Photos of students posing with state test materials found on social networking sites -

Somehow some California students managed to take pictures of their state exams and pass the pictures around on the internet. I'm going to speculate that a student posing with a closed test booklet is most likely not cheating. Students taking pictures of completed answer documents might be cheating, unless they're just taking a picture of the artistic pattern they made by filling in the bubbles without reading any questions.

Low Teach For America retention rate examined, but Duval embraces program |

When my students ask about Teach for America, I try to make it clear to them that it is not the mission of TFA to develop career teachers. Instead, TFA is trying to develop future leaders in business, law, medicine, politics, etc., who will have the benefit of teaching experience. That's a very different thing, and headlines like this one should not be a surprise.

The 5 big mistakes in virtual education

After thinking about blended learning yesterday, I think the five mistakes mentioned in Guillermo Ramirez's slides here are pretty accurate.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

What? Math books have even-numbered problems?

1992 riots are a poignant lesson in L.A. schools when time allows -,0,487515.story

The L.A. riots following the Rodney King beating feel like recent history to me, but I imagine to kids born after 1992 it feels as old as the Civil Rights Movement. It's still an ugly yet important part of our history.

MLB’s “Ultimate Father-Son Sweepstakes” made my baseball-loving, Star Wars-obsessed daughter cry

Nice post by Michael Eisen pointing out the subtle ways gender stereotypes can have a profound effect on the way kids shape their identity.

The IBL Blog: In a Rush to Judge

This article doesn't get into the workings of value-added modeling (VAM), but it does address many reasons we should be thinking beyond test scores. The basketball player free-throw percentage example is a good one.

At Virginia Tech, computers help solve a math class problem - The Washington Post

"The Emporium is the Wal-Mart of higher education..." Uh, congratulations?

Dana Palmie's Slightly Sarcastic Life: Pop Star President

If you didn't see the line for Obama tickets around the UMC today, here are some pictures. Ryan Grover estimated about 5,000 students at 11:00 when the doors opened. And I agree with the author: it's great to see youth who are actively interested in political and other large social issues.

Twitter / @_valeriei: @jnash @jonbecker It even ...!/_valeriei/status/191315019806425089/photo/1

This will be my go-to picture for whenever somebody asks me about an AERA poster session. My advice: "Make sure it looks better than this." – ‘Algebra for all’ may harm many kids

With articles like this, it becomes extra-important to distinguish "early algebra" from "algebra early." Simply shifting old high school algebra classes to lower grades should not be the goal.

Absurd "academic publishing racket" is past its sell-by date - Boing Boing

I hope that as more people hear about the academic publishing system, more will push to move us into the 21st century, where, as Clay Shirky says, "Publishing isn't a job. It's a button."

Who owns my sauropod history paper? « Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week #AcademicSpring

More academics are becoming wise to publishers' claims of needing copyright. In this post, the author transferred copyright to his wife, gave the journal rights to publish (but didn't transfer copyright), and the journal claimed copyright anyway (which is illegal).

Five minute primer: School funding – Schools of Thought - Blogs

This is a pretty good primer to school funding, and I was not aware that the federal contribution to education spending had reached 10.8%.

Taking the ACT a quarter century after high school | Dangerously Irrelevant

Scott McLeod challenged Jason Glass, the Director of the Iowa Department of Education, to retake the ACT. Last weekend, both sat down and took the exam. Here are Scott's reflections after taking the test.

The Republicans who want ignorance to get equal time in schools | Diane Roberts | Comment is free |

The way science education is reported in the U.S. isn't any more flattering than it is overseas. This article discusses the Republican leanings toward pro-religion and anti-science education.

Hickenlooper's 2004 pledge to students of Denver's Cole Middle School fulfilled, failed - Boulder Daily Camera

Then-mayor John Hickenlooper made a promise to students at Cole Middle School that if they put themselves in a position to go to college, he'd make sure they'd have the money. I was a first-year teacher then and remember the announcement. Now that those students have graduated, Kevin Simpson of The Denver Post tracked them down to see how much the money mattered.

The Education Optimists: Derek Bok & the Path to Changing Faculty Teaching Practices

Great comments by Sara Goldrick-Rab after an #AERA2012 session yesterday. She discusses undergraduate education, the creeping in of accountability measures on higher education, adjuncts vs. faculty, and the importance of leadership from public, not-super-selective universities.

Betrayed - Why Public Education Is Failing: Has constructivism increased special-education enrollment in public schools?
Posts like this make me sad, and a little mean. Why is constructivism so misunderstood? When someone says constructivism to me, I think this: "knowledge isn't transmitted from a source; rather, we construct meaning and knowledge as we interact in the world and build on prior experiences." When I listen to a lecture, I hear what's spoken and make meaning of that not by creating a copy in my head, but by merging what I hear with old meanings and making new meanings. That lecture can be about anything -- even the most basic of skills -- and I can be alone in the room when I hear it.

I follow the blog below because for a long time I've had an interest in the math wars, and this has been a pretty reliable source for anti-NCTM, anti-math ed research ideas. This post wasn't math specific, but I'll summarize some of the claims:

- Constructivist theory has led to an increase in the number of special education students. ADHD students, in particular, would be better off if they don't work in groups and aren't spoken to. Because men don't talk as much as women and are more goal-driven, ADHD students should have male teachers.
- NCTM efforts to bring equitable math instruction to girls and minorities "feminized" mathematics has hurt boys. Also, because math was created by diverse cultures over 2000 years, we shouldn't think math or math instruction here and now is culturally biased.
- A focus on special education inclusion and equity has come at the expense of gifted students.
- (In a comment by the author) "Before constructivism" we won world wars, invented technology, and built the pyramids. So non-constructivst teaching works. If we want to prove constructivist teaching works, we need to show that a majority of high risk, inner-city students, can succeed in advanced high school and college math classes using constructivist methods.

