Tag Archives: writing

Let's Make Vocational Programs a Bigger Slice of School Choice Menu

You probably assume a prolific blogging prodigy like myself eventually will head to a prestigious 4-year university — maybe even with Doogie Howser-like potential. But what if when I turn 16 some day my heart is set on a career as a plumber or a chef? You wouldn’t deny me that, would you? Writing for the America’s Future Foundation, Liam Julian of the Hoover Institution says we could take a big bite out of our high school dropout problem by engaging more students in vocational education programs — particularly those that integrate academics directly with students’ career aspirations, providing greater relevance to many teens (H/T Heritage Insider): Imagine a 17-year-old who does not want to attend college (or at least not right away); who finds parsing Macbeth maddeningly immaterial; who yearns to learn a practical skill and put it to use; who feels his personal strengths are being ignored and wasted; who is annoyed by his school’s lackluster teachers, classroom chaos, and general atmosphere of indifference. Too often, such a pupil has no other options. He has no educational choice.


"Brain Breaks" Not Enough for "Boy Crisis" — More School Choice, Too

According to the Rocky Mountain News, some educators in the Denver area – at least at one elementary school – are starting to adjust the school day to help boys: A not-so-quiet revolution is taking place in reading and writing instruction inside some classrooms at Hackberry Hill Elementary School in Arvada. Students are encouraged to get up and move, stretch and talk about their work every 20 minutes or so. Brain breaks, Principal Warren Blair calls them. In some cases, boys are also allowed to write about things that might have previously been frowned upon — bodily functions come to mind, or anything with a good gross-out factor. It’s part of the school’s attempts to address a global phenomenon, reinforced by recently released Colorado Student Assessment Program test results, showing boys consistently scoring lower than girls in reading and writing. Hey, I like this idea of a brain break. Sometimes you have to be creative to find ways to address the needs of different students. But I was left wondering what Hackberry Hill parents think of the idea. It would be interesting to see what moms and dads think. After all, they know their kids best. In writing about the […]


New CSAP Scores Tell Colorado It's Time to Advance in School Reform

There’s a big hubbub today about CSAP results being announced. For those of you who don’t know, CSAP stands for Colorado Student Assessment Program – it’s the battery of tests in reading, writing, math, and science that help people to see how well schools and students are performing. The folks in the Education Policy Center and others like them get really excited on days like this, because of all the new information and what story it might tell. I guess this year is really special, because a new “growth model” has been introduced that allows for better measurement of individual student and school progress from year to year. Me? I haven’t had to take any CSAPs yet – frankly, I could do without tests altogether. But I understand why many people might think they are important. Anyway, the Rocky Mountain News has the basic rundown on the latest CSAP scores, and once again, hoped-for progress is not being achieved: Results were up in 11 of the 24 tests given in reading, writing and math in grades 3 through 10. Scores were down in seven tests and unchanged in six. Reading and math scores were generally up, with more grades seeing […]