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October 14, 2008
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News for the Education Profession

  Eye on Curriculum 
  • Dual-enrollment courses said to give students a leg up
    Hundreds of Massachusetts students are taking college courses while still in high school as part of a $2 million dual-enrollment program the governor hopes will better prepare students for college. Such students are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college, a 2007 report found. The Boston Globe (free registration) (10/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Gifted students tackle complex math in high school
    As of 2004, more than a third of graduating seniors had tackled pre-calculus or calculus during their stint in high school, per federal data, and advanced math students are increasingly seeking out even more challenging courses such as multivariable calculus and linear algebra. "This class is pretty difficult," said Bobbie Pelham Webb, a 17-year-old senior, of her complex variables class, usually taught only to college juniors or seniors majoring in math. "It is one of the first classes that is challenging to me. Calculus was easy." The Washington Post (10/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
First Steps in Mathematics: Measurement courses now available internationally! Uncover students' misconceptions about mathematics with the First Steps series of teacher resource books and professional development courses. This powerful resource has received international recognition for its Diagnostic Map and Diagnostic Tasks which help target student instruction. Visit us at to learn more and see samples.
  Professional Leadership 
  • Southern Texas district wins coveted Broad Prize
    A poverty-stricken Texas district shaken up by a hurricane earlier this year has won the prestigious $1 million Broad Prize for Urban Education for its academic advances. "Brownsville is the best kept secret in America," said Eli Broad, founder of the eponymous foundation that awards the prize. "In the face of stark poverty, Brownsville is outpacing other large urban districts nationwide because it is smartly focusing all resources on directly supporting students and teachers." Houston Chronicle/The Associated Press (10/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report: Low-income schools have least experienced teachers
    In Tennessee, the newest teachers often are placed in district schools where most families live in poverty, according to a report analyzing 2006 free lunch statistics and demographic data in the state. Low-income schools tend to have the fewest teachers deemed as "most effective," as measured by test scores, the report found. The Tennessean (Nashville) (10/12) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Debbie Miller helps you define your beliefs about teaching and learning and then align them with your classroom practices in her new book, Teaching with Intention. Get practical suggestions for classroom organization, lesson design, teacher language, assessment, conferring, and more. Click here to preview the entire book online!
  Technology Solutions 
Try America's most praised reading skills software for free. Founded with grants from the NICHD and NIST, Lexia reading skills software has received 22 awards for educational excellence. In recent research, Lexia helped Title 1 readers catch up to their more advantaged peers. Experience why more than 10,000 schools have already adopted Lexia to help accelerate reading achievement. Free 60-day-trial materials.
  Policy Watch 
  • Presidential candidates approach education reform differently
    Education has largely been squeezed out of the U.S. presidential race, but some educators, parents and students are trying to draw more attention to the stark policy differences between the candidates. "What I'm trying to do is get [students] to want to turn the TV on and think about what's going on in our society," said Utah high school teacher Aaron Hadfield. "I think this is probably the most intense and significant election of my lifetime." USA TODAY (10/14), The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) (10/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Disabilities can make meeting school attendance goals difficult
    Some schools attended by children with severe disabilities are being sanctioned under NCLB for poor attendance that educators say is tied more to students' fragile health than truancy. "We know that there are legitimate reasons for [students] to be home," said Tina Shrewsbury, coordinator for a Maryland school that serves many children with physical and cognitive disabilities. "They're going to [medical] specialists. ... They're having lab tests done. They're being hospitalized." The Washington Post (10/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • U.S. financial crisis may slow D.C. charter growth
    Owing to the economic downturn in the U.S., Washington, D.C., charter schools may start to have trouble finding credit and nonprofit funding to expand or launch new campuses, and a similar pattern may be seen nationally, per this article. "There are a lot of ways we can mitigate this, but it's just more complicated and expensive," said Allison Fansler, KIPP DC's president and chief operating officer. The Washington Post (10/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

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Interested in learning more about advertising in ASCD SmartBrief? Contact Joe Riddle at (202) 407-7857 or  

  In the Field 
  • Does higher education still pay off?
    As tuition costs rise and the earnings benefit shrinks, some students are beginning to question whether taking on debt for a college education is worth the gamble. While most experts say a college degree can still net higher salaries, those students who drop out or land in low-paying professions may not be able to afford to pay back college debt. Chicago Tribune (10/14) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Report: Peers influence college students' ideals more than professors
    College students often adopt more liberal viewpoints not because of left-leaning professors but because of their fellow classmates, according to new a survey of nearly 15,000 students at 136 colleges conducted by researchers at UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute. "If you find yourself in a peer group where on balance the attitudes lean left, you'll tend to move in that direction," said Alexander Astin, one of the researchers. USA TODAY/The Associated Press (10/13) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Association News 
  • The Moral North Star
    Author William Damon writes how when he entered high school he was not interested in achieving excellence, had no reason to believe he could excel in coursework, and saw no particular reason to try. Like many students, he quickly learned the lesson that Theodore Sizer formulated in Horace's Compromise: As long as I did well enough not to humiliate myself or the school, most teachers would leave me alone. The latest Educational Leadership examines the turning point for Damon, and how in his recent research he has found that the academic awakenings of students who find their own "paths to purpose" often occur in ways that are strikingly similar to the initial stirrings of interest that he felt so long ago. Read more LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Cut Your Hair!
    Before the Internet, students who wanted to speak their minds outside of traditional channels like school newspapers and assemblies, published irreverent underground newspapers. An ASCD blog post looks back at an October 1970 Educational Leadership article that examined 17 issues of The Loudmouth, a student paper at a suburban California high school with a title that mocked the official school paper, The Loudspeaker. The post describes how these students communicated disdain about drug policies; promoted peace demonstrations; and, if they were male, complained about policies forcing them to cut their hair. As educators today grapple with student commentary online, which is often freewheeling and difficult to police, this look back reminds us that young people have always found ways to have their voices heard unfiltered. The post also reminds us to consider how to channel the issues occupying today's students into constructive dialogue in the classroom, school, and community. View the post LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions; they pass no criticisms."
--George Eliot,
English novelist

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