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pestilence is from the devil.

A federal judge in New York has ruled against a group of parents who had filed a lawsuit, asserting that the New York City policy that allows schools to ban unvaccinated kids from attending classes when another child has come down with a vaccine preventable illness infringed on their practice of religion. The decision cites Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905), where the SCOTUS upheld Cambridge, Mass, Board of Health’s authority to require vaccination against smallpox during a smallpox epidemic.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 23, 2014 - 88 comments

How Children What?

"John Holt and Paul Tough are a half-century apart. Both were interested in children and how they learned. One wrote a book called How Children Learn, the other a book called How Children Succeed. Their juxtaposition has a lot to tell us about how we think about and treat our young people."
posted by overeducated_alligator on May 27, 2014 - 11 comments

The SHSAT is a diagnostic, the canary in the coal mine.

Bill De Blasio blamed the lack of racial diversity in New York City's top high schools, such as Stuyvesant, on the standardized admissions test, and campaigned on ending it. The New York Times has written pieces reminding of it. But the parent of a biracial son attending Stuyvesant has a different argument: that the problem is not with the test, but with the substandard education system that dominates much of New York City.
"By having these pathetic SHSAT results publicized year after year, it shines a light on just what an awful job inner city schools are doing educating those students who can’t afford to buy their way out of a broken system, either through private schools or private tutoring centers. If the specialized high schools’ racial balances were “fixed,” we might be tempted to consider the problems they expose 'fixed,' too."

posted by corb on Mar 26, 2014 - 165 comments

Potterverse Worldbuilding

The extended setting of the Harry Potter series is fertile soil for fans interested in worldbuilding, especially since the release of Pottermore (previously), a companion site to the books that includes back-story and adjunt information direct from J.K. Rowling. Some of these worldbuilding projects include explorations on wizarding fashion, magical education (including other magical schools), fantastic beasts (and perhaps where to find them), Muslims at Hogwarts, and the next generation of Hogwarts students. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 30, 2014 - 116 comments

post-industrial education for post-industrial organizations

Sudbury Valley School - "It upends your views about what school is for, why it has to cost as much as it does, and whether our current model makes any sense at all. But what's most amazing about the school, a claim the founders make which was backed up by my brief observations, my conversations with students, and the written recollections of alumni, is that the school has taken the angst out of education. Students like going there, and they like their teachers. Because they are never made to take a class they don't like, they don't rue learning. They don't hate homework because they don't have homework. School causes no fights with their parents." (previously-er) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 8, 2014 - 63 comments

"Somebody's gotta stand up to these experts!"

Creationists' Last Stand at the Texas State Board of Education
posted by brundlefly on Nov 14, 2013 - 82 comments

School Desegregation

Are our schools becoming more segregated? In 1954 "Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka" desegregated schools in the United States... but, it appears that the country is losing ground in this effort. According to an article in Aljazeera America: "African-American and Latino students are less likely to attend racially and ethnically diverse schools today than at any other time in the last four decades. This, almost 60 years after the landmark Supreme Court ruling that desegregated schools, represents a major setback for one of the core goals of the civil rights movement."
posted by HuronBob on Sep 25, 2013 - 24 comments

The Common Core

The Common Core (Wikipedia) is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt (that is, if they want to keep their funding). In the weeks and months leading up to implementation of the Common Core, some teachers are a little wary. Teachers and community organizers are now left to translate Common Core standards for confused parents, with some myths, rumors, and miscommunications getting in the way. Now, after months of preparing for the shift, some states are dropping out of the Common Core. But why?
posted by SkylitDrawl on Sep 22, 2013 - 44 comments

One of the saddest situations that I've seen

After a fight with a former friend, reportedly over a "boyfriend situation", Rebecca Sedwick was suspended. When Rebecca reported she was being bullied, the school worked with Tricia, Rebecca's mother, to change Rebecca's schedule. Tricia had her daughter close her Facebook account, too. [more inside]
posted by misha on Sep 12, 2013 - 223 comments

A win for boobie bracelets in middle school

"The question was not so much what the bracelets said but whether school officials used reasonable judgment when they concluded that such apparel was inappropriate and might lead to more egregiously sexual and disruptive displays, all in the name of advocating a cause." Special bonus: The knockers displayed in a Google ad running below the innocent image of a boobie-bracelet-bedecked wrist.
posted by Bella Donna on Aug 7, 2013 - 33 comments

You may want to NOT "take the last train to Clarksville"!

