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This week's teaching & learning tidbits

It starts by making education a national mission

“The world is shifting to an innovation economy and nobody does innovation better than America,” President Obama said yesterday in Osawatomie, Kan., as he laid out a vision for broad-based prosperity in America. The President said that education is the foundation for the prosperity – and our world-class colleges and universities will help build that foundation. “The things that have always been our strengths match up perfectly with the demands of the moment,” he said. Read President Obama’s recent remarks on education.

Urban schools improve, but test score gaps remain

Students in many large urban school districts have made significant progress on standardized reading and math tests in recent years, but achievement gaps between black and white students remain stubbornly high, according to a new report released Wednesday by the National Center for Education Statistics. Read more in the Washington Times.

New calculation: Math in preschool

CHICAGO—Scores of preschool and kindergarten teachers across the city are embedding math concepts into daily classroom activities, in a promising new program that gives students a foundation for more complex math and logical-thinking skills in later grades. Read more in the Wall Street Journal.

Does class size matter?

Editor’s note: This is Part 1 of a two-part series on overcrowding and undercrowding in schools. You can see Part 2 here.

New York’s Forest Hills High School comes alive at 7:30 in the morning when students swarm in to start their day. But there are so many students, that the school has created a second shift at 8:30 and a third at 10:30 a.m. By the time the last students arrive, the first are already having a very early lunch. Read more in this New York Times Schools of Thought blog.

Task force to examine four-day week impact

STERLING – A taskforce committee is being formed to look at the impact of four-day school weeks for RE-1 Valley School District. During their meeting Monday night the RE-1 Board of Education directed Superintendent Betty Summers to bring them a membership list.

The board discussed the goal of the task force, which will be to look at the budgetary and structural impact of a four-day week, both with and without the buildings being completely closed during the fifth day. Read more in the Journal Advocate.

Charter school enrollment surges in Colorado and nationwide

This year, charter schools across the country logged the largest enrollment increase ever recorded.

Colorado, among the top five states in the country for charter school enrollment, added 13 new charter schools and enrolled more than 8,500 additional students in the autonomous schools. Read more in the Denver Post.

State: 86% of Boulder Valley schools in highest achievement category

No Boulder Valley schools will receive extra scrutiny from the state on their efforts to boost achievement — after four did last year — based on performance categories approved Tuesday by the Colorado State Board of Education.

The school and district category assignments are part of the Colorado’s “performance framework” reports. This is the second year the state has used the reports to measure school achievement. Read more in the Daily Camera. And find out how your district fared in this interactive database.

Online learning, personalized

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jesse Roe, a ninth-grade math teacher at a charter school here called Summit, has a peephole into the brains of each of his 38 students. Read more in the New York Times.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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