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Slow, Erratic, and Underwhelming—Progress in Narrowing Achievement Gaps For more than a decade, states, districts, schools, and teachers have devoted enormous energy to closing achievement gaps between rich and poor students and between students from different racial and ethnic groups. But how much progress has been made in narrowing these gaps?
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The Power of Pivotal Moments How do minority students who are first in their family to attend college manage to make their way to higher education despite what seems like overwhelming odds? Most Americans believe that low-income minority students who excel in school do so because they are smarter, more motivated, and willing to work harder. Stories abound in mainstream media outlets about minority working-class students who are able to "beat the odds" to become highly successful students.
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Ordinary Teenagers, Extraordinary Results: Apprentices at Work In a small office lined with desks and computer stations, a dozen teenagers pored over paperwork and deliberated decisions, one young man zipping from table to table in a wheelchair. The young people, 15 to 18 years old, were reading, discussing, and evaluating job applications.
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Setting Off and Sustaining Sparks of Curiosity and Creativity In the summer of 2010, Newsweek pronounced--on its cover no less--that the United States was suffering from a "Creativity Crisis." The coauthors of the cover story, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, quite ably synthesized cutting-edge research about how to create the conditions for promoting creativity and offered specific ideas on how to address the crisis.
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Assessments That Measure What Matters My father-in-law was a classical pianist. He immigrated to the United States from Austria in the early forties. His first official act was to apply to the American Federation of Musicians for a union card, which he needed in order to work. To get this card he had to pass a simple test: the examiner pointed to a piano and asked him to play something.
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What Inspired Me to Study Parent and Community Engagement As is true for many teachers, I have fond and not-so-fond memories of my first year teaching. It was a year both of trial and error, of extreme joy and disappointment--that led to self-doubting about my effectiveness as a teacher. The first couple months were, at times, terrifying and discouraging.
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Overpaid? A Teacher's Perspective on Compensation For many Americans who have never worked in a classroom, teaching could look like a cushy profession: days that end at three; long holidays; a work year that's significantly shorter than that in other fields.
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Understanding Diversity: What’s a Parent to Do? There is no question that U.S. society is becoming increasingly diverse. This diversity spans race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, geography, educational background, ability (cognitive, social, physical), religion, and language. Schools across the country are not exempt; they are also increasingly diverse. What is the role of parents in helping students understand diversity in order to live meaningful lives?
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What Inspired Me to Launch the Comic Book Project Open any children's book--Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, take your pick--and you'll experience rich visual imagery combined with literary text. We present these books to young children, knowing that they will adore the pictures, engage in the narratives, seek more books, eventually learn to read, and hopefully love to read. Yet as children get older and enter school systems, the pictures quickly fall by the wayside. We expect students to become "serious" readers, working toward paragraph-based chapter books and the accepted canon of classic literature. For those students, like me, who loved to read at an early age, this entrenched method was a non-issue. For countless others, however, reading was, and still is, a struggle and seemingly insurmountable barrier to success in school.
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“Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”: the Deeper Legacy of Steve Jobs It barely registers, if at all, that one can start, and operate, an automobile without knowing the physics and chemistry that run its combustion engine. And it is equally true, and perhaps more significant, that you do not need the car's technical specifications to drive it to your own personal choice of a destination. If that choice turns out to be mistaken, you can potentially drive it elsewhere.
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