As I did in last year’s The “Best” Articles About Education — 2007, I’ve put quotes around the word “Best” in the title of this list since I’m sure there are many, many articles about education I have not read and posted about this year. I’m particularly interested in hearing people’s suggestions for additions to this list.
Here are my rankings for the five “best” articles about education this year:
Number five is an article I heard about from Middle Web‘s newsletter called “Of Particular Interest.” Quoting John Norton, Middleweb’s editor: “A recent “practice guide” from the federal National Center for Education Research distills what its panel of scholarly authors believe are seven of the best research-based instructional strategies teachers can use to improve student learning…Don’t be put off by the lengthy scholarly introduction — skim and skip to page 4.” It’s well worth looking-at. I’d also encourage you read an excellent summary of the report that was written by Karen Janowski.
Number four is (are?) actually three articles — all written by my favorite writer on classroom management issues, Marvin Marshall. The three are:
* “About The Question ‘Why?’” where he shares how pointless it is to ask that question of a student about his/her behavior, and how critical it is for us to consider that same question when we reflect on, and explain about, the content we are teaching.
Number three is A Broader, Bolder Approach To Education. It’s an excellent statement that focuses on the importance of working on inequalities outside the schoolhouse door, such as economics and health, to promote academic achievement, as well as calling for a broader interpretation of what “academic achievement” is. You can also access summaries of important research backing-up the statement.
Number two is by one of my favorite writers, Paul Krugman, called Poverty Is Poison. In it he highlights, among many things, a new study that shows poverty’s negative effect on the brain development of children. It particularly impairs language development and memory.
And, now, my pick for the number one article about education in 2008 is… Whose Problem is Poverty? by Richard Rothstein, the former education writer for The New York Times. He gives a good summary in this most recent article of one of his main themes — that a lot of the reasons behind lower academic achievement are non-school related, and that if our society is serious about helping students improve we need to deal with issues like the lack of affordable housing and adequate health care for low-income families.