The local school district in Clarksville, Arkansas will be arming 20 school employees. [more inside]
posted by HuronBob on Jul 30, 2013 - 126 comments

"...we should take a close look at repealing compulsory education."

Utah State Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) has introduced a proposal to abolish compulsory education for children in his home state. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 17, 2013 - 188 comments

"You don’t like it? Find another place to live."

"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools." Also see: A District Divided. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 24, 2013 - 168 comments

Michelle Rhee's "Reign of Error"

DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee oversaw radical reforms to Washington, DC's failing public schools. Amongst the results were widespread irregularities on standardized tests that suggest they were tampered with by adults. [more inside]
posted by Westringia F. on Apr 14, 2013 - 72 comments

Snitches get lines and have to stay behind after school

Until Jackie Parks, Georgia state investigator Richard Hyde had never tried to flip an elementary school teacher. Ms. Parks admitted to Mr. Hyde that she was one of seven teachers — nicknamed “the chosen” — who sat in a locked windowless room every afternoon during the week of state testing, raising students’ scores by erasing wrong answers and making them right. She then agreed to wear a hidden electronic wire to school, and for weeks she secretly recorded the conversations of her fellow teachers for Mr. Hyde.
posted by Sebmojo on Apr 1, 2013 - 40 comments

This Chicago Life

Last school year in Chicago, 29 current and recent students of Harper High School in the Englewood neighborhood were shot. Of those, 8 students died. For one semester (five months) reporters from the NPR show This American Life interviewed students and staff at Harper. The reporters wanted to know: How do students live with the violence surrounding them? How does the school staff deal with the effects of violence on students? The resulting two episodes of the show answer these questions (and more) in heartbreaking and surprising ways. Part one here. Part two here.
posted by Misty_Knightmare on Feb 22, 2013 - 30 comments

Teachers boycott standardized testing

Teachers at two Seattle high schools have decided to boycott a district-required standardized test. [more inside]
posted by showbiz_liz on Jan 15, 2013 - 99 comments

Boaler and the math wars

"Milgram and Bishop are opposed to reforms of mathematics teaching and support the continuation of a model in which students learn mathematics without engaging in realistic problems or discussing mathematical methods. They are, of course, entitled to this opinion, and there has been an ongoing, spirited academic debate about mathematics learning for a number of years. But Milgram and Bishop have gone beyond the bounds of reasoned discourse in a campaign to systematically suppress empirical evidence that contradicts their stance. Academic disagreement is an inevitable consequence of academic freedom, and I welcome it. However, responsible disagreement and academic bullying are not the same thing. Milgram and Bishop have engaged in a range of tactics to discredit me and damage my work which I have now decided to make public." Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics education at Stanford, accuses two mathematicians, one her colleague of Stanford, of unethical attempts to discredit her research, which supports "active engagement" with mathematics (aka "reform math") over the more traditional "practicing procedures" approach. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Oct 18, 2012 - 119 comments

What do today's kids make of the Commodore 64?

What do today's kids make of the Commodore 64? BBC News invited Commodore enthusiast Mat Allen to show schoolchildren his carefully preserved computer, at a primary school and secondary school in London.
posted by modernnomad on Aug 1, 2012 - 130 comments

Digital Divide?

