Those of you with no ties to the Boston area probably missed former Harvard President (now Obama Economic adviser) Larry Summers’ epic, sexist case of foot-in-mouth a few years ago. Women don’t succeed in math and science careers, he said in 2005, because they are naturally worse at math and science. Nothing to do with culture or work environments. Absolutely not, he said. For all of us who wanted to sock it to ‘em after that speech, here’s some more vindication, via Jezebel: culture and societal issues are at the heart of math inequities, not gender or biology.
Filed under: National, Education, Larry Summers, Math
Not a good day to be the College Board, makers of the SAT and Advanced Placement tests:
USA Today has a study showing a statistically insignificant increase in a student’s SAT scores can “make or break” their chances of getting into many colleges. The reporter highlights what was considered common wisdom when I was applying to college several years ago, that the most important thing in preparing for the test was learning small tricks to gaming the test, looking for that tiny bump.
Slate’s The Big Money blog delves into the allegedly massive profits the College Board makes off of the fees we all fork over to take their tests, because they’re the only game in town when it comes to widely accepted college admissions standards. But as I pointed out earlier this year in the Twin Cities Daily Planet, at least the AP and IB test scores are decidedly secondary factors in admissions decisions, according to college admissions officers across Minnesota. (Note: the IB test is not administered by the College Board)
Filed under: National, Education, Testing
- Another school district goes to the 4-day week to save money, without cutting staff. (Bemidji Pioneer)
- A propos of the anti-bullying before the legislature (that comes up for a vote soon), an Ohio family is suing their son’s school district for failing to stop the homophobic bullying that led their 17-year-old to shoot himself in the head in 2006. The family is seeking to force the district to institute an anti-bullying program. (Minnesota Independent) Via TowleRoad comes the story of a sixth-grader in Springfield, MA, who hung himself after school officials failed to address the bullying or its emotional impact. (Springfield Republican)
- St Paul Public School students have won their fight to ban candy cigarettes, saying they promotes youth smoking. (Star-Tribune)
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar is holding hearings around the state about NCLB reform (see the bottom of the page).
- As the announcement of this year’s Broad Prize winner draws near, the folks at Change.org remind us of the prestigious education prize’s sordid history. (Change.org)
- An editorial in today’s NY Times accuses the federal government of leaving too many loopholes in the education portion of the stimulus package, and the Fordham Foundation’s education blog reviews the extremely fuzzy metrics governing how states can spend this money. (NY Times / Flypaper / Ed.gov)
- From Minnesota’s own Liberian Journal, a neat (but short) essay on the reforms needed in war-torn Liberia’s education system.
Today’s recipe: vegan Carrot-Parsnip Soup (Poor Girl Gourmet). I hope the next time I make this, I don’t get almost-struck by lightening like that!
Filed under: Minnesota, National, St Paul, "Safe Schools for All" Bill, Education, Education Funding, Education Reform, LGBT, Minnesota, News, St Paul Public Schools, Stimulating Stimuli
- Admission Possible expands into North Metro suburbs. AP is an college-prep organization that works in schools to get low-income students ready for college, and guides them through the admissions process. (Star-Tribune)
- The St Paul Public Schools’ Board of Education gets an update on how they can spend federal stimulus dollars. The district expects to receive $29 million, but because of strings attached to the funding, it will not prevent layoffs planned to close the district’s $25 million budget shortfall, caused by declining enrollment, which reduces the amount of aid a school district receives from the state. (Pioneer Press)
- Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talks more about how he’d like to see schools spend the stimulus money. (Education Week)
- Remember the Pioneer Press’ recent series on how hyper-competitive school sports have become? The Star-Tribune has a piece on the pricey “spring training” trips to Florida taken by some high school sports teams. (Star-Tribune)
- Tom Doher of Education Minnesota (the state teacher’s union) doesn’t like the Senate’s education budget. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t really like any of the big three budget proposals – from the House, Senate, and Governor – circulating around the State House. He also doesn’t really answer Cathy Wurzer’s questions (and she doesn’t press him further) about why districts can’t use their reserves to make up payment shifts, and how he proposes to close the education budget gap. He definitely does not like Q-Comp, though, and argues that it will increase inequity in the classroom, and between districts. Look for more on this, later. (MPR)
I think I’ll have to try to make this recipe: artichokes braised in lemon and olive oil. One of my favorite foods as a kid was Artichokes boiled with peppercorns, and served with a mustard-herb vinaigrette, so maybe I’m biased, but my mouth watered when I read that post!
Filed under: Minneapolis, Minnesota, National, St Paul, Admission Possible, Arne Duncan, Education, Education Funding, Food, School Sports, Stimulating Stimuli, Tom Doher
Today, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. First, the bad:
- MPR points out that between them, Minnesota public and charter public schools have around $1 billion in reserves, an unprecedented amount. Some state legislators argue that this means they can handle a deferred payments from the state, or a cut in the education budget as legislators try to plug the $4.5 billion hole in the state budget. (MPR)
- Why is this bad? because some schools, like the St. Louis County schools, in the Iron Range, are so desperate for funds, they’re closing schools. This re-organization, though, might mean the district will loose up to $2.1 million in sparsity aid (given to schools that draw students from a very wide area). “We can envision no scenario that would keep the district out of statutory operating debt without sparsity aid,” said a consultant helping the district. (Mesabi Daily News / Timberjay Newspapers)
- Meanwhile, St. Cloud schools are considering raising taxes to fill their deficit, and Mendota Heights school leaders are taking a pay freeze, and schools in Michigan are skeptical that federal stimulus money – intended to help schools stave off budget crises – will help, or even be accepted by most schools because it has so many strings attached. (St Cloud Times / Pioneer Press / Adrian Daily Telegram)
Now, the good news!
