April 25, 2008 – New York Times – “A Nation at a Loss”
Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of “A Nation at Risk,” a remarkable document that became a milestone in the history of American education — albeit in ways that its creators neither planned, anticipated or even wanted.
April 17, 2008 – Christian Science Monitor – “Good teachers teach to the test”
I have a confession to make. For the entire 28 years that I taught high school English, I taught to the test. And I'm proud to finally admit it.
April 13, 2008 – Philadephia Inquirer – “Looking to the future”
The alarms have been sounding for at least a decade: too little rigor in the high school curriculum; not enough emphasis on math, science and technology; too many new graduates without the skills they will need for college and careers. Turning around an academic program - and turning young people on to tough academic subjects - takes time and effort.
April 11 – Washington Post – “No Reform Left Behind”
Federal education officials are holding out a promise of flexibility to states that have chafed under the "one size fits all" aspects of the No Child Left Behind law. There's no question that individual schools need different strategies. States should be encouraged to innovate. It's important, though, that any new rules not compromise the core principles of a law that has done much to address inequities in educational opportunity.
April 9, 2008 – Des Moines Register – “Help Iowa aim high—set rigorous standards”
Without rigorous state education standards for what students should know and be able to do, some of Iowa's 364 school districts won't aim as high as others - shortchanging youngsters who need to be better prepared than ever to compete in the 21century.
April 6, 2008 – Los Angeles Times – “Who’s a dropout?”
For too long, high schools and states have played hide-the-dropout, artificially inflating their graduation rates. In many places, a teenager practically has to show up at the principal's office and shout "I'm a dropout!" to get counted as one. Considering that the dropout rate is, even by sunny estimates, distressingly high, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings is right to plan a standardized method of reporting nationwide. The public won't demand change when it cannot clearly see the problem.
April 4, 2008 – Washington Times – “Minding King’s words”
Forty years ago today, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was struck down by an assassin's bullet at the age of 39. Many Americans will mark this tragic day with service and civil acts of conscience. In doing so, we recognize that King's dream was for all men to be treated equally and that access and opportunity would be available to all without regard to skin color. Today, that dream must extend to our inadequate, segregated system of education. It is the moral mandate of the 21st century — the civil rights edict of our time.
April 2, 2008 – Baltimore Sun – “Counting graduates”
Baltimore's high school graduation rate has been found wanting yet again - an abysmal 35 percent and fourth lowest among the nation's 50 largest districts, according to a new study. Even worse, the gap between the city's rate and the 82 percent rate in neighboring suburban districts was the nation's largest. State and city education officials are challenging the calculations - and even have two different calculations of their own. But they rightfully concede that whatever the numbers, they are far too low. Beyond Baltimore, the lack of urgency to help more students finish high school is apparent in similarly disturbing statistics across the country.