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April 25th, 2014

New Math Pathways for Cambridge Middle School Students

On March 4th, 2014 the Cambridge Public School District administration and School Committee amended the Academic Challenge Policy to allow for two math pathways in the CPS middle schools. The CALA community has advocated for this change for two years, and supports this decision, as it better enables middle school math teachers to meet the [...]

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December 19th, 2013

Interaction of Teaching-to-the-Test and Socioeconomic Status

Here’s an excerpt of an essay by University of California at Davis Professor Norman Matloff, titled “Let’s Not Panic Over U.S. Students’ Global Rankings“:

“Even former Premier Wen Jiabao has complained about China’s rote-memory approach to education. Chen Lixin, an engineering professor at Northwestern Polytechnic University in Xian, has warned that China produces [...]

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October 3rd, 2013

Rise in Advocacy for Advanced Learning Programs Across the US

This article in Education Week, titled “Parents Press for Attention to Programs for Gifted Students“, by Nora Fleming, examines efforts across the US to establish services and interventions for students with advanced learning needs. Here’s an excerpt:

“According to Donna Ford, a professor at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education, minorities are also [...]

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April 30th, 2013

The Rich-Poor Student Achievement Gap Has Grown Over the Decades

In this NY Times Opinionator article titled “No Rich Child Left Behind“, Sean F. Reardon, professor of education and sociology at Stanford, explores how wealth has taken over race as the dominating factor in determining students’ success. The rich-poor gap in student achievement has widened significantly over the last 50 years. Here’s an excerpt:

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February 2nd, 2013

New Advanced Academic Centers in DC Area Public Schools

This Washington Post article titled “Fairfax approves limited expansion of gifted-education program” by T. Rees Shapiro, covers the creation of new advanced academic centers in the Fairfax County public schools. Here’s an excerpt:

“The Fairfax County School Board has approved a modest expansion of the gifted-education program, creating more learning opportunities for the [...]

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October 21st, 2012

Education Models for Delivering Advanced Learning

How have education models for teaching students in need of advanced learning changed over the last three decades? Two education experts offer insight and data. They are: Joyce VanTassel-Baska, EdD, the Jody and Layton Smith Professor of Education and executive director of the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary, where [...]

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September 28th, 2012

Education for All Shouldn’t Be About Rationing Limited Resources

RiShawn Biddle’s editorial board, who cover the reform of American public education in blog Dropout Nation, compiled three excerpts about the difficulty of trying to meet students’ advanced learning needs without exascerbating race- and class-driven acheivement gaps. The piece is called – The Power of Challenging Young Minds. Excerpt authors are: Sara Mead of Bellwether [...]

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September 1st, 2012

Introducing CPS’s new Academic Challenge Program Manager

I’m very happy to report that this week CPS Deputy Superintendent Carolyn Turk introduced the school district’s new Academic Challenge and Enrichment Support Program Manager. She is Paula Feynman, who has in recent years worked as a 6th grade science teacher in Sudbury, MA. She is very skilled in project-based learning and differentiating instruction, in [...]

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August 28th, 2012

Update on Academic Challenge from CPS District Leaders

Below are answers to questions that CALA coordinator Freedom Baird submitted to the School Committee in mid-August, around the issue of advanced learning, especially as it will be addressed in the new Upper Schools. The answers were prepared by Deputy Superintendent Carolyn Turk, and reviewed by Superintendent Jeff Young.

Cambridge Public [...]

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May 28th, 2012

Massachusetts Ranks at Bottom for Funding Advanced Learning

In the Milford Daily News, Scott O’Connell reports on the dire lack of Massachusetts statewide funds to support students with advanced learning needs — “Gifted Education Funding Falling Short on High Achievers”. Here are some excerpts:

Often misunderstood because of its name, gifted and talented education is essentially a kind of special education [...]