Sometimes I wonder about the term, "conflict of interest." In the case of the billion dollar federal grant program, Reading First, I have yet to see one media outlet report the actual amount of money that has changed hands due to a conflict of interest.
So what is worse:
1. A group of people that are emphatic about having children learn to read so they helped develop reading curriculum for a big company and end up on a granting agency board
Have you ever noticed the schools are always flocking to the newest and greatest in teaching methods or curriculum? Every few years some school districts will replace their curriculum with something new. Might as well, the books are slated for replacement anyways. What's the harm?
Actually, there is harm. Firstly, the teachers will now need to acclimatize themselves to a new curriculum. This will require time (cost) and training (cost). Oh, the hidden costs of new curriculum!
Next, the curriculum will need to have in class tests created (cost). Unfortunately, this often requires each teacher to make his or her own testing (cost).
Oh wait, don't forget special needs students! The curriculum will need to be adapted to their needs and learning ability (cost).
This is the last part on the series about NCLB. It was interesting to see that educators see the absolute need for all kids (well, actually only 99%, which the article missed), should have basic skills in math and english, etc.
An interesting article that points out that if schools are struggling, it might be of their own doing - if they didn't start effective changes early enough, they won't be able to catch up to meet standards. Something that most reporters fail to note.
Giving up isn’t aim of No Child Left Behind
In this commentary, the first of a series, Andrea Neal reports from Fort Wayne.
So this article points out that a good program needs to be put into place early - early enough to see long term gains. And the changes might need to be pretty radical, not just more of the same. Another good article.
Radical change for failing schools
Second in a series
The most promising part of the No Child Left Behind Act is language requiring schools to use research-based practices. Yet it’s the least embraced by the educational establishment.
An interesting story about Oregon's unwillingness to use research based reading.
Two teaching methods with ties to Oregon are applied in a fraction of schools
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Two elementary school reform programs with roots in Oregon show the best evidence of raising student achievement, a new study commissioned by the federal government shows, yet they are barely taught in Oregon classrooms.
This fascinating article depicts a research study showing poor readers brains displayed pronounced activity in several of the same left-brain areas that are active when good readers do reading-related tasks after the poor readers completed an experimental program.
I think I'm going to get sick. Nope, kids have never gone from autism to normal IQ and indistinguishable from peers. Never. (please note sarcasm). Maybe we should write letters to Michelle Harper at White
Mountain Middle School in Eagle Point, Oregon. Geez.
An interesting article on how unions blocked the creation of charter schools that would have been fully funded (and built!) by a philanthropist. The idea that 90% of the kids had to BOTH graduate AND go to college must have scared them.
Joe Klein on how Detroit lost out on $200 million for new schools
By JOE KLEIN