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Gleanings

The Skinny on School Choice

Only a small fraction of kids are transferring out of schools that have failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress for two straight years under NCLB, according to a new study from the Center on Education Policy. The report, which revealed 2 percent of eligible students have opted to change schools, determined that only half of schools required to offer a transfer option this year have done so. Districts cite logistics as the main problem: not enough space in the "receiving" schools, or in the case of rural areas, no other schools nearby.

In Their Dreams

If you want your students to become better problem solvers, tell them to get a good night's sleep. While the link between creativity and sleep has been long suspected for example, it's said that chemist Dmitri Medeleyev devised the periodic table upon waking from a nap it's finally been proven scientifically. In a controlled experiment, German scientists at the University of Luebeck found people who got a full eight hours of sleep were three times more likely to figure out a hidden rule to a complex calculation than the sleep-deprived.

Assessing the State of Education

Are Bush administration policies hurting or helping public education? Seventy-two percent of respondents to our online QuickPoll say it's the former, with some commenting that NCLB "makes impossible demands and hampers the local school's ability to allocate resources" appropriately, and that its underlying objective is "to discredit public education so American voters will be more in favor of vouchers and charter schools." But 28 percent disagreed. One reader opined: "Democrats are just bitter because the Republicans embarrassed them by taking the lead both strategically and financially on something as obvious as system accountability."

Hit List

Books

T&L QuickPoll

Do you agree with [Howard] Dean that the Bush Administration is laying the groundwork for serious damage to our country's public education system?Hurting: 72%
Helping: 28%

Did you know you could do advanced mathematical calculations, convert units of measurement, perform reverse phone number look ups, and get real-time stock quotes using the Google search box? These are just some of the many useful revelations in How to Do Everything with Google, a well-written guide chock full of tips on making the most of the popular search engine from crafting more effective searches to finding specialized information. Penned by Google engineers and trainers, the book is at its best when explaining features users often pass by Google News, for instance, which aggregates and ranks the latest news from thousands of sources, and also provides customized news alerts via e-mail. Not exactly bedtime reading, to be sure, but surprisingly interesting and guaranteed to drag you out of your usual searching rut. McGraw-Hill/ Osborne; www.osborne.com

Online

With National Poetry Month almost upon us, educators looking for a fresh angle on the topic should visit Poetry Slam Inc.'s Web site on spoken word performance a competitive art form that's enjoyed phenomenal growth in the past decade and gained mainstream recognition on television and Broadway, thanks to Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam. While PSI's site is nothing special, technically or aesthetically, it offers a handy Frequently Asked Questions section that includes poetry slam history and rules; an updated list of slam venues nationwide (and also some overseas locations); and selected audio clips of well-known performance poets doing their thing. PSI also sponsors the National Poetry Slam, the "Super Bowl" of slams, to be held this August in St. Louis, Mo. www.poetryslam.com

Read other articles from the March Issue

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