I remember CliffsNotes in middle school – the little yellow and black study guide books.
By high school, the online equivalent SparkNotes became a student’s more likely safety net for the day a chapter went unread or for a quick review before a test.
Their purpose was the same: give a short overview and a short bit of insight into a longer work.
So here’s the SparkNotes version of a few interesting education articles I’ve read recently, along with the links for the original stories.
*CHICAGOANS URGED TO SKIP CLASS: Community leaders in the Windy City have urged students in poorer areas to skip the first day of classes on Sept. 2 and try to enroll in schools in more affluent areas. The idea behind the call is to draw attention to what organizers say is a problem of unequal funding and unequal opportunity. Opponents say telling kids to stay out of class is counterproductive. Read the whole article here.
*FOUR-DAY WEEK BENEFICIAL IN UTAH: Some school districts in Utah went to four-day weeks two years ago to save on energy and transportation costs. Now, one of the state’s smallest districts, named Tiny Rich, wants to stay on the schedule for another reason. They say the change has upped instructional time because extracurricular events are limited to Thursday nights, Fridays and Saturdays, instead of at times that might force students to miss class. Read the full story here.
*LAPTOP INITIATIVE REACHES STUDENTS: Instead of an apple for the teacher’s desk, Maine is outfitting all middle school and some high school students in the state with their own Apple-brand laptops. The state is spending $90 million through 2010 with the company for computers, infrastructure, technical support and related needs. Feedback so far has found that students attend class more often, and are happier and more engaged in class, but that the computers’ impact on test scores is still unclear. Read more about it here.