Saturday, February 25, 2006

Educational equity after Katrina

Lessons learned after the disaster

The destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina exposed for all the world what many of us have long known: America remains deeply divided by race and class. The lack of opportunities for poor people and people of color continue to have devastating consequences. As Americans watched in horror, Katrina children were left behind by the storm and subsequent flooding.

According to Robert Rothman, the implications for education are obvious and profound. Although leaving no child behind is national policy, many of our children didn't see national policy enforced in the aftermath of the hurricane. Many educators say that the Katrina debacle is just one more example of many of our children lack the same resources as their peers.

Read Rothman's report in Voices in Urban Education, a publication of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform, Brown University.

Related: Separate but Equal? Schooling Of Evacuees Provokes Debate, Katrina became symbol of U.S. racial, social divide

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Looking at plagiarism

The growing problem of cheating

Shirazi, publisher of Light Within, writes the following in an article on plagiarism by students:

It is a chronic problem that has been greatly facilitated by the resources-rich Internet.

This dangerous trend is not new, but advent of the Internet has facilitated the speed and methods used.

Shirazi examines the connection between technology and the growing problem of plagiarism in a timely piece.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Calculate this: Math is hot

Changing the public perception of mathematics

Math is finally getting its due. Increased references to math in movies and on television, no doubt, has helped. In addition, more and more aspects of life are now demanding math, according to a professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Changing the public perception of mathematics was one of the topics this weekend at a conference hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general science society.

Math may be hot, but does that mean that mathematicians are the essence of cool? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a look.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Save Our History

National history education and preservation initiative

Save Our History is a national history education initiative that seeks to raise awareness and support for preserving local heritage. Historic organizations with preservation projects developed with local schools or youth groups are encouraged to apply.

Maximum award: $5,000. Eligibility: Elementary, middle, and high school teachers in the U.S. who teach American, state, or local history in a social studies or history class. Funding is available public and private school teachers, as well as to home-school instructors. Deadline: April 7, 2006. More info:

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Observing Black History Month

Resources for educators and families

In 1915, historian Carter G. Woodson proposed a "Negro History Week" to honor the history and contributions of African Americans. Nine years later, his dream became reality. Woodson chose the second week of February to pay tribute to the birthdays of two Americans that dramatically affected the lives of Blacks: Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and Frederick Douglass (February 14).

The weeklong observance officially became Black History Month in 1976. In her weekly column, Barbara J. Feldman offers a selection of Black History Month resources. (Via Public Education Network) is also observing Black History Month. Visit this site for biographies of African-American groundbreakers, milestones in black history and a photo gallery. And check out black history programming scheduled this month by Biography on A&E.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Addressing adolescent literacy

Faced with faltering reading skills among students, educators take action

In an increasingly complicated world, technology-driven and rich and information, reading is more important than ever, writes journalist Carol Guensburg. At the same time, books seem to be taking a back seat to computers and other digital devices. Studies show that more than 8 million students in grades 4-12 struggle to proficiently read, write and comprehend. Only three out often eighth graders read at or above grade level, according to the 2004 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Readers who fall significantly behind risk school and workplace failure.

In 2003, only three-fourths of high school students graduated in four years, the National Center for Education Statistics reports. During the previous year, just over half of African American and Hispanic students graduated at all.

So how should educators address these challenges? Guensburg offers some insight in her article for Edutopia.

Via: Public Education Network

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

MetLife Foundation Bridge Builders Grant

Building better relationships among adults and children

The MetLife Foundation Bridge Builders Grant Program and The National Association of Secondary School Principals are inviting proposals from public middle schools and high schools serving large numbers of low-income students. Schools meeting this criteria may apply for a grant to implement a special initiative aimed at building better relationships among adults and students.

The program emphasizes building relationships to personalize the educational experience for each student is fundamental to student success. A component of personalization is understanding and appreciating the student’s role in the larger context of the family and community.

Based on the MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, teachers and students alike reported that teachers in their schools have very little understanding of their students’ neighborhoods and communities, knowledge which can help teachers reach their students more effectively. This lack of understanding is more acute in low-income, urban neighborhoods with high proportions of minority students. Principals set the tone and establish priorities for their schools, and can therefore build bridges between school and community.

Maximum award: $5,000. Eligibility: Middle school and high school principals in public schools in the U.S. that serve large numbers of low-income children and/or large numbers of minority students (more than 40% of the student body) . Deadline: April 17, 2006. More information:

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Seeking young heroes

Prize honors kids for leadership and courage

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes seeks nominations for its 2006 awards. The Barron Prize honors young people ages 8 to 18 who have shown leadership and courage in public service. Each year, ten national winners receive $2,000 each to support their service work or higher education. Nomination deadline is April 30. For more information and to nominate, visit the Barron Prize website.

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Paying kids to go to school

And for perfect attendance, Johnny gets ... a car

Across the country, schools have begun to offer cars, iPods — even a month's rent — as incentives to students to improve their attendance. Many educators nationwide, including those at a Massachusetts high school, look for creative ways to keep their students motivated. The New York Times reports.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Education funding

How much should go directly into the classrooms?
A new organization advocates reallocating school funding so that at least 65 cents on every dollar goes directly into the classroom -- on books and teacher pay. First Class Education wants to see this change by 2008 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Patrick Byrne, CEO of, is the front man for this new concept. However, education researchers are not sure whether the plan will work. The Christian Science Monitor examines the issues.

Via: Public Education Network

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