I’m about to kick off a contest on my blog and I need some sort of tantalizing, yet reasonably priced, educational prize to dangle before my readers. Got an idea? Send me a suggestion at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org. Now — the education newsblitz!

  • We explain why some scientists and educators are pushing torethink how we teach science, and why that change could be a tall order for elementary schools where time is short and teachers are often uneasy with science. Their favored method is called “inquiry.” I found it fascinating — I hope you do too.
  • We also blogged about the newly released scores for the high school exit exam. The North County Times writes that more kids passed the test this year in North County, and the Los Angeles Times explains the trends statewide. If you notice something interesting in the data, don’t hesitate to write me.
  • I overlooked a Q and A with school board member Katherine Nakamura in yesterday’s Union-Tribune where Nakamura says the other school board members are seriously considering not having a superintendent. “San Diego Unified is their toy,” she said. And there’s a new opinion piece today from another trustee, John Lee Evans, who argues that we need to find a superintendent who fits the San Diego Unified plan, not the other way around.
  • If Point Loma High School students really did do this, I have to say — to paraphrase Ron Burgundy — I’m not even mad, I’m impressed.
  • Kids are getting free dental screenings at Rosa Parks Elementary in City Heights, the U-T reports. The article doesn’t mention whether the City Heights Educational Collaborative had anything to do with this, but social services and healthcare like this are emblematic of that effort, which we wrote about earlier this year.
  • In Northern California, San Leandro schools won a lottery — sort of. The Oakland Tribune reports that San Leandro is one of a select number of school districts getting an interest-free loan, saving $10 million that would otherwise go to interest payments on its school construction bond. The U-T reports that Alpine, Escondido and San Dieguito schools also snapped up millions.
  • President Obama is making a speech next week specifically aimed at schoolchildren, but some of the accompanying lesson plans that the feds offered to classrooms rubbed teachers and parents the wrong way, the Washington Post reports. One asked children to write letters about how they would help the President. The White House rewrote that lesson: Now kids are supposed to write letters about how they can achieve their education goals.
  • One blogger at the Public Schools Insights website asks: Could the push for “student engagement” just end up being a way to beat up teachers when students act out? Claus von Zastrow writes: “When students violate all standards of behavior, their teachers often catch flak for not engaging them. (Maybe that kid wouldn’t have pulled that knife on you if you hadn’t been so boring.)”
  • The Gates Foundation is trying to figure out what makes good teaching, Education Week reports, and they’re willing to spend a lot of money to do it.

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