On the Move

by Robert Pondiscio
March 4th, 2008

Washington TimesWith military “brats” changing schools an average of six to nine times from kindergarten to 12th grade, the Pentagon is proposing a multi-state compact that would help families with the transitions, according to the Washington Times. “The one thing we continuously forget to address is the sacrifices our children are forced to make,” Rear Adm. Len Hering, commander of the Navy’s Southwest region, tells the paper.

The compact would direct states to ease the transition of military families transferring into schools by requiring schools to accept temporary transcripts for class placement until official records are received. Children who don’t meet local vaccination requirements could be enrolled with a short grace period. “For high school students, membership in honor societies such as Beta Club would be honored, and state-specific exit exams required for graduation could be waived or substituted for tests taken in another state. The compact also would address a top complaint of military children: having to take the basic state history courses,” notes the Times.

Transferability has long been one of the primary arguments in favor of national standards and curriculum. The 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the U.S. Census found that 15 to 20 percent of school-aged children moved in the previous year. According to a study conducted in 1994 by the U.S. General Accounting Office, one out of six children had attended three or more schools by the end of the 3rd grade.

Teaching to the Testosterone

by Robert Pondiscio
March 4th, 2008

New York Times MagazineThe New York Times Magazine entry on single-sex education has set tongues wagging across the edusphere. Alexander Russo likes it and posts an email from Richard Whitmire, USA Today’s editorial page editor and the head of the Education Writers Association who seems to favor single-sex ed, with caveats.

Writing over at the American Prospect, Ezra Klein dismisses single-sex ed proponent Leonard Sax as an “obvious crank.” Why that’s obvious wasn’t obvious to me, but no matter—the moment Klein described Sax as a “self-styled” neuroscientist it was obvious that what followed was going to be the product of a made-up mind. (Self-styled edublogger? Or do I need to be certified?)

The excellent Sara Mead, on the other hand is well-worth reading. She makes a point that can’t be made enough: “Actual neuroscientists…aren’t the ones banging the drum on gender-based education. In fact, many caution against trying to draw practical implications for schooling from their work….Jay Geidd, one of the preeminent neuroscientists studying brain development in children (including gender differences) cautions that gender is much too crude a tool to differentiate educational approaches: the variation within each gender is often larger than the average difference between genders, and there’s substantial overlap in the distributions.”

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