We’re elementary and middle school parents, but college is staring our kids in the face some years down the road. Since retiring from Microsoft, Bill Gates has spent $472 million of his foundation’s money to change higher education, in ways that often go undocumented or unnoticed by the general public. Not everyone in academe is thrilled with his approach. This story in the Chronicle of Higher Education is longish and definitely worth reading: it has impact on our children’s future. And Bill? We could use a smidgen of that dough for our outdoor space.
A little-noticed provision of New Jersey’s charter school law allows mainstream public school and private schools to convert themselves to charter schools. The former Saint Philip’s Academy in Newark is the first institution to take advantage of the law. The renamed Philip’s Academy Charter has one commonality with Unity Charter School: they’ll have students from multiple sending districts. But in other ways, it’s quite different. John Mooney writes about the transition.
On the lighter side, here’s another essay about leveraging Minecraft in the classroom.
Historically, the UCS community has taken a dim view of standardized testing. This has evidenced itself consistently in the year-end survey: of the assessment tools the community is asked to rate, standardized tests always get the poorest ratings. This year, the communications committee didn’t ask the community to rate standardized tests. It’s a moot point: we’re legally required to administer them. Retired teacher Frank Breslin offers an incendiary essay on standardized testing in New Jersey. Check it out.