Required Reading

by Robert Pondiscio
June 8th, 2008

Our weekly roundup of the week’s most important news, information and blog posts about curriculum, teaching, education policy and other items of interest to the Core Knowledge community.

Core Knowledge

Is EF the New IQ?
A study suggests executive function may be more important to academic success than traditional measures of intelligence. Not so fast says Dan Willingham

Spot the Looney
A British “expert” says school children should no longer be taught traditional subjects at school

Resegregated Schools
Nearly 30 years after Seattle’s schools were integrated through busing, the city’s schools have long since resegregated.

Best of the Blogs

If I Had A Million Dollars At Eduwonk
What would you do with $5 billion to improve American education?

Billy Joel, History Teacher at Joanne Jacobs
Most of an 11th grade U.S. history grade for the semester will be determined by the final project: A group presentation on the significance of the lyrics of Billy Joel’s We Didn’t Start the Fire, which lists events and people from 1949-89.

Principals’ Group Joins Push for National Standards at NCLB: Act II
The National Association of Secondary School Principals is the latest group to endorse national standards.

Why Has the Education Press Missed the Boat? The Case of Small Schools at Eduwonkette
What should we make of the endless parade of glowing stories about how much better small schools are doing than their predecessors?

The problem with education research at D-Ed Reckoning
Show of hands. Who here thinks that education research will improve education?

Teaching and Curriculum

Teachers Achieving ‘Highly Qualified’ Status on the Rise
Education Week
Teachers meeting the “highly qualified” standard their states set were teaching core subjects in 94 percent of the nation’s classrooms in the 2006-07 school year, but poorer schools were still less likely than their wealthier counterparts to employ them.

‘Reading First’ Research Offers No Definitive Answers
Education Week
With the end of the six-year period of Reading First on the horizon, no clear empirical picture has emerged of how well the federal program is doing at a national level in bringing struggling readers to proficiency.

School goes all out to help poor kids learn
The Las Vegas Sun
With needs from food and clothing to haircuts taken care of, students at Whitney Elementary School can concentrate in the classroom

Schools’ experimental therapies help some kids focus
USA Today
A small but growing number of schools are using experimental therapies to retrain students’ hearing and vision, in essence reteaching them to hear and see.

Literacy coach has made a difference in students’ lives
Springfield, MO News-Leader
When Matthew Panuco started the fifth grade last fall, he was having trouble reading. So he started going to the CSI Literacy Camp, created by literacy coach Donna Manz. He became one of the dozens of success stories due in part to Manz’s dedication to literacy.

Education Policy

The Answer
Boston Globe
Fifteen years into education reform, we are still failing to fix the most troubled schools. Now there’s no excuse.

Audit Faults Teach for America
The New York Times
A federal audit of a nonprofit that recruits college graduates to teach in low-income schools shows the group did not properly account for government money it received for teacher training.

Long-Term Economic Payoff Seen From Early-Childhood Education
Education Week
Researchers say that for every dollar spent on children who attended a Chicago early childhood education program, almost $10 is returned by age 25 in either benefits to society—such as savings on remediation in school and on the criminal-justice system—or to the participant, in the form of higher earnings.

Proposed ELL Guidelines Too Rigid, Critics Warn
Education Week
Education officials in several states with large English-language-learner populations are bristling at a proposal by the U.S. Department of Education that they say would curb their flexibility in deciding when children are fluent in English and if they still need special services for ELLs.

Feds give schools a break on math tests
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Elementary and middle schools have a better chance of meeting the testing goals required under federal law because fewer students must pass math exams than previously expected.

Los Angeles teachers stage 1-hour walkout
The Associated Press
Red-shirted teachers hoisting protest signs and yelling into bullhorns skipped class Friday in the nation’s second-largest school district in order to protest proposed state budget cuts for education.

Homeschooling and Parenting

Mom gives public punishment for 12-year old accused of bullying
Parent Dish
The mother of a 12 year-old boy who bullied a fellow classmate and stole his iPod, made him spend an afternoon at a busy intersection spent ringing a bell and wearing a sandwich board bearing his transgressions.

10-year-old college sophomore credits ‘willpower’
The Today Show
After two straight-A years of community college, he’s set sights on the stars
Moshe Kai Cavalin likes to tell about the time his father took him to take his college entrance test. The administrators told his dad he couldn’t bring an 8-year-old with him into the test room. His father told them the boy was going in alone — because he was the one taking the test.

Proposed homeschool restrictions draw criticism from across U.S.
Calls from across the country have been flooding into the D.C. State Superintendent’s Office from families who are profoundly unhappy about the proposed restrictions on homeschooling

Et Alia

Utah schools lead nation in junk food availability
Salt Lake Tribune
Utah teens have more access to soda pop, candy and other unhealthy snacks in schools than anywhere else in the nation.

Do hand sanitizers, disinfectants work in the classroom?
Philadelphia Inquirer
Children in classrooms where alcohol-based sanitizer was readily available and disinfecting wipers were used to disinfect surfaces were significantly less likely to miss school for gastrointestinal illnesses than those that followed the usual hand washing and cleaning practices.

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