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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Reading, Writing, and Failing

This past weekend governors from 45 of the 50 U.S. states met to discuss the nation’s ineffective high schools. Only 18% of ninth graders have actually finished college after six more years, and while American fourth graders score among the top ranks of industrialized nations on standard tests, our high school students finish at the bottom. Maybe our schools need less dancing and horseplay and more old-fashioned hard work and concentration? Or maybe our teachers need better training, as last week's L.A. Times article by Stanford professor Samuel Wineburg points out. According to him, few high school history teachers have actually studied history in college.

U.S. assistant secretary of education Susan Sclafani said earlier this month that 94% of high school kids now turn to the Internet first, when they have to do school assignments. We’re doing our best to make Wisconsin's little corner of the Web a reliable and effective place for them to find answers. Our online collections such as Turning Points and American Journeys put authentic documents into the hands of kids, and Connecting to the Classroom helps teachers use them. Obviously, though, much more remains to be done.

:: Posted in Children on February 27, 2005
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