Symposium 2015: Is year round education good for student learning?

Gastonia, NC Correspondent-As the brother of a career middle school teacher and the son of a college professor, I am deeply suspicious of “fads” in education.  From New Math to Common Core, periodically some well-meaning idiot comes up with a fantastic new idea that’s going to make our kids smarter, our country stronger, our whites whiter and our colors brighter…or something like that. Continue reading

Should Schools Fund Band and Sports while Laying Off Teachers?

From Thinking Outside the Boxe’s London Correspondent

In March 2011, Gov. Rick Perry announced that over 100,000 teachers at Texas public schools would lose their jobs due to budget cuts. Similar cases have been occurring all over the United States, from California to New York City, as many school districts struggle to make ends meet. There’s no doubt that these cuts negatively affect the school system as a whole: as schools fire talented, experienced teachers in favor of cheaper, less experienced individuals, students lose out on these teachers’ expertise, and particularly talented individuals will be more reluctant to join the profession in the future. Yet while many qualified teachers find themselves out of a job, school districts continue to fund non-academic programs, like athletics, band and theater. How can these programs be more valuable to a school than the knowledge and skill of a talented teacher? Continue reading