Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Edu-news roundup

The vT's indo-internet went haywire last Wednesday, but that doesn't mean the education world slowed down. Lots of news lately, so here's a quick round-up:

  • The Washington Post issues a ranking of Washington, D.C.-area public high schools, revealing its annual Challenge Index. The index ranks schools "according to a ratio, devised by [WaPo reporter] Jay Mathews, that is the number of Advanced Placement and/or International Baccalaureate tests taken by all students at a school in 2005 divided by the number of graduating seniors." It's controversial. And while you may not care about the specific schools, it is interesting to read about Mathews theory that great schools encourage all students to take AP or IB courses -- not just a select few. (Click here for the full list of US public high schools that rank 100 or better on the Challenge Index. It was updated in October 2006.)
  • Time magazine wonders "How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century." You have to subscribe to read the whole thing, but CNN.com summarizes it nicely. Via the edublog Assorted Stuff.
  • Alexander Russo (writing in his excellent edublog This Week In Education) flags a recent "New Idea" from the latest New York Times Sunday Magazine that highlights one of the major problems with research in the social sciences -- it never publicizes research of things that don't work. Education research falls into this category...
  • Does it really make sense to push students to study a second -- or third -- language? Kevin Carey ponders the question at the Quick and the Ed, the edublog from the minds at the Education Sector. It's a matter of prioritizing, Carey concludes. What do you think?

Lastly, for a laugh, check out "Parents of Nasal Learners Demand Odor-Based Curriculum" (as plucked from The Onion, via Instructivist):

COLUMBUS, OH--Backed by olfactory-education experts, parents of nasal learners are demanding that U.S. public schools provide odor-based curricula for their academically struggling children.

"Despite the proliferation of countless scholastic tests intended to identify children with special needs, the challenges facing nasal learners continue to be ignored," said Delia Weber, president of Parents Of Nasal Learners, at the group's annual conference. "Every day, I witness firsthand my son Austin's struggle to succeed in a school environment that recognizes the needs of visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic learners but not him."

Weber said she was at her "wit's end" trying to understand why her son was floundering in school when, in May 1997, another parent referred her to the Nasal Learning Research Institute in Columbus. Tested for odor-based information-acquisition aptitude, Austin scored in the 99th percentile. (Click the link above to read on.)

Commentary impossible....I'm laughing to hard to type further.


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