I think my frustration comes from two directions: the misguided beliefs and harsh rhetoric in posts like this, and the failure of the research community to more clearly communicate theories and suggested practices to a broad audience. I certainly have seen curriculum and practices designed in the name of constructivism by people who might not really understand the theory, and some of it hasn't been very good. Some of it has been tested by research and found to be helpful, but that research is under-reported and education researchers could do more to try to replicate those studies. It's at times like this I remember that we'll "fix" education about the same time I "fix" my golf game. Perfection is never an option.

Demystifying math could ease anxiety
Can we ease math anxiety by treating it like a phobia? New research from Stanford suggests we can.

Why Denying Climate Change Is Now Part of the Curriculum in Tennessee Schools - Environment - GOOD

I've been following this story a bit and while it's unclear exactly how this law will play out in schools, on the whole it's not likely to be good for science. Backers of the law say it's about "questioning science" and "academic freedom." Questioning science with better science is one thing, but that's not really what this law was designed to do.

Tennessee evolution bill becomes law without governor's signature » The Commercial Appeal

After receiving complaints that teachers were not teaching "balanced" views of evolution and climate change, Tennessee becomes the 2nd state (the other is Louisiana) to pass a law protecting teachers who want to criticize scientific theories. While creationism or intelligent design aren't mentioned in the bill, scientists worry that this will lead to the "mis-teaching" of science.

Educators Issue VAM Report for Secretary Duncan - Living in Dialogue - Education Week Teacher

Value-added modeling can be applied to more than just teachers. This article tried applying a model to Secretaries of Education. Arne Duncan didn't fare well.

A New Teacher’s Dilemma* | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

This article hit home for me, as I remember being a first year teacher in a very working-class school and being confronted by a student about drinking alcohol. I don't remember exactly what the question was, but I answered honestly: I do not, and have never, consumed alcohol. I'm pretty sure he thought I was lying, and either way I never had much credibility with that student, or with many others in the class.

Dillon Valley students showcase the benefits of bilingualism |

I'm becoming increasingly convinced that every educational intervention comes at a cost (or penalty) to somebody, and part of understanding education is weighing the pros and cons. There are a lot of pros in this article about bilingual education in Summit County, and I'm tasking my School and Society students to think about potential cons. I imagine they'll find some, and then we can more intelligently weigh the benefits.

Limit to contract clauses proposed | Home | The Advocate — Baton Rouge, LA

Some lawmakers in Louisiana want the state to remove anti-discriminatory language requirements from charter school contracts because they never passed a law specifically requiring them.

Latino or Hispanic? For many Americans, neither term feels right -,0,3171068.story

We discussed race today in School and Society and I appreciated our course reader's inclusion of several writings of Beverly Daniel Tatum, including a short section on the words we choose to describe race. This article poses the question "Latino or Hispanic?" although neither has suited many immigrants to the U.S.

UNIfy For Education - Home

While the news coverage has quieted, I know many at the University of Northern Iowa are still fighting to save Price Laboratory School and other valued programs from budget cuts. I sincerely hope all parties can reach a compromise; while some programs are awfully small to justify their continued existence, many others (like the lab school) serve important purposes.

New York Legislature to Weigh Limiting Access to Teacher Rankings -

I'm thinking about two things from this article. First, Governor Cuomo is quoted as saying, "I believe in the case of teachers, the parents' right to know outweighs the teachers' right to privacy." Perhaps he's setting up a false dichotomy, but is there any constitutional right to knowing? I don't think so. Even so, "privacy" in this sense doesn't really align with the kinds of privacy named in the Constitution. The second thing I'm thinking about comes from Joe Williams, the executive director of Democrats for Education Reform: "The problem we're trying to solve is not is [sic] going to be solved by printing lists of teachers in the newspapers." Yes, he's using newspapers as the straw man in this argument, but there does seem to be a belief that printing teacher ratings in the news will make a real difference. To use a sports analogy, similar thinking would lead a person to think the Yankees win so many games because of the amount of media coverage they get, not because they outspend every other team in baseball.

square root of negative one teach math: Factoring Woes

I swear, as soon as the semester is over I'm writing blog posts that compliment my presentations last fall about polynomials and quadratics, including factoring. I've seen at least 5 blog posts this year from other teachers seeking better ways to teach factoring.

CU-Boulder Police investigating two arsons over spring break | University of Colorado Boulder

I'm bothered: (a) Somebody tried to set the School of Education on fire, and (b) I didn't notice and nobody said anything about it today. I'm quite sure (a) is far worse, but (b) gets to me, too.

I dare you to measure the “value” I add « No Sleep 'til Summer::

After looking at education from a policy level, I think it's time my students see more from the teacher's point of view. I didn't give a prompt for this, but I'm interested in seeing what my students think.

The Social Sciences’ ‘Physics Envy’ -

Ten years after the publication of Scientific Research in Education, we in the social sciences continue to struggle with expectations that social science should be as certain, in both method and results, as natural science. Social science is so variable and unpredictable (because people are variable and unpredictable) that it deserves different methods, methods that wouldn't make much sense in natural science. It reminds me of this quote from David Berliner: "But the important distinction is really not between the hard and the easy sciences. Easy-to-do science is what those in physics, chemistry, geology, and some other fields do. Hard-to-do science is what the social scientists do and, in particular, it is what we educational researchers do. In my estimation, we have the hardest-to-do science of them all! We do our science under conditions that physical scientists find intolerable." Berliner, D. C. (2002). Educational research: The hardest science of all. Educational Researcher, 31(8), 18-20.