Remembering Frank McCourt

Frank McCourt died over the weekend at the age of 78. As the millions of readers of his memoir know, just surviving a childhood of poverty, constant hunger, illness, indifferent institutions, and criminally irresponsible adults was his first remarkable accomplishment. That he told his story with humor and forgiveness is truly astonishing. We should also take a

The homework debate again?

The Associated Press last week ran a story called “Too much homework: Parents, schools seek balance.” Broward County, Fla., they reported, has approved the 10-minute rule (10 minutes of homework a night per grade). In Glenrock, Wyo., a no-homework policy was put in place. And the Colchester School District in Vermont enacted a policy whereby

Pre-schoolers perform better in school

The Star-Ledger, a New Jersey newspaper, reports that low-income New Jersey children who attended preschool performed better in school. “The percentage of kids who had to repeat kindergarten or first grade was twice as high for those who did not attend preschool, as it was for those who started at age 3,” the paper reported.

Know more than just up or down

Test results came out for some of our local schools recently. Washington, D.C. public school scores were up, especially in the elementary grades. Preliminary results showed an eight-percentage point and a four-percentage point gain for elementary students who were deemed “proficient” in math and reading, respectively. So are these gains good news? Always! But school board members