Spotlight

on the latest in education, curated by dot Ed

Reblogged from bobbycaputo

bobbycaputo:

PORTRAITS OF NEW YORK CITY EDUCATORS AFTER SCHOOL

After the bell has rung and students vanish in a blaze of noise, Brooklyn-based Aliza Eliazarovcaptures New York City educators in the quiet after the chaos. A former teacher of eight years, Eliazarov describes this time as a poignant moment in each day, the silence flooded with a range of emotions. Posing a series of simple questions, Eliazarov allows these teachers for once to turn the attention to their own personal musings and burdens. Whether the response is pensive or anxious, content or exhausted, each teacher endures with an unceremonious bravery and resolve. Honoring those seldom thanked, See Me After School is a glimpse into the everyday triumphs and trials of today’s resilient educators.

(Continue Reading)

Reblogged from gjmueller

gjmueller:

The National Council on Teacher Quality has released its 2013 State Teacher Policy Yearbook National Summary. This year’s average was a C-, up from D+ in 2011 and D in 2009.
Over the past five years, 37 states have improved their overall grades by at least one full grade level because of significant reform, particularly in the areas of teacher evaluation and related teacher effectiveness policies.

Click on a state for detailed information about that state’s teacher policies or explore the results of the 2013 Yearbook further in the State Yearbook Dashboard.

The coming Common Core meltdown

Reblogged from hithertokt

It’s less about the standards themselves than the context in which they were introduced and implemented.

hithertokt:

Not much I didn’t already know, but framed in a very approachable and interesting way. It’s worth your time to read, I think.

Education in Vietnam: Very good on paper

ON SATURDAY morning, December 14th, America’s secretary of state, John Kerry, will travel to Vietnam. One of his talking points, according to the State Department, will be the “empowering role of education”. But it seems like Vietnam has already taken the message.

On December 3rd, the OECD released the results from its Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an exam administered every three years to 15- and 16-year-olds in dozens of countries. Vietnam recently joined the test for the first time, and it scored remarkably well—higher in maths than America and Britain, though not as high as Shanghai or Singapore. Nguyen Vinh Hien, a deputy minister for education, characterised Vietnam’s overall 17th-place ranking out of 65 countries and economies as a pleasant “surprise.”

The PISA scores, as they are known, measured how a half-million students from randomly selected schools answered written and multiple-choice questions in a two-hour test. Mathematics was the primary focus, but students were also evaluated on reading, science and problem-solving. Coverage of the scores by the Western news media suggested that the impressive maths performance by Vietnam, where per-capita GDP is only about $1,600, was perhaps a bit humbling for education officials in Washington, London and other self-regarding world capitals. 

What explains Vietnam’s good score? Christian Bodewig of the World Bank says it reflects, among other positive things, years of investment in education by the government and a “high degree of professionalism and discipline in classrooms across the country”. But Mr Bodewig adds that the score may be impressive in part because so many poor and disadvantaged Vietnamese students drop out of school. The World Bank reports that in 2010 the gross enrolment rate at upper-secondary schools in Vietnam was just 65%, compared with 89% and 98% in America and Britain, respectively. South Korea’s rate was 95%. 

A chorus of Vietnamese education specialists say that Vietnam’s PISA score does not fully reflect the reality of its education system, which is hamstrung by a national curriculum that encourages rote memorisation over critical thinking and creative problem-solving. “Every child in this country learns the same thing,” and nationwide tests merely reinforce the intellectual homogeneity that results, in the lament of To Kim Lien, the director of the Centre for Education and Development, a Vietnamese non-profit in Hanoi. Ms Lien reckons that instead of catalysing educational reform, the score might provide a convenient excuse for complacency in matters of policy. And the old-fashioned, inward-looking Ministry of Education and Training, she adds, is a past master at complacency.

Another systemic problem is a general lack of “integrity” in Vietnam’s education sector, in the words of Nguyen Thi Kieu Vien of the Global Transparency Education Network, a new initiative of Transparency International, a watchdog based in Berlin. In a recent survey the organisation found that 49% of Vietnamese respondents perceived their education sector to be “corrupt” or “highly corrupt”. The percentage was higher than that found in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia. Corruption is plainly evident at elite Vietnamese schools, where slots for pupils are routinely sold for $3,000 each. Yet it also exists on a smaller scale, in subtler forms. Many Vietnamese teachers hold extra tuitions, outside of regular school hours, for a small fee of between $2.50 and $5 per lesson. Not all parents can afford to pay these fees, and so the practice tends to exacerbate inequality. 

