Marci Kanstoroom is Executive Editor and Senior Web Editor at Education Next. She has written and edited numerous publications on charter schools, teacher quality, and federal education policy, and she has testified on education issues before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science and the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education. A Maryland native, Kanstoroom holds a B.A. in political science from Yale University and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University, where she studied political philosophy and American government.
Are traditional P.E. classes likely to be an effective tool in fighting obesity? What little research there is finds no association between PE and weight loss and obesity. One reason more P.E. has not led to weight loss might be that traditional PE classes do not always offer students a real workout, particularly in high school. Students don’t like having to change into gym clothes and get sweaty in the middle of the day. So P.E. teachers may end up grading students in part based on whether they change into their P.E. clothes. The 25th Hour PE class at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia is different.
Competition is making a comeback, according to June Kronholz. Her new article looks at the growth of academic bees and bowls like the Scripps National Spelling Bee and the National Geographic Bee. “Americans thrive on competition,” June writes. “But American schools have been suspicious of competition for generations, and are generally horrified by the idea that success should be accompanied by a reward like a title, a trophy, or a cash prize.”
In a new article, “Out of the Mainstream,” Lynne Blumberg wonders what ever happened to the alternative high schools that thrived in the 1970s, which were very different from the alternative schools she encounters today. What she found was in part a story about changing times and changing students, but also a story about unchanging school districts.
Last month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan affirmed the education department’s commitment to working with districts to get effective teachers into the schools where they are needed most. The Race to the Top competition and proposals to reauthorize No Child Left Behind both include efforts to ensure the equitable distribution of effective teachers. But boosting the numbers of effective teachers in high-need schools is not a simple matter. In a new article, Kati Haycock of the Education Trust and Eric Hanushek of Stanford University engage in a debate over the most promising strategies for increasing the number of effective teachers in high-poverty schools.
In a new book, The Making of Americans, E.D. Hirsch explicitly connects the idea of cultural literacy to the subject of civics—“the role of a common system of public schools in educating a citizenry to the level necessary to maintain a democracy.”
Charter schools are not generally known for their athletic programs–many do not even field teams–but in Washington, D.C., where charter schools now enroll 38 percent of public school students, charter school basketball has gone big time… in some schools.