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December 2010

Dear Reader:  

Welcome to the first issue of Views on the News, a monthly online journal of analysis produced by the External Affairs team at Teachers College. Enlisting the expertise of TC's faculty, alumni, students and leadership, Views on the News offers timely analysis and lively commentary on news events and current trends in education, health, nutrition, organizational leadership and other fields within the College's core areas of research, policy and practice.

During this unprecedented time of innovation, change and uncertainty in education, we look forward to serving the public by shedding new light on issues that touch everyone's lives. In that spirit, we welcome your comments on individual stories and your feedback on Views on the News. (A "Comments" box appears next to each article, as well on the Views on the News home page.)

We hope you will enjoy Views on the News and recommend it to your friends and colleagues.  May you enjoy a happy and healthy 2011 – with TC always in view!

James L. Gardner
Associate Vice President
External Affairs

Rank Disappointment

The United States made a poor showing on an James Corter international achievement test administered in 2009 by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development to 15-year olds around the world. But while the results may accurately reflect the superiority of other countries in preparing students to take achievement tests, TC experts question whether test-taking prowess necessarily indicates the broad mastery of content and higher-order, flexible thinking that are necessary to innovate and succeed in the 21st century marketplace. They call for adapting, rather than simply adopting educational approaches by other nations. (Continue reading the story)

Educating for Tomorrow's Job Market

The U.S. economy has been challenged for the past Educating for Job Marke two years by a volatile stock market, cautious financial institutions, better investment opportunities overseas and increasing government intervention to rescue private-sector industries in crisis. As a result, unemployment rates remain high and many jobs have been eliminated that may never be restored. Against that backdrop, there is a growing sense that America needs to go back to school -- that not only individuals, but entire industries and ultimately, schools themselves, need to rethink how they do business. (Continue reading the story)

Dear Chancellor-Select: Not That You Asked Us, But...

Unsolicited advice to 2010-11: The Year of Research at TC incoming New York City schools Chancellor Cathleen P. Black from a cross-section of TC experts who are long-time observers of the New York education scene. (Continue reading the story)

Private Contractors in Public Education: The Pitfalls of Portfolio Management

Contracting with private or more-autonomous public providers has the potential to increase flexibility, foster constructive variation, and offer an infusion of human capital and energies into schools. Yet there are many places at which things may go awry, (Continue reading the story)

Invest in the Youngest Students

As Newark's Mayor Booker contemplates how best to make use of a $100 million gift from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, he would do well to apply strategies validated by educational research. Chief among them: the first five years of a child's life are critical to later school success. (Continue reading the story)

TC Faculty: American Education Can't Wait for "Superman"

Waiting for "Superman," the controversial documentary Waiting for Superman on the failures of America's education system, has won high marks for dramatizing the deplorable condition of many urban schools and the right of every child to receive a good education. But a panel of TC faculty members who discussed the film after a screening on campus this past fall found it an overly simplistic treatment of the complex problems of public schools. In particular, they faulted the film's portrayal of charter schools as a universal panacea in education, while also objecting to its view that bad teachers and turf-conscious unions are the primary problem facing schools. (Continue reading the story)

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