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Last Updated: 02/01/2018

General Ed Reform - More Info

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A Push for Phys Ed - A new study makes a strong case that physical education may be the single best strategy for curbing the nation's growing child obesity problem--at least among girls. In the first study to evaluate the effect of P.E. programs on kindergartners and first-graders, researchers found that increasing P.E. time by one hour per week could lead to a significant decline in body mass index, a measure of body fat, among girls.


VA Virginia's Governor Plans Drive to Reform U.S. High Schools - Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner said yesterday that his major initiative as chairman of the National Governors Association will be a campaign to reform American high schools and make the senior year more meaningful. Warner called 12th grade "one of the most important transition years in education" but said too many seniors slack off and waste the time. As one cure for "senior slump," Warner said, seniors should be allowed to receive college credit, thus saving some of their college tuition and trimming states' higher education budgets.


PA Chief of School Panel Wants Historic Shift - James Nevels says his drive to change the way Philadelphia teachers are assigned is aimed at equity of opportunity for students. [Free login/registration required.]


More States Offer Single-sex Schools - For an increasing number of public schools, the formula for a better education requires a little arithmetic: divide the girls from the boys. That's just fine with Kristielle Pedraza, a 13-year-old who says she will not miss the boys while she attends the Irma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School, Dallas' first all-girls public school and one of a growing number of such schools nationally.


School-based Coaching: Revolution or Fad? - After years of disappointing results from conventional professional development efforts many districts are now hiring coaches to improve their schools. The professional development strategy known as school-based coaching generally involves experts in a particular subject area or set of teaching strategies working closely with small groups of teachers to improve classroom practice and, ultimately, student achievement.


CA Teens Get Education That Pays - A pilot program called Show Me the Money is teaching California teens about money management. Participants are promised $15 for every class they attended, plus a $15 bonus if they make it to all their sessions. Their payment was in the form of a savings account with a starting balance of $75.


How to Help Students with Their Assignments - There were the complaints from the teachers: The students don’t do their homework. How am I supposed to teach when they do not come prepared? The students lose everything I give them. They never bring their materials—no pencils, no papers, and no signed papers!


MI Superintendent Turnover Rises in Michigan - A superintendent shortage in Michigan is forcing school districts to hire top leaders with less experience and pay them more, experts say. If the trend continues, educators fear a lack of experienced leadership could hurt efforts to raise student achievement at a time when education standards are toughening.


PA Camden Class Gladly Lets Boys be Boys Together - In the beginning, most sixth graders in Ben White's class were appalled at the prospect: a class without girls. But, for the last year, they have adjusted to spending most of the school day at Hatch Middle School in Camden's Parkside section with only passing interaction with the opposite sex.


MI Highland Park Schools Seeing Some Rewards - In a single year, Highland Park Community High School has been transformed. This month, 130 graduates in a class of 139 crossed the stage at the Masonic Temple, a milestone for the struggling district, which saw only 86 students earn diplomas in 2003. At the heart of the changes is Theresa Saunders, the district's superintendent hired in August 2003. Among the keys to success at schools Saunders said, is to give freedom to principals to study their own problems and suggest their own solutions.


CO Colorado Schools Give High Scores to 4-day Weeks - Aimee Kroneberger's three daughters didn't go to school on Fridays this year. And they don't have to make them up in summer school.


Learning the BASIS for Advanced Placement Courses - It was about three years ago when I first met Olga and Michael Block. They came by to talk about their plans for something that had never been done before, and which struck me as way too ambitious.


Class-Size Reduction Brings Mixed Results - Two recent studies of student achievement for students enrolled in class-size reduction programs in Wisconsin and California offer mixed results and call into question the cost effectiveness of large-scale programs with mandatory class-size caps. California’s class-size reduction program did have consequences - unintended ones. Qualified teachers in urban areas fled to higher-performing schools in the suburbs, where class-size reduction meant new teaching positions opened up. Urban schools were faced with huge shortages of classroom space and qualified teachers.


IL Program Will Let Teens Get Diploma, Associate Degree - A new program will allow 125 Chicago students to earn both a high school diploma and a college associate degree in technology for free. The DeVry Advantage Academy, a joint project of Chicago Public Schools and DeVry University of Chicago, will begin offering classes in July. [Free login/registration required to view this article.]


