Burned Out on Homework
"The Homework Myth,"
I just read the article "The Homework Myth" written by Alfie Kohn. First, I am a mother of three daughters, ages 10, 15, 17. They are all so burned out on homework from having been assigned worksheet after worksheet. I can't get any of them to pick up a book to read for pleasure because books are considered more work. If a teacher "assigns" reading as homework, it would benefit the child so much more if work were not attached to it. Reading for life skills and pleasure should be emphasized, not reading for work.
Penny Crawford RN, PHN Atascadero, California
Failing to Address Accessibility
"Creating an Effective Virtual School Program"
Nice article on virtual schools. There's one issue that's missing, though, and it's probably worth a separate article. A number of program developers fail to think about how to provide access to online education opportunities for special needs students and students with disabilities. Access is a legal issue that school administrators need to consider when they create virtual education programs. Please, don't ignore this important issue.
Raymond M. Rose, Education Consultant Cedar Park, Texas
Helpful Site Review
"Do These Web Sites Work?"
Thanks for the review of our Web site (Dubuque Community Schools,www.dubuque.k12.ia.us). It was very helpful. Your comments were insightful and much appreciated. I agree with everything you said, and you provided me with a grocery list of things we will change. However, your observation that there was nothing on the site devoted to student achievement was inaccurate. It was probably easy to miss, but the Annual Report section is updated annually with standardized test data, NCLB compliance data, and a brief but comprehensive financial report. Thanks so much for showcasing our district.
Gary Olsen, Webmaster, Dubuque Community Schools, Dubuque, Iowa
Support from Newsweek
I was delighted to pick up the latest issue of District Administration and see that you'd chosen to list the Newsweek Education Program among the "curriculum hotspots" highlighted. We recognize the growing importance and usefulness of the Internet in the classroom, and are committed to making our site richer and more robust each year.
Maureen Costello, Director, Newsweek Education Program, New York, N.Y.
Beyond Zealots and Kooks
"The Parental Veto of Curriculum"
Gary Stager's column suggests that only zealots and religious kooks question Al Gore. This is far from the truth. In fact, I have spoken to three Chicago-area meteorologists who ALL tell me that they view the warming of the planet to be related to solar activity - not CO2. One admitted that it is very unpopular to question "Man-Made Global Warming Theory" and that she has learned to keep her mouth shut on the topic. One of the casualties of Mr. Gore's documentary is good science. To ascribe opposition to the domain of zealots does us all great disservice.
Mark T. Hupp, Director of Technology, Northbrook Glenview School District #30, Northbrook, Ill.
No Fractional Support
"Research Corner: K8 Math Strategies"
I was disappointed for several reasons that this article wholeheartedly approved the NCTM proposal to improve K8 mathematics programs. In particular, I find unacceptable NCTM's insistence that children by grade 4 must know how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions. There is no empirical evidence that this is a reasonable objective, and there is overwhelming evidence that the subject is too difficult for a high percentage of these youngsters to master.
Patrick Groff, Professor of Education Emeritus San Diego State University, San Diego, Calif.
Editor's comment: This issue includes a special report, "Focal Points for PreK8 Math," with differing viewpoints on how and when the new NCTM standards may be implemented.
The Real Thing
March 2006 Issue
When reading District Administration I tear out articles for copying or forwarding to district leaders or the board of education. "Hunting for Talent" went to each building
principal and the district human resource coordinator, "Finding Funds for Student Laptops" went to the district technology coordinator and the director of assessment and learning, and the "Principal Opinion" column will be shared with every administrator and teacher leader in Greendale. District Administration is the real thing when it comes to school improvement and boosting student achievement.
William H. Hughes, Ph.D., Superintendent, Greendale School District, Greendale, Wis.