Back to School for Reformhttp://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-ed-mayor05sep05,1,6157283.story?coll=la-headlines-pe-californiaHarvard studies ways to promote teachinghttp://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2006/09/05/harvard_studies_ways_to_promote_teaching/Beloit College’s Mindset List for the Class of 2010http://www.beloit.edu/~pubaff/mindset/index.htmlNEA: Help for Parentshttp://www.nea.org/parents/index.htmlIndiana University Health Center: Coping with Starting Collegehttp://www.indiana.edu/~health/caps/begincollege.shtmlA few years ago, most students would arrive at their schools after Labor Day to find a fresh coat of paint on the classroom walls and a shiny coat of wax on the hallways. Such superficial improvements definitely won’t pass muster these days with concerned parents, local school boards, and other groups clamoring for systemic changes within all levels of the American education system. The New York public school system, with its 1.1 million students, is one of those systems undergoing such changes as Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to cut the number of bureaucrats in the school system and push for the adoption of greater accountability measures. The same process is underway in the Los Angeles Unified School District, where legislation passed in Sacramento last week gave Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa additional power to assume greater responsibility for the future success of this troubled school system. Along with the K-12 set, college students have also returned to campuses across the country to find new support tools in place, such as enhanced writing centers, “wellness”-themed dorms, and at some select institutions, a renewed attention on undergraduate education. With all the changes going on, it may make some wistful commentators pine for the days when a lone teacher in front of a chalkboard dominated classrooms. Or in terms of the college experience, it may have been President James A. Garfield who said it best when (in referring to Mark Hopkins, the president of Williams College) he opined “The ideal college is Mark Hopkins on one end of a log and a student on the other.” The first link will take interested parties to a piece from this Tuesday’s New York Times which reports on the transformations within the New York public school system as of late. Moving on to the second link, readers can read an editorial from the Los Angeles Times that addresses the mayor’s responsibility to the school district and Angelinos in general. The third link leads to a piece written by Boston Globe staff member Marcella Bombardieri on Harvard University’s new initiative that seeks to improve the teaching of undergraduates. The fourth link is more than a bit fun, as it leads visitors down the primrose path to the annual Beloit College Mindset List. Essentially the list serves as a reminder to professors and others about what their entering freshmen may (or may not) be familiar in terms of cultural touchstones, historic events, and so on. Item 51 on the list is rather amusing, as it reads: “Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.” The fifth link will take users to a set of resources created by the National Education Association for parents who want to get involved with their child’s education. Included on the site are two new parent guides that will help ease the preschooler’s transition to kindergarten. The last link leads to a site designed by the helpful staff at the Indiana University Health Center. Here, entering college students can learn about how to cope with the process of starting college.


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