Education: A Golden Age

“The education sector’s structure and policies will change more in the next 3 years than they changed in the last 2,500 years”

Harvard’s Aid to Middle Class Pressures Rivals

By substantially discounting costs for all but the very wealthiest students, Harvard shook up the landscape of college pricing. Like Dr. Durden, officials of other colleges say its move will create intense pressure on them to give more aid to upper-middle-class students and will open the door to more parental price haggling.

Some colleges had already been moving to eliminate loans from all their financial aid packages and replace them with grants. In the weeks since Harvard’s announcement, a stampede of additional institutions — the University of Pennsylvania, Pomona, Swarthmore, Haverford — have taken the same step, which will help middle- and upper-middle-income families.


2007/12/29 Posted by | Education financing, University | Leave a comment

Weighing Expansion as More Top Students Clamor at Ivy Gates


In the mid-1960s, when William R. Fitzsimmons was a student at Harvard, the college took in a freshman class of roughly 1,550, including students at Radcliffe, which it would eventually absorb. In the four decades since, the population of the United States has ballooned by two-thirds, applications to Harvard have tripled and Mr. Fitzsimmons has ascended to the job of dean of admissions and financial aid at Harvard, but this year’s freshman class is only about 125 students larger than when he was a student.

That reluctance to grow has been true of many selective colleges that want to sustain their genteel scale. But with ever more students pressing at their gates, admissions officers find themselves having to reject what Anthony W. Marx, Amherst’s president, calls “astonishing applicants.”

The most elite institutions are accepting historic lows of 10 percent of applicants, and next year the sieve should become excruciatingly finer with applications from baby boomers’ offspring expected to crest.

At least four of the nation’s most exclusive institutions — Princeton, Yale, Stanford and Amherst — are either modestly expanding enrollments for the first time since the late 1960s (when some began admitting women) or have task forces studying the matter.

2007/12/26 Posted by | China, US | Leave a comment

Georgia: We already know effective educators make the most difference


The most effective teachers are those with high SAT or ACT scores and grade point averages, yet few of those high-achievers at the state’s premier universities now go into teaching.

Those students should not have to come out of colleges of education, which have held the franchise too long without producing results. It’s time to retire the education colleges and teach math teachers in the mathematics departments and science teachers in science departments.

New teachers… should have a deep background in their content area, especially if they are teaching math and science, which can’t be faked.

To keep these smart, young people in the classroom, Georgia must abandon its one-size-fits-all raises that assure the lackluster teachers are overpaid and inspiring ones underpaid. The state must introduce a pay-for-performance system that rewards excellence.

Georgia also has to end the costly and counterproductive practice of handing out huge raises every time a teacher gets a master’s degree, even if the sheepskin comes from a fly-by-night diploma mill and has no relevance to the teacher’s content area. Georgia continues to reward teachers based on degrees on their walls rather than real accomplishments with their students.

As a result of this absurd policy, Georgia teachers have become the best customers of fast-food master’s programs, where teachers essentially pull up to the drive-thru, order a quickie educational leadership degree and return home with credentials and higher pay in as little time as a month or two.

2007/12/26 Posted by | Georgia, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Teacher education, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Charter Schools Outshine Others as They Receive Their First Report Cards


Education officials, acting under the city’s new system of accountability, released report cards on Wednesday for several charter schools, with the majority receiving A’s and B’s, but one school in Queens getting an F.The grades came more than a month after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein released grades for the rest of the city’s public schools. Officials said that they had always intended to release grades for charter schools, but that it had taken longer to make sure the data was complete and accurate because the schools are privately run, though publicly financed.Just 14 of the 60 charter schools in the city received report cards, but school officials and supporters of charter school said that the grades showed that the schools were outperforming their traditional counterparts.“As a group, they skew higher,” said Michael Duffy, who oversees charter schools for the city’s Education Department. “I think that charter schools are all about accountability. It’s baked into their DNA. They are data driven and focused on how their students are doing, so it’s not surprising to see them do well.”

2007/12/20 Posted by | Charter schools, New York City, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Vouchers | Leave a comment

Washington D.C. Bill On School Firings Advances

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By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 19, 2007; B01 Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee won an initial victory yesterday in her effort to shake up the school district’s central office as the D.C. Council voted 10 to 3 to give her the power to fire nonunion workers without cause, an action supporters say could remove a major barrier to education reform.The council also unanimously approved supplemental budget legislation providing $81 million to fill a gap in the schools’ budget.

“Today is a momentous day for District of Columbia public schools,” Rhee said at a news briefing after the vote on the personnel bill. “It marks truly an amazing first step that we are finally going to put the best interest of students above everything else.”

Council members also called it a day in which they put the needs of the 50,000 children in the troubled school system first.

“This is not the time to be timid,” said Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3).

2007/12/18 Posted by | Education administration, Policy, Washington DC | Leave a comment

Smaller classes: the wrong investment


Thursday, December 13th 2007, 4:00 AM

Be Our Guest

The New York City Department of Education recently agreed to reduce class sizes at 75 middle and high schools under the state’s “contract for excellence.” Now, advocates at the Campaign for Fiscal Equity are pushing the department to shrink classes even more at all grade levels.

It’s time for advocates of student achievement to push back against the growing class size obsession.

In a new paper on North Carolina high schools, three Duke University researchers found that having a class with five fewer students had a “very small” effect on student performance. Having a class with a strong teacher, rather than a weak one, had an impact 14 times bigger.

2007/12/13 Posted by | Class size, Policy | Leave a comment

“Parents’ union”


How to talk about race in the year 2008
By Michael Meyers
NY Daily News, Sunday, December, 2007

The sad truth is this: Inner-city public schools are “broken” because many teachers — including minorities — don’t know their craft and aren’t being held to high standards. The mostly minority school boards in mostly minority districts don’t seem to care. Moreover, the inequality of these schools has next to nothing to do with “inadequate” funding and everything to do with the stranglehold teachers unions have on our public officials. A countervailing parents “union” is long overdue — but no national civil rights group dares to organize one for fear of the trade unions.

2007/12/2 Posted by | Charter schools, National standards, Performance - school, Performance - teacher, Performance pay, Policy, Unions, Vouchers | Leave a comment