September 25th, 2011

The achievement gap mania–it’s about time!

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September 22nd, 2011

Fix public schools by closing all private schools? No way! But, read on…

Check out this commentary in today’s EducationNews.org.

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/miriam-k-freedman-one-radical-idea-to-fix-public-schools/

It’s way out there–and won’t happen, but your thoughts?

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September 21st, 2011

New Fordham study–about the top 10%. Do they stay up there?

http://www.edexcellence.net/publications-issues/publications/high-flyers.html.  Thank you, Fordham for this study. It’s about time.  In our national effort to ‘close the gap’ of various groups needing to function at least at the average level, have we forgotten about our top students– who already function above the average?  I believe we have. Our efforts, funds, and focus are just not there. 

Two examples.  NCLB focuses on the students who are not yet reading, writing, and doing math and science at grade level. It does NOT focus on students who are already there, called ‘high flyers’ in this study.  Special education, as well, focuses on children who remain below academic and other standards.  The NCLB and IDEA are where our moneys and focus have been for the past many years–not on the ‘high flyers.’

A 2004 study  pointed out one statistic that has stuck with me:  we spend 143 times as much on special education as we do on gifted and talented students–and that was BEFORE NCLB’s requirements! Has there been an update of that study?

For America’s future, we should finally focus on ALL students:  the top, middle, and bottom. Hopefully, this study will help us on our way.  It is more than time.

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September 17th, 2011

Special education makes Wall Street Journal front page news

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904103404576558730329067142.html

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September 16th, 2011

Watch for my future columns at www.educationnews.org!

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/miriam-k-freedman-lets-prioritize-special-education-reform/

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September 12th, 2011

Check out my blog today at the Silicon County Education Foundation website!

http://toped.svefoundation.org/2011/09/12/there-are-many-dimensions-to-chearing-and-many-ways-to-measure-its-harm/

What is ‘cheating’ and whom does it harm?

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September 7th, 2011

My letter today to Thomas Friedman, N. Y. Times columnist

Here is the letter I emailed to Tom Friedman, NY Times columnist.

Hello Mr. Friedman,

 I enjoy reading and hearing you.

 In your appearance on Sunday on Meet the Press, you paint a tough picture of our schools. You’re right. I’m a former teacher, current school attorney, and parent of children who attended public schools.  It is obvious to me that focus on the wrong half of the class–the bottom. With No Child Left Behind and the special education programs, our focus is NOT on improving American’s competitiveness–and not on the top half of our classes. Or to use the popular mantra, alas, our focus is on equity, not excellence. We are NOT doing both.  Maybe it’s just too hard?

 In terms of special education, my area of expertise, we spend 20-40% of school budgets on this program and lots of time and effort and bureaucracy–without evidence that all that effort and resources work effectively to improve results. Should you wish more information, please visit my website, www.schoollawpro.com. 

 If we add your column in today’s NY TIMES, a call to truth telling. Let us finally tell the truth and the whole truth where our money, passion, and effort is going in our public schools.  We need to change direction–fast!

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September 7th, 2011

Computers don’t raise scores. Surprised? NO!

http://pajamasmedia.com/spengler/2011/09/05/a-moron-with-a-computer-is-still-a-moron/?singlepage=true

All I can add is that I remember how relieved I was when the schools my children attended–in an upscale community–did NOT use calculators in classrooms. Yeah! It’s only gotten worse since then, in my view.

We need to teach basics, not pretend that technology can substitute for them.

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September 4th, 2011

More technology–lower scores?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/technology/technology-in-schools-faces-questions-on-value.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha2

Frankly, I’m tired of all these great ‘ideas’ for our schools–that don’t work.  And they cost lost of money, that could better be spent on what actually works–a good teacher, students, and plenty of time on task. That’s what it takes.  It’s not rocket science, and let’s not pretend it is.  And let’s stop diverting our efforts from what works.

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September 4th, 2011

In honor of teachers. Thank you!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/03/opinion/blow-an-ode-to-teachers.html

Another great article for the start of the school year. It’s time for us to honor teachers–not malign them. Let’s get with that program. It’ll do wonders for our schools.

Post by Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, M.A., J.D. | 1 Comment