“But I Need to Assign Homework! Look at All I Have to Cover!”

A parent wrote me today to express her frustration not only with homework but with the response she hears from teachers when she complains about homework. Even those teachers who are sufficiently knowledgeable and brave to admit that research fails to show any meaningful benefit from making kids do homework — particularly in elementary school — tend . . . (Read More)

Do Tests Help Students Learn or Was a New Study Misreported? (##)

The relationship between educational policies and educational research is both fascinating and disturbing. Sometimes policy makers, including those who piously invoke the idea of “data-driven” practice, pursue initiatives that they favor regardless of the fact that there is no empirical support for them (e.g., high-stakes testing) or even when the research suggests the policy in . . . (Read More)

Remember When We Had High Standards? Neither Do I (##)

 “In recent years, parents have cried in dismay that their children could not read out loud, could not spell, could not write clearly,” while “employers have said that mechanics could not read simple directions. Many a college has blamed high schools for passing on students…who could not read adequately to study college subjects; high schools . . . (Read More)

“Ready to Learn” = Easier to Educate (##)

The phrase “ready to learn,” frequently applied to young children, is rather odd when you stop to think about it, because the implication is that some kids aren’t. Have you ever met a child who wasn’t ready to learn — or, for that matter, already learning like crazy? The term must mean something much more . . . (Read More)

Operation Discourage Bright People from Wanting to Teach (##)

Education “reformers” have discovered the source of our schools’ problems. It’s not poverty or social inequities. It’s not enforced student passivity or a standardized curriculum that consists of lists of facts and skills likely to appear on standardized tests. No — it’s… teachers.
Fortunately, there’s a two-pronged solution: First, identify the really bad teachers (on the . . . (Read More)

How to Sell Conservatism: Lesson 1 — Pretend You’re a Reformer (##)

If you somehow neglected to renew your subscription to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, you may have missed a couple of interesting articles last year. A series of studies conducted by two independent groups of researchers (published in the September and November 2009 issues, respectively) added to an already substantial collection of evidence showing that “people are motivated . . . (Read More)

Competitiveness vs. Excellence: The Education Crisis That Isn’t (##)

“What’s the matter with us?” demands Bob Herbert in his August 7 New York Times column. “The latest dismal news on the leadership front” proving that we’ve become “a nation of nitwits” comes courtesy of a report from the College Board, he says. “At a time when a college education is needed more than ever to establish . . . (Read More)