Wed August 20, 2014

A Tale Of Two Polls

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 9:52 am

LA Johnson/NPR

Two new polls this week attempt to quantify the public's feelings for the Common Core State Standards. The K-12 benchmarks in English and math were little known this time last year. But they've since become the subject of a high-profile political fight. Now a majority of the public opposes them.

Or do they?

Poll No. 1, out today, puts support for the Core at just 33 percent. But Poll No. 2, released yesterday, puts it at 53 percent. That's a big difference.

Which one is wrong? Or can they both, somehow, be right?


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Mon August 18, 2014
School Food

Colorado's Farm To School Takes Root, But Challenges Still Abound

Greeley 6 school district's nutrition services director, Jeremy West, shows off one of his 40-gallon kettles used to tranform local produce into healthy food for students.
Stephanie Paige Ogburn KUNC

Inside the Greeley school district's cavernous food services warehouse, nutrition service director Jeremy West leans over a 40-gallon kettle and turns a crank, showing how it tilts for easier access. The pot, empty now, will soon bubble with marinara sauce or maybe burrito filling – with some of those tomatoes or beans coming from farms less than 20 miles away.

West appreciates those giant pots, but said he wouldn't mind a couple more. Preparing food from scratch takes equipment and space. He's lucky to mostly have the facilities he needs. Many other schools that want to source fresh food from local farmers and ranchers are having a harder time.

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Sun August 17, 2014

Why The Atlanta Testing Scandal Matters

Originally published on Sun August 17, 2014 1:04 pm

One study found that teachers under high-stakes testing spent more time teaching "bubble kids" who were close to passing, at the expense of students elsewhere on the bell curve.
LA Johnson NPR

Once, in a sauna at a Korean spa in Queens, I overheard what sounded like two teachers discussing the cheating practices of a third. "You know how she does it," one said. "She'll lean over a student about to put a wrong answer and whisper, 'Check your work.' "

"Yes, and her finger will just happen to be on the right answer," said the other one.

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Fri August 15, 2014

Helping Students Make Sense Of A Young Black Man's Death In Missouri

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 9:10 am

The death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., is likely to raise questions for kids at home and playing in parks, but also in classrooms where students and teachers are heading back for the first day of school.

The 18-year-old's death Saturday — and the circumstances surrounding it — have laid bare the intersections of race and class and social justice, not just in the 70 percent black suburb, but in the national response to it.

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Thu August 14, 2014

Half Of Colorado Students Test At Grade Level In Math, Writing

Bennett High School sophmore Jessica Miller watches a chemistry lecutre on an iPad in 2012.
Grace Hood KUNC

Colorado released the results of its statewide school tests Thursday, and the results are anything but a surprise.

"This year's [2014] TCAP results look a lot like last year's results. In fact they look like the results from the last several years," said Nicholas Garcia, an education reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado.

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