I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Secretary of Education Discusses Fixing Struggling Schools

Thursday, President Obama visited Miami Central Senior High School, which has received $800,000 in federal funding to support efforts close its achievement gap. Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education, visited alongside the president. In an Op-Ed in the Miami Herald, Secretary Duncan discussed the Administration's education reform goals and the problems he sees with No Child Left Behind. For anybody in the HELP Committee, I think reading Secretary Duncan's goals and views may be interesting and helpful.

From the article:

President Obama and I are determined to challenge low expectations at underperforming schools. For the first time, the federal government is providing billions of dollars to states — roughly $4 billion all told over the next five years — to help turn around the nation’s 5,000 lowest-performing schools.

These schools represent just five percent of America’s public schools. Yet unlike in the past, these schools will now be instituting one of four far-reaching reform models to boost student achievement. Our redesigned School Improvement Grants program (SIG) will provide up to $6 million for each school targeted for turnaround over a period of three years.
Why is the administration taking this unprecedented step? The easy, timid approach to turning around low-performing schools has been tried over and over again — and failed.

Under the 2002 No Child Left Behind law, districts had five options to intervene in schools that failed to make “adequate yearly progress” five years in a row. But over 80 percent of the failing schools chose the minimalist “other” option that asked for little change from principals, teachers, and district administrators.

The tragic result of this tireless tinkering is that millions of children continue to be denied their one shot at an American birthright — an education that opens the door to college, careers, and opportunity.

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