Syracuse University is scrambling to offer retirement buyouts after an audit discovered that the university employs hundreds of administrators who only oversee one or two employees.
These are totally new concepts for me. Until David Cragin told me about them, I had never heard of reader-responsible language and writer-responsible language.
Dave works for Merck in the Safety & Environment group, knows Mandarin, has been to China 12 times since 2005, and teaches a short course on risk assessment and critical thinking at Peking University every year. He was recently appointed to the Executive Committee of the US-based Sino-American Pharmaceuticals Professional Association (SAPA), so he has a professional and personal interest in cross-cultural communication.
In an earlier post, we discussed another, related issue that interests Dave: “Critical thinking”.
Let us begin our inquiry by considering this post from the CAL Learning (Culture and Language Training for a Multicultural Workplace) Blog by Lauren Supraner: “Who Is Responsible for the Message?”
Finnegan’s blood glucose monitor arrived last month, and it should make a big difference in his life. The eight-year-old has diabetes, and now, instead of having his finger pricked eight times a day, his parents will be able to track his blood sugar levels painlessly.
Finnegan’s mother, Kayleigh Cassella, and stepfather, Arran Phipps, are both Ph.D candidates in UC Berkeley’s physics department, and like thousands of others, they’re enrolled in the school’s Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Their kids are on it, too; the comprehensive policy helps offset the costs of Finnegan’s new monitor. “I can’t imagine not having [the monitor],” Phipps said. “Just the supplies for that would be $150 a month, and with the insurance I only have to pay $50 a month. I literally would not be able to afford this without the SHIP dependent insurance.”
“Do you know Zach Latta?” asked Fouad Matin, 19, on the roof of San Francisco’s unofficial tech teenager headquarters one recent night. “You know he rebuilt Yo’s backend. He’s baller.”
We watched the sun set over Twin Peaks, and Matin told me about his high school dropout friends like Latta, 17, who served as lead engineer of Yo, a viral messaging app that simply sends the message “Yo.” A large steel vent, on which someone had written the words Boob Mansion, pumped out hot air and the smell of tortillas from a vegan Mexican restaurant downstairs. Matin warmed himself under it.
Even if you aren’t on top of everything your child posts, your kid’s school well might be, given all the social media monitoring software on the market.
If you live in Florida’s Orange County, those kind of posts could mean school officials come looking into whatever’s going on.
That’s because Orange County is one of the latest school districts to start monitoring all of the thousands of social media posts made by both students and teachers.
It’s doing so with a new monitoring software called Snaptrends that monitors social media posts from all accounts in its location.
The school district reportedly paid $14,000 for a one-year Snaptrends license.
That buys the district’s schools the ability to search thousands of posts on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, hunting for keywords that might indicate trouble.
School officials say that the goal is to flag potential dangers including cyberbullying, suicide and crime.
Earlier this spring, there seemed to be signs that young adults were finally shaking off the effects of our long-ago recession and moving out from their parents’ basements. Namely, the pace of U.S. household formation was speeding up, which is generally a sign that twentysomethings are setting off on their own.
But maybe not so much. Today, the Pew Research Center is out with a new analysis of census data suggesting that young adults haven’t really changed their ways. The job market might be getting better by the month, but millennials are still very much living at home.
Where should we draw the line between the advancement of technology and the protection of personal privacy? For one Kentucky man, his property line is where he gets to make the call, and he made that point of view perfectly clear when he pointed his shotgun at a drone hovering in his backyard and pulled the trigger.
How do you raise kids today during these exponential times?
Should they learn a second language… in a world of instant translation?
Should they ever memorize any fact… in a world of ubiquitous Google?
Will college even exist in 10 years’ time?
Which is more important? Learning to code or learning sports?
As a father of twin 4-year-old boys, these questions are on my mind. (My wife may have a different point of view as an artist).
This blog is one parent’s opinion.
There is no serious prospect for eliminating revenue caps and not much chance in the foreseeable future for annual increases anything like in days of old. Combine that with reductions in other areas, such as federal aid, and the forecast is for money to stay tight for schools.
Some school districts have used local referendum votes to get more operating money than the revenue caps allow. Success in passing such referendums is on the rise as more people appear willing to pay to boost education in their own community’s schools. But that has brought concern that lower-income communities, such as Milwaukee, are the ones least likely to conduct or approve referendums. The net effect could be to increase disparities between well-to-do and not-well-to-do districts.
