• How to Save a Kid: Take the time to read to children
    The average working mother spends 11 minutes of quality time with children one-on-one each day, and just 30 minutes on the weekend. The average father spends eight minutes, with 15 minutes on the weekend. Stay-at-home mothers add a mere two minutes more of quality time spent, according to the Institute of Social Research. Compare that to an average of six hours a week shopping and 30 hours a week watching TV. With all that time spent on other things, parents aren’t spending the recommended 20 minutes a day reading to their children.
  • Number of students attending charter schools soars
    The number of students attending charter schools has soared to more than 2 million as states pass laws lifting caps and encouraging their expansion, according to figures released Wednesday. The growth represents the largest increase in enrollment over a single year since charter schools were founded nearly two decades ago. In all, more than 500 new charter schools were opened in the 2011-12 school year. And about 200,000 more students are enrolled now than a year before, an increase of 13 percent nationwide. Overall, about 4.5 percent of all public school students now attend a charter school, and about 5 percent of all public schools are charters.
  • Tracy to chair STEM Education Caucus
    The Tennessee Legislature announced the launch of a bipartisan, bicameral Tennessee STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education Caucus during the 2011 legislative recess. This is the nation’s first state-level caucus on education issues. Members of the Tennessee Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education (TN STEM Ed) Caucus are committed to developing an innovative workforce and preparing the next generation of Tennessee’s scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technicians. The caucus will provide a non-partisan forum for Tennessee legislators and outside business, science, technology and education communities to come together to discuss challenges, problems, and solutions.
  • Why Innovation Can’t Fix America’s Classrooms
    The top-performing nations have followed paths that are remarkably similar and straightforward. Most start by putting more money behind their hardest-to-educate students than those who are easier to educate. In the U.S., we do the opposite.
  • D.C. Opportunity Scholarship applications soaring for a reason
    “Vouchers are one of the few policies that lead to educational improvements, while saving taxpayer dollars.” But low-income District parents are flocking to OSP again for another reason: It offers their children a rare shot at a better life. Democrats who tried to shut their educational lifeline down for good should now apologize for standing in these school house doors.
  • Union radicals harass teacher who dared to support Walker
    Apparently there’s no room for free thought or disagreement within the Wisconsin Education Association Council. Kristi LaCroix, the courageous public school teacher who had the guts to film a television ad supporting Gov. Scott Walker’s reforms, is being harassed by union zealots to the point where she wants to change careers.
  • Four More Things Washington Shouldn’t Do
    Today AEI’s Rick Hess and Stanford’s Linda Darling-Hammond—two folks who don’t always see eye to eye—have a New York Times op-ed that decries federal micromanagement in education, then lays out four things they think Washington should do. Darling-Hammond and Hess are right that Washington has meddled far too much in education. They are on thin ice in asserting that different meddling will work much better.
  • NYTimes Misses the Mark
    No doubt getting a preview of a NYT piece yet to come, Gail Collins uses her column to question the validity of online public schools (for everyone except middle class homeschoolers), and tries to make her case using some flimsy arguments, and familiar critics…But what is most disappointing is her apparent view that only the most advantaged children should have access to these public school options.  Set aside the fact that online public schools, like all public schools, can’t discriminate based on a child’s socioeconomic status, is she suggesting parents are incapable of making good educational decisions for their children because they live in low-income areas? Ms. Collins called me to talk about this issue.  She seemed baffled that students who reside in one district could choose to enroll in schools from another district without requiring permission from officials to leave.  I ran through a list of states that for many years have provided families open enrollment across district lines, including in Tennessee, to give parents more freedom to choose the public school that is best for their children.

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