Archive for December, 2009

U.S. House Democrats: Their Top 10 list for education and families

The end of the year always brings best and worst lists and Top 10 lists.

Here is one from the U.S. House Commitee on Education and Labor. I recognize the clear propaganda role of this list, but I thought you might like to look at the education items on it.

REBUILDING AMERICA’S ECONOMY AND MIDDLE CLASS

A Top 10 List for Children, Students, Workers and Families

The House Education and Labor Committee has been at the center of this effort by working to address the direct concerns of the working Americans feeling the deep pain of this crisis and help rebuild our nation’s middle class. While much more needs to be done, below is an overview of the top ten areas the Committee made progress on in 2009 to improve the lives of children, students, workers and families.

1. CREATING JOBS. The Committee helped craft key provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (enacted in February) and the Jobs for Main Street Act (passed House in December) that will help save and …

Continue reading U.S. House Democrats: Their Top 10 list for education and families »

Oprah’s gift to Ron Clark: Could his school be replicated?

They’re debating education over at The Buzz today.

One of the things that makes Ron Clark Academy stand out: A sllide (and now $1.5 million from Oprah.)

One of the things that makes Ron Clark Academy stand out: A sllide (and now $1.5 million from Oprah.)

What’s provoked the back and forth on the entertainment blog is the news that Oprah Winfrey gave the Ron Clark Academy a $1.5 million gift to help ease the private school’s financial woes.

Winfrey is a big fan of Ron Clark, the charismatic and inspiring teacher who opened a private middle school in southeast Atlanta in 2007. Along with a focus on arts and performance, the school features an international trip each year and a two-story slide in the building. Students pay a heavily discounted tuition on a sliding scale based on family  income to attend the school. Donations pay the rest of the $14,000 annual tuition.

Clark received a card from Winfrey last year on Christmas Eve with a  $365,000 check. The pair met nine years ago when Clark was named Disney’s American Teacher of the Year.

These comments reflect the …

Continue reading Oprah’s gift to Ron Clark: Could his school be replicated? »

The Big Ideas in education: What’s on your list?

Scholastic sent out this list of the decade’s 10 big ideas in education. I thought it was a pretty good list.

(Since this is a list from a children’s publishing, education and media company,  the big ideas have a lot to do with reading. )

Take a look and see what you think is missing. An emerging idea that is not on the list is overlapping high school and college by offering more joint enrollment programs and creating new opportunities for kids to get college credits.

1. Alternate Paths to Teaching—from Teach for America to Troops to Teachers to urban Teaching Fellows programs, schools of education are no longer the only place that teachers begin their careers.

2. Transformative Technology— From whiteboards to online education, 1-to-1 computing to eReaders, for the first time in the history of American education, classrooms are increasingly plugged in – and so are the students.

3. Accountability— No matter where you stood in the debate on No Child Left Behind, it’s …

Continue reading The Big Ideas in education: What’s on your list? »

Teacher gifts: Is cash trash or king?

Teachers, Can I have a show of hands?

Who likes cash gifts?

My seatmates and I debated whether cash is an appropriate gift. Jamie Gumbrecht (Access Atlanta authority on what to do and my personal tech advisor), database genius Matt Dempsey and I parted ways with the queen of cash, Atlanta Bargain Hunter blogger Rana Cash, Rana says money doesn’t take any thought. (Matt said he likes sacks of money for presents.)

I need some teacher gift ideas. I was thinking of writing checks, something I have never done.

Is that crass? I have bought a lot of classroom books over the years as teacher gifts, but think teachers could use the money this year to buy whatever they want for themselves or their class.

My teacher pals are divided. Some like gift cards but my stint as a consumer reporter made me swear off gift cards since so many never get used because recipients misplace them or their expire. Money is more reliable.

Let me know your thoughts.

Continue reading Teacher gifts: Is cash trash or king? »

ACLU and Atlanta settle case over alternative school

In 2008, the ACLU filed suit against a privately run Atlanta public alternative school that it alleged was closer to a prison than a school. In its lawsuit against the Atlanta Board of Education and Community Education Partners, the private company contracted to run the city’s alternative program, the ACLU said the school was violent and dangerous.

According to the lawsuit, Forrest Hill Academy documented 189 fights among its 415 students in 2006. Now, the suit has been settled.

From Will Matthews at the ACLU:

Today, we formally settled our lawsuit against the Atlanta Independent School System, which charged Forrest Hill Academy, the city’s alternative school, with providing students an inadequate education and violating some of their core constitutional rights.

Operated until this past summer by the for-profit company Community Education Partners, the school essentially was a day prison for at-risk kids, the majority of whom are kids of color. AISS ended its contract …

Continue reading ACLU and Atlanta settle case over alternative school »

Arne Duncan at Grady: Students willing to tackle race issues

In his whirlwind tour of Atlanta Monday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan seemed to have the most fun with the students at Grady High School. (See earlier blog on his session with educators and community leaders.)