VA Norfolk, a Blueprint for Narrowing the Gap - In virtually every grade and subject, Norfolk, Va., schools have markedly narrowed the gap between black and white student performance on state tests. Norfolk's numbers are particularly noteworthy given the district's demographics. Two-thirds of the students are African-American. Sixty percent are low-income.


Featured Website: The Success for All Foundation (SFAF) - "We are the nation's most comprehensive and effective school-restructuring program for the education of our children in reading, writing, mathematics, and the social sciences."


Why Not Choose Teachers? - In an interesting letter to the editor in the latest edition of Education Next, Ben Rarick from the University of Washington questions why so much of the choice debate has focused on schools. If research indicates that teachers matter so much, why not, asks Mr. Rarick, allow parents to choose their child's teacher? (You must scroll down to read this letter and analysis.)


FL Program, Teacher Give Students Second Chance - Curtis Rogers needed a second chance, which is why it was fortunate he ended up in Eric Lampkin's Jacksonville classroom. Enrolled in a program known as the "graduate initiative," the 18-year-old spent the past year with Lampkin, studying to take the General Educational Development and FCAT exams.


The Lost Freshmen - Many area students are ill-prepared for high school, with thousands repeating ninth grade.


Are Male Teachers on the Road to Extinction? - A National Education Association (NEA) survey shows that the number of male public school teachers now stands at a 40-year low. After two decades of decline, just 21 percent of the nation's 3 million teachers are men. What makes male teachers an increasingly endangered species in classrooms?


A Principal's Experience with the Raise Responsibility System - Last April (2003), I started a new life journey that has dramatically changed who I am as a principal as well as who I am as a person. I was completing my fifth year as an elementary public school principal.


Featured Website: Discipline without Stress, Punishments or Rewards - How Leaders, Teachers, and Parents Promote Responsibility. Marvin Marshall details his Raise Responsibility System - a simple and amazingly effective approach that promotes responsibility, self-discipline, and learning.


PA Philadelphia District Seeks Ways to Boost Teacher Attendance - On average, about 6% of Philadelphia's public school teachers are absent daily--a higher rate than the state's overall average in 2001-02 and chief executive officer Paul Vallas wants to do something about it. [Free registration/login required to view this article.]


Tools For School Improvement Planning - This helpful website contains observation protocols, focus group samples and questions, surveys, questionnaires, and other techniques to help examine specific school-improvement concerns. In the tools section, is a database of new and innovative tools used throughout the country, organized into school-improvement focus areas.


Using a Discipline System to Promote Learning - On returning to the classroom after 24 years, Marvin Marshall struggled to maintain discipline. In Part 1 of this article, he describes how his frustration led him to develop a system -- incorporating the ideas and strategies of Stephen Covey, William Glasser, Abraham Maslow, and others -- that would promote responsible behavior by internally motivating students. In Part 2, Kerry Weisner describes the positive changes in her students' behavior and learning after she implemented Mr. Marshall's program in her classroom.


CO Later Best for Learning? - Denver Public Schools is considering starting high schools at 9 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m., ending the day at 4:15 p.m. Sleep researchers are urging school districts to start high school classes later to reduce the number of exhausted, cranky teens. Not getting enough sleep puts teens at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel, keeps them from concentrating in class and leaves them feeling depressed and irritable, researchers have found.

Overlooked HR Departments Important to School District Reform - School district human resource (HR) offices play a crucial, but often overlooked, role in the success of school improvement efforts because they can determine whether qualified teacher and leadership candidates are successfully recruited, or look elsewhere for work. Efforts to make district HR offices an ally in district-wide reform efforts depend as much on close attention from superintendents and school boards as on changing bureaucratic routines.


FL Cypress Bay High Students Wear Belly Suits to Simulate Realities of Pregnancy - It took only a few seconds to turn 15-year-old Ben Stratton from a lanky, wisecracking freshman at Cypress Bay High into a complaining, winded 9-months-pregnant mother.