Is spending more on education worth it? A lot of money has been spent on education programs that haven’t succeeded, and many schools used to be too generous in their spending habits. There are studies that conclude there is no match between more spending and better student achievement.
But schools need adequate fuel in the tank. That’s why people who have means almost always live in communities that have high-quality offerings in their schools, or they send their kids to expensive private schools.
In this blog post I will delve into the brain and explain its basic information processing machinery and compare it to deep learning. I do this by moving step-by-step along with the brains electrochemical and biological information processing pipeline and relating it directly to the architecture of convolutional nets. Thereby we will see that a neuron and a convolutional net are very similar information processing machines. While performing this comparison, I will also discuss the computational complexity of these processes and thus derive an estimate for the brains overall computational power. I will use these estimates, along with knowledge from high performance computing, to show that it is unlikely that there will be a technological singularity in this century.
This blog post is complex as it arcs over multiple topics in order to unify them into a coherent framework of thought. I have tried to make this article as readable as possible, but I might have not succeeded in all places. Thus, if you find yourself in an unclear passage it might become clearer a few paragraphs down the road where I pick up the thought again and integrate it with another discipline.
On May 13, 2015, I heard you at Politics & Prose, the independent bookstore in Washington, D.C. Perhaps you saw me in the audience and later in the question line. (We have met several times, most recently two years ago, when we walked together from one part of Arlington Cemetery to another for the burial with military honors of two bodies recovered from the wreckage of Monitor.) Eventually I abandoned the question line, however, because my question was going to be critical, even embarrassing, and it wasn’t appropriate to embarrass you in front of your book-tour audience.
Recent events have convinced me, however, that I must ask you more than one question, not about your most recent book, but about your middle-school textbook, The American Journey. I shall ask them here, in this letter sent to you and to History News Network, HNN, where at least some of the historical profession comes to learn about itself.
I’m tired of band-aids on university policy problems that never heal the underlying wounds, so I asked that we faculty do some new things in a piece that appeared in Inside Higher Ed last week. Called “Time for a New Strategy,” it argues that defenses of tenure and academic freedom will increasingly fail, as they did in Wisconsin this year, unless we call for the same protections for all employees.
The big advantage, I argue there, would be that we faculty would no longer base our claim to academic freedom on an exceptional status that most of the public doesn’t accept. Another advantage would be that we would no longer have to rely on our university boards and executives to protect us, which is also not working well. A third advantage would be that we could broaden our claims to public benefits beyond the competitive excellence that we generally mention first as tenure’s product.
When University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing was charged with murder today for shooting Samuel DuBose during a traffic stop, the prosecutor in the case had harsh words for university police in general.
“I don’t think a university should be in the policing business,” said Joe Deters, the Hamilton County prosecutor, saying he thinks the city should handle it.
But nearly all universities are in the policing business. Almost all four-year colleges with more than 2,500 students had their own law enforcement agency during the 2011-’12 academic year, according to a survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Most of those officers can carry and use guns. In some cases, they have jurisdiction outside campus boundaries for traffic stops, such as the stop that ended with DuBose’s murder on July 19.
TO some, millennials — those urban-dwelling, ride-sharing indefatigable social networkers — are engaged, upbeat and open to change. To others, they are narcissistic, lazy and self-centered.
I’m in the first camp, but regardless of your opinion, be fretful over their economic well-being and fearful — oh so fearful — for their prospects. The most educated generation in history is on track to becoming less prosperous, at least financially, than its predecessors.
less than two years Slack Technologies has become one of the most glistening of tech’s ten-digit “unicorn” startups, boasting 1.1 million users and a private market valuation of $2.8 billion. If you’ve used Slack’s team-based messaging software, you know that one of its catchiest innovations is Slackbot, a helpful little avatar that pops up periodically to provide tips so jaunty that it seems human.
Such creativity can’t be programmed. Instead, much of it is minted by one of Slack’s 180 employees, Anna Pickard, the 38-year-old editorial director. She earned a theater degree from Britain’s Manchester Metropolitan University before discovering that she hated the constant snubs of auditions that didn’t work out. After dabbling in blogging, videogame writing and cat impersonations, she found her way into tech, where she cooks up zany replies to users who type in “I love you, Slackbot.” It’s her mission, Pickard explains, “to provide users with extra bits of surprise and delight.” The pay is good; the stock options, even better.
