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AM News: Online Learning Under The Microscope


Virtual schools are multiplying, but some question their educational value Washington Post: A Virginia company leading a national movement to replace classrooms with computers is facing a backlash from critics who are questioning its funding, quality and oversight. ALSO:  Online education redefining schools NBC: Nationwide, 250,000 students are enrolled in virtual schools, up 40 percent in the last three years. NBC's Rehema Ellis reports.

Principals Protest Increased Use of Test Scores to Evaluate Educators NYT: More than 650 school leaders from around New York State had signed a letter with complaints, most of them from Long Island, where the movement began.

Big expansion, big questions for Teach for America AP (Boston Globe): By 2015, with the help of a $50 million federal grant, program recruits could make up one-quarter of all new teachers in 60 of the nation's highest need school districts. The program also is expanding internationally.

Debate on whether cursive writing should still be taught Baltimore Sun: Cursive is not included in the so-called common core standards, which will govern teaching and lesson plans in 46 states including Maryland beginning next year, leaving states free to shift away from a subject taught for centuries. 

With Building Blocks, Educators Going Back to Basics NYT: The wooden toys, created in the early 1900s, are making a comeback as some elementary schools focus on unstructured play.


Nonprofit website helps teachers buy classroom supplies LAT: Donors Choose is using a $4-million Wasserman Foundation donation to help support L.A. schools.

Public schools, private donations LAT: The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is trying to balance parental donations with the need for equal education opportunities for all.

The Schools' Lobbyist VOSD: Now more than ever, San Diego Unified's fate rests in the hands of Sacramento. It counts on Monica Henestroza to make its case there. 


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Good new books on education are having a hard time making their way onto the declining numbers of bookstore shelves, but one that deserves attention, and is of relevance to both the NYT story on the principals' revolt in New York and that on the spread of Teach For America, is Howard Wainer's "Uneducated Guesses" (http://www.amazon.com/Howard-Wainer/e/B000AP7SUU). In it Professor Wainer, formerly chief statistician for ETS and now a professor of statistics at the Wharton School, attacks precisely the misuse of testing data that Race to the Top and Teach For America depend on as fundamental to their modi operandi. I just wish I could get my hands on a copy of the book, rather than reading about it second hand.

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