In November some top-ranking national officials passed a resolution calling for reform in the education sector. Kim Ngoc Minh, an education researcher in Hanoi, says the resolution is the most comprehensive and ambitious in a generation. Other education specialists however wonder whether the resolution, which calls for reform in broad stokes, will translate into actual policy changes.

Actual changes are badly needed. In 2008, researchers from Harvard reported that Vietnam’s higher-education system was in “crisis”, and that it lagged far behind the systems of Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines, to say nothing of those in China, Taiwan and South Korea. As a warning, they pointed to the comparative lack of articles published by Vietnamese researchers in peer-reviewed international journals. The Harvard memo also said the government was awarding research funding “uncompetitively”, and that there was a vast difference between what graduates had learned and what prospective employers wanted them to know.

These shortcomings can be linked to others in primary and secondary schools. Ms Lien of the Centre for Education and Development says that a basic reform package might begin with the younger age group, by including parents in a decision-making process that has long been dominated by the education ministry. Nearly two years ago, she was among a dozen senior educators who submitted paperwork to the ministry requesting permission to establish a national parent-teacher association. Their group still has not received an official response. Perhaps the ministry is afraid of what Vietnamese parents might say, if they had a platform. 

(Picture credit: AFP)

Top Talkers: Teenagers are making no progress on international achievement exams, the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment results show. Jon Meacham, Julie Pace and Mike Barnicle discuss.

Newly released data suggests American students haven’t improved over time when it comes to education. Randi Weingarten discusses.

After about half a million students took the PISA exams, US performance remained flat. America has a child poverty rate nearly double that of some countries that outperform the United States, which is thought to be a factor. Experts say the test results will likely intensify the debate over education reform. NBC’s Rehema Ellis reports.

Can the Common Core State Standards transform teaching and raise student achievement? The Hechinger Report and the Education Writers Association looked at seven states in depth.

Can the Common Core State Standards transform teaching and raise student achievement? The Hechinger Report and the Education Writers Association looked at seven states in depth.

gjmueller:
"Good Job" Alternatives
Parents and teachers often say “good job” as an automatic response to a child’s action.“You ate all of your peas. Good job!” “You did a good job putting away the toys.”
A “good job” now and then is fine, but it doesn’t help children understand why what they did was good. Preschoolers need to know what they did, why it worked, or why it shows they are capable. Try the following suggestions to give preschoolers specific, detailed information that recognizes their achievements and encourages their learning.
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Reblogged from gjmueller

gjmueller:

"Good Job" Alternatives

Parents and teachers often say “good job” as an automatic response to a child’s action.“You ate all of your peas. Good job!” “You did a good job putting away the toys.”

A “good job” now and then is fine, but it doesn’t help children understand why what they did was good. Preschoolers need to know what they did, why it worked, or why it shows they are capable. Try the following suggestions to give preschoolers specific, detailed information that recognizes their achievements and encourages their learning.

Print/share PDF

theatlantic:
Should High Schools Offer More Job Training?
Just seven years ago, the Texas Legislature mandated that all high schoolers pass two algebra courses and geometry to graduate. This summer, the state reversed course, easing its strict math, science, and social-studies requirements to free up class time for job training.
Texas legislators want to create a more flexible system that helps students who aren’t headed to four-year colleges enter the workforce. And it’s not just Texas. State legislatures nationwide are enacting laws to promote career and technical education and workforce training in high school.
But that approach carries risks. While it’s true that not all students will go on to college, pulling back on college preparatory coursework has to be handled carefully in a state like Texas, with its hundreds of thousands of low-income and minority students. They’re the students who would benefit from college the most—and who need the most help getting there.
Read more. [World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr]

Reblogged from theatlantic

theatlantic:

Should High Schools Offer More Job Training?

Just seven years ago, the Texas Legislature mandated that all high schoolers pass two algebra courses and geometry to graduate. This summer, the state reversed course, easing its strict math, science, and social-studies requirements to free up class time for job training.

Texas legislators want to create a more flexible system that helps students who aren’t headed to four-year colleges enter the workforce. And it’s not just Texas. State legislatures nationwide are enacting laws to promote career and technical education and workforce training in high school.