The session was short but lively as the teens talked about bridging the racial divide at their midtown high school

Duncan joined 23 members of Grady’s Social Diversity Club. The education secretary listened far more than he talked, but was impressed with the students’ insightful comments about why teens tend to socialize with classmates who are similar to them. Some kids felt the racial divide had its roots in elementary and middle schools that were largely segregated due to Atlanta housing patterns.

 Grady High School principal Vincent Murray, left,  U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, center, Adolfo Carrion, director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs Policy, and APS Superintendent Beverly Hall listen to a discussion of the Social Diversity Club during Duncan’s visit to Grady last week. Bob Andres AJC

Grady High School principal Vincent Murray, left, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, center, Adolfo Carrion, director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs Policy, and APS Superintendent Beverly Hall listen to a discussion of the Social Diversity Club during …

Continue reading Arne Duncan at Grady: Students willing to tackle race issues »

Does student art of crucifix somehow cross a line?

I will leave this to those of you who work with children, but I have a problem seeing any threat in the drawing of a crucifix by a Massachusetts 8-year-old. Apparently, it alarmed the teacher

This class drawing by a Massachusetts child led to his removal from the class. Is it that alarming?

This class drawing by a Massachusetts child allegedly led to his removal from the class. Is it that alarming? (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

and signaled to her that the child was somehow troubled. (Read the story in the AJC.)

Please note that the story has changed today – Wednesday – with the school system saying that there is more to this story.  Read the update here in the AJC. .

What’s odd to me is that crucifixes are pretty common in Massachusetts, where there are many Catholics. I grew up Catholic and had crucifixes in my home and dozens around my Catholic school.

According to the original story:

TAUNTON, Mass. — An 8-year-old boy was sent home from school and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after he was asked to make a Christmas drawing and came up with what appeared to …

Continue reading Does student art of crucifix somehow cross a line? »

From arts to robotics, Georgia students win honors

The Wheeler High School Robotics team, the CircuitRunners, came home with a host of awards

The Wheeler High School robotics team, the Circuit Runners, came home with a host of awards

After winning the Georgia title at the Georgia BEST Robotics Championship on Halloween, the Wheeler High School robotics team, the Circuit Runners, went to Auburn to compete against 55 other championship teams from the Eastern seaboard.

The team won second place for the video design competition, first place for the engineering notebook, first place for the spirit & sportsmanship competition and third place overall for the second consecutive year.

YoungArts

Three Georgia teens are among the 143 — from a  field of 4,000 — selected as America’s best young artists by YoungArts,  the core program of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts.

The trio will now travel to Miami next month for the final rounds. They are:

Drew Dickerson of Cumming, Forsyth Central High,  finalist in writing.

Aaron Starkey of Johns Creek, Chattohoohee High,  finalist in visual arts.

Alexander …

Continue reading From arts to robotics, Georgia students win honors »

Georgetown: Demand will outstrip supply of college graduates. Your kids will move out the basement

I thought we could all use some good news about the prospects for college graduates.

A Georgetown center predicts a rebound in the job market for college grads

A Georgetown center predicts a rebound in the job market for college grads

Here are some early projections from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The findings represent good news for the economy and bolster the White House vow to increase the number of postsecondary degrees awarded by 2020.

Employment growth is set to resume in 2011

  • By 2018, 30 million new and replacement jobs will require some college or above.

  • The demand for an increasingly skilled and educated workforce is growing steadily; unless we increase output from postsecondary institutions, the demand for college talent will exceed its supply.

  • In this recession, as in past recessions, those without college bear the brunt of unemployment.

According to a release from the Georgetown  center:

We examined educational requirements for projected job growth and the findings are …

Continue reading Georgetown: Demand will outstrip supply of college graduates. Your kids will move out the basement »

Adolescents can be foolish. Should they go to jail for it?

According to a story in the AJC, two middle schools students in Houston County allegedly engaged in oral sex in a classroom while a substitute teacher and other students were present.

Initially, they were being charged with sodomy and disruption of a public school and being held at the Crisp Youth Detention Center. But cooler minds prevailed and we are now reporting that the sodomy charges have been dropped and one of the pair has been released.

According to the latest AJC story:

Houston County Sheriff’s Lt. Randall Banks said the eighth-grade students admitted during a Houston County Juvenile Court hearing Monday to public indecency and disruption of public school.

Banks said all other charges, including sodomy and violation of probation against the male, were dismissed as part of an agreement reached between the district attorney’s office and lawyers representing the students.

I think these kids are stupid. I think they are immature. I think they are terrible examples.

I …

Continue reading Adolescents can be foolish. Should they go to jail for it? »