Required Reading

by Robert Pondiscio
July 20th, 2008

A 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

Renegade Parents Teach Math! (Teachers Too.)
If you want your child to do well in math, teach ‘em long division at the kitchen table after school.

All Things To Everyone
Randi Weingarten calls for public schools to become “community centers that help poor students succeed by offering not only solid classroom lessons but also medical and other services.”

Dewey Need This School?
A Washington, DC area private school says its “inspired by the success of home-schoolers.” But is it rigorous? School founder Alan Shusterman responds in the comments section.

A Grand Education Bargain
Advice for Barack Obama: call for much higher pay for teachers in exchange for much more accountability in the classroom.

Things Thought But Seldom Expressed
Special education, IEPs and the high cost of low expectations.

Circle Time On the Rug at 08:00 Hours!
One state seeks more veterans in the classroom–and not veteran teachers!

In Other Blogs

Why Is Educational Technology So Far Behind? at The Elementary Educator
When I go to, the site knows me. So why is there no academic site out there that offers a comprehensive K-12 math program that quickly learns where kids are at and immediately begins to take them through a progression of learning based on their zone of proximal development?

Juvenile doomsday lit at Joanne Jacobs
Doomsday books for kids are hot. Are 21st-century children ready to trade in Pooh for a dead polar bear? Do they wish to trade The Secret Garden for apocalypse lit?

Gender and Stereotype Threat in Math and Science at Eduwonkette
Can asking women to simply bubble in their gender before a test hurt their performance on math tests? More than a decade of research on “stereotype threat” suggests that the answer is yes.

City Chiefs Lobby for Hot-Button Issues at NCLB: Act II
“We need to have national standards and national assessments so then everybody can understand that if you’re proficient in math in California, you’re proficient in math in New York,” say NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.

Teaching and Curriculum

Forget About the Achievement Gap
The Washington Post
“I like talking about the achievement gap?” writes Jay Mathews, “Because we use the term in a way that suggests narrowing the gap is always a good thing, when that is not so.”

Push to double U.S. science grads is lagging
San Francisco Chronicle
A high-profile push by business groups to double the number of U.S. bachelor’s degrees awarded in science, math and engineering by 2015 is falling way behind target.

In squeeze, teachers do work of nurses
The Associated Press
Medical duties have become a part of the job for educators across the country as schools cut nursing staff or require nurses to work at multiple locations.

Engagement Is the Answer
Education Week
We need an infusion of motivationally rich experiences into the curriculum that will promote engagement, increase enjoyment, and produce a general enthusiasm for learning.

Hot for the Wrong Teachers
Researchers have looked at just about every possible determinant of teaching success, and it seems there’s nothing on a prospective teacher’s résumé that indicates how he or she will do in the classroom.

Education Policy

State raises minimum standards on proficiency tests
Newark Star-Ledger
New Jersey has made it harder for public school students to prove their proficiency on state exams – a change that could cause more schools to run afoul of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Obama Doesn’t Have to Run as a Liberal
The Wall Street Journal
Obama should make a $30 billion pot of federal money available to states and districts to boost salaries in poor schools, provided the teachers unions scrap their traditional “lockstep” pay scale.

Homeschooling and Parenting

Case that led to Calif. home school ban dismissed

The Associated Press
A legal ruling outlawing most forms of home schooling in California could come under renewed scrutiny because the court case on which it was based has been dismissed.

Even background TV can impact kids’ attention
USA Today
Researchers say that even having a TV on in the background could be “an environmental hazard” for children.

Et Alia

Why do Asian students generally get higher marks than Latinos?
The Los Angeles Times
Asian and Latino students at L.A.’s Lincoln High have a candid conversation about an uncomfortable subject.

Remarks by John McCain to the 99th Annual NAACP Convention
“If I am elected president, school choice for all who want it, an expansion of Opportunity Scholarships, and alternative certification for teachers will all be part of a serious agenda of education reform.”