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Why Alternative Education Needs to Go Mainstream

Dropouts in alternative programs get a personalized learning experience. Maybe if they had that in the first place they wouldn't leave school.

Research shows that alternative education—small learning communities, individualized, personalized instruction, a low student-teacher ratio, and support for pregnant or parenting students—works to get dropouts back on track. But ironically, notes creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson, current education reform efforts like the federal No Child Left Behind Act are "rooted in standardization" even though we know that a quality education should "be about personalization."

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Can American Students Rediscover Their Creativity? David Kelley Thinks So

Somewhere along the way, students start saying "I'm not creative." Here's how to help them rediscover their right-brain abilities.

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In his speech at last week's Aspen Ideas Festival, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman told attendees, "When we got out of college we had to find a job. When our kids get out of college they will have to invent a job." But how can students develop their job-creating, innovation-oriented talents if our education system remains centered on knowing and applying information instead of teaching creative, big-picture thinking?

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Do We Need to Ditch High-Stakes Testing to Compete with China?

Forget memorization and do-or-die, high-stakes testing. China's ditching those old schooling methods. Just as we're using them more than ever.

At a time when international test results—like last year's PISA data—seem to indicate that American students are falling behind their Chinese counterparts, we're feeling the pressure to adopt a stereotypically Chinese method of educating kids: lots of rote memorization of facts and hardcore standardized testing. But in a recent interview with Education News, Minxuan Zhang, the Director-General of the Center for International Education Studies, Ministry of Education, China, and National Project Manager of PISA, says that the Chinese vision of education no longer includes those kinds of rigid practices. Instead, China's moving away from rote learning.

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