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AM News: TFA Agrees To Eight-Week Training In Minnesota

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U of M, TFA reach first-of-a-kind teacher-training deal MinnPost: The Twin Cities program will be the first in which TFA’s summer training is conducted in collaboration with a university. The new program will take place at the U of M and will last eight weeks instead of TFA’s customary five. 

California takes a left turn on state exams Washington Post: California is on a collision course with the U.S. Department of Education over its plans to suspend standardized tests this school year – a move that Education Secretary Arne Duncan says is wrong-headed.

Once racially troubled, a district shrinks the achievement gap Hechinger Report: On a spring morning at Ossining High School in suburban New York, a group of students gathered in a small classroom at the end of the school’s science hallway. It was a day traditionally known to the senior class as “skip day,” when most of the school’s 12th graders play hooky and head to the beach to celebrate their impending graduation.

Report: Sports causes American students to falter MSNBC (Morning Joe): Author Amanda Ripley explains why high school sports are causing American high schools to fall behind their international counterparts.

Private Schools Are Expected to Drop a Dreaded Entrance Test NYT: A group representing New York City private schools said it would no longer recommend using the test because of concerns that test-preparation courses rendered it meaningless.

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Amanda Ripley is exactly right, even though all the boarding school products interviewing her on MSNBC are not ready to believe that their 20th century boarding school educations left them academically inferior to the best students in competing countries (and deflating the egos of America's educationally conservative ruling class is one of the barriers to real education reform in this country). I have been making this argument to deaf ears for 14 years since I came back from Korea in 1999, including to several consecutive principals (and some of their successors at Green Dot) at Locke High School in Los Angeles, as well as in Irvine, where I live. American high schools try to do too many things, and too often they end up doing many of them badly. If we had modern lyceums (an anglicization of the French lycee, an internationalized, private, general version of which comes closest to describing what we've been planning), our kids would have their best chance to compete for selective universities around the world; if they're forced into their traditional American neighbourhood high schools, they'll be distracted and lulled into academic inferiority that will punish them with increasing frequency as more foreign students show up in American neighbourhoods to prepare for American universities.

My kids both attend a fairly elite private college that recruits and admits many foreign students, and they haven't really found that to be true, Bruce. (My son's girlfriend, a fellow student, is from Bulgaria, where she was a high-achieving (scholarship) student at an elite private secondary school. Definitely smart, but they're not on different planets educationally except that she's multilingual and he's decidedly not.)

I have two quick responses to your comment, Caroline: (1) once students are inside a college, its admissions office, along with those of all of the other colleges competing for students, will have already done the work that assures reasonable similarity among the preparation levels of the students admitted to any given school, so these differences won't show up in a spectacular way within any given college; (2) Bulgaria is about the least developed country in Europe, so it may be the case that its highest achieving students will not compare especially well with those from, for example, Switzerland or England, or Singapore. Linguistically speaking, though, you're right: I note that she's attending university by means of her second language ability, an accomplishment rarely found among Americans.

We read all the time about how that's not true of low-income U.S. minorities admitted to elite colleges, though, Bruce -- that is, that the admissions office (hasn't) already done the work that assures reasonable similarity among the preparation levels of the students admitted.

If you haven't seen those stories, I can find you links pretty fast.

Admittedly my account is anecdotal. But that's what my kids are seeing in real life.

It seems odd to say that our high schools try to do too many things and fail at most of them when our most 'successful' high schools actually do a LOT more than our less successful ones.
We are always going to have more barriers to education given that our culture is much more superficial than that of countries from which those student with whom you'd like to compare ours come. That which already happens in 'real life' is something schools do not need to make up for. We'll figure that out someday.

Caroline, the argument that books like "Mismatched" make is that the admissions offices are too often inadequately assuring reasonable similarity among incoming students -- they reduce some of the dissimilarity, but not enough. They have plenty of evidence to support that argument, but that doesn't discredit my argument that the differences within any one college are generally much less than they are between national cohorts.

Navigio, I don't understand your last two sentences, and so cannot usefully reply.

When I was in high school I played Sports I would constantly complain about the long practice/playing hours. On an average day, we would get home at maybe 5:00-6:00 in the evening, and on game days there have been instances where we get home at 10:00-11:00 at night; considering the fact that after this, I still have hours of homework to do, you can imagine the sort of negative impact that playing sports has on their academic lives. By getting home after practice at 6 you would still have time to study and do your homework. it comes down to do you really want to do it or not.

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