Educators are debating how to address studies that have repeatedly shown that boys are lagging girls in reading skills -- and perhaps overall academically -- writes Bard College assistant professor Michael Sadowski. Some point to wider achievement gaps based on race and income as they question whether a "boy crisis" exists, while others suggest the gender gap may be at least partially attributable to a lack of "boy-friendly" content in curricula. Sadowski suggests that working to help all struggling readers may ultimately be the best way to close achievement gaps among student subgroups.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates promoted charter schools as an important model for improving education, but urged charters to be accountable for the success of their students. "The deal that allowed for the autonomy really has to be a real deal," Gates told attendees of the National Charter Schools Conference. "The freedom to perform in new ways meant that if you don't perform that things are shut down after being given a chance."
An arbitrator ruled that some 600 teachers in 22 Cleveland public schools will not have to reapply for their jobs as part of a school-transformation plan being implemented by schools chief Eugene Sanders. "This decision does not derail the transformation plan, but it does help to ensure a smoother school opening for Cleveland's students," said Cleveland Teachers Union President David Quolke. A district spokesman said, however, that many teachers will be reassigned because of the closure of 16 schools.
States and school districts nationwide are working to determine the best way to choose instructional materials and curricula that align with new national education standards. Some have suggested the establishment of an independent panel to review the materials, but a National Governors Association said in the end it will be up to the publishers to assure that their materials support the new standards.
Florida's House of Representatives has passed a controversial bill tying teacher pay partially to student performance and abolishing tenure. The bill -- which is opposed by teachers -- will go to Gov. Charlie Crist for his signature. Crist has indicated that he has reservations about the legislation but has not said that he will veto it.