• Despite Memphis schools spat, some 15,000 kids, family come for pre-K orientation
    There may be no group of students more devastated by a delayed school start than the 4,000-plus 4-year-olds entering prekindergarten this year in the Memphis City Schools system.
  • “Education Reforms: Exploring Teacher Quality Initiatives”
    On Wednesday, July 27 at 10:00 a.m., the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce, chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), will hold a hearing entitled, “Education Reforms: Exploring Teacher Quality Initiatives.” The full committee hearing will take place in room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
  • Florida teachers union has a big financial interest in stopping proposed voucher amendment
    The Florida Education Association’s decision to challenge the constitutionality of a proposed constitutional amendment is more than an exercise in muddled, circular logic – it is the union’s last-gasp effort to escape extinction.
  • Unions Cheer When Socialist-Style Merit-Pay Scheme Doesn’t Work
    Earlier this week, the RAND Corporation released the results of a study that found merit pay had no effect on increasing student achievement or teacher motivation. Teacher union supporters are gleefully promoting this study as proof that merit pay does not work. Before the RAND study enters the information bloodstream and is accepted as conventional wisdom, Education Action Group would like to point out two serious concerns we have with the study: First, buried three paragraphs from the bottom of RAND’s press release announcing the results, is this little stink bomb: “Researchers also found that a majority of the schools disseminated the bonuses equally among staff, despite program guidelines granting school committees the flexibility to distribute the bonus shares as they deemed fit.” In the summary, the study’s authors elaborate:
  • Charter School Official: “Open Enrollment” Shifts Focus
    A group in Blount County in East Tennessee has applied to set up a charter school with a STEM focus, stressing science, technology, engineering and math. Because charter schools can be shut down after two years of low marks in the same subject, Throckmorton argues they are more accountable than traditional public schools.
  • Tennessee jobs initiative for at-risk youth recognized for exceeding all 5 goals
    Tennessee’s Jobs for Tennessee Graduates initiative has been recognized for exceeding five goals of its parent organization. The initiative is a partnership between the state Department of Education and Labor and Workforce Development. Its parent group is Jobs for America’s Graduates. The state program earned the Five of Five Award for graduation rate, full time placement rate, positive outcome rate, full time job placement rate and employment rate. The initiative is designed to assist at-risk youth in graduating from high school and finding and keeping quality jobs. Students receive classroom instruction and community orientation to make them more employable.
  • Transform rural Tennessee by improving public education
    It all boils down to public education. Having an educated, skilled, and productive workforce will make it more likely that a new company will invest in Tennessee or an existing business will choose to expand its presence in our state. Yet the connection between education and rural economic health has not received the attention it deserves. One-third of Tennessee’s K-12 students attend schools in rural communities.
  • New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire
    Two forthcoming studies in the journal Cognition—one from a lab at MIT and one from my lab at UC-Berkeley—suggest…While learning from a teacher may help children get to a specific answer more quickly, it also makes them less likely to discover new information about a problem and to create a new and unexpected solution. Direct instruction really can limit young children’s learning. Teaching is a very effective way to get children to learn something specific…But it also makes children less likely to discover unexpected information and to draw unexpected conclusions. But actually, spontaneous learning is more fundamental. It’s this kind of learning, in fact, that allows kids to learn from teachers in the first place.
  • Gates Foundation Follies (Part 1) « Jay P. Greene’s Blog
    In particular, the Gates interview confirmed two things about the Foundation’s education efforts: 1) they’ve realized that the focus of their efforts has to be on the political control of schools and 2) they are uninterested in using that political influence to advance market forces in education. Instead, the basic strategy of the Gates Foundation is to use science (or, more accurately, the appearance of science) to identify the “best” educational practices and then use political influence to create a system of national standards, curricular materials, and testing to impose those “best practices” on schools nationwide.
  • Chris Peck: Rules skew charter schools’ reality
    The limitations of rule obedience stand at the center of the messy issue of whether three so-called “failing” Memphis charter schools truly are failing and therefore should be closed in the next three weeks, with the result of putting 1,475 students out of their classrooms and headed God knows where. Let’s get one thing straight. The three charter schools aren’t failing. For the good of the kids in these striving, successful charter schools, the Memphis City Schools board simply must not let blind obedience to unwise rules ruin three great experiments in alternative education. In truth, the Promise Academy in North Memphis, the Memphis Busi

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