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America’s kids got more stupid in reading, math and science while Team Obama was in charge


By Todd Starnes

Published February 09, 2017

American school kids became more stupid under the Obama administration, according to rankings released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

They recently released the results of a worldwide exam administered every three years to 15-year-olds in 72 countries. The exam monitors reading, math and science knowledge.

Based on their findings, the United States saw an 11-point drop in math scores and nearly flat levels for reading and science.

The Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, fell below the OECD average – and failed to crack the top ten in all three categories.

In other words, thanks to the Obama administration’s education policies, kids in the Slovac Republic are more proficient in multiplication.

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The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergartners of Finland


Reader ...”I worked part time and my kids got picked up at their elementary school and transported to enrichment 2-3x/week. My greatest joy was picking them up from kindergarten, watching them play with friend in the playground and then going out for lunch or.making.lunch together. As a parent, I would not want ffull day K…they grow up too quickly not to treasure those early years together.”

Forget the Common Core, Finland’s youngsters are in charge of determining what happens in the classroom.

“The changes to kindergarten make me sick,” a veteran teacher in Arkansas recently admitted to me. “Think about what you did in first grade—that’s what my 5-year-old babies are expected to do.”

The difference between first grade and kindergarten may not seem like much, but what I remember about my first-grade experience in the mid-90s doesn’t match the kindergarten she described in her email: three and a half hours of daily literacy instruction, an hour and a half of daily math instruction, 20 minutes of daily “physical activity time” (officially banned from being called “recess”) and two 56-question standardized tests in literacy and math—on the fourth week of school.

That American friend—who teaches 20 students without an aide—has fought to integrate 30 minutes of “station time” into the literacy block, which includes  “blocks, science, magnetic letters, play dough with letter stamps to practice words, books, and storytelling.” But the most controversial area of her classroom isn’t the blocks nor the stamps: Rather, it’s the “house station with dolls and toy food”—items her district tried to remove last year. The implication was clear: There’s no time for play in kindergarten anymore.

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Annual Ridgewood science expo now in Hall of Fame



The executive committee of a popular village event received an award last month from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame (NJIHoF).

Jim Wallace, founder of Ridgewood’s Super Science Saturday (SSS), and his former pupil, MichaelAaron Flicker, accepted the “Advancement of Invention and Process Award” on behalf of the executive committee, according to committee member Mary Ann Copp.

The well-known science exposition, which has been taking place since 1989, was the brainchild of Wallace, who decided to turn a science project assigned to his class into an entire event at the recommendation of a parent.

“A parent said we should do this for the whole school,” he recalled, “and I said, ‘Why not?'”

While the idea was in place for the event, it still took some planning to get everything running the way it needed to be.

“A bunch of parents volunteered, and it took a few years to get a good committee, but once we did, we were able to expand it,” Wallace said.

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Ridgewood schools receive $85K grant for science classroom upgrades


JUNE 24, 2015    LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24, 2015, 9:54 AM

Thanks in part to a large donation, learning at the Ridgewood middle school level is about to step into the future.

The Ridgewood Education Foundation (REF) has awarded an $85,000 leadership grant to the Board of Education to “kick off the renovation of science classrooms” at George Washington and Benjamin Franklin middle schools, according to REF Board of Trustees President Jennie Smith Wilson.

“This is much more about hands-on learning, understanding how things are made, learning by doing,” Wilson told The Ridgewood News last week. “Classrooms are outfitted for the old way of learning and teaching. Science classrooms match what learning was, not what it will be.”

According to Stacy Hughes, executive board member of the George Washington Home and School Association, the grant could not have come at a better time.

“It’s a generous gift for some well-deserving schools. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to create a hands-on, interactive learning environment for the kids,” Hughes said. “At GW, the classroom environment is a little antiquated, so this will be a huge and exciting change for the kids.”

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English pupils’ maths scores improve under east Asian approach


Study shows ‘maths mastery’ experiment improved children’s scores in English schools after just one year

Schools in England experimenting with east Asian teaching methods have seen an improvement in children’s mathematics skills after just one year, according to a study.

The research, published on Thursday, which represents the first hard evidence that introducing a Singaporean “maths mastery” approach into English classrooms can influence results, found a “relatively small but welcome improvement” in children’s performance.

The report’s lead author warned however that the mastery programme should not be seen as “a silver bullet” and called for it to be tested over a longer period in a greater number of schools in order to build a fuller picture.

Policymakers have been studying teaching methods in east Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea, which dominate the Pisa international league tables measuring children’s academic achievement. Children there are on average more than one year ahead of their western peers in maths.

The mastery programme differs radically from current maths teaching in England, with fewer topics covered in greater depth, and every child expected to master the topic before the class moves on. Teachers hold weekly hour-long workshops to discuss lesson planning.

The study, led by UCL Institute of Education and the University of Cambridge, evaluated the impact of a Singaporean-inspired teaching programme in 90 English primary schools and 50 secondaries where it was taught to more than 10,000 pupils in year 1 (aged 5-6) and year 7 (11-12).

After a year they saw a small increase in children’s maths test scores compared with pupils in other schools which was roughly equivalent to one additional month of progress over the academic year. The programme is designed to have a cumulative effect, with the full benefit evident after five years.