September 18 , 2015

We have spent the last couple of days in class discussing two different ideas for how to improve educational outcomes in US schools and how to make schools more successful. We looked at case studies of two young women with many similarities as far as socioeconomic background, family circumstances, and coming from a place of limited opportunity. In the first essay, Marita’s Bargain, the author argues for an expanded school day as a means of expanding opportunity and learning for low performing students. In the second piece, Kewauna’s Ambition, the author follows a young woman to college after she takes part in a program designed to provide life skills supports to students beyond academics. While it can be easily argued that “grit” is an important part of each young woman’s character and training, it is equally apparent that the approach to helping them was markedly different from more “traditional” schooling.

Today you received a copy of your Education Reform Assignment. You will prepare a two minute speech in which you argue for a particular reform in the American educational system. Here are your choices of claims you may argue, as well as a few resources to help you get started. Some print resources are available also:

1.  American students need more time in school.

“Marita’s Bargain” from your collections textbook arguments


Business Insider

Center for Public Education

2.  American students need less testing in school.

Center for American Progress

PBS Newshour

American Federation of Teachers

3.  American students need more breaks during the school day in the from of more recess, particularly for younger kids.

Fight for the Right to Recess

US News and World Report

New York Times

4. American students need more supports in place outside of school to help them be more successful.

Kewauna’s Ambition from your Close Reader


The Wallace Foundation

One Goal Website

5. Your choice!

If you want to do something different, please clear it with Mrs. Petersen first.

Keep in mind that the sources above are the result of a quick search. Some may be more valuable than others. “Org” and “gov” designated sites are generally more reliable than “com,” because there is less agenda with such sites, or at least less commercial gain for the company putting on out the information. Look for articles with an author’s name as well as information about where facts in articles are coming from to determine the validity of sources.

Your speech should include some direct quotes, so make sure that you write some down in your notes as well as giving credit where it is due.

Lastly, the Finnish public education system has been touted for some years as the best in the world. Reading up on all that is working there would probably shed light on many of the above topics. Here is a place to start:


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2 Responses to September 18 , 2015

  1. Liao yuqian says:

    American students need more time in the school. Period:5

  2. Brianne lowry says:

    American students need later school start times to help them be more successful
    Per 5

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