But that approach carries risks. While it’s true that not all students will go on to college, pulling back on college preparatory coursework has to be handled carefully in a state like Texas, with its hundreds of thousands of low-income and minority students. They’re the students who would benefit from college the most—and who need the most help getting there.

Read more. [World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr]

theatlantic:
Why Are Private-School Teachers Being Paid Less Than Public-School Teachers?
Private school teachers make way less than public school teachers. Average salaries are nearly $50,000 for public, and barely $36,000 for private. That’s not just a gap. It’s a chasm.
Teacher compensation has become a key part of the public debate over American schools. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has sounded the war-horns for higher salaries. New Jersey governor Chris Christie wrestles with unions over benefits. When she was chancellor of the D.C. public school system, Michelle Rhee fought to remake teacher pay scales, en route to becoming the most divisive figure in American education. And whatever your agenda, the salary gap between public and private threatens to rewrite the storyline. If public schools pay too little, why do privates pay even less? On the other hand, with better-paying public-school jobs available, why do so many teachers accept lower salaries in order to go private?
Read more. [Image: Warner Brothers]

Reblogged from theatlantic

theatlantic:

Why Are Private-School Teachers Being Paid Less Than Public-School Teachers?

Private school teachers make way less than public school teachers. Average salaries are nearly $50,000 for public, and barely $36,000 for private. That’s not just a gap. It’s a chasm.

Teacher compensation has become a key part of the public debate over American schools. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has sounded the war-horns for higher salaries. New Jersey governor Chris Christie wrestles with unions over benefits. When she was chancellor of the D.C. public school system, Michelle Rhee fought to remake teacher pay scales, en route to becoming the most divisive figure in American education. And whatever your agenda, the salary gap between public and private threatens to rewrite the storyline. If public schools pay too little, why do privates pay even less? On the other hand, with better-paying public-school jobs available, why do so many teachers accept lower salaries in order to go private?

Read more. [Image: Warner Brothers]

theatlantic:
Why Are Reading Textbooks So Out-of-Date? Blame America’s Copyright Laws
There are endless schemes for improving education, from testing to vouchers to charter schools to standards and back to testing again. There’s one simple step, though, that isn’t on the list of de rigeur reforms that would decrease education costs and increase the relevance and breadth of the curriculum. That step is letting copyrights lapse.
As Timothy B. Lee wrote last week at the Washington Post, we’ve just passed the 15 year anniversary of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. That law retroactively put another 20 years onto all works due to enter the public domain. It ensured that iconic songs by Gershwin and, iconic properties like Mickey Mouse would remain private property for another two decades. Extending copyright provided an enormous windfall to those owners. The money and incentives being what they are, it seems likely that Disney and others who stand to profit will lobby Congress to extend copyright even further the Sonny Bono Act lapses five years from now.
Read more. [Image: Ryan Stanton/Flickr]

Reblogged from theatlantic

theatlantic:

Why Are Reading Textbooks So Out-of-Date? Blame America’s Copyright Laws

There are endless schemes for improving education, from testing to vouchers to charter schools to standards and back to testing again. There’s one simple step, though, that isn’t on the list of de rigeur reforms that would decrease education costs and increase the relevance and breadth of the curriculum. That step is letting copyrights lapse.

As Timothy B. Lee wrote last week at the Washington Post, we’ve just passed the 15 year anniversary of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. That law retroactively put another 20 years onto all works due to enter the public domain. It ensured that iconic songs by Gershwin and, iconic properties like Mickey Mouse would remain private property for another two decades. Extending copyright provided an enormous windfall to those owners. The money and incentives being what they are, it seems likely that Disney and others who stand to profit will lobby Congress to extend copyright even further the Sonny Bono Act lapses five years from now.