U.S. Commentary: Total Poverty Awareness - What works is an intensive, holistic approach like the one used by the Maya Angelou Charter School in Washington. Most students arrive in 10th grade reading at sixth- or seventh-grade levels; three years later 70 percent go to college.


U.S. Military Schools Producing Army of Solid Performance - When U.S. Army Maj. Tony Fish and his family moved to Fort Campbell, Ky., they faced a yearlong wait to move into housing on post. Instead of settling in a nearby town, Fish and his wife, Judy, seized on an unorthodox approach: They spent $100,000 on a recreational vehicle and set up housekeeping on the post's campground — all so their two kids could immediately begin attending classes at Fort Campbell.


PA School District Finds Block Scheduling Doesn't Deliver Higher Test Scores - In the mid-1990s, the Coatesville Area School District traded in its traditional high-school schedule for a new format with fewer classes, but longer class periods, hoping that more in-depth classroom study would produce higher test scores.


U.S. Using Brains as a Guide in Class - At Laura Erlauer Myrah's Wisconsin elementary school, teachers don't start class behind their desks. Instead, they are in their doorways, shaking students' hands and patting their shoulders, chatting about weekends and activities and birthdays.


Time to Make Senior Year in High School More Meaningful - Calls to eliminate the senior year in high school, or modify it to be more useful, are being considered around the country. And Michigan educators should take a leading role in reform so students get their full 13 years of education. The senior year of many students can be pretty much a waste, according to both anecdotes and research.


IN When the Students Become the Teachers - Indianapolis teacher Jerry Hammes has a secret weapon to help the students in his first-period class improve their grades: peer tutoring. [Free login/registration required to view this article.]


UT Dull Texts Can Turn History Into Bedtime Stories - "Lifeless and dry . . . crowded and cheesy . . . a clutter of unrelated factoids . ." The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a nonprofit education group, conducted an independent critique of 12 widely used U.S. and world history texts, nine of which are approved for Utah classrooms. The panel found the books so bland, so purged of personality, they could have been published in Pleasantville.


UT Reading Goes To The Dogs - Colonel marches into Longview Elementary, offers a toothy smile and handshake to a stranger, and leaps into his chair, ready for work. In his clutch, however, is one strange briefcase: A chew toy. As states across the country work to build children's literacy skills, some Utah schools are throwing reading to the dogs. Man's best friend is working in a handful of schools and several public libraries to help readers improve, boost their self-esteem, instill a love for the written word — or just have fun.


CA One Urban, California School Breaks the Mold - One downtown elementary school hit the gold standard four years ago and never looked back. "Our secret? It's so simple, nobody would believe it," said Principal Leonard Wong.


Rand Study Highlights Challenges Facing Middle Schools - Middle school students in the United States feel less positive about learning conditions and report more physical and emotional problems at their schools than their peers in 11 other nations, according to a RAND Corporation study that highlights challenges facing American middle schools.


U.S. Feds to Loosen Limits on Same-sex Schools - Federal officials plan to significantly loosen their restrictions on same-sex public education, giving schools the most freedom they've had to teach boys and girls separately in almost 30 years. In changing its enforcement of Title IX, the landmark law that prohibited sex-based discrimination in schools, the Education Department says it will expand choices for parents without eroding equal opportunity. The regulations announced Wednesday reflect a push by both the Bush administration and female senators of both parties to give schools flexibility.


NY Broad Overhaul in New York City to Eliminate Most Middle Schools - Education officials plan to eliminate many of the city's middle schools as part of an effort to improve schooling for young adolescents.


U.S. Hits & Misses of Teach for America - Teach For America brings bright, energetic college graduates into tough, inner-city schools to fill teaching positions that otherwise might be vacant, but it encourages turnover by asking its recruits to commit to stay for only two years and it suffers from a "cultural divide" because few members come from low economic backgrounds like those of their students. Despite these weaknesses, Teach For America overall is positively affecting the nation's education system.


Commentary: Build Our School Schedules on Sleep - A recent Lansing State Journal front page carried the headline, "A good night's sleep can spark creativity." The accompanying article reported the latest finding from a German research group showing volunteers who got eight hours of sleep were three times more likely than sleep-deprived participants to figure out a hidden rule for solving math problems.


