Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Duncan stresses hands-on experience

Obama: Education choice "doesn't blink' on tough decisions

Arne Duncan, President-elect Obama’s pick for U.S. education secretary, says ‘there are no simple answers,’ but reform efforts can make a difference. Obama praises Duncan for his willingness to support controversial policies, such as shutting down low-performing neighborhood schools and expanding charter schools. More from Education Week.

Related: Campaign K-12

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Examining daily report cards

The dynamics of grade-tracking systems

Check school districts nationwide, and you'll find grade-tracking programs in place. The systems, which allow online monitoring by students and parents, can track a student’s daily progress, including class attendance, missed assignments and grades on homework, quizzes and tests. Students can use the program to calculate by what amount they need to raise a grade, or gauge the impact of a bad test or quiz.

Grade-tracking programs are changing the way parents, students, and teachers interact. Since parents can keep abreast of their child's progress, parent-teacher conferences are no longer the setting for unpleasant surprises, as the Washington Post reports.

Related: I know what you did last math class, Schools turn to online grade, progress tracking

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Children and the digital age

Networking: The new literacy

"Whether we like it or not, social Web technologies are having a huge influence on students who are lucky enough to be connected, even the youngest ones."

Will Richardson, author of "Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Tools for Classrooms," makes the case for teaching technology skills and ethics across the curriculum. Not only should students be encouraged to explore topics that interest them, Richardson writes, but they must also learn to use technology wisely.

Digital footprints—the online portfolios of who we are, what we do, and by association, what we know—are quickly becoming a part of our everyday lives. A short lesson on Internet safety is not enough, as Richardson articulates in Educational Leadership.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Honoring our military men and women

Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France,
wait for the end of hostilities.
This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on Nov. 11, 1918,
two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect.

The history of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m.

President Dwight Eisenhower signed House Resolution 7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. An act approved in 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday - a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day."
Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history. After American forces had fought in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Today we honor America's military men and women for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

How important it is for us to recognize and
celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
~Maya Angelou~

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget
that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,
but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy~

Note: Canadians are observing today as Remembrance Day. Click here to read a moving tribute by Ian Lidster.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

One in four students dropping out of school

Report: Kids less likely to graduate than parents

Your child is less likely to graduate from high school than you were, and most states are doing little to hold schools accountable, according to a study by a children's advocacy group. More than half the states have graduation targets that don't make schools get better, the Education Trust says in a report released Thursday.

The numbers are dismal: One in four kids is dropping out of school, a rate that hasn't budged for at least five years.

The United States is now the only industrialized country where young people are less likely than their parents to earn a diploma, the report said, citing data compiled by the international Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

High schools are required to meet graduation targets every year as part of the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind law. But those targets are set by states, not by the federal government. And most states allow schools to graduate low percentages of students by saying that any progress, or even the status quo in some cases, is acceptable. Click here to read the full report by the Education Trust.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Website of the week

Free Preview

Education Week invites readers to its Back-to-School Open House. This gives you free access to the site through September 7. The open house is a great opportunity for you to dive into areas and issues in K-12 education you care deeply about, and catch up on them while it’s free. To take advantage of full access to the site, click here.

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