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Reputations (and More) at Risk: Using Value-Added Reports Responsibly The insights gained from teacher value-added reports have the potential to benefit schools, students, and communities. However, because these reports are generated from complex statistical methods that rely on inaccurate or incomplete data and have wide margins of error, more responsible use of these reports is needed to reap their benefits--and minimize their risks.
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Anxiety: The Hidden Disability That Affects One in Eight Children The Anxiety Disorders Association of America reports one in eight children suffer from anxiety disorders. Without intervention, they're at risk for poor performance, diminished learning and social/behavior problems in school. Because anxiety disorders show up differently in children, parents and teachers can't always identify them until the child hits the breaking point.
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Binding Education Science to the Practice of Teaching I can't remember when people first started talking about "what works." Was it 15 years ago? Whenever it was, it's probably time to reconsider our espousal of this enticing idea.
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Ramping Up Schools’ Preventative Approach Handcuffing a kindergartner for a tantrum, which happened in Georgia, is teaching the ABCs of aggression. It promotes a "might is right" logic, rather than using the child's tantrum as a tool for how to effectively teach disruptive children how to acquire necessary skills so that they are ready to learn.
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Promoting District-Led Turnaround Near the end of January this year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced his intentions to target the next wave of Race to the Top funds to districts rather than states. Although he stated he was not ready for concrete details, he asserted that the next $550 million would flow to districts, allowing them to decide how to target funds.
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More Youth, More Ready: A Broader Approach to College Access and Success At a recent fundraiser for a community-based college access program, the sense of opportunity was palpable. Speaking about their experiences, students and parents made clear the incredible impact the program had had on their lives, and program leaders described impressive plans for expanding students' reach.
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Measuring Effective Teaching with a Team of Superheroes As the parent of a six-year-old, I'm often reminded that a team of superheroes should not share the same superpower. Rather than have three Supermen, it's much better to have one guy who is super strong, one who can run really fast, and one who can do something totally unexpected--like turn themselves invisible.
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Value-Added Measures: The Public’s “Right to Know”? I love newspapers. I really do. I subscribe to both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. But their recent decisions to publish teacher names along with their "value-added" ratings shows the newspapers at their very worst--focusing on what sells papers rather than the public good. In the process, they may single-handedly bring down what could be one of the more positive developments in K-12 education in recent decades.
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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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