U.S. Klein's New Plan to Rate Teachers - Teachers and supervisors could be rated on how well their students perform compared to kids in other classes - or even in other schools - under a sweeping new accountability plan being crafted by Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.


MA Massachusetts Governor Details a Plan to Aid Troubled Schools - Saying he is "very, very troubled" over educational achievement gaps, Gov. Mitt Romney wants to encourage underperforming school districts to improve by offering them full-day kindergarten, greater leeway in firing decisions, and merit pay for teachers. The governor hopes to address the lagging MCAS scores in the state's worst school districts with a host of innovative ideas, some of which he said will "challenge the education establishment."


Stop the Gender Politics and Start Studying - Most Americans take coeducation for granted. Typically, we've been educated in mixed-sex public schools and we have little awareness about single-sex schools. Our political culture reinforces such acceptance. It implies that schools reflecting the variety of society exemplify what is best about democratic societies.


Effects of Developmental Assets on Academic Success - Data collected from several communities revealed that middle and high school students who experienced more positive relationships, opportunities and personal strengths-or "developmental assets"-were more likely to have high GPAs, regardless of their family income, family composition or race-ethnicity. This relationship is supported by both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. To view the summary or complete report at no charge, go to


OH Parents Can Track Students on Web - St. Joseph in Falls uses Edline to let mom and dad peek at grade book.  When St. Joseph School signed on to the Edline at the start of the school year, the move brought groans from some students but cheers from their parents.


DE Teachers Get Lessons on School Clothes - For Them - Like a lot of school administrators, Gif Lockley has some issues with the fashions parading through his hallways of late: flip-flops, tattoos, low-rise jeans, bellybutton rings.


Book Review: The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn From Each Other - Few occasions make teachers and parents more apprehensive than the fall conference, during which they warily eye one another, wondering what possible schemes are being hatched. Read the review of this book and a Q and A with the author from the September edition of Teacher Magazine.

U.S. Governors Told Urban Schools Need to be "Blown Up" to Improve - The structure of the nation's high schools, particularly those in urban centers with high concentrations of poverty, need to be "blown up" in order to improve student performance, governors were told Monday.


Business Book Gains K-12 Following - What's your hedgehog concept? Are you a level-five leader? Have you embraced the Stockdale paradox? Strange as these terms may sound, they're being used by an ever-widening circle of education leaders. Stranger still, they come from a book about businesses, not schools.


OH Amos: School Expects More...and Students Achieve it - The W.E.B. DuBois Academy is an educational cult. And after talking with parents, students and teachers there, I've got its religion.


WA School chiefs lack broad authority for reforms, UW survey finds - A University of Washington study being released Monday suggests the goals of No Child Left Behind -- a sweeping educational reform that holds schools and districts accountable for student achievement -- will be difficult to meet unless school superintendents are given greater authority.


MA Private Donations Help Keep Model School Program Alive - A lauded program credited with turning a tough Roxbury middle school into a high-achieving institution has been saved from the budget ax by $600,000 in donations - coughed up mostly by suburbanites.


Once More, With Feeling - After a ten-year break, a teacher returns--cautiously--to the classroom and discovers a simple truth: Relationships are at the heart of education.


Education Effort Meets Resistance - Leaders Say Teacher Certification Test Was Sabotaged; The leaking of test questions, which the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence said led it to cancel a $1.2 million agreement with the testing company ACT Inc., marks the latest battle in a long war between the new organization and several established education groups.

FL Florida Raises Cyber School's Fiscal Status - The nation's largest state-run online school would become part of the Sunshine State's regular per-pupil funding system. Yet the school's funding would be based not on how many students were enrolled on a given date— the basis for regular districts' state-aid allotments—but instead on how many students actually passed the school's online courses. (login/registration required to view story)


MI Watkins Unveils Summer Learning Program - Before a rapt audience of 6, 7 and 8-year-olds, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins unveiled a new program that could have them doing school work throughout the summer Read the MDE Press Release - click here. (June 2003)


Key to learning ABCs: catching enough Zs? - Proponents say the move could improve attendance, alleviate student depression, lower drop-out rates and the frequency of teenage car accidents, and eventually improve academic achievement.


