Education in the News

DonorsChoose.org: Single Donor Covers Entire State’s Wish List

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California is a big state. In fact it’s the most populated state. In that big state, during a recession, there are likely a lot of teachers with wish lists for their classroom. Those teachers that put their wish lists to action via DonorsChoose.org are now through wishing, but are now receiving.

DonorsChoose.org is a website that allows public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from whiteboards for a class instruction, to stages for a school play, to science tables for a chemistry class. Then, you can browse project requests and give any amount to the one that inspires you. Once a project reaches its funding goal, the materials are delivered to the school.

Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose.org, recently received a phone call from a person with a seemingly hypothetical question. “What would it cost to fund every California teacher’s wish list posted on your website?”  Best gave the caller his best guess of somewhere over $1 million.   Only a day and half later, held a check in his hand for $1.3 million dollars covering all of California’s wishes.  In his other hand he also held a check for an extra $100,000 to pay for other teachers’ wishes across the country.

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Schools Omitting Grade Levels

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According to a recent article by eSchool News, some Missouri schools will group students by ability instead of grade level this fall.

As Kansas City, Mo., students return to their age-assigned classrooms this fall, they will begin to take assessments in math and reading—tests that will determine their mastery of specific skill sets and, ultimately, where they will be placed.

Instead of simply moving kids from one grade to the next as they get older, Kansas City schools will begin grouping students by ability. Once they master a subject, they’ll move up a level. This practice has been around for decades, but was generally used on a smaller scale—in individual grades, subjects, or schools. Kansas City is believed to be the largest U.S. school system to try grouping by ability.

It’s the latest effort to transform the struggling Kansas City school system. Starting this fall, officials will begin introducing 17,000 students to the new system to turn around lagging schools and increase abysmal tests scores.

“The current system of public education in this country is not working,” said Kansas City Schools Superintendent John Covington. “It’s an outdated, industrial, agrarian kind of model that lends itself to still allowing students to progress through school based on the amount of time they sit in a chair, rather than whether or not they have truly mastered the competencies and skills.”

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National Teacher’s Day

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May 4th, 2010 is National Teacher’s Day when students, current or past, give thanks and honor their local educators.  There are many ways to show appreciation, but after many teacher’s were asked what gift that would want to receive, the common response was a simple “thank you”.   Last year hundreds of public school students created an 8 foot high by 75 foot long mural that complied thousands of “thank you” cards from students all over the country.  Tomorrow is May 4th! While a 75 foot mural may not be unobtainable by then, the message is clear that it only takes a second to tell an inspirational educator “thank you”.


Education News in State of the Union

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Here is an except from the remarks made by President Obama regarding education during the State of the Union address on 1/27/09.
“Now, this year, we’ve broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools.  And the idea here is simple:  Instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success.  Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform — reform that raises student achievement; inspires students to excel in math and science; and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to the inner city.  In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education.  And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential.
When we renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we will work with Congress to expand these reforms to all 50 states.  Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job.  That’s why I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families.

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