The NYT published an article this week covering a new "digital divide" where poor children are spending more time "wasting time" online. [more inside]
posted by momochan on Jun 1, 2012 - 47 comments

Think of the children

Arresting children for trivial offences in schools. [more inside]
posted by SueDenim on Jan 10, 2012 - 131 comments

Wayside School Is Not Funny In Real Life

In 1972, Washington, DC opened the doors to the HD Woodson Senior High School. It was the city's first new school in twelve years, and the first to be constructed after riots devastated the city in 1968. Like its sister school across town, it had been built to withstand another riot, and protect its students within its fortress-like walls. For a time, it stood as the pride and joy of the city's school system, featuring a diverse range of academic and vocational programs in a state of the art 8-story building complete with escalators, science labs, and a six-lane pool; a symbol of hope for a downtrodden community. By 2008, however, things had gone horribly, horribly wrong. The building was literally crumbling, many of its original facilities had closed due to neglect, only 13% of sophomores were proficient in reading or mathematics, and violence was a daily concern. Facing no other choice, the city closed the school in 2008, and demolished the brutalist structure shortly thereafter.

After a three year series of delays, next week, students will begin classes in the newly reconstructed HD Woodson High School; a 3-story state of the art building complete with elevators, science labs, and an eight-lane pool; a symbol of hope for a downtrodden community -- leading many to question: Will it work this time? The correlation between architecture and academic performance is not well-studied, and previous efforts have been inconclusive at best.
posted by schmod on Aug 18, 2011 - 49 comments

Landmark Ruling in Favor of on-line Student Speech

Two simultaneous landmark court rulings in favor of student speech limit the extent to which a school can censor a student's OFF CAMPUS on-line speech. These rulings centered on two cases where students parodied school principals in a disrespectful manner on MySpace.
posted by Seymour Zamboni on Jun 15, 2011 - 35 comments

Transparency?

School official squirms as he attempts to define transparency. The best part is when he informs the reporter that the process of handing over a public school to a for-profit company will become transparent after all of the decisions have been made and the contracts signed.
posted by Seymour Zamboni on May 21, 2011 - 35 comments

Bad Education

The Higher Education (Debt) Bubble - "[H]igh and increasing college costs mean students need to take out more loans, more loans mean more securities lenders can package and sell, more selling means lenders can offer more loans with the capital they raise, which means colleges can continue to raise costs. The result is over $800 billion in outstanding student debt, over 30 percent of it securitized, and the federal government directly or indirectly on the hook for almost all of it. If this sounds familiar, it probably should... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 17, 2011 - 185 comments

Good Rat

The subject of this week's This American Life, Schenectady, NY schools facilities director Steven Raucci was tried and convicted last year on arson and weapons charges after six years in which Raucci routinely exercised his power as union head, manager and close associate of the district heads to sexually harass, threaten and intimidate coworkers, including using explosives on enemies' cars and homes. Much of the district's investigative report is redacted.
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Nov 18, 2010 - 42 comments

I've got a new way to walk... to school that is!

Leave the car at home and take to the streets using your feet! Tomorrow is International Walk to School Day. Find out who and where they're walking Maybe there's a walking school bus or a bike train near you! And why not keep the momentum going and learn about Safe Routes to School in the US or Safe Routes to School in Canada [more inside]
posted by vespabelle on Oct 5, 2010 - 31 comments

A Back to School Surprise in California

"Out of the blue, in the middle of a recession, the phone rang. What would it cost, the caller asked the founder of DonorsChoose.org, to fund every California teacher's wish list posted on the Web site? The founder, Charles Best, thought perhaps the female caller would hang up when he tossed out his best guess: "Something over $1 million," he told her. A day later, Hilda Yao, executive director of the Claire Giannini Fund mailed a check of more than $1.3 million to cover the entire California wish list, 2,233 projects in all, with an extra $100,000 tossed in to help pay for other teacher needs across the country. (DonorsChoose: previously on MeFi) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 3, 2010 - 82 comments

