The week in blogs: Center report on time in school sparks continuing discussion in the Washington Post

An NSBA report debunking the myth that U.S. students spend less time in class than their counterparts in Finland, China, and other advanced countries is sparking an ongoing discussion on The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.

The report, written by Jim Hull, a senior policy analyst at NSBA’s Center for Public Education, found that the number of hours of school required by five of the larger states  (the states set these requirements, rather than the federal government) compare favorably with the requirements of other industrialized nations. More important than the number of hours, Hull said, is how effectively schools use the time they have.

The two most recent responses came on Wednesday’s Answer Sheet. First, Jennifer Davis, co-founder and president of the National Center on Time & Leaning, took a more positive view of adding classroom time rather than providing optional afterschool enrichment. Then Jodi Grant, executive director of the Afterschool Alliance, responded in the same column, saying that proponents of longer days are seeking to divert scarce funds from “afterschool and summer programs that are a lifeline for so many children and their working families, to see if their idea will work.”

Post columnist Valerie Strauss first wrote about the Center’s report in her Dec. 13 blog. Two days later she posted an earlier column by Grant, who said that strengthening afterschool programs in disadvantaged communities makes more sense than simply adding class time to the school day.

In other news, everything you need to know about teacher education (as of this week, at least) is the subject of Stephen Sawchuk’s excellent and exhaustive Teacher Beat column. Sawchuk looks at a new Department of Education report on teacher colleges as well as other recent studies.

Speaking of “exhaustive” — in an insider baseball kind of way – have you ever wondered who the top 120 or so university-based educational researchers are? ….. Come on, you know you have! Well, your questions are answered this week by American Enterprise Institute scholar Rick Hess who has created the 2012 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Presence Rankings: 121 of your favorite edu-researchers ranked according to their influence on the public debate.  (Trading cards to come?)

I jest, but this is particularly interesting and useful for education writers – and for anyone who wants to spend his weekend arguing whether, for example, Penn’s Andrew C. Porter (#22) truly deserves to edge Berkeley’s Bruce Fuller (#23). (By the way, if I were doing this compilation, any professor who calls me back on deadline would move immediately to the top of the list.)  

Finally, on a more sobering note, if you didn’t catch the 60 Minutes interview with a New York State student who took at least 16 SAT tests for other students – and for a whole lot of cash — you can see the segment on Joanne Jacobs’ blog.


Lawrence Hardy|January 6th, 2012|Categories: Uncategorized|

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