What the word?
First up, the hacked grades story in the Times. Right now it looks like it's at Chief Sealth, Ballard and Ingraham (all corners of the city). Apparently some kids are blabbing about this and I'm sure someone is going to get caught. (I love when kids think they will never get caught and then go tell someone what they did. Kids, loose lips sink ships.)
The Times also reported that the City signed a deal with the Space Needle Corp for a Chihuly glass exhibition hall. This includes a $1M for a children's playground (yay for kids) and again, some kind of educational tie-in with SPS.
The deal was sweetened with the addition of the playground, as well as arts-education programs at the Chihuly museum in partnership with Seattle Public Schools and other arts organizations.
The New York Times had a story about rigor in high school classes. This idea is taking on Supreme Court visions akin to what the definition is of pornography (Justice Potter Stewart famously said he might not be able to define it but "I know it when I see it.")
From the story:
More students are taking ambitious courses. According to a recent Department of Education study, the percentage of high school graduates who signed up for rigorous-sounding classes nearly tripled over the past two decades.
Great, right but wait for it:
But other studies point to a disconnect: Even though students are getting more credits in more advanced courses, they are not scoring any higher on standardized tests.
The reason, according to a growing body of research, is that the content of these courses is not as high-achieving as their names — the course-title equivalent of grade inflation. Algebra II is sometimes just Algebra I. And College Preparatory Biology can be just Biology.
Why do schools do this? Just as grade inflation is wrong so is course-title inflation. Colleges and universities figure out this game pretty fast. They know who really has students who can handle rigorous work because their courses ARE rigorous.
It is also pointed out in the story that the numbers of low scores on AP exams has gone way up. But administrators all seem to say that it is better to try an AP course and the exam for the experience than to take an easier class. True?