Lost Boys return home to build schools

Valentino Achak Deng was a young Dinka boy in southern Sudan in the 1980s when his village was destroyed by government militia. He became one of the over 25,000 refugee children collectively known as the "Lost Boys of Sudan." Valentino spent nine years living in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya before emigrating to the US in 2001. In 2003, he met American writer Dave Eggers, and the two collaborated on the fictionalized "What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng." The two always intended for the proceeds from the book to support Valentino's hometown of Marial Bai in Sudan. They created the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation as a vehicle for this. In May 2009, the Foundation opened the Marial Bai Secondary School, the only "fully functioning secondary school in the entire region." The school is free and admissions policies favor orphans. However, many families wouldn't let their daughters attend, so Valentino built a girls' dormitory, and now 100 girls are able to live on-campus and focus on school full-time. The school has 260 students total. [more inside]
posted by bluedaisy on Aug 17, 2010 - 12 comments

"I am the enemy."

"I am the enemy. I never realized this until your election to governor. In a few short weeks, you have made this fact explicitly clear to me." Steven Derion, a 2007 nominee for the Governor's Teacher of the Year Award, writes New Jersey governor Chris Christie a letter.
posted by Rory Marinich on Jun 11, 2010 - 198 comments

The Book Tower

Book owners have smarter kids
posted by Artw on Jun 4, 2010 - 114 comments

I should be doing my taxes

New York Magazine has crunched the numbers, Park Slope has taken the title of most livable neighborhood of New York. [more inside]
posted by minkll on Apr 12, 2010 - 84 comments

Music!

Music! - A 1968 documentary by the National Music Council of Great Britain, featuring folk singing, The Beatles, and even early electronic music produced by tape splicing. Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.
posted by Artw on Mar 7, 2010 - 8 comments

Great Teachers Are Made, Not Born

Doug Lemov is getting some attention for his work at identifying - and trying to replicate - the key things that successful teachers do. [more inside]
posted by mai on Mar 3, 2010 - 44 comments

An education "turnaround"

“This is hard work and these are tough decisions, but students only have one chance for an education,” Education Secretary Duncan said, “and when schools continue to struggle we have a collective obligation to take action.” In response to a new federal mandate to fix under-performing schools, every teacher will be fired at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island.
posted by lunit on Feb 24, 2010 - 229 comments

Do kids need to learn gardening or more algebra?

"The suicidal dietary choices of so many poor people are the result of a problem, not the problem itself. The solution lies in an education that will propel students into a higher economic class, where they will live better and therefore eat better." So argues Caitlin Flanagan in the pages of The Atlantic against Alice Waters' idea that school curricula ought to teach children where food comes from and how to grow it (see The Edible Schoolyard).
posted by shivohum on Jan 12, 2010 - 124 comments

Detroit: Worst Test Score Ever

The results of the recent National Assessment of Education Progress (NEAP) tests are in. Detroit students posted the worst math scores ever in the history of the test. [more inside]
posted by Acromion on Dec 11, 2009 - 68 comments

Murmur

Murmur. Photographs of flocking birds by Richard Barnes.
Boids. A program by Craig Reynolds modeling emergent behavior.
Swarm. A platform and wiki for agent-based modelers.
posted by OmieWise on Sep 17, 2009 - 14 comments

The Payout of Education Reform.

In what has been described as "the American Idol of education" and "a biosphere of educational reform," The Equity Project Charter School will open in NYC this fall, offering $125,000 salaries to a "dream team" of teachers to test the theory that better teacher quality is the key to a better education for students.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Jun 6, 2009 - 71 comments

Hacking Education

A couple of months ago venture capital firm Union Square Ventures got together a bunch of smart folks to spend a day talking about how the education establishment in the US can be changed to make it more relevant and useful to many more kids. The results, as evidenced by the transcript, and the summaries by Union Square partners Brad Burnham and Fred Wilson indicate that there is no shortage of interesting ideas for how to do a better job preparing our kids for the future. The unanswered question is how to put any of this into action on a scale that will make a difference. A charter school here, charter school there, and a couple of million homeschoolers are changing the system at a glacial pace, at best.
posted by COD on May 13, 2009 - 43 comments

Did corporal punishment save a struggling school?

