Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Besides following up on K-12 education legislation as the Unicameral winds up this week, Go Big Ed is launching a summer series that needs your participation.

Do you have a question about something that’s going on in K-12 education? Do you have something to praise, or something to criticize? Need a term defined, or wonder whether a certain technique is empirically sound?

Starting next week, Go Big Ed will kick off a summer of public-service reporting by attempting to research and answer questions posed by Go Big Ed readers. They don’t have to be specific to Nebraska, although I’m trying to cover the state thoroughly and welcome input on local issues.

Just reply to this email with your question. You can remain anonymous, send just your initials or your first name, or use your full name. It would be great if you would identify your town or city, but it’s not necessary.

Here are some questions already in the hopper, to give you an idea of how specific to be. Answers will be fewer than 350 words – short, but sweet.

Q. What are some of the things that our most effective, top-quality teachers do that all teachers could emulate?

Q. My son’s reading and spelling skills are really horrible. We live in a small town with no tutoring services around. What can I do to help him over the summer?

Q. Are there studies that prove that all-day kindergarten is better than half-day kindergarten, or do we just assume that more time results in more learning?

Q. How much private, personal information about my child and our family does the school district and state and federal governments have in their electronic files, and how will they be using and perhaps abusing that information in the future?

Q. Private high schools are starting to require their students to purchase laptops, and public districts all over the country are purchasing them by the thousands with our tax dollars. Is there any evidence that this ultra-expensive technology truly helps kids academically?

Q. What’s the secret of getting a good score on a writing assessment such as the new SAT essay?

Q. The federal courts have said that public schools must provide K-12 education free of charge for the children of illegal aliens, even though everybody knows the parents are breaking the law. At a cost per pupil of $7,000 or $8,000 per year, we are having trouble affording the educations of bona fide American citizens, much less these children. Meanwhile, schools can’t help but “dumb down” the curriculum and instruction of bona fide students in order to tend to the special needs of these functionally illiterate children. What’s to be done about this crisis?

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