This week's News Beyond the Ridge looks at articles surrounding the high school experience and issues of single-sex education. McCallie Headmaster Kirk Walker is fond of stressing that McCallie is not a "single-sex" school, but rather a school that is and has been since its first day about educating boys.
Article Makes Case for the Academic Value of Extracurriculars
Activities at school beyond the classroom like sports, drama club, yearbook, and jazz band are worth protecting in tight fiscal times, contends a new article. "...a growing body of research says there is a link between after-school activities and graduating from high school, going to college, and becoming a responsible citizen."
Education Week "Curriculum Matters" blog, October 12
Responding to Criticism of Single-Sex Schools
Dr. Katherine Windsor, head of Miss Porter's School in Connecticut, offered a strong and informative response to a recent New York Times article focused on new data questioning the validity and value of single-sex education. While her observations focus more heavily on girls, much of her information and data offer plenty of defense for any single-sex educational environment.
Porters.org web page, September 25
-- Single Sex School Debate Back in the News -- Education Week "Why Boys Fail" blog, October 13
Top Students -- Especially Boys -- Suffer in High School Transition
According to a recent study by the Fordham Institute, a large number of America's highest-performing middle school students regress during high school, and boys are especially vulnerable to this "9th Grade Bulge" effect. "Every casualty among this group is a loss in potential human capital." One explanation offered: No Child Left Behind in public schools rewards on "leveling" student achievement, improving low-performers while neglecting high achievers.
US News & World Report, September 21
Too Many Tests, Not Enough Term Papers
A Washington Post blog focuses attention on the parent of students in Connecticut public schools. She has a junior and a sophomore who "have yet to be assigned a writing assignment longer than three pages." She writes, "'Covering content,' copious amounts of it, is not learning. It is a lot of work, but it is mind-numbing. It certainly does not render a student 'college-ready.'"
Washington Post "The Answer Sheet" blog, October 1
Quality Homework: A Smart Idea
Annie Murphy Paul: "The studying that middle school and high school students do after the dismissal bell rings is either an unreasonable burden or a crucial activity that needs beefing up. Which is it? Do American students have too much homework or too little? Neither, I’d say. We ought to be asking a different question altogether."
New York Times, September 10
Budget Cuts Hit Hard In Schools, Hurts Students
"According to a report released today by the Campaign for America's Future, evidence suggests that cuts to education funding are leading to cutbacks from early childhood education programs, increases in class sizes and termination of art, music, physical education and other elective subjects. Special programs are also being cut... including... Advanced Placement courses, extracurricular activities and special academic programs for science, foreign language and technology."
HuffingtonPost - Education, October 13