Three years ago, David Nixon took over the principalship at John C. Calhoun Elementary School. "Thirty minutes into his first day of school at John C, a father walked into Nixon's office and said, 'I want to give you the authority to whip my son's butt.' Nixon was surprised, but after he thought it over, he decided to give every parent the same option." Did corporal punishment save a struggling school? [more inside]
posted by jeeves on Apr 28, 2009 - 160 comments

Would you like to meet me between holidays?

An Oregon School for Troubled Teens Is Under Scrutiny (TIME) - Allegations at of abuse at the facility have been made for decades, and now it is being investigated by the state for the second time. Of course, abuse at private residential facilities for troubled teenagers is nothing new, but some female students at this school claim there was an additional, cruel twist: [more inside]
posted by Kutsuwamushi on Apr 19, 2009 - 76 comments

"My wife and I were terrorized by a baseless prosecution"

Ting-Yi Oei is an assistant principal in Virginia who was indicted for possession of child pornography. Today, he describes his year-long fight against the charges, which ended in dismissal.
posted by palliser on Apr 19, 2009 - 59 comments

Eye of the storm

Many of us have seen or read The Wave, but how many of us have seen A Class Divided? It depicts one third-grade teacher's attempts to teach Midwestern children about the civil rights movement, many of whom had never met a black person before. As part of a daring experiment, she split the class between brown-eyed children and blue-eyed children, and gave the "browneyes" special privileges. The children were told, in no uncertain terms, that the "blueyes" were inferior. What followed was a lesson in discrimination that the kids would remember for the rest of their lives.
posted by Afroblanco on Dec 28, 2008 - 53 comments

The Lady Chancellor's Nightmare

"The thing that kills me about education is that it's so touchy-feely...if the children don't know how to read, I don't care how creative you are. You're not doing your job". Michelle Rhee is polarizing, inexperienced, abrasive, and young - and with urban school systems all over the country watching, she is trying to rebuild DC's famously troubled public school system (link to full series). [more inside]
posted by peachfuzz on Dec 1, 2008 - 107 comments

. . .

"Principals make hundreds of decisions everyday based on our best judgment. And in that time, smelling that marker, I felt like, 'Wow, that's a very serious marker,'" Benisch said. Despite the medical evidence, Benisch promised to draw an even clearer line on markers. "We've purged every permanent marker there is in this building," he said.
posted by tehloki on Apr 6, 2008 - 71 comments

Sigh.

American public schools can be pretty evil sometimes. However, children can be evil too.
posted by tehloki on Apr 3, 2008 - 35 comments

Research into primary education

The Primary Review has published three research reports about primary school education in the UK and elsewhere. The Structure of Primary Education: England and Other Countries. Primary Curriculum and Assessment: England and Other Countries. Press release summarising some of the findings. [more inside]
posted by paduasoy on Feb 8, 2008 - 13 comments

Segregation in Toronto Schools

Toronto trustees have voted in favor of an 'Afrocentric' school. City staff endorsed the plan, while other groups in the city have not been so supportive.
posted by jjb on Jan 29, 2008 - 66 comments

10 Signs of Intelligent Life at YouTube

Open Culture's "10 Signs of Intelligent Life at YouTube" features "intellectually redeemable" channels from UC Berkeley, @GoogleTalks, TheNobelPrize, TED Talks, FORA.tv, the European Graduate School, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, BBC Worldwide, National Geographic, PBS, UChannel, MIT, Vanderbilt, and USC.
posted by Soup on Dec 27, 2007 - 21 comments

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