- The federal government is considering simplifying the colelge student financial aid process. (MN Daily)
- Fargo-Moorehead students are back in class after spending two weeks manning the levees on the Red River (Associated Press)
- Many metro-area districts are echoing Minneapolis Schools’ complaints that current integration efforts like the West Metro Education Program are not working. This may sound like a death-knell for these integration efforts, but it also means there is an energy that can be channeled for reform and progress.
Lastly, China considders reforms to their higher education system (BeijingReview.com.cn), and the NY Times’ Room for Debate blog gives five common food myths.
Filed under: Minneapolis, Minnesota, National, Budget Crisis, Education, Education Funding, Education Reform, Minnesota, Segregation, Stimulating Stimuli
Happy Thursday? Mostly budget news today:
- “Budget work is starting in earnest,” says MPR as the state Senate and House square off over their respective education budgets. The Senate leadership fully pulled the wraps off its proposal yesterday, with a net cut of around 3% — 7% cut across the board, with a little over 3% restored by federal stimulus money. The House leadership isn’t too happy. (MPR/St Paul Legal Ledger)
- MTN has video of one of the Minneapolis schools forums on how the district might restructure opperations to close their budget deficit. (MTN, via TC Daily Planet)
- St Paul teens organize and advocate to end the sale of candy cigarettes in the city.
- Lastly, I forgot to include this development in yesterday’s item about suburban segregation. Plans are moving ahead in Lakeville to establish magnet programs that would draw minority students from around Lakeville and from neighboring districts to create more integrated schools.
Today’s recipe: My obsessoin with kale continues: Kale, Butternut Squash, and Pancetta Pie!
Filed under: Minneapolis, Minnesota, National, St Paul, Achievement Gap, Arne Duncan, Education, Education Funding, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota, News, Restructuring, Segregation, St Paul, Stimulating Stimuli
Last month’s fight around the West Metro Education Program centered around issues of segregation in suburban districts. Now the Pew Hispanic Center has a report out, giving a national overview of the increase in the suburbs’ minority population. However, the researchers note that most minority students attend schools that are majority non-white — like cities, the suburbs are segregating. Unfortunately, the report doesn’t go into the economic demographics of the trend. Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Minneapolis, Minnesota, National, St Paul, Achievement Gap, Arne Duncan, Budget Crisis, Education, Education Funding, Minneapolis Public Schools, News, Segregation, St Paul Public Schools, Stimulating Stimuli
Photo: Smitten Kitchen
Good afternoon (eesh! I need to get this out earlier!), and welcome to Tuesday’s Schools News Round-up. A short selection of stories today, followed by a truly unbreakable bread recipe:
- In the absence of much news out of the Minnesota Department of Education about how they are planning for federal stimulus dollars, we turn to Illinois and Georgia for examples of what other states are thinking. (Chicago Tribune / Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Minneapolis, Minnesota, National, Achievement Gap, Budget Crisis, College Access, Education, Education Funding, Food, News, Performance Pay, Stimulating Stimuli, Teacher Quality
The Washburn Millers
(Photo: MPS/Washburn High)
- First, a big congratulations to Millers Boys’ Basketball team from Minneapolis’ Washburn High School! At the Target Center this weekend, they beat out Mankato West, 58-45, to win the state AAA high school basketball tournament. To get there, they beat out St Paul’s Johnson High School, Grand Rapids High School, and the Academy of Holy Angels, a catholic school in Richfield. This is their first championship win since 1994. An interesting tidbit — they were coached by Reggie Perkins, a former Harlem Globetrotter.
Read the rest of this entry »
Filed under: Minneapolis, Minnesota, National, St Paul, Charter Schools, Education, Education Funding, Education Reform, Food, Hamas, LGBT, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota, News, Religion, Somali, Stimulating Stimuli, Washburn High School
It’s a sloooowwwww news day in education, so I’ll keep it short:
- MinnPost’s Cynthia Boyd discovers the severity of Minnesota’s Achievement Gap (we’ve got one of the worst in the nation). Not that Minnesota’s urban educators haven’t been, ya know, talking about this and highlighting it for the last how many years? (MinnPost)
- MPR’s Midday discusses ways to close the Achievement Gap (MPR)
- The Texas Board of Education narrowly rejected Christian conservatives’ efforts to require that the “weaknesses” of Evolution be taught in Texas classrooms. Since Texas buys enormous amounts of textbooks, this requirement would have dramatically changed the content of science textbooks published in this country.
- Still waiting on hard numbers for Minneapolis’ schools’ RFP for ways to “right-size” their administrative space. (See yesterday’s post)
- In personal news, I was just “friended” by the
Filed under: Minneapolis, Minnesota, National, Achievement Gap, Education, Education Policy, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota, News