Has the statute of limitations expired? I admit it, I scrubbed Regents exam essays, or. to use the current term, “re-scored” the exams. We weren’t worried about graduation rates or teacher evaluation; we simply wanted to give kids a break. We took a look at every paper with grades from 61 to 64, sometimes you “found” one or two points, and, sometimes not. If the kid came to class, did his/her homework and tried, a little push over the top seemed warranted. If the kid cut class, was truant, no mercy, if he/r failed the course, take the course over, night school or summer school; such were the unwritten rules for decades.
In the post 2002 world of accountability graduation rates matter, they determine the future of a school and they determine the future of a teacher. Under federal rules states must identify low performing schools as identified by student scores on state grades 3-8 tests and graduation rates determined by credit accumulation and Regents passing rates. In New York State 700 out of the 4400 schools fall into the “struggling” categories – focus, priority and persistently struggling. 62 of these schools could fall into receivership, i. e., removed from the school district and handed over to a company to manage. (Read the program description here).
There are three ways to increase student achievement:
– Via Will Fitzhugh.
When it comes to Words, our High School English Departments are the Rulers. They dominate reading and writing, partly because the other departments—including the History and other Social Studies departments—don’t want to assign book reports or term papers and they certainly don’t want to read and grade them.
The English Word Experts are supported in this by the K-12 Literacy World, which never saw a student history research paper they could not ignore. Everywhere you look, reading and writing mean fiction, and for fiction, the Literacy World is adamant that the responsibility for that belongs to English (English Language Arts) Departments.
College professors and employers, with near unanimity, complain about the nonfiction reading, research, and writing abilities of the young people they work with. Talking to the schools and/or the Literacy World about their concerns is just exactly like talking to a dead phone. They cannot hear what they are being told.
Students are not lobbying, in most cases, for the chance to write a serious 5,000-6,000-word term paper, and only later will they face the consequences of their lack of preparation.
Since 1987, The Concord Review has published 106 issues, with 1,165 history research papers by secondary students from 44 states and 40 other countries. The average length of the eleven papers in the Winter issue last Fall was 7,500 words, with endnotes and bibliography. Some of those papers came from International Baccalaureate schools, which still require an Extended Essay for the full Diploma. Some came from private schools, where faculty (and parents) still expect students to write at least one serious term paper before college.
Many of the papers lately have been from an Independent Study, or from Summer programs, like the Stanford Summer Humanities Institute and the TCR Summer Program for high school students. But in general, our public high schools, in my experience, even including an exam school like Boston Latin School, not only do not assign serious term papers, they also do not even want students to see the exemplary work that has been published by their peers, so that they cannot be inspired by them to work harder on reading history and on writing research papers themselves.
Thanks to the Web, more and more students are finding such examples anyway, and they take advantage of them. (e.g. www.tcr.org) One example of hundreds:
“Thank you so much for publishing my essay on the Irish Ladies’ Land League in the Spring issue of The Concord Review. I am honored that my writing was chosen to appear alongside such thoughtful work in your journal.
“When a former history teacher first lent me a copy of The Concord Review, I was inspired by the careful scholarship crafted by other young people. Although I have always loved history passionately, I was used to writing history papers that were essentially glorified book reports. A week before a paper was due, I would visit the local university library, check out all available books on my assigned topic and write as articulate a summary as possible. Such assignments are a useful strategy for learning to build a coherent argument, but they do not teach students to appreciate the subtleties and difficulties of writing good history. Consequently, few students really understand how history is constructed.
“As I began to research the Ladies’ Land League, I looked to The Concord Review for guidance on how to approach my task. At first, I did check out every relevant book from the library, running up some impressive fines in the process, but I learned to skim bibliographies and academic databases to find more interesting texts. I read about women’s history, agrarian activism and Irish nationalism, considering the ideas of feminist and radical historians alongside contemporary accounts.
“Gradually, I came to understand the central difficulty of writing history: how do you resurrect, in words, events that took place in a different place and time? More importantly, how do you resurrect the past only using the words of someone else? In the words of Carl Becker,
History in this sense is story, in aim always a true story; a story that employs all the devices of literary art (statement and generalization, narration and description, comparison and comment and analogy) to present the succession of events in the life of man, and from the succession of events thus presented to derive a satisfactory meaning.
“Flipping through my note cards, the ideas began to fit themselves together in my mind. I was not certain, but there was an excitement in being forced to think rigorously; in wrestling with difficult problems I knew I could not entirely solve. Writing about the Ladies’ Land League, I finally understood and appreciated the beautiful complexity of history.
