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From DA

The "People's Education Secretary"

The professional wrestler known as The Rock likes to call himself the "people's champion" because he considers himself to be popular even if he is not currently holding the title. U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige could call himself the "people's education secretary" judging by his recent moves.

It's a never-ending question between school boards and superintendents: Who has authority over what issues and how can both sides coexist peacefully and effectively?

Research shows that students achieve more when schools recognize and respect languages other than "standard written English." So, why have educators been slow in adopting corresponding practices?

Conflict is inevitable. So, when you think about keeping your schools safe, consider communication.

Images of students fleeing deadly shooting sprees in 1998-99 in Colorado and Arkansas set a new tone in classrooms nationwide.

It's an age-old tradition, something that has been around since the beginning of modern man. Some experts say it is the core of any violence prevention or safety technique around.

It's talking.

Take a troubled urban school district with almost two dozen non-performing schools, impoverished students and racial imbalance and what do you get? A recipe for educational disaster?

What is insane? In Niagara Falls, N.Y., residents are used to crazy behavior. Besides the disconcerting monthly suicides, there are the stunts. People have walked tightropes over Niagara Falls, gone over in barrels, big plastic balls, kayaks, even jet skis.

But to Niagara Superintendent of Schools Carmen A. Granto, insane is something else. It is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the results to differ. It is sending home the same report card, quarter after quarter, and expecting parents to get more out of it than they do.

Long, long ago, in some mythical classroom of the lost world, if you wanted to know how well a student was learning, you'd just ask the teacher. Teachers then not only had eyes in the back of their heads, but powerful eyes all around that could read the body language of 30 students at once, zero in on one child's scrawl while evaluating another's doodles, and see which kids added with their fingers and which read with their lips.

The National Science Foundation has arguably done more to improve K-12 science, mathematics and technology education in the United States than any other sponsoring agency. Starting decades ago, the NSF funded the development of large-scale programs that transformed the curriculum from didactic content presentations to laboratory-centered student inquiry. The programs were created through comprehensive research and development processes, were piloted and field tested extensively with diverse student populations, and published commercially for wide-scale implementation.

I was sitting in my 12th grade physics class, carving my initials into the top of my desk. It wasn't that I believed physics to be irrelevant; to the contrary, though I knew little about physics, I concluded that it had to be important. After all, you had to take lots of other science classes before you earned the right to take physics, and if you were college bound, your guidance counselor was sure to push you to take it.


This letter was supposed to update you on the education of my 5-year-old, Ethan. I introduced you to Ethan in November when I chronicled the decision my wife and I made to send him to a Montessori school and delay kindergarten for a year.