Read more. [Image: Ryan Stanton/Flickr]

theatlantic:
My Insane Homework Load Taught Me How to Game the System
A year and a half ago, I was fully immersed in the routine of being a high-school junior. On an average night, my Internet tabs looked something like this: page 2 of a desperate Google search on “Differential equations easy examples,” a vocabulary list on Quizlet.com, a couple Wikipedia articles, my school newspaper, email, Twitter, a YouTube video, and a Yahoo! Answers session called “What is the easiest SAT subject test if you are bad at math?”
I would operate these worlds simultaneously, studying for biology exams amidst vocab review, responding to emails from my school’s newspaper editors while working on research papers. I would study and do my homework in a frenzied focus, switching from subject to subject in an attempt to maximize my efficiency.
These were my weeknights from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. I attended a private college-preparatory high school in Seattle, where I was involved in cross-country, debate, the school newspaper, and mock trial. I studied for the SATs. I tutored a middle school student twice a week. I worked hard, I loved school, and I was always stressed.
Read more. [Image: English106/flickr]

Reblogged from theatlantic

theatlantic:

My Insane Homework Load Taught Me How to Game the System

A year and a half ago, I was fully immersed in the routine of being a high-school junior. On an average night, my Internet tabs looked something like this: page 2 of a desperate Google search on “Differential equations easy examples,” a vocabulary list on Quizlet.com, a couple Wikipedia articles, my school newspaper, email, Twitter, a YouTube video, and a Yahoo! Answers session called “What is the easiest SAT subject test if you are bad at math?”

I would operate these worlds simultaneously, studying for biology exams amidst vocab review, responding to emails from my school’s newspaper editors while working on research papers. I would study and do my homework in a frenzied focus, switching from subject to subject in an attempt to maximize my efficiency.

These were my weeknights from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. I attended a private college-preparatory high school in Seattle, where I was involved in cross-country, debate, the school newspaper, and mock trial. I studied for the SATs. I tutored a middle school student twice a week. I worked hard, I loved school, and I was always stressed.

Read more. [Image: English106/flickr]

theatlantic:
A Teacher’s Defense of Homework
I am a parent, and I struggle daily with making sure my daughter does her homework.  I can certainly identify with the anxiety Karl Taro Greenfeld describes in his essay “My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me.” Here, however, I’d like to speak as a teacher rather than a parent.  I’d like to explain why, in my professional opinion, American kids need homework.
I teach biology at the Charles School, a five-year early-college high school in Columbus, Ohio.   I believe that my job is to prepare my students for college.  In order to do that, I teach a wide variety of topics including cells, genetics, evolution, and ecology, using the National Science Standards.  I teach each topic in depth so that the students understand and appreciate the information.  I teach them about the scientific method, lab procedures, and scientific writing, all skills they will need in college.  It’s a lot to fit into one short year, and my class requires a lot of effort from my students. 
I require my students to read one chapter out of their textbook each week, and to complete a short take-home quiz on the material.  It helps to supplement the notes I give in class, so that I can spend more class time on labs and other hands-on activities.  I learned in college that hands-on work is the best way for students to learn, and that’s certainly true.  However, it’s definitely not the most efficient way.  So, if I’m going to offer interactive activities in class, I need students to put in some time and effort studying outside of class as well.
Read more. [Image: Edward Rooks/Flickr]

Reblogged from theatlantic

theatlantic:

A Teacher’s Defense of Homework

I am a parent, and I struggle daily with making sure my daughter does her homework.  I can certainly identify with the anxiety Karl Taro Greenfeld describes in his essay “My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me.” Here, however, I’d like to speak as a teacher rather than a parent.  I’d like to explain why, in my professional opinion, American kids need homework.

I teach biology at the Charles School, a five-year early-college high school in Columbus, Ohio.   I believe that my job is to prepare my students for college.  In order to do that, I teach a wide variety of topics including cells, genetics, evolution, and ecology, using the National Science Standards.  I teach each topic in depth so that the students understand and appreciate the information.  I teach them about the scientific method, lab procedures, and scientific writing, all skills they will need in college.  It’s a lot to fit into one short year, and my class requires a lot of effort from my students. 

I require my students to read one chapter out of their textbook each week, and to complete a short take-home quiz on the material.  It helps to supplement the notes I give in class, so that I can spend more class time on labs and other hands-on activities.  I learned in college that hands-on work is the best way for students to learn, and that’s certainly true.  However, it’s definitely not the most efficient way.  So, if I’m going to offer interactive activities in class, I need students to put in some time and effort studying outside of class as well.

Read more. [Image: Edward Rooks/Flickr]

If you have a newborn, you’ll need to start saving nearly $500 a month to pay for a public university tuition. Students Natalie Merola and Lindsey Mayfield, mom Julie Mayfield and Say Yes to Education’s Jacques Steinberg share tips on how to handle the costs.