“In short, I would like to thank you not only for publishing my essay, but for motivating me to develop a deeper understanding of history. I hope that The Concord Review will continue to fascinate, challenge and inspire young historians for years to come.”
Emma Curran Donnelly Hulse
[North Central High School, Indianapolis, Indiana
and Columbia University]
Let’s do make an effort to free our high school students from the English Department/Fiction-Only Monopoly, and allow them to be inspired, by the serious academic expository writing of their peers, to attempt real term papers themselves, before they go on, as most now do, to find themselves both unprepared and a Literacy Problem for their professors and their future employers.
The Concord Review
Elementary schools in the district saw an almost 10 point gain over two years in literacy and math.
“Our high school graduation rate continues to move in the right direction almost across the board for every student group,” MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “In addition, there are pockets of accelerated results. When it comes to graduation rates, for example the four-year graduation rate for African-American students at La Follette High School increased to 75 percent, a 10 percent point gain.”
Elvehjem Elementary School is symbolic of the improvements seen throughout the district. The school has seen improvements in MAP reading proficiency for grades three through five from 40 percent to 46 percent. For African-American students that number increased from 12 percent to 25 percent. Reading proficiency for special education students improved from 12 percent to 21 percent.
School district leaders face an array of challenges that affect how they allocate scarce resources to schools—stubborn achievement gaps, changing and complex demographics, and shrinking federal and state support. As the range of need grows more complex, schools are growing as diverse as the students they serve. In this context, many leaders are actively seeking ways to ensure that all schools have flexibility to organize resources to match student and school needs, while also ensuring equity across school types.
Education Resource Strategies (ERS) leverages more than 15 years of experience helping district leaders strategically reallocate their resources to improve student performance. As part of this work, we’ve collaborated with some of the leading districts that have made bold changes to their funding systems and worked through the results of these changes. Our work on funding is part of our broader School System 20/20 vision—an action-oriented framework for urban school districts to ensure that every school succeeds for every child.
Our work on school funding is based on seven principles for effective school budgeting. We believe that all school funding systems need to rest on this foundation:
‘I still have my life force’
Ivan Roitt, 87, is emeritus professor at Middlesex University’s Centre for Investigative and Diagnostic Oncology. He lives in Finchley, north London, with his wife, Margaret. They have three daughters and six grandchildren.
There was no conscious decision – I just went on working. When I finished as head of immunology at University College London, after 25 years, a colleague asked if I would like to go to Middlesex University. I thought, “Let’s do something useful”, so I set up the cancer research centre.
This summer, LinkedIn, the social media platform beloved by many professionals (albeit disliked by anyone annoyed by incessant emails), is taking part in a striking little experiment in Colorado.
This initiative does not aspire to connect ambitious MBA students with exciting jobs or link the alumni of elite colleges. Instead, LinkedIn, in tandem with non-governmental groups such as the Markle Foundation, a technology-focused charity, is connecting employers who need skilled and semi-skilled workers with local community colleges. The hope is that this will help colleges and students see where jobs are being created — and thus work with companies to create the right college courses to deliver training.
Or to put it another way, instead of using the power of digital connections to help people find jobs, LinkedIn is going a step back — using cyber platforms to enable colleges to train students in the best way.
But, in reality, state institutions tend to be too stodgy and slow-moving to reform education in any meaningful way, particularly given the speed at which digitisation is changing the economy. And while some companies are still running effective apprenticeship and training schemes, this tends to occur in an ad hoc way in places such as the US.
I travelled to Singapore in May of 2015. On my arrival, on a weekend, I took a long walk from my hotel to the National Museum of Singapore, where I had the opportunity to visit an exhibit celebrating the life and legacy of former Primer Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who had recently passed away. Seeing the exhibit, and reflecting on the history of the young nation, was a very good way to start this visit. It helped me frame and understand how the same impetus that led Lee Kuan Yew to invest in the design of beautiful gardens, so people could be proud of living in a beautiful city, had led him and others to invest in education, as a way to help shape the character of the Singaporean people. Nations are narratives, and national identity encompasses the stories we tell ourselves and others about who we are. Reflecting on the history of a young nation renders the power and intentionality of building such narratives more visible and it makes the role of the builders of such narratives also more apparent. This visit to the Museum made me reflect not just on Lee Kuan Yew, but also on other members of the generation of ‘elders’ of the country, those who were adults when Singapore was founded and who led the institutions that were created to foster the country’s development. I thought of Sing Kong Lee, former Director of the NIE, a remarkable institution founded by Dr. Ruth Wong Hie King to support the continuous improvement of the education system, or Kishore Mahbubani, the founder of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and of others like them.
