This is a follow-up to a story link I posted a while back.
Hundreds of students in Illinois are spending the first day of classes trying to enroll in higher-performing schools instead of in seats at their home sites. Students and their parents say they hope their protest will highlight disparities in Chicagoans’ education along the socioeconomic divide.
People on both sides of the issue have compelling arguments: one side saying the protest sends the wrong message to kids, the other saying that taking a stand is their best shot at rectifying an unequal education system. Which camp do you fall into?
Read the full story here, and then share your thoughts.
The U.S. News and World Report annual ranking of colleges is out today, and nods are made to several Oklahoma campuses. The ranking formula takes account of factors such as SAT scores, peer reputation, selectivity and alumni giving. Predictably, the Ivy Leagues schools dominate the top spots nationally.
Here’s a story from The Associated Press about the Oklahoma rankings:
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — The best college in the state is the University of Tulsa, according to rankings released Friday by U.S. News and World Report magazine.
TU ranks 83rd on the list of the nation’s top universities, up eight spots from 2007, while the University of Oklahoma in Norman is tied for 108th, the same as last year.
Oklahoma State University in Stillwater remained in the third tier of the magazine’s ratings, while Oral Roberts University in Tulsa remained in the fourth, and last, tier. The magazine does not numerically rank schools in those two tiers.
Nationally, Harvard University topped the magazine’s rankings, followed by Princeton University and Yale University. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University tied for fourth.
TU said that a 25 percent decrease in its acceptance rate — which notes a more selective university — was the biggest change made by the school in the last year.
TU officials said the school has a 10-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and an average class size of 19 students.
“Our deliberate actions during the past decade have allowed TU to select a student body from among the nation’s top students while creating a vibrant, residential campus experience for these students once they arrive in Tulsa,” TU President Steadman Upham said in a statement.
Among Oklahoma colleges that focus primarily on bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, Oklahoma City University was tops in the state, ranking 25th in the West region, two spots lower than last year.
Oklahoma Christian University of Oklahoma City and Southern Nazarene University of Bethany both improved their ranking, finishing in a six-way tie for 53rd in the region.
Among baccalaureate universities, Oklahoma Baptist University of Shawnee tied for second in the West region, up one spot from 2007, while Oklahoma Wesleyan University of Bartlesvile and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha ranked 11th and 15th, respectively.
Two weeks ago I blogged about interesting education news from across the country. There are more that have grabbed my attention recently, so here’s another installment, with some personal perspectives.
*PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT ON SCHOOLWORK: Failed your test? Just try again. Forgot to turn your homework in on time? Your teacher can’t give you a zero just yet. Those are the new rules in Dallas schools, policies the district says will help level the playing field but that others say will undermine teachers’ work. My parents live in the DFW metroplex, and tell me that discussion is abuzz with talk of trying to raise the graduation rate and reduce the impact of the state’s no-pass-no-play athletics rule, while debating whether the outcome will help or hurt students. Full story.
*TEACHERS ARMED WITH MORE THAN A RED PEN: Forget those “gun-free zone” signs in Harrold, Texas, not far over the Oklahoma border. Teachers there are now allowed to carry concealed firearms if they are properly licensed and trained. The 110-student campus is a half-hour from the nearest sheriff’s office but only 340 feet from a major highway, a situation the superintendent says leaves the school in a vulnerable position. My in-laws in Massachusetts brought this up over the phone this weekend, so I know it’s already stirring discussions far from the Lone Star State. Full story.
*MEDIA CALL COULD SET OFF GAME OF TELEPHONE: A superintendent in Rapid City, S.D., is pushing for a new protocol that would obligate school board members to call him whenever they are contacted by the media. The superintendent says the protocol would help ensure the media gets accurate information, but some board members say it would institute a control over the publicly elected body. I got to know the reporter covering the story at a seminar for education reporters in New York in July. Original story. Follow-up story.
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.