Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 6:21 pm
This year, NPR Ed is reporting on the dramatic changes in the New Orleans school system.
Whitman Wilcox V attended kindergarten through second grade at a neighborhood public school in the Lower 9th Ward. He had just started the third grade when Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005. His family was forced to evacuate; he wound up at a Catholic school in Houston.
A few years ago, a school district in Colorado did away with grade levels – instead of being a kindergartner, a third grader, or a sixth grader, students began to be defined by how much they knew.
Starting in the 2009-2010 school year, Adams County School District 50, a 21-school district serving 10,000 students in the Westminster area that had struggled academically, began implementing a system they called competency-based education. Students, regardless of their age or grade level, are now tested into levels in areas like math and literacy, and then learn at their own pace.
I recently came to the education beat after spending the better part of a decade as a foreign correspondent, mainly reporting on conflicts in the Middle East.
Shortly after turning in my Kevlar vest for chalk dust, I was struck by how intensely polarized the education reform debate is in America. I'd traded real mortar fire for the rhetorical kind: Man the barricades, incoming Common Core!
Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 7:06 am
Glenn Peters knew he would be in the minority when he started training to teach preschool as part of New York City's rollout of universal pre-K, the largest such initiative in the country. But he didn't realize just how rare men are in the profession until he attended a resume-building workshop for aspiring pre-K teachers.
"They couldn't find the bathroom code for the men's bathroom, so I actually had to go to the women's room while someone stood guard outside the bathroom," Peters says. "I knew at that moment that I was a bit of a unicorn."