Had Daniella Kippnick followed in the footsteps of the hundreds of millions of students who have earned university degrees in the past millennium, she might be slumping in a lecture hall somewhere while a professor droned. But Kippnick has no course lectures. She has no courses to attend at all. No classroom, no college quad, no grades. Her university has no deadlines or tenure-track professors.
Instead, Kippnick makes her way through different subject matters on the way to a bachelor’s in accounting. When she feels she’s mastered a certain subject, she takes a test at home, where a proctor watches her from afar by monitoring her computer and watching her over a video feed. If she proves she’s competent—by getting the equivalent of a B—she passes and moves on to the next subject.
Laying down a new marker in the competition for school enrollment in Milwaukee, the School Board has approved a high-profile young educator’s proposal for a new charter school, after he promised to ramp up efforts to reverse the flow of students leaving the district for voucher schools and other options.
Maurice Thomas’ planned Milwaukee Excellence Charter School, set to open in 2016, promises an “unapologetically college preparatory” education for grades six to 12, complete with longer school days, an extended school year and strict disciplinary standards. By 2024, Thomas said, 100% of graduates will be at a four-year college.
Such “no excuses” schools have produced higher rates of graduation and better test scores than conventional schools in some parts of the country. Such a school could be especially impactful at the planned location on the city’s northwest side, a historically underserved area in education.
The school will likely be housed in the vacant Edison Middle School building at 5372 N. 37th St.
As a charter school authorized by Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Excellence will keep the public dollars that follow students into its classrooms in MPS coffers. As an independent school, though, it can be staffed by non-district, non-unionized employees and operate free of some regular rules governing public schools.
38 high schoolers; 2 weeks; -> 38 original #WolfLang projects
In the spring of 2014, after a decade of visa problems, the Hassan family moved out of its spacious house in Karachi, Pakistan, to an apartment in Rosemont, a suburb of Chicago near O’Hare International Airport. They were a family of eight, two parents and six kids, jammed into a three-bedroom space. Money was tight and work unsteady; for most of them, the move was a struggle. But their 15-year-old son, Sumail, was thrilled—being in the U.S. meant less lag time when he played Dota 2.
Education writing is famous for its alphabet soup of acronyms and obscure terms, but it could just as well be faulted for trafficking buzzwords in search of clear definitions.
Ideas like grit, motivation, fitting in, and learning from one’s mistakes—often summarized as noncognitive factors—are just some of the concepts that are coming up more frequently these days. A new paper from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching provides definitions for many of these new terms, which arose in part because of the recent push by psychologists, economists, and education experts to delve more deeply into what compels students to understand complex new material.
Each concept has its own section and is accompanied by summaries of key experiments that gave rise to the ideas’ relevance (as well as reference points for reporters whose inboxes are inundated with the latest efforts to boost student grades and college prospects).
draft law that would require foreign nongovernmental organizations to register their activities with police authorities in China has American universities worried about a chilling effect on educational exchanges of all types.
The draft law defines foreign NGOs broadly and is sweeping in its scope, seemingly applying not only to universities that have physical locations in China but also to any institution that so much as sends a single student or professor there. If an American university were to conduct an international research conference in China, that would seem to require registration under the law. So would sending a faculty member there to interview applicants for a graduate program. Or sending a professor to give a lecture or take part in a joint research project. Or organizing a networking event for alumni in China. Or sending a student singing group to participate in a competition there.
School vouchers may be the most effective anti-poverty program around, yet they’re fought tooth and hammer by the teachers unions. Late last week the North Carolina Supreme Court awarded a victory to poor kids by protecting vouchers from another union attack.
Two years ago Tar Heel Republicans passed a modest reform offering low-income students $4,200 scholarships to attend qualifying private schools. The law requires, among other things, that private schools report graduation rates and test scores. It also mandates an annual report comparing the learning gains of voucher recipients and public school students.
Taxpayer plaintiffs backed by the union argued in a lawsuit that vouchers accomplish no “public purpose” because private schools don’t have to adhere to such state educational standards as teacher licensing requirements. You have to admire the gall of a union to argue that private schools are “unaccountable” when only one in five black fourth-graders at North Carolina public schools scored proficient in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2013. According to the Institute for Justice, which represented voucher parents in the case, five of six low-income students fail the state’s end-of-grade math or reading tests.
