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BellaOnline's School Reform Editor

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 F E A T U R E   A R C H I V E  

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Is College for Everyone?
A college degree has become a status symbol in American culture--like a BMW or an 8,500-square-foot house. The reality is that most Americans cannot afford the luxury of sending their children to a four-year university with some vague idea that it will insure their financial future.

Common Core Misinterpretation
Workshops about the new Standards are being held for classroom teachers around the country. Unfortunately, some of the administrators conducting them have little understanding of what they mean. Parents and teachers who don't want to be misled will have to study them for themselves.

Beware Critical Thinking
Everyone agrees that children should learn to think critically, but not everyone agrees how they are supposed to do this. Critical thinking is not a subject that can be taught separately from a body of knowledge. To think critically, you have to have something to think about.

What Exactly is ALEC?
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) seems to be dedicated to the goal of diverting public money to private pockets. When it comes to education, parents must question the motives of reformers.

Third Grade Reading Law
Thirteen states have passed Third Grade retention laws. Children who fail to learn to read well enough to do fourth grade work will repeat the third grade.

Parent Trigger Laws
The existence of parent trigger laws are seen by many as a positive alternative for parents who feel that promised school reform takes too long. A closer look makes one wonder just whom these laws are intended to benefit.

Poor Reading Instruction Perpetuates Poverty
Itís no accident that the greatest percentage of illiteracy is to be found in the poorest segments of our population. The cause is related to a method of beginning reading instruction that penalizes the children of the poor.

Common Core Mission Statement
Subjecting the Common Core mission statement to the kind of close reading recommended by the Standards reveals a goal that is lacking in the human element. Job skills are not enough to get a person through the disappointments, tragedies and humiliations of 60-80 years of living.

Special Education vs General Education
As the number of school children diagnosed with special needs soars, many schools face bankruptcy in their attempts to meet federal mandates to serve this demographic. Like other areas of public education, special education is in serious need of reform.

Cut Scores and Priorities
Cut scores are selected points on the scoring scale of a test. Like the tests they are created for, cut scores are arbitrary. As the new Common Core Standards bring a new set of federal priorities to American education, it's more important than ever for parents to take charge.

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