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A downside of setting student academic results targets in schools

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When I reflect on the positives of working in my current school and share my thoughts with colleagues from other schools, they are often amazed when I tell them that we do not set specific targets for student results.

Our school does not have a specific average score that it needs to achieve from IB Diploma students or other standardized tests for that matter. I know that many schools have such targets and I have often contemplated the impact of doing so.

Performance targets can give us something to aim for and a school’s reputation may grow from it being able to say that their students received this result and that result, which makes them better than other ‘like’ schools. There is, however, a significant downside to being a results driven school based on student academic success.

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Education

Finding Words in Paint: How Artists See Dyslexia

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Six artists who have dyslexia find their words in art.

NPR

“I understand things visually, by finding them in paint. I don’t know if my dyslexia causes me to be this way, but I have a feeling it does.” — Rachel Deane, painter.

We know lots of facts about dyslexia: It’s the most common reading disorder. It changes the way millions of people read and process information.

But we know much less about how it feels to people who have it. How it shapes your self-image, your confidence and how people see and react to you.

And so I reached out to some really creative people — artists who have dyslexia — to talk about this.

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Education

Judge Sides With University In Legal Fight With Student Newspaper

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The William T. Young Library on the campus of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Ky.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The judge presiding over an open records fight between the University of Kentucky and its own student newspaper, The Kentucky Kernel, has sided with the university.

In his Tuesday ruling, Fayette Circuit Court Judge Thomas Clark agreed with the University of Kentucky that there is no way to release investigative documents without compromising the identities of the alleged victims, two graduate students who allege their professor sexually harassed and assaulted them. Clark also ruled that such documents fall under the federal privacy law that protects student records.

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Education

Gallaudet President Navigates From World Of Hearing To Sound Leadership Of The Deaf

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Gallaudet University President Roberta Cordano speaks using American Sign Language in her office in Washington, D.C. She is the first Deaf woman president at the university.

Becky Harlan/NPR

In its 152-year history, Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. never had a deaf female president — until a year ago. Roberta Cordano is the first deaf woman to lead the school.

Gallaudet is a liberal arts university devoted to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Classes are taught in American Sign Language, and all students and faculty are required to know how to sign.

But president Cordano never attended a deaf school herself.

“I grew up during a period of time when it was believed that American Sign Language was what they called a monkey language,” Cordano says, speaking through an interpreter provided by Gallaudet. While the interpreter translates rapidly, Cordano whispers out faintly in English as she signs.

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Education

Education Department Drops Fight Over School Money

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Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Education Secretary John B. King Jr. had been in a battle over Title I enforcement for some time.

LA Johnson/NPR

The U.S. Department of Education has withdrawn a proposal that could have fundamentally changed the flow of federal dollars to schools that serve low-income students.

“The law is clear that it is unacceptable to systematically underfund low-income schools and fill the hole with federal resources,” explained Dorie Turner Nolt, a spokeswoman for the education department. “While we worked tirelessly to put forward a regulation that implements that simple requirement and to incorporate the extensive feedback we received, we ultimately did not have time to publish a strong final regulation that lives up to the promise of the law.”

This brings to an end a long and bitter fight between the Education Department, led by Secretary John B. King, Jr., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, himself a former education secretary and current chairman of the Senate committee that handles education.

“This is an intolerable situation,” Alexander said of the Department’s so-called “supplement-not-supplant” proposal back in May, in a heated speech on the Senate floor. “If the regulations are not consistent with the law, I don’t believe [states] should follow them,” he said. “If the department persists, then the state should go to court to sue the department.”

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Education

Getting Students With Autism Through High School, To College And Beyond

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Colin Ozeki, a high school student with autism, is on track to graduate this year from Millennium Brooklyn High School with an advanced diploma.

Amy Pearl/WNYC

Colin Ozeki, 16, doesn’t like to sugarcoat how autism spectrum disorder has affected his interactions with others, his emotions and his own self-confidence. He sees it as an issue to confront, something about himself to work on and improve in order to fully participate in life around him.

He appreciates the adage, “It’s a difference, not a disability.” But he disagrees with it when it comes to himself.

“I don’t think I would be at this place that I’m at right now if it weren’t for people acknowledging the idea that I had some kind of problem per se,” says Colin. “I might have just been this confused person forever, and somewhat underdeveloped.”

We know a lot more about children with autism spectrum disorders than we did just a decade ago, but nationwide students with autism are enrolling in college in relatively low numbers.

Colin, now a senior at Millennium Brooklyn High School, has been part of a program in the New York City schools aiming to change that. It’s called ASD Nest (ASD refers to students with autism spectrum disorder) and he’s been with it his entire school career.

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