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The headlines can be brutal: School superintendent arrested. Officials say embezzlement scheme netted $8 million. And suddenly a Google search turns up criticism of the district's practice not just from standard media articles, but CPA newsletters, trade publications and professional blogs.

Here are some things we know about higher education in America: how much it costs, which majors are popular, the number of Ph.D.s on the faculty. Here's something we don't know: whether students are learning.

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Q: One might think the job of superintendent in a school system with Rockford's demographics and achievement levels would be easier than most. Is it?

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Using energy efficiency to make money and improve pupil academics is graining ground in K-12 schools nationwide.

The hardest thing to quantify is buzz. Webster's defines it as "to be filled with a confused murmur." However you define this word, it was a big part of the third annual EduComm Conference in Orlando this June.

Vision on ice is no different from vision that 21st century schools must have to survive and thrive, according to Angus King, former governor of Maine. In 2002, King used a state surplus to buy laptops for every seventh and eighth grader in Maine.

When Philip Brody arrived at Clark County (Nev.) School District in September of 1998, he was charged with upgrading the district's computer network so schools could become competitive in the newly dawned Internet age.

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, boys and girls in sixth grade in Osseo Area Schools, Minn., learned the term masturbation. All fourth-graders learned about anatomy in mixed-gender classes and the definition of sexual intercourse. And junior high students learned methods to avoid the risk of HIV infection.

It was a comprehensive family life curriculum, considered a prime model of a comprehensive human sexuality and family life education, according to B.J. Anderson, then the curriculum and instruction specialist for the district.

In Okemos, Mich., Paula Pulter's first grade class at the Cornell Elementary School has covered units on American history, the Revolutionary War, U.S. presidents, weather and recycling. At the Thorn Apple Elementary School in Grand Rapids, Nancy Lass had led her second graders through a six-week unit reading and writing about microscopic animals.

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