A Bad Case of National Amnesia – Rich Lowry – National Review Online.
A Bad Case of National Amnesia
The teaching of history in this country is woeful.
The Declaration of Independence is a poor excuse for an obscure historical document. It’s not Magna Carta or the Peace of Augsburg. Its name is so straightforwardly functional, it almost makes you wonder why the founders weren’t more imaginative.
Yet only 35 percent of American fourth-graders know the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, according to the 2010 results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The findings of the test — administered to representative samples of fourth-, eighth-, and twelfth-graders — are another dreary recitation of the historical ignorance of America’s students.
Read the full story here: National Review
British youth can’t read or write, business leader claims in immigrants jobs row – Telegraph.
Too many young people are unable to read, write or communicate properly and do not work hard, a business leader claimed, as mass immigration is named by the Government as the biggest threat to challenging the benefits culture.
9:02AM BST 01 Jul 2011
The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, David Frost, said business leaders knew there was a problem with youth unemployment but they could not afford to ignore cheaper skilled foreign workers.
He said businesses expected “young people to come forward to them who are able to read, write, communicate and have a strong work ethic and too often that’s not the case”.
Read the full story here: The Daily Telegraph
Testing Students to Grade Teachers – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.
New York City education officials are planning to develop up to 16
new standardized tests for 3rd through 12th grades. Unlike other exams, these will be used to grade the teachers, not the students.
Under a state law passed last year that helped New York win $700
million in a federal “Race to the Top” grant competition, school
districts must evaluate teachers on a scale from “ineffective” to
“highly effective,” with potential firing for those rated ineffective
for two years in a row. The city expects to spend about $25 million
creating the new tests, which would be in addition to the standardized tests students already take.
What have we learned about tests as accountability tools for teacher
performance? Why do school systems believe that tests are the answer to reforming education?
Read the whole dabate here: NYT, Room for Debate
Filed under education, USA
Can You Explain the War Powers Act?
Published: May 8, 2011
The Department of Education’s latest assessment of what young Americans know about civics shows that the light of democracy burns steadily in schools, if too dimly.
The test was given last year to 27,000 children in the 4th, 8th and 12th grades. “Basic” knowledge for an eighth grader meant being able to identify a right protected by the First Amendment. A “proficient” 12th grader could define “melting pot” and argue whether or not the United States is one. An “advanced” fourth grader could “explain two ways countries can deal with shared problems.”
The results show the needle stuck on mediocre.
Read the full article here:� Can You Explain the War Powers Act? – NYTimes.com.
Filed under education, USA
Imagine a child as young as 6 years old arrested for disrupting class.It seems like an unlikely scenario, but it is happening in Texas classrooms and these are not just for extreme, violent circumstances. Most arrests are for nonviolent disorderly conduct offenses.The number of Texas children receiving Class C misdemeanors is alarming. According to Texas Appleseed data, in the El Paso Independent School District, 1,447 students received Class C misdemeanor tickets from 2006-2007
Read the full article here: Discipline children, don’t criminalize them – El Paso Times.
OF all the goals of the education reform movement, none is more elusive than developing an objective method to assess teachers. Studies show that over time, test scores do not provide a consistent means of separating good from bad instructors.
Test scores are an inadequate proxy for quality because too many factors outside of the teachers’ control can influence student performance from year to year — or even from classroom to classroom during the same year. Often, more than half of those teachers identified as the poorest performers one year will be judged average or above average the next, and the results are almost as bad for teachers with multiple classes during the same year.
Fortunately, there’s a far more direct approach: measuring the amount of time a teacher spends delivering relevant instruction — in other words, how much teaching a teacher actually gets done in a school day.
Read the full article here: A New Measure for Classroom Quality – NYTimes.com.
WHEN we don’t get the results we want in our military endeavors, we don’t blame the soldiers. We don’t say, “It’s these lazy soldiers and their bloated benefits plans! That’s why we haven’t done better in Afghanistan!” No, if the results aren’t there, we blame the planners. We blame the generals, the secretary of defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff. No one contemplates blaming the men and women fighting every day in the trenches for little pay and scant recognition.
And yet in education we do just that. When we don’t like the way our students score on international standardized tests, we blame the teachers. When we don’t like the way particular schools perform, we blame the teachers and restrict their resources.
Read the full article here: The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries – NYTimes.com.
“Not only do Reconstructionists believe that public employees should not have the right to organize, they believe that almost all of them should not be public employees,” writes Julie Ingersoll, of the University of North Florida, in the Web magazine Religion Dispatches. “Most of the tasks performed by those protesting the Wisconsin state budget would, in the biblical economics of North,” be privatized.These “Reconstructionists” are believers in Christian Reconstructionism, the philosophy of R. J. Rushdoony, who died in 2001. According to Reconstructionism, a Christian theocracy under Old Testament law is the best form of government, and a radically libertarian one. Biblical law, they believe, presupposes total government decentralization, with the family and church providing order. Until that day comes, Reconstructionists believe the rights to home-school and to worship freely at least provide the barest conditions of liberty.
Read the full article here: Voice of Gary North Heard in Anti-Union Movement – Beliefs – NYTimes.com.
Going back to the famous Coleman report in the 1960s, social scientists have contended — and unquestionably proved — that students’ socioeconomic backgrounds vastly outweigh what goes on in the school as factors in determining how much they learn. Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute lists dozens of reasons why this is so, from the more frequent illness and stress poor students suffer, to the fact that they don’t hear the large vocabularies that middle-class children hear at home.
Yet the reformers act as if a student’s home life is irrelevant. “There is no question that family engagement can matter,” said Klein when I spoke to him. “But they seem to be saying that poverty is destiny, so let’s go home. We don’t yet know how much education can overcome poverty,” he insisted — notwithstanding the voluminous studies that have been done on the subject. “To let us off the hook prematurely seems, to me, to play into the hands of the other side.”
read the complete article here:� The Limits of School Reform – NYTimes.com.
According to the BBC, there’s a proposal that pupils – at least at primary school age – should no longer be asked to do homework: oh, how would I have liked THAT when I was a pupil.