After a complete redesign and the addition of new data, we’re excited to relaunch “States in Motion.”
The project explores numerous datasets through interactive charts for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. The idea behind the project is to take a historical look at how the economic and social conditions have changed for each state over time, and how those changes have impacted investment in education and student achievement. Each section explores specific data in chart form and offers context in related text. There could be many stories in each chart; we’re telling just one of them.
The charts and context below are California-centric, meaning we mainly explored how California has changed compared with other states historically over numerous data metrics. Some of the questions going into the project include:
This being America, no good deed goes unlitigated, but sometimes the good deed still wins. So it is in Michigan, where on Wednesday the state Supreme Court turned a union lawsuit on its head and said the state’s right-to-work law applies to 36,000 government workers.
In 2012 Michigan passed a right-to work statute that lets workers decide whether to join a union and thus pay union dues. The United Auto Workers (UAW), which represents 17,000 state workers, brought a lawsuit claiming the law doesn’t apply to its members because their employment terms are set by the Michigan Civil Service Commission.
College has failed, or so many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs believe. Not only are tuition costs spiraling out of control, but students are leaving college without the ability to produce … anything. We are living in the era of code, and yet, college students are graduating barely able to read or write an essay – let alone make an app.
Make School hopes to change this sordid state of affairs. Through a rigorous and lengthy two-year curriculum, the school hopes to instill deeper critical thinking skills while also providing students engineering and product skills that will allow them to be highly productive at startups and large tech companies.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is supposed to make getting documents from the government straightforward. But a Goodrich, Michigan, mom named Sherry Smith is finding out just how crooked the process can be. When she filed a FOIA request for educational records related to her son, Mitchell, the school system told her there would be a hefty price tag—to wit, $77,718.75.
Mitchell has an intellectual disability, which means the state will pay for his education until he turns 26. Having just finished high school, he and his family found a program at a local college they felt was just right for him.
Congratulations. Two months ago, your kid graduated from college, bravely finishing his degree rather than dropping out to make millions on his idea for a dating app for people who throw up during Cross Fit training. If he’s like a great many of his peers, he’s moved back home, where he’s figuring out how to become an adult in the same room that still has his orthodontic headgear strapped to an Iron Man helmet.
Now we’re deep into summer, and the logistical challenges of your grad really being home are sinking in. You’re constantly juggling cars, cleaning more dishes and dealing with your daughter’s boyfriend, who not only slept over but also drank your last can of Pure Protein Frosty Chocolate shake.
Kathy Reveille began taking her granddaughter, Bianca, to church because no one else did.
Bianca’s mother was Catholic and her father was Baptist. They couldn’t agree on what church to attend so they didn’t go. “I really wanted to belong to a church. I didn’t care what kind,” says Bianca, who is turning 15 this week. She always felt she was missing something, she says. The absence became more pronounced after her father died.
“That’s when the big questions come up,” says her grandmother, Ms. Reveille. “I stepped into the gap.”
Bianca High received rosary beads from her grandmother after her confirmation this past spring. ENLARGE
Bianca High received rosary beads from her grandmother after her confirmation this past spring. PHOTO: KRISTIAN THACKER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
A day in the life of New York City’s public libraries: Traveling from borough to borough, this short documentary by Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks reveals just how important the modern library is for millions of people.
Schools that that teach low-income students a notoriously demanding curriculum are almost twice as likely to see those students enroll in college, a new report shows.
This news comes on the heels of growing research suggesting that challenging assessments, which are a staple of the International Baccalaureate program featured in the report, help students develop a deeper understanding of key subjects like math and history. That “deeper learning,” in turn, may lead to more college opportunities.
The International Baccalaureate, a nonprofit organization that sells its stable of intensive coursework for various subjects to schools around the world, released the study last week, calculating that more than half of the 1,650 schools in the United States that use IB material fit the federal designation of Title I schools, which means they enroll a large low-income student population. In fact, the number of Title I schools offering IB programming increased by 50 percent between 2009 and 2013, the report said.
The IB program provides curricula tailored for specific grade levels, including the IB “diploma program” for high school students. The IB study tracked how many of its low-income diploma program students attending Title I schools enrolled in college, finding that in 2013 nearly eight in 10 went on to a postsecondary institution. The national college-going average for low-income students is 46 percent, the report notes. According to IB, about a third of the diploma program test-takers were considered low-income students. To become an International Baccalaureate school, campuses must go through the program’s authorization program.
