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Lauren Williams's picture

Evaluating teachers based on student performance is 'punitive measure that demoralizes teachers'

Moreover, when linked to merit pay, a divide-and-conquer strategy to pit teacher against teacher, this evaluation will also weaken the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union with its more than three million members, a development not unwelcome to corporate America.

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Of me I sing: Americans construct an opt-out society

The right of individuals to question authority is one of the strongest facets of American life. The current strain of individualism extends far beyond the familiar distrust of Washington and political polarization, affecting choices in education, economic activity and medical care, among other areas.

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The biggest public school problem might be the brand

Most people believe that charter and private schools are preferable alternatives to traditional public schools. This is evident quite clearly in survey data. This wouldn’t be much of a story if the data on school performance supported these assumptions. Yet private schools are often outperformed by their public counterparts.

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Giving Up on 4-Year-Olds

A new report released by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights shows that excessively punitive policies are being used in the public school system—even against preschoolers. This should shame the nation and force it to re-evaluate the destructive measures that schools are using against their most vulnerable children.

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A sharper eye on Florida transfers

In 2012, Florida made transfers within districts easier for scholastic and athletic reasons. Subsequently, the number of transfers increased. In one county, district officials launched an internal review of district policies after multiple athletes transferred to one school. Perhaps the review will address the questionable matter of recruiting.

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Governor’s Schools enhance Pennsylvania’s agricultural strength

The School for the Agricultural Sciences is the newest addition to the Pennsylvania Governor’s School of Excellence, a program that exposes high school students to a variety of STEM fields. It will be a month-long program where students will learn about agriculture and natural resources.

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Getting serious about the Washington teacher quality gap

Providing disadvantaged students with high-quality teachers does not guarantee their schooling success, but it certainly goes a long way towards increasing the odds that they will do well school, go on to college and lead productive lives.

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Nation's most segregated schools are in New York, not deep south

The nation's most segregated schools aren't in the deep south–they're in New York, according to a report released by the University of California, Los Angeles' Civil Rights Project. In particular, 19 out of New York City's 32 Community School Districts had 10 percent or fewer white students in 2010.

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Building an effective school board

A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Center for American Progress finds school board members with a background in public education are not better informed than their colleagues. It also suggests the makeup of local school boards can have a measurable effect on student achievement.

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Too many suspensions, too few science courses plague minority schools

Thousands of black, Hispanic and American Indian youngsters have higher suspension rates and much less exposure to science and technology classes, which can prepare students for lucrative careers. Schoolhouse inequalities should not be allowed to fester in a society where these minority populations will compose the majority by 2050.

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