Education Roundup: More Segregation, Science Fails, and the State of the Union

[UPDATEBlackAmericaWeb.com reports that Kelley Williams-Bolar will get to keep her public school assistant job, despite having two felonies on her record. Meanwhile, bloggers are asking whether Williams-Bolar is the "Rosa Parks" of education and a Change.org petition is demanding that Gov. John Kasich pardon her. What did Kelley do? Read on.] 

  • Would you lie to get your kids into a better school? Ohio mom Kelley Williams-Bolar did, and was jailed for nine days for using a false address to send her two daughters to a better school. Colorlines and HuffPo sum up the racist undertones of Kelley's case, and the public outrage that's resulted.
  • Also sparking some outrage is McCaskey East High School in Pennsylvania, which since mid-December, has segregated students by race and gender to boost academic results, according to Education News. The separation occurs for six minutes each day and 20 minutes twice a month and, it only applies to black students.
  • Those nationally-lauded New York City charter schools are spending more than public schools, receiving $10,000 per student from private donors, but they’re not getting better performance results, according to a study by the National Education Policy Center.
  • Hey, here's one reason why US students aren't learning science at internationally competitive rates: only 28 percent teachers in the US teach evolutionary biology in their classrooms, MoJo's Julia Whitty reported.
  • In his State of the Union speech this week, Obama devoted eight minutes to education, more than doubling the amount of air time US schools received last year. The US Department of Education's transcript of those minutes are here. Education Week analyzed what the edu-proposals Obama mentioned actually mean, while Eduflack's Patrick Riccards called the speech a "Chinese menu of education issues" that left average folks still scratching their heads about what to do to improve education. And author, blogger, and educator Diane Ravitch called out Obama’s plan to replace No Child Left Behind with a Race to the Top approach. Both programs, Ravitch says, miss the mark by focusing solely on reading and math test scores to evaluate what students know.
  • The president definitely got it right when he said, "The quality of our math and science lag behind many nations." On Tuesday, the Nation's Report Card on science dropped, and while 29 percent of white high school seniors scored below national basic proficiency, 71 percent of black students fell short. The reason? Check out The Hechinger Report's excellent investigation on the need for science education reforms. Here's a taste: No Child Left Behind left science behind by threatening to withhold funding from schools if only math and reading scores didn't improve. Also, US students are taught to memorize facts while international students learn foundational concepts.