Top of the News Villaraigosa backs charter school bids, rips Cortines 06/25/10 | The Los Angeles Times Behind the Headline Palace Revolt in Los Angeles? Summer 2010 | Education Next The mayor of Los Angeles has criticized the L.A. Unified school district for not allowing more charter organizations to take over low-performing district schools […]

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Behind the Headline: TAKS grade inflation is nothing new

On Top of the News TAKS grade inflation is nothing new 06/13/10 | Houston Chronicle Behind the Headline State Standards Rising in Reading but Not in Math Fall 2010 | Education Next It has been reported that the “passing” mark for some parts of the Texas state proficiency exam was altered after the results came […]

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Behind the Headline: Cincinnati Public Schools to put top teachers at weak schools

On Top of the News Cincinnati Public Schools to put top teachers at weak schools 06/14/10 | Cincinnati.com Behind the Headline An Effective Teacher in Every Classroom Summer 2010 | Education Next Cincinnati teachers who receive special training to serve as “lead teachers” will no longer be able to return to their home schools, but […]

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Behind the Headline: Microsoft’s Philly high school traveled rocky road

On Top of the News Microsoft’s Philly high school traveled rocky road 06/15/10 | Forbes Behind the Headline High School 2.0 Spring 2010 | Education Next Philadelphia’s School of the Future graduates its first senior class today, and every graduate is headed for an institution of higher learning. In the Spring 2010 issue of Ed […]

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