Higher education doesn’t work like a normal business. It’s much harder to get the results you want out of the investments you make. In my book with Andrew Kelly, Reinventing Financial Aid, I have a chapter where I go back to the inception of the financial aid system and I work through the set of decisions that were made and put in place at the beginning. (There was the question) “Should you send aid directly to students or to schools?” The thinking at the time was – led by economists, including Milton Friedman — we should not send the money to schools, but to students. They argued that doing this would exert control over schools the way we think vouchers do today.
But the thing is (it doesn’t) end up working in the way vouchers were intended. The customers (college students) have a very hard time extracting accountability. Institutions don’t seem constrained at all. I argued in that chapter that we made a critical mistake. By not sending money to the schools we (state and government agencies) gave up the ability to hold schools accountable. But I don’t think we can back our way into that now by attaching a bunch of new rules to existing programs. I think we have to create financial aid version 2.0.
In a clip previewing Wednesday night’s episode of Key & Peele, the Comedy Central duo discuss teachers as if they were professional athletes. They stage a fake draft at Radio City Music Hall and critique how and why teachers call on certain people in class.
Although it’s all in good fun, the jokes about the salary differences between a teacher and a professional athlete is the most depressing part. Just imagine if a public school teacher could actually sign a contract guaranteeing a $80 million salary over the next six years with a $40 million in incentives based on test scores.
For instance, Elsevier’s report “International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base — 2011,” carried out for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, reveals that the 46 percent of British academics who published with overseas collaborators in 2010 garnered twice as many citations for their papers as those who collaborated only within their institution. They also had 40 percent more citations than those who collaborated with academics at other institutions in the U.K.
Every kid likes to draw. But in India, young people living in slums are using their sketching skills to spur urban change.
As part of a broader civic campaign centered on “child clubs,” groups of children are creating detailed “social maps” of their marginalized neighborhoods to voice their concerns about public space, as first reported in Citiscope, a CityLab partner site.
Since 2011, UNICEF has been encouraging kids to use mobile technology and open data to map environmental and health issues near their homes. But that technology isn’t available to everyone. Instead, much of the child-led mapping campaign sweeping India today relies on old-school topography materials—paper and a rainbow-spectrum of markers.
Like most university teachers today, I am a low-paid contract worker. Now and then, a friend will ask: “Have you tried dog-walking on the side?” I have. Pet care, I can reveal, takes massive attention, energy and driving time. I’m friends with a full-time, professionally employed pet-sitter who’s done it for years, never topping $26,000 annually and never receiving health or other benefits.
The reason I field such questions is that, as an adjunct professor, whether teaching undergraduate or law-school courses, I make much less than a pet-sitter earns. This year I’m teaching five classes (15 credit hours, roughly comparable to the teaching loads of some tenure-track law or business school instructors). At $3,000 per course, I’ll pull in $15,000 for the year. I work year-round, 20 to 30 hours weekly – teaching, developing courses and drafting syllabi, offering academic advice, recommendation letters and course extensions for students who need them. As I write, in late June, my students are wrapping up their final week of the first summer term, and the second summer term will begin next week.
ACADEMICS, family members and fans gathered in Oxford yesterday to celebrate 100 years since the death of James Murray, chief editor of the first Oxford English Dictionary.
Wreaths were laid at the lexicographer’s grave in Wolvercote Cemetery, Banbury Road, at 11am, led by his great-grandson Oswyn Murray.
One special offering was provided by Oxford English Dictionary staff.
Lynda Mugglestone, professor of history of English at Oxford University, said: “We have taken facsimiles from the original dictionary’s font and the wreath uses those letters.
“He was involved in every single design decision and spent ages thinking about fonts, so it is really nice.”
With all of these benefits come risks. Some worry that the vendors providing these new technologies could use the detailed student data they hold for marketing purposes. Others worry the data could be sold. Although more than 150 companies have signed a Student Privacy Pledge, legally committing to not sell student data, federal and state lawmakers continue to seek ways to expand student privacy laws to more effectively protect student data.
One key issue has emerged as a point of contention among many of the proposed bills. Should parents have the right to tell a company holding their child’s data to enable additional services, such as sending homework information to a tutoring service or sending a transcript to a college or for a scholarship application? Should a parent be able to use the school’s network to share their child’s art portfolio with relatives or even online? Or, what if a child, with parental permission, wants to continue to maintain their school email account or use an educational app to practice test questions? Oddly, the leading state privacy law passed in California does not make allowances for parents to expressly enable new services, and the drafters of federal legislation have largely followed suit.
