While celebrations occurred in Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Florida, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio after the 10 were named winners of round two of the administration’s national education-reform competition, controversy was mounting over some of the more surprising winners and losers.
If you think about the cities best known for education reform, a few always come to mind: New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C. But sometimes reputations outlast reality, and stars in the making don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Do parents have the right to know which of their kids' teachers are the most and least effective? That's the controversy roaring in California this week with the publication of a Los Angeles Times investigative series.
In a surprise move, the U.S. Senate did something good Wednesday—it moved to prevent more than 100,000 teachers from being laid off this fall and restored funds for President Obama’s signature Race to the Top education program.
The financial-reform bill signed into law last week includes a section on dangerous mortgages, with a provision for educating the elderly, the poor, minorities, those with language barriers, and “other potentially vulnerable consumers.” Who’s not mentioned but should be? The young. Among unemployed Americans ages 18 to 29, more than a quarter are behind on mortgage payments, one 2009 study found, and this group also has soaring credit-card debt and bankruptcy rates.
Education reformers were feeling optimistic. With President Obama’s Race to the Top competition, which offers financial rewards to states willing to hold teachers accountable for their students’ performance, they’ve made real progress in weeding out poor teachers.
Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the “Torrance kids,” a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, “How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?”
The theme of this year’s national teachers' union conventions was anger, particularly at President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and reformers in general. But American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten’s decision to emphasize collaboration rather than opposition to reform efforts could well boost her national image as the union leader the administration can work with.
Last month on the Daily Show, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty predicted the rise of “iCollege,” a Web-based model of higher education that students could download for $199 rather than “haul their keister” to class. Many academics snarled back (“pedagogical dystopia,” one Cornell professor called it), since the idea seems to minimize the role of live student-teacher exchanges. But Pawlenty’s vision already has some lofty adherents. Pennsylvania’s university system is considering making its language courses online only; Indiana recently added an “affordable” Web-based campus; and Yale Law School is sharing resources with the University of the People, a pioneering “global college” that’s tuition-free and totally online.
In 1972, when Mae Jemison was just 16 years old, she arrived at Stanford University, where she intended to pursue a degree in engineering. But it wasn’t long after arriving in Palo Alto that she learned that the university’s science departments weren’t nearly as enthusiastic about her as she was about them.
Mark Kirk, the Republican contender for Barack Obama's former Illinois Senate seat, had previously misrepresented his military service in the course of campaigning. Now his oft-recalled time as a teacher is being questioned too.
The good news: Latino and black high-school graduation rates have slightly improved. The bad: those rates are not increasing fast enough to make up for the demographic shifts in the country's public-high-school population.
Can you guess which of America's favorite entrepreneurs, celebrities, and athletes were nerds in high school? Take our quiz to find out what these stars were like as teens and where their high school ranks on NEWSWEEK's 2010 America's Best High Schools list.