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Learning First Alliance Blog

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Amazing Stories from Our Public Schools

January 4th, 2012

  Have you checked out the Learning First Alliance’s collection of public school success stories lately? Since December 2007, we have posted more than 150 stories about what is working in our public schools. Some stories come from our member and partner …

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An Unintended Consequence of Policy: Low-Quality Elementary Science Education

November 7th, 2011

According to a recent report on science education in California, more than half of elementary school principals do NOT believe it is likely that a student receives high-quality science instruction at his or her school. If anything, I would expect principals to …

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Why Cut Muscle When You Can Cut Waste?

October 28th, 2011

We’ve been hearing a lot recently about the “new normal” – the need to do more with less. And across the country, districts are doing it. They are cutting waste, becoming more efficient in a number of ways. While educators can be …

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Cheap Shots & Careless Inaccuracies—Public Schools Don’t Need This Treatment

October 21st, 2011

If the mainstream press reporting on public schools wasn’t important, I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. But, the fact is that the general public gets its information about public education (and private education) from the mainstream press both in print and …

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Low-Hanging Fruit in School Improvement Efforts?

October 6th, 2011

Are school start times, grade level configurations and teacher assignments low hanging fruit for school improvement efforts? The University of Michigan’s Brian Jacob and Columbia Business School’s Jonah Rockoff think so. At The Hamilton Project’s (http://www.brookings.edu/projects/hamiltonproject.aspx) recent forum on how to improve …

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Increasing Childhood Poverty and Hunger

October 6th, 2011

Lately there have been unsettling reports about increases in children living in poverty in the U.S. For one, a recent article out of Boston features an emergency room survey that found doctors in the city are seeing more hungry and underweight young …

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The Science of Good Character…Two Schools’ Journey to Success for Students by Nurturing “Grit”

September 30th, 2011

The New York Times Magazine (September 18, 2011) recently featured a cover story, “The Character Test,” which suggests that our kids’ success, and happiness, may depend less on perfect performance than on learning how to deal with failure.  The two schools profiled …

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Omaha’s “Radical Experiment” for School Integration

July 25th, 2011

The American Prospect recently featured an article by Sharon Lerner that details an exemplary pioneering effort to combat racial segregation in schools in Omaha, Nebraska, called the Learning Community. It pools resources and allows student movement to help make schools more socioeconomically …

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Brooks vs Ravitch Response

July 21st, 2011

David Brooks recently wrote a New York Times piece that is quite critical of education historian Diane Ravitch. [She has since responded]. Aside from what seems a personal attack on Ravitch (of whom I am a fan), the gist of the piece …

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Choice as a Magic Bullet?

June 23rd, 2011

I previously lauded a Slate article by Richard Kahlenberg that pointed out problems with Michelle Rhee’s credo and its lack of emphasis on inequality. However, his latest Edweek article makes some specious claims about the ability of school choice to improve equity …

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Thank you Paul Farhi and The Washington Post—-

June 6th, 2011

In the May 22, 2011, Outlook Section of The Washington Post contained a column titled “5 Myths about fixing America’s Schools” by Paul Farhi that is one of the few articles in the mainstream press to focus accurately on public education in …

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Learning First Alliance Urges U.S. Secretary of Education to Provide Regulatory Relief

June 2nd, 2011

The intent of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in its current form is to ensure that all students are held to high achievement standards and that there is accountability for every student’s success. The Learning First Alliance has long applauded …

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Moving Beyond “Its Not My Job”

May 11th, 2011

Preparing General Ed Teacher to Succeed with Students with Disabilities 96% of students with disabilities spend at least part of their day in general education classrooms. But how prepared are general ed teachers to work with those students?  Not very. And that …

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Expanding Measures of School Performance

May 4th, 2011

We all know that reading and math standardized test scores do not truly represent how good a school is. But thanks to No Child Left Behind (NCLB – the current iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESEA), that is just …

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Implementing Change the Equation

April 25th, 2011

All of us can agree that the United States needs to carefully examine our efforts in STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) with an eye towards improving rigor, expanding reach and ensuring that more of our students are both interested and …

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Is Newark Repeating DC’s Mistakes?

April 18th, 2011

Remember Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift to improve public schools in Newark? According to a recent article in USA Today, $99 million of it is still in the bank. The article offers some reasons why there have been problems getting …

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Violence and Schools

April 18th, 2011

Charlotte Williams, Learning First Alliance Recently, NPR did a special series on violence among youth in Chicago. Schools and students all over the country—especially in urban areas—deal with the everyday-threat of violence. Clearly, this omnipresent factor can take a huge toll on …

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School Vouchers Versus Fiscal Responsibility

April 5th, 2011

The debate over school vouchers is heating up once again, as are the accompanying arguments about the academic, social and emotional impact of these vouchers on the students they serve and the public schools they leave, and the role of choice in …

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