Some college, but no degree

Emily Hanford:

Kai Ryssdal: However students get their textbooks — on an iPad or the old-fashioned way — those books don’t do any good unless they’re actually used.
There are 37 million people in this country who’ve started college, who have some credits — but never finished. When they do that, when they drop out, there are costs — to them, and to the rest of us, in the billions of dollars, in wasted loans and grants and lost opportunities. Those costs are one reason college dropouts are starting to get more attention from the Obama administration on down.
But finding ways for people to finish their degrees might mean rethinking the way Americans go to college. Emily Hanford of American RadioWorks reports.

Teaching teachers: As educators struggle with the issue of teacher improvement, a program in Tennessee shows that struggling teachers can gain a lot from watching great teachers in action.

Emily Hanford

Teachers are at the center of the great debate over how to fix American education. We’re told the bad ones need to be fired; the good ones, rewarded. But what about the rest? Most teachers are in the middle — not terrible, but they could be better. If every student is going to have a good teacher, then the question of how to help teachers in the middle must be part of the debate.
One reason “teacher improvement” doesn’t get more attention is because researchers don’t know that much about how teachers get better. Typical professional development programs, in which teachers go to a workshop for a day or two, aren’t effective. Even programs that provide longer-term training don’t seem to work very well. Two experimental studies by the U.S. Department of Education showed that yearlong institutes to improve teacher knowledge and practice did not result in significantly better student test scores.

Rethinking Teacher Development Days: New ideas for better teachers and schools

Kai Ryssdal

Contrary to what you’d think, teacher development days don’t help teachers that much. So, schools and school districts are employing new tactics to improve teachers and attract new talent to schools.
This is education week for the Obama Administration. The president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board met this morning. They were talking about private partnerships with community colleges. There’s a big community college summit at the White House tomorrow afternoon.
But a lot of the attention paid to education recently has been K through 12. Specifically, whether using kids’ test scores is a fair way to grade teachers. There’s some research out there that says test scores can be used with a bunch of other measurements to help find the most effective and least effective teachers in a given school. The problem is figuring out how to help the broad middle group be better teachers.
A group of schools in Tennessee has proven that can be done, as Emily Hanford of American RadioWorks reports.

Early Lessons

Emily Hanford:

The Perry Preschool was the idea of a man named David Weikart. He was a school system administrator in the small city of Ypsilanti, Michigan back in the late 1950s. When he took the job, he was shocked to discover how many poor African-American children were doing badly in school. A lot of them were being assigned to special education classes, getting held back, and failing to graduate from high school.
Weikart wanted to do something about it, but school officials did not share his enthusiasm. They didn’t want him changing things, messing around in their schools.
So rather than change the schools, Weikart decided to invent a new kind of school – a pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds. His hope was that preschool could boost children’s IQs.
This was a radical notion. Most people believed everyone was born with a certain amount of intelligence, a quotient, and it never changed. They had faith in IQ tests to measure intelligence. And they thought intelligence mattered a lot, that it was the key to success in school, and life.

A push for Latinos to pursue education

Emily Hanford:

A report out from the Southern Education Foundation out today says the South is the first part of the country where more than half the children in public schools are minorities. That is happening in part because more Latinos and their larger families are moving in. Latinos are the fastest-growing part of the U.S. population.
And as the United States tries to keep up with other countries in getting students into, and graduated from college, Latinos are getting special attention. Because they’re the least likely to get college degrees. From American RadioWorks, Emily Hanford reports.

Unbalanced Literacy

Erica Meltzer: Over the last year or so, an education reporter named Emily Hanford has published a series of exceedingly important articles about the state of phonics instruction (or rather the lack thereof) in American schools. The most in-depth piece appeared on the American Public Media project website , but what are effectively condensed versions […]

Unbalanced Literacy

Erica Meltzer: Over the last year or so, an education reporter named Emily Hanford has published a series of exceedingly important articles about the state of phonics instruction (or rather the lack thereof) in American schools. The most in-depth piece appeared on the American Public Media project website , but what are effectively condensed versions […]

Why aren’t kids being taught to read?

Emily Hanford, via a kind reader: But this research hasn’t made its way into many elementary school classrooms. The prevailing approaches to reading instruction in American schools are inconsistent with basic things scientists have discovered about how children learn to read. Many educators don’t know the science, and in some cases actively resist it. The […]

Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read? “The study found that teacher candidates in Mississippi were getting an average of 20 minutes of instruction in phonics over their entire two-year teacher preparation program”

Emily Hanford: Balanced literacy was a way to defuse the wars over reading,” said Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of the book “Language at the Speed of Sight.” “It succeeded in keeping the science at bay, and it allowed things to continue as before.” He says the reading wars are over, and science […]

How American schools fail kids with dyslexia

Emily Hanford: Dayne Guest graduated from high school in 2016. He had been working construction but quit, knowing that wasn’t what he wanted do with his life. Today Guest’s options are limited because he struggles to read. When he opens a book, he sees “just a whole bunch of words, a whole bunch of letters […]