Hearing Loss Can Mean Learning Loss for up to 15% of Students - Hearing loss takes a toll on learning. Children with severe or profound hearing loss are easy to spot, but those with moderate or minimal hearing problems sometimes go undetected and many experience a slow but steady decline in academic achievement. "The numbers are shocking," said an assistant superintendent for student services. "I'm sure we underestimate the prevalence of hearing loss in our schools, and we overlook the fact that most classroom learning depends on hearing and listening."


UT Hearing better: Teacher is wired for sound, and results are spectacular - All that stands between the teacher at the front of the room and that disinterested little boy on the back row is a lot of ambient noise: electricity humming, foot-shuffling, air whistling through ducts, paper rustling, classmates breathing and wiggling, traffic passing outside and the dozen other sounds that don't necessarily register, but affect hearing.


The Bridge to Civility: Empathy, Ethics and Service - Developing a social consciousness in the young means engaging them in meaningful activity.


TX Becoming AVID Achievers - Four years ago, Carter-Riverside High School senior Rogelio Morales would have laughed off his chances of becoming a college-bound student with a perfect grade-point average.


Who Benefits from Failing Urban School Districts? An Essay on Equity and Justice for Diverse Children in Urban Poverty


Prescription for Learning - School nurses play a key role in what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified as a comprehensive school health program.


Homework vs. Busywork: Tales From Home and a Request for More - On Jan. 16, I issued something of a spontaneous cry from the heart in opposition to stupid homework assignments that do nothing to advance children's learning and serve only to overwhelm them and their families with busywork.


Planning for Failure? - The irony is just too much. Your school, labeled "underperforming" or an equivalent term, has to develop an "improvement plan." And yet, unfortunately, it is just such "improvement planning" that currently accounts for a large share of school failure.


CA Institute to Help Principals Meet New Challenges - California's outgoing superintendent of public instruction will run a national organization designed to help school districts and states train principals to meet the challenges of standards-based education.


How Do Teachers Learn to Teach Effectively? Quality Indicators from Quality Schools (pdf) - Throughout 2002, the Southeast Center for Teaching Quality and Just for the Kids, Inc. worked together in a unique effort to document how teachers learn to teach effectively and to identify school and teaching quality indicators that can improve current state accountability systems. 


Read the article from Education Week "Leaders in Business and Education Take Up Improvement of Teaching"


A License to Lead? A New Leadership Agenda for America's Public Schools


New Teacher Induction Book: How to Train, Support, and Retain New Teachers - A major book destined to be the most significant book for educators this year, has just been released.  Visit for more information. is a non-commercial website dedicated to enhancing the lives and spirit of teachers and children by disseminating information to help educators meet the needs and challenges of the thousands of new teachers who enter the profession each year, and by providing funding for supplies, training, and "First Day of School" celebrations.


Failure Starts Young - A school is for: a) diversity; b) learning to read?


OH Akron district's digital school part of growing trend in nation - Maria Harris pulled her three children out of an Akron middle school because she was dissatisfied. But she ultimately decided to stay with Akron.


Truth in Labeling - When it comes to special ed and African-American kids, it's time for... Truth in Labeling.


Ohio firm succeeds with new ways of educating dropouts - Life Skills schools emphasize computer labs, constant testing.


Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award - The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award is the Nation's premier award for performance excellence and quality achievement. Read about the 2001 award winners in education.


Off to See the Wizard - When you add what the Scarecrow wants (a brain) to what the Tin Man wants (a heart) to what the Lion wants (courage) to what Dorothy wants (a home), you end up with a fully educated person.


Tutor Restoration - Test-prep firms like Princeton Review are invading our grade schools. This is: a) good. b) bad.


Teacher Substitute costs are Reduced - The program assigns each campus a budget for substitute teachers and, at the end of the year, surplus funds are divided among the teachers at the school. [source]


Introverted Children in Extroverted Schools - Schools are designed to educate the extroverted majority. They are fast paced, demanding quick thinking and snappy answers, group brainstorming, adapting to constant change and the ability to compete. Extroverts succeed in this environment while introverts thrive in just the opposite atmosphere. [source]


MI Gongwer 12-10-02 House Passes Bill Allowing Schools to Contract for Subs - School districts could contract with outside entities for substitute teachers under a bill passed Tuesday by the House.   The legislation would allow a local or intermediate school district to contract with a group like Kelly Services if they were struggling to find substitutes.  Supporters of SB 213, passed 56-49, said it would give districts experiencing a shortage of available substitutes greater flexibility, but opponents said it was unnecessary and risked lowering standards.   The bill does require all outside entities supplying substitutes to be held to state laws on teacher standards.  The bill returns to the Senate for final passage.


