July 30th, 2012
11:30 AM ET

Should we be teaching algebra?

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) In an op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times, Professor Andrew Hacker asks “Is Algebra necessary?”

He answers that question “no.”  Hacker says that algebra “is a stumbling block for all kinds of students” and that it takes a toll on both high school and college graduation rates.

He says that while the study of math is important, “…in the decade ahead a mere 5 percent of entry-level workers will need to be proficient in algebra or above.”

The question of whether or not to teach algebra sparked a lively discussion on Monday’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien.

CNN education contributor Steve Perry says for students of historically disadvantaged populations, algebra “does present a real barrier” to graduating college because “too few take requisite number of math courses.”

Perry acknowledges that “Algebra is a gatekeeper,” but adds “I don’t know that it’s necessary for every child."  He says that we need to get away from “one-size-fits-all academic experiences.”

“We need to create more compelling academic experiences that children are more connected to,” says Perry.

He says that colleges and the SAT measure algebra.  “But is what we’re teaching the best way to ensure we’re getting the best from every child?”

What do you think?  Should schools be teaching algebra?  Post your thoughts in the Comments section below.

 

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Filed under: Issues • Math • Perry's Principles • Starting Point • video • Voices
June 20th, 2012
02:20 PM ET

'Share my lesson' aims to connect educators

by Donna Krache, CNN

(CNN) On Tuesday, the American Federation of Teachers and TES Connect announced the launch of a free, resource sharing network for teachers.

Called “Share My Lesson,” the site aims to become the largest online community for teacher collaboration.

“Teachers are expected to do so much, often with very little support, and they are thirsty for the tools they need to improve instruction. The AFT decided to accept the challenge and make its biggest investment ever in a tool to improve the teaching profession,” AFT president Randi Weingarten said in a statement.

When asked about the $10 million price tag for the initiative, TSL Education CEO Louise Rogers told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, “The money we’re putting in is about driving both the technology and insuring that the content is absolutely what the teachers need every single day to make their lessons the best they can be.” TSL Education is the parent company of TES Connect.

“We’ve teamed up to try to make this an American product for American teachers so they can share with each other online resources…and to make sure that they can be prepared for the Common Core, this new academic standard for the 21st century,” Weingarten told Soledad O’Brien on Starting Point.

The “Share My Lesson” platform has been likened to a “digital filing cabinet” where teachers can share lesson plans, save the ones they like, and peer-review each other’s content.

“It’s about teachers teaching each other to be very, very good at what they do, and they get that by interacting with each other,” Rogers told CNN. “The teachers themselves are teaching and learning from each other.”

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Filed under: Curriculum • Practice • Resources • Starting Point • Teachers • Technology • video
June 12th, 2012
12:30 PM ET

Perry on tough love for students

(CNN) - CNN education contributor Steve Perry responds to an English teacher's commencement speech that has gone viral.

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Filed under: Graduation • On air • Starting Point • video
May 21st, 2012
12:15 PM ET

Perry's Principles: No gap year

CNN education contributor Dr. Steve Perry says he isn't a fan of gap years because that's what summer is for.


Filed under: Perry's Principles • Starting Point • Voices
May 21st, 2012
11:55 AM ET

Get real! School fined $15,000 for soda

From Starting Point: A Utah high school might have to make cuts to programs like music and theater after being fined by the government for soda.

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Filed under: Policy • Starting Point • video