Jay Mathews -- Almost all colleges give credit for good scores on AP tests because the program prepares students for the rigor of higher education and in many cases, according to research, teaches them more than they would get in college introductory courses. But a few colleges have succumbed to their faculty’s resentment of high school teachers showing them up.
Jay Mathews -- If you were waiting as I was for a firsthand account of test tampering at a D.C. public school, it came this week. A 42-year-old former principal says she was reduced to tears and hounded out of her job after she reported cheating at her Northeast Washington campus.
Jay Mathews -- Few education experts have been as true to a seemingly unworkable idea as Richard D. Kahlenberg, author and senior fellow at the Century Foundation. Since the 1990s, he has been the nation’s leading exponent of socioeconomic integration. That means he wants as many low-income students as possible to attend schools with a majority of middle-class children.
Jay Mathews -- When I asked Virginia Education Department spokesman Charles Pyle why the state school board upgraded the state math standards and tests, he said one of the reasons was that “we have been getting daily feedback from higher education about the percentage of students not prepared for freshman-year math courses.” That’s fine, but we need more for those who at age 17 or 18 choose a different path.
Jay Mathews -- Some people at the National Math and Science Initiative think I don’t appreciate them, but that’s not quite right. I enjoy their engaging television ads on great teachers and international competition. Few other private groups have done as much to make high schools more rigorous. They have some of the smartest school reformers I know.
In March 2010, Jay Mathews researched Equity 2000 for a short book on its history. In the Equity 2000 pilot districts, educators found that training more teachers in instructional strategies for algebra and requiring all freshmen to take it had profound results. Within a decade, and often sooner, more ninth graders in those districts were passing Algebra I than had even taken the course before Equity 2000 began.
Jay Mathews -- The argument these days is not about ninth grade but eighth grade, where more than half the students in many Washington area districts take algebra. Is that too soon? Ask me in two decades.
Jay Mathews -- Teachers appear to be changing their minds about how they should be hired, assessed, paid and dismissed. This merits attention because we cannot have good schools if teachers are not happy with their compensation and working conditions.
Jay Mathews -- Math education history is never a hot topic. But what Jones and Pelavin accomplished, with the backing of then-College Board President Donald Stewart, educates those who want to improve schools. It shows the power of research backed by an independent organization willing to help schools use it.
Jay Mathews -- Are we raising our children in ways that best prepare them to reach their potential? It is a ticklish question that is difficult to discuss because it is so personal and so loaded with unexamined stereotypes.
Jay Mathews -- The first clue Bonnie Beavers had of her daughter’s learning disability came in the second grade. The girl scored at the 99th percentile in math on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, but when her teacher divided the class into groups for math, she was not in the highest one.
Jay Mathews -- The temptations of voucher cash are great. The D.C. program pays $8,000 a year for every elementary school student and $12,000 for each high schooler. Rent an old house or storefront, lure parents with promises of a free private school education, and watch the money rolling in. Teachers don’t need credentials, just four-year college degrees. Schools don’t have to publish their test results, or answer questions from nasty reporters.
Jay Mathews -- "The teaching of writing is one of the great weaknesses of American schools. It is also the only one about which I, as a paid manufacturer of sentences, am competent to give personal advice."