You are here

From DA

As soon as Principal Renita Perkins saw the teacher's tears, she had a pretty good notion about what was wrong.

At the teacher's prior school, affluence and two-parent homes were the norm. On the flip side, Nashville's Cumberland Elementary has mainly disadvantaged minority students. Perkins had discussed this potential problem with the teacher when she hired her.

But now, here she was, at her wits' end over two difficult students in her fourth-grade class. Their behavior had crossed the line into physical fighting.


As No Child Left Behind marks its second anniversary this month, the wide-ranging law is facing its toughest criticism. I've both praised and criticized the law already, so this month I'll comment on how it is being perceived by superintendents, presidential candidates, and the public itself.

Meet Frank Smith? No Thanks

As a longtime reading teacher, the December 2003 article, "Meet Frank Smith" (page 41) by Gary Stager dismayed me.

Schools in isolated rural areas and inner cities are the hardest to staff, particularly those

serving minority or low-income students, according to recent data. Teachers in special education, math, science and foreign languages are especially needed. Shortages are greatest in the Southeast, Southwest and the West. With No Child Left Behind putting greater emphasis on having "highly qualified" teachers in every classroom, the competition among districts for teachers is likely to intensify the problem and present a challenge for rural districts.

Because bomb threats are real in many schools across the nation, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Department of Education recently joined forces to offer a CD-ROM with one comprehensive plan as well as a Web site that district leaders can use to get the latest stories and resources regarding such threats.

The good news is that my daughter's teachers are at last beginning to use computers. The bad news is they are using them to make PowerPoint presentations. Frightening images of my high school algebra teacher with the indelible blue arm from the ceaseless writing and erasing at the overhead projector flashed through my mind during my recent trip to Back-to-School Night.

Everyday, teachers are confronted with many challenges, from prodding stubborn learners to subduing undisciplined students. But one of the most important parts of every teacher's equilibrium can go unchecked day after day.


Beware the Writing Assessment: Q&A with George Hillocks Jr.

Q: Why is "teaching to the test" especially harmful in writing instruction?

Large District Leaders Back NCLB

In Small Town USA, No Child Left Behind looks more like a foe than a friend. But most big city leaders think it's a reasonable challenge.

The New SAT

It's not your father's SAT anymore. Come spring of 2005, high school students will be sitting down to take an SAT that is much different from anything their parents, or even their siblings, ever faced.