Complaints About Teachers May Fall on Deaf Ears


Education's Rotten Apples - From math instruction to state assessments, bad practices can undermine the good.


RI Rhode Island may offer teachers alternate route to classrooms - Who is best equipped to teach -- the dedicated outsider or the trained professional? [source]


Best Discipline is Good Curriculum - Teachers consistently report trying almost anything to gets students to behave. This article concludes that running a classroom can be easier when both students and teachers care about what's being taught.

Running Schools Like Business


Parents seek cure for school daze - Parents learn early starting times affecting families.


MA Parents Learn English, So They Can Help Their Children


The Heart of a Teacher: Identity and Integrity in Teaching


Creating the Peaceable School: A Comprehensive Program for Teaching Conflict Resolution

'His Name Is Michael' - This is a true story—one that both haunts and inspires me. I wish I could say that the names have been changed to protect the innocent. The names were changed, but, sadly, no one was protected.


UK Too thirsty for knowledge - Pupils at Westdene bring water bottles to school.


MI MIRS 10-2-02 Report: Focus on Teacher Retention


Groups offer support to children - Breaking up is hard to do — especially for children.

MI Bath program helps teens graduate - Students not able to finish school can earn credits at night.


Leadership dilemmas can only be answered through spiritual and philosophical traditions
"I’d like to offer just a few simple practices that I personally can’t live without if I’m to maintain a sense of focus and peace as a leader...."


Read the article from Education Week "Early Bilingual Programs Found To Boost Test Scores"

MD Schools chief aiming to cut minority gap - Superintendent makes raising black students' achievement a priority; 'Disparities ... will be eliminated'; Smith's push, programs earn praise from parents and community leaders.


Liquid Candy or Healthy Kids? - Children and teens have little defense against the lure of soft drink advertising. Despite published health risks of soda consumption, soft drink moguls like the Pepsi-Cola Group continue to grow and prosper. During recent years, soda companies have gained access to children attending public schools by entering into exclusive contract agreements with local school districts.


Collaboration Between General and Special Education Teachers - Historically, teachers have worked in isolation--one teacher to a classroom.  As children with disabilities entered the public schools in the 1970s, they were taught in separate classrooms with their own teachers.

State, U.S. Feud Over Teachers - Strapped for experienced teachers, California is skirting the nation's new education law by insisting that 50,000 rookies without full credentials are nonetheless "highly qualified," federal officials said Monday.


Fuel for Schools: The Importance of Trust in Changing Schools - Can excellent work be coerced from principals, teachers, and students simply by withholding diplomas, slashing funds, and publishing embarrassing statistics in the newspaper? As states and school districts work at structuring new accountability mechanisms and mandating changes in instruction, they will do well to remember that school people and their relationships to one another will make or break reform.


Online teens say their schools don't use the Internet well - 78% of middle and high school students use the Internet But the most Internet-savvy among them complain that their teachers don't use the Internet in class or create assignments that exploit great Web material.


CA California Education Funding Imperiled - U.S. Demands End to Hiring of Uncredentialed Teachers.


Kids won't learn if we expect failure - Rod Paige and I, black Mississippians of a certain age, were pondering over lunch the differences between the education we received as children and the education poor children are receiving today.


GIs' kids, often uprooted, thrive at on-base schools


Fuel for Schools: The Importance of Trust in Changing Schools - Can excellent work be coerced from principals, teachers, and students simply by withholding diplomas, slashing funds, and publishing embarrassing statistics in the newspaper? As states and school districts work at structuring new accountability mechanisms and mandating changes in instruction, they will do well to remember that school people and their relationships to one another will make or break reform.


San Josť: A City of Solutions - 10 Positive Ways A Mayor Can Help Improve Public Education


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