Attrition, Reading, Kryptonite, Teachers, And Benchmarks In DC

Be sure to check out a new data website on college performance.  And while you’re there check out this new paper (pdf) by Mark Schneider about the costs of college attrition.

Gates Foundation rolls out a new ed tech initiative.

Don’t miss Parent Trigger:  The movie!

Paul Kihn and Matt Miller follow-up on the recent McKinsey report on teachers in the WaPo Outlook. Also in the WaPo, D.C. Deputy Mayor Victor Reinoso lays down some markers to keep an eye on with regard to the schools going forward. In case you’ve been living in a cave, Rhee is leaving in DC as well.  Kaya Henderson will be sup’t on an interim basis.  My take on all that here.

Another “Superman” take via the NY Daily News. “I don’t know if our schools need Superman, but they sure don’t need Walter Duranty.”  John Fensterwald weighs-in on the same, also well worth reading.

And Sandra Stotsky takes a look at what high school students are reading and offers some recommendations (pdf).

2 Replies to “Attrition, Reading, Kryptonite, Teachers, And Benchmarks In DC”

  1. I think that reading, both in English and content area courses, is a significant issue at the secondary level. However, studies that draw on Accelerated Reader data on high school reading are probably not going to shed much light on the topic. That database is more pertinent to elementary reading. I also wonder how many texts in the traditional canon have a grade 10 readability rating on ATOS. In other words, is the lack of progression in readability challenge really a new problem?

  2. Agreed, Stiles. The study of what students are reading and what it means is almost laughable in my opinion. Many of the conclusions drawn are not supported by the data, the authors completely mischaracterize reader response theory, and contradictions abound. One claim is that kids are no longer reading enough culturally and historically significant literature (or that they aren’t all reading the same culturally and historically significant literature). Another is that the texts aren’t difficult enough. Stiles is right that AR readability levels simply don’t work for this purpose. Moreover, many of the culturally and historically significant texts that she presumably wants all kids to read (e.g. The Great Gatsby) aren’t on a high school level. Important to note that this study is not published in a peer-review journal–be careful what conclusions you draw from it.

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