3 Turkey Nuggets

1. Guitar I'm thankful for my new Dr. Dre "Beats" headphones. What new music should I get?

My friend Joe Richman helps out with a great radio diary on NPR today 4.30pm.

November 23, 1936, was a good day for recorded music. Two men - an ocean apart - each sat before a microphone and began to play. One was a cello prodigy who had performed for the Queen of Spain; the other played guitar and was a regular in the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta.

And 75 years ago, Pablo Casals and Robert Johnson each made recordings that would change music history.

Check it out (probably after 4.30pm Weds).

2. Parents

My parents are visiting this weekend. I'm thankful that Ma and Pa making the trek from Sinking Spring, PA.

Along those lines, very good post by Dana Goldstein called Better Parents.

....all kinds of schools have decided over the last decade to amp up their outreach to parents. In 2007 I reported on the suburban town of Ossining, New York, which is dealing with a huge influx of immigrants from rural Ecuador. The school district was hosting literacy classes for young parents, in the hope that it would increase the odds that immigrant children entered school with some reading experience, in either Spanish or English.

In 2009 I wrote about Mayor Bloomberg's experimental Opportunity NYC program, which actually paid poor single moms for getting their kids to school on time, signing them up for library cards, and other "good" educational behaviors.

In Whatever It Takes, Paul Tough describes the Harlem Children Zone's myriad efforts to educate poor parents about the kinds of parenting practices college-educated parents already know about, from reading daily to their kids to constantly asking them questions about their feelings and observations.

And this fall some New York City neighborhood public schools borrowed a page from the charter school movement and required teachers to make home visits, asking students and parents to sign a "contract" on behavior and academic commitment.

This kind of work is time-consuming and sometimes expensive, but it isn't at all self-evident that schools are helpless in the face of "bad" parenting practices.

Also see here.

3. Tutoring

The Houston Chronicle had a great editorial about our tutoring work in Houston.

The main lesson is clear: Math tutoring really, really works.

In sixth and ninth grades, all Apollo 20 kids spent an hour each school day in an intensive, two-kids-one-tutor session. And according to Fryer's analysis, the results were astounding.

In math, sixth-graders gained the equivalent of six extra months of schooling; ninth-graders, between almost five months to nearly nine months.

Fryer's stats show that Apollo-20-with-tutoring makes far more difference in kids' math performance than almost any other school intervention ever measured.

Emphasis mine.

I'm thankful we had the opportunity to do work down there, for the team that actually did the work, and for my colleague Alan, who is trying to scale this sort of "astounding" effect on kids.

And thanks to you, for reading and commenting!