Elementary and Secondary Education

Rural schools caught in ‘death spiral’

Rural schools caught in ‘death spiral’

Enrollment changes can have big impact in sparsely populated districts

ON A SUNNY October day, students play at recess outside Hawlemont Elementary School tucked into the wooded hills of Charlemont, which are electric with fall color. As they head back to class, Wayne Kermenski, the principal, calls them over to visit the animals behind the school’s newly constructed post-and-beam barn. They jump at the opportunity.(...)

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Contributing to debate

Contributing to debate

Public school debate teams give students more than just a good argument

Microphilanthropy is an occasional feature that calls attention to small acts of generosity that people do for the benefit of others and highlights little-known needs that could benefit from generosity, even on a small scale. IF YOU WENT to a high school with reasonable resources, there was almost certainly a debate team. It’s possible the(...)

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Lessons from Singapore 

Lessons from Singapore 

Known for its high-achieving schools, the nation offers Massachusetts a vision for 21st century teaching and learning

ON DECEMBER 6, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released the results of the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an assessment administered in 72 nations every three years that measures 15-year-old students’ skills in reading, mathematics, and science literacy. Massachusetts students did very well and placed toward the top of the(...)

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State must signal arts education matters

State must signal arts education matters

Should be an indicator in school accountability system

ARTS EDUCATION PROVIDES vital learning benefits, helping students develop 21st Century skills such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration, and teamwork. Research has also shown us for years that an education program that prominently features arts can lead to improved attendance, persistence, focused attention, and intellectual risk taking—all of which correlates strongly with(...)

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After charter defeat, Baker looks to close achievement gap

After charter defeat, Baker looks to close achievement gap

Governor mulls options to level performance between black and white students

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE REJECTED BY THE voters in his bid for an expansion of charter school access, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday he will explore other means of reducing the gap between the achievement levels of white students and students of color. Speaking to reporters a day after Question 2 went down, with 37.8(...)

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Curtatone: Charter question goes way too far

Curtatone: Charter question goes way too far

Somerville mayor says Q2 threatens schools’ recent success

$412 MILLION. That figure represents the amount of taxpayer money that was diverted from 243 local school districts across the Commonwealth and given to charter schools last year. If Ballot Question 2 passes this election, that annual number will grow much higher, and the consequences for students in our public schools will be long-lasting. We(...)

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Charter showdown

Charter showdown

A charter school leader and teachers union president debate the ballot question

IN NOVEMBER, MASSACHUSETTS voters will have their say on a ballot question that would allow up to 12 new or expanded charter schools each year above the existing state cap on the independently-run, but publicly-funded, schools. The issue has inflamed passions on both sides. We asked two prominent Boston education leaders, Jon Clark, co-director of(...)

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The missing piece of education reform

The missing piece of education reform

Leadership by superintendents and principals is key

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ago a broad coalition of legislators, business people, education experts, and state officials put together and passed a wide-reaching education reform law. That law reflects a set of shared beliefs—basically, that a combination of increased funding, state testing tied to graduation requirements, new state curriculum frameworks, charter schools, and increased authority for superintendents(...)

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Charter cap debate clouds original intent

Charter cap debate clouds original intent

Passing ballot question would stymie education innovation

PROMOTING INNOVATION WAS the original purpose of charter schools. As first envisioned by union leader Albert Shanker and others, charters would benefit the educational system as a whole by serving as laboratories for new ideas. With higher levels of autonomy, charters would have the freedom to experiment. Some of those experiments would be incorporated into traditional(...)

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