Posts Tagged ‘ teaching ’

New No Child Left Behind Rules

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

For years, the Obama Administration has tried to reform the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. The law holds schools directly accountable for student progress in reading and math and leads them to face sanctions, including potential closure, if they don’t meet set standards. NCLB’s criticisms have been manifold: that it forces schools to teach to the test and deemphasize (if not outright ignore) other subjects; that it is a negative, punitive approach; that it doesn’t truly reform the educational system; and that the standards are unrealistic (48 percent of the nation’s 100,000 public schools were labeled as failing under the law last year).

With no consensus in Congress on how to fix the problem, the President has taken matters into his own hands. In a press conference this afternoon, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that 10 states—Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee—have agreed to work within the Administration’s reform guidelines and will thus receive a waiver from the potential sanctions slated to go into effect in 2014. These states will continue to set a higher bar for achievement—including college- and career-ready standards—but now have more freedom in how they implement it. More important, they can focus on tailoring solutions to the individual needs of poor-performing schools and students. They’ve also agreed to reward schools ranked at the top and that display clear gains (something NCLB didn’t do), and to implement meaningful teacher and principal evaluation systems.

This NCLB bypass effectively puts more control of education back in the hands of individual states. Assuming the states follow through as promised and look at long-term structural fixes, granting them waivers should be a good thing for public students in these states. But it is also a clear acknowledgment that that the United States is nowhere near to achieving the law’s goal of getting kids up to grade level in reading and math within the next two years. No wonder 28 other states have indicated that they, too, plan to seek waivers.

What do you think: Are the NCLB waivers a good thing or merely an admission that our system remains broken with few signs of improvement?

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Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Goody Blog Daily News RoundupVitamin D Helps Kids’ Breathing, Study Says: Are Supplements Smart?
Strong bones aren’t the only benefit of vitamin D. A new study suggests that the “sunshine vitamin” helps prevent breathing problems in infants and young children.”Our data suggest that the association between vitamin D and wheezing, which can be a symptom of many respiratory diseases and not just asthma, is largely due to respiratory infections,” study leader Dr. Carlos Camargo, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a written statement. [CBS News]

Madonna Plays Santa for Malawi Children
Madonna wasn’t able to visit Malawi this Christmas, but she let the children in the six orphanages she funds there know they were very much on her mind this holiday season.  Boxes of toys, chocolate, other sweets and clothes were shipped with a handwritten note from the star, which read, “To my Malawi children on Christmas and Boxing Day. I wish I was with you. See you soon M.” Inside the goodie boxes were miniature Christmas cards signed by Madonna, Lourdes and Rocco. [CNN]

Teacher Effort Is Linked To Difficult Students’ Inherited Traits
Challenging students take up more of their teachers’ time – and the difference between a tougher student and an easier one appears to be genetic, according to a new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The study looked at young twins in the U.K. and asked their teachers how much of a handful they are. [Medical News Today]


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Learning to Write

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

getattachment.aspxMy 5-year-old daughter, Jane, has had trouble holding a pencil properly—she likes to grasp it with her whole fist—and would fuss when we tried to correct her (“This is the way I do it!”). After her Pre-K teacher acknowledged that this was a problem we should help her work on, we discovered The Writing C.L.A.W., a unique pencil grip that shows children exactly where to place their thumb, index finger and middle finger. It’s so simple to use and Jane feels a sense of satisfaction that it helps her hold her pencil the way grown-ups want her to. I am sure that once she uses it for a while, it will become much easier for her fingers to find their proper place without it. I ordered a pack of five from Therapro, a terrific source sorts of products used by occupational therapists—and many you can use yourself at home. But you can order a single C.L.A.W. in your child’s favorite color directly from the manufacturer.

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Share Your Best Mama Tip!

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

23912994_8a0b5eb062 Got a great tip or trick that makes your life easier? Tell us about it and you could be featured in Parents magazine!

Whether it's a surefire way to get your picky eater to eat her veggies, a simple organizing solution, a clever way to keep kids busy on long car-rides, or the perfect go-to present that's a hit with every child, we want to know our readers' best nuggets of homegrown advice! It can be about anything—so go on and share! To add yours, go to our new community site. We can't wait to read your amazing tips!

Image via

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Share Your Best Mama Tip!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

CLINICAL BOX It certainly doesn't feel like summer in NYC yet, but if you're lucky enough to be in warmer temperatures, you may be getting a whiff of the fact that your regular deodorant isn't getting the job done. The latest odor-attacker out there is BAN Clinical Defense Roll-On, $7. It claims to work better than the other clinical-strength deodorants you've seen in drugstores because it uses a technology that eliminates two stress-related odors—spicy odor and s-odor—instead of just masking them. Give it a roll and let us know what you think.

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Spankin’ New Headlines

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

News Image NEW
American kids need six days of school a week, 11 months a year, to compete with students in other countries, says U.S. Schools Chief. Salon

Teachers use pretend play and lessons in self-control to help preschoolers learn to behave. Wall Street Journal

Despite the economy, parents are making summer camp a priority. Chicago Tribune

Weight report card: Massachusetts schools are sending kids home with BMI readings to alert parents if they’re too skinny or fat. Boston Globe

Need a nanny? The pool is bigger this year, allowing parents to be super selective. Forbes

Original photo via

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Munchkin Math

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

A recent debacle involving a missed soccer game has me pondering the fundamental importance of time telling. It can be a frustrating thing to teach and learn (and pesky to remember, well into adulthood). But it’s an immensely helpful concept for kids, especially with the nice weather approaching and directives like, “Five more minutes until we leave the park,” being put into place.
If you’re looking for a few inventive teaching techniques (for kids as young as 2) there’s a great DVD series out called Munchkin Math. The host and creator, Wendy Miller, helps an animated cuckoo bird tell time and encourages everyone watching to join in. She uses chants and rhymes, (Hickory, Dickory, Dock. There are two hands on the clock!) and even includes learning movements, like having viewers use their arms as pretend clock hands.

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Have an (Inaugural) Ball

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

The presidential inauguration is just a week away and no matter what party you belong to (or don't belong to!) it's a great opportunity to teach your kids about our country. The buzz in our office is that some kids' schools will be holding festive celebrations, watching the inauguration on TV together in the gym, and having kids dress up in red, white, and blue. One school is even having a mock inaugural ball. (Too fun! Can I come?) If you want to get in on the festivities, Cindy over at Alpha Mom has a great Inauguration Party how-to, complete with free printables. Want more ideas? Check out these patriotic printables and festive puddings from

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