A Few Good Links

In the WaPo Richard Whitmire lays down five markers to watch on reform in DC. In the Columbus Dispatch the vice president of the school board there reminds us that it’s all about the kids! That one is a must-read for a look at the behind the scenes stuff that goes on. And Stand For Children* CEO Jonah Edelman on ‘Waiting for Superman’ in The Denver Post.

File this under most obvious headline ever. Second most obvious goes to this Ed Week story.  Still the article and underlying report is important and worth checking out.

In Gotham Joel Klein sends a letter to educators there about the value-add debate (some background here) and the NY Daily News reports.

New JFF case study on early-college.

And here, just because it’s random.

*BW works with SFC.

3 Replies to “A Few Good Links”

  1. An Even Better Link

    After reading eduwonk for nearly a year, three important parts go unrecognized here:
    teachers, parents and students.
    I know, I know, this is a policy blog that deals with things above the classroom, so we’re not going to see Andy write “Hey, here’s a great teacher.”

    Let me do so.

    Dr. Charles “Buck” Offutt passed away Monday.
    He was 79.
    He taught at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, MD for 50 years.

    Buck arrived at DeMatha in 1955.
    A towering figure in the history of DeMatha, Buck taught and coached countless young men. He served the school for over 50 years as a Teacher/ Coach/ SAT Guru/ Day Camp Director. He was the story behind DeMatha’s story.

    Dr. Daniel McMahon ’76 wrote about Buck in the Washington Post Magazine in November, 2005 in the essay “In His Footsteps”. For Buck’s 50th anniversary, Tom Ponton remembered his influence in this essay that appeared in the book “A Lifetime of Teaching – The Teacher of a Lifetime”.

  2. In about 1980, Dr. Offutt began to offer preparation classes for students taking the SAT exam. He had a doctorate in education, with a specialty in curriculum planning and testing, and began an intensive study of the SAT on his own. He saw that many of DeMatha’s students, who hailed from urban areas, were at a disadvantage when taking the daunting test.

    “The test is incredibly culturally biased,” he told USA Today in 1998, “and for years, I refused to tutor for it.”

    But because the SAT was required for admission to most colleges, Dr. Offutt put his expertise to work by helping DeMatha students improve their scores. He led seven-week preparation courses several times a year and often taught private one-on-one sessions. Many students saw their scores soar by as much as 300 or 400 points.

    As DeMatha’s athletes and other students won scholarships to selective schools, word of Dr. Offutt’s test-prep wizardry quickly spread. In addition to local students, he taught the children of college presidents and corporate executives. Coaches all over the United States sent star athletes to him for SAT preparation.

    “One year,” McMahon said, “the entire North Carolina starting basketball team had been tutored by Buck.”

    Joanne Offutt said her husband, who retired from teaching in 2008, never grew weary of the classroom: “He often said, ‘I love my job, and they even pay me for it.’ ”

    McMahon described himself as an underachiever until he took Dr. Offutt’s literature class as a senior at DeMatha.

    “He not only taught me to think, he convinced me, as much by example as words, that it was my moral obligation to do so and to serve others,” McMahon wrote in 2005.

    McMahon went on to receive a doctorate in English and taught with Dr. Offutt for many years before becoming DeMatha’s principal.

    “He believed every kid could learn to the highest possible degree,” McMahon said this week. “He never gave up on a kid.”

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