We have become convinced that only machines and corporations make the future, but I don’t think that is true. In thinking about the role of the humanist in our technology-driven future, I was drawn to a sermon Martin Luther King preached at the National Cathedral in Washington two weeks before he was killed. At the outset he told the story of how Rip Van Winkle had passed a sign with a picture of King George III of England on the way up the mountain where he fell into a long sleep. When he came down the mountain, the same sign bore a picture of George Washington.
With such economic power comes political power. Uber recently hired Obama campaign svengali David Plouffe to help it navigate the political lobbying waters of Washington, taking a page from Google’s bible. Google outspends all but a few financial and military firms in its lobbying efforts. The main financial backers of the Libertarian movement, the Koch brothers, have vowed to spend $900 million in the 2016 election cycle to ensure that the “no regulation, no taxes” principles of the movement are sacrosanct in the corridors of power.
The digital monopolists are not above using the rhetoric of libertarianism to spread the message that they alone are the guardians of freedom in the world. When the media companies tried (in an admittedly ham-handed fashion) to pass a law (Stop Online Piracy Act) that would require Google to block sites that were making millions off of stolen content, Google unleashed an online campaign stating this would amount to censorship. The uproar from the crowd quickly killed the bill.
In my day job, I run Oglethorpe University, a liberal arts college in Atlanta. Over the last 40 years, I’ve also worked in the bleached-white collar realms of law and real estate.
This summer, I added a new line to my resume: Uber driver.
I signed up because I wanted to broaden my perspective on today’s “sharing economy.” After all, my students are confronting a very different job market than I did. Since the 2008 recession, many Americans have been pushed into or chosen to join the freelance marketplace, taking jobs with no regular hours, no benefits and no office. My wife calls it “Panera World,” where she, a freelance advertising executive, joins dozens of other freelancers who spend hours in the restaurant bakery working on their computers and phones every day. Some may forgo full-time work altogether, choosing by necessity or by choice to string together a series of part-time opportunities.
Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been out of office for a year and a half, but his influence over New York schools is practically as strong as ever.
A group devoted to continuing his education agenda and founded in part by his longtime schools chancellor, has become one of the most powerful forces in Albany by pouring millions into lobbying and adroitly exploiting rivalries in state politics.
The organization, StudentsFirstNY, and another group with a similar focus called Families for Excellent Schools have formed a counterweight to teachers’ unions, long among the top spenders in the state capital. This year alone, the groups saw major elements of their platforms come to pass, such as tying teacher evaluations more closely to test scores, adding hurdles to earning tenure and increasing the number of charter schools, measures all unpopular with the unions.
hearing the term “artificial intelligence”?
Stephen Wolfram: That is a good question. I don’t have any idea. When I was a kid, in the 1960s in England, I think there was a prevailing assumption that it wouldn’t be long before there were automatic brains of some kind, and I certainly had books about the future at that time, and I’m sure that they contained things about them, how there would be some electronic brains, and so on. Whether they used the term “artificial intelligence,” I’m not quite sure. Good question. I don’t know.
Would you agree that AI, up there with space travel, has kind of always been the thing of tomorrow and hasn’t advanced at the rate we thought they would?
opular narratives portray society as made up of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people. Figures of the citizen, the worker, and the graduate are contrasted with the deviant, the criminal, and the dropout. For the safety of ‘good’ people, we are supposed to put ‘bad’ people in separate places. When they are younger, those stigmatized as ‘bad kids’—as delinquents, failures, dropouts—are sent to lower tracked courses, detention, or juvenile hall. If they continue ‘down’ this criminalized life path, they are sent to jails and prisons. By contrast, those deemed ‘good’ through the categorizing and sorting of education are admitted to the place where ‘good’ people rise: ‘up’ through the school grades and into higher education.
Prisons and universities complement each other as two sides of the same coin. They are institutions for producing obedient, governable subjects—shaped in an accounting mode with incarceration for ‘debts to society’ and education for ‘credits.’ Abolitionist movements should seek to abolish this whole coin. From a decolonial, abolitionist perspective, this coin is the intersecting regimes of white supremacist, settler colonial, hetero-patriarchal capitalism. Abolitionists have organized against institutions associated with the ