Menu

Policy, Politics, Statistics

Organizing Schools Around Learning

People who haven’t hung around schools much might be puzzled by the essential argument that I am making in my new book, Schools That Succeed, which is that schools should be organized in ways to ensure that all students learn a great deal. They might think: “They’re schools! What else would they be organized around?”

Schools Can Get Better. They Can Also Get Worse.

In 1987 then-U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett flew to Chicago and pronounced its schools “the worst in the nation.”

“I’m not sure there’s a system as bad as the Chicago system,” he said.

Detroit and a few other cities were clear rivals, but to Bennett, Chicago—with its 43 percent dropout rate and dismal scores on the college entrance ACT test—beat them all.

Here Are Some Schools You Should Visit, Secretary DeVos

On one of her first days on the job, Betsy DeVos did what any U.S. Secretary of Education might do: She visited a public school.

Such an event might have gone relatively unnoticed if not for widespread worries that she neither understands public schools nor appreciates their central importance in building a civic community.

So, good for her.

She needs to see how public schools can be a beacon to the community — a metaphorical city on a hill, so-to-speak.

Tackling Achievement Gaps From Summer Learning Loss

A well-designed summer program can help low-income students read and do math better. In fact, attending a summer program regularly for as little as five weeks for two years in a row could result in about a quarter of a year’s gain in both reading and math for students from low-income families.

Schools With Large Concentrations of Poverty Can Be High-Performing, But Not Because They Concentrate Poverty

I recently learned that my work has been used as justification by school officials who advocate deliberately concentrating poverty in a few schools.

My reaction is dismay.

The high-performing, high-poverty schools I write about hold many lessons, but none of them is that we should deliberately create more high-poverty schools.

Banner Year for Dyslexia in 2015 Will Fuel Progress in 2016, Says Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity

2015 was a banner year for all who care about what happens to dyslexic boys, girls, men and women, according to Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity (YCDC) Co-Directors Bennett Shaywitz, MD and Sally Shaywitz, MD.

Open Doors

"Truly, the door has opened and light is beginning to come in for dyslexia," writes the YCDC team in an email. The doctors are referring to a changing landscape for dyslexics thanks to efforts from many people. These include researchers, educators, parents and legislators.

Does Preschool Improve Later Literacy Achievement?

Here we go again.

Last week, Dale Farran and a team of researchers at the University of Tennessee concluded that preschool education gets kids off to a great academic start, but by the end of kindergarten the results start to wear off. And, by the end of second grade you can’t even tell that the kids had attended preschool or not.

That suggests that preschool education is a lousy investment — if the goal is to improve students’ later reading and math achievement.

Diverse Books Blossom, Including Disability! Download a Free Booktalking Kit from WNDB™

We Need Diverse Books™ (WNDB) just launched a Booktalking Kit that is now available to download at no cost. The kit is comprised of 30 titles and helps to increase the comfort level involved in identifying, reading, and discussing books that feature diverse characters, including those with disabilities. The kit also considers diversity among authors.

15 "Headstrong Nation" Facts Aim to Improve Dyslexia Acceptance, Ways of Some Teachers

Headstrong Nation's "Learn The Facts" sheet underpins current thinking by this national advocacy group of adult dyslexics and parents. The goal is to achieve greater understanding and acceptance of the challenges and strengths of those who struggle to read due to this neurologically-based learning difference.

Unbalanced Comments on Balanced Literacy

Want to win an argument about literacy? Just claim your approach is “balanced.”

Balanced is a affirmative term. That’s why Fox-News claims to be “fair and balanced.” It not only makes your position sound reasonable, but implies your opponents may be a bit off, you know, imbalanced.

So it is not too surprising that school principals and district literacy leaders often tout their reading programs as balanced. “Balanced literacy” sounds great, but what does it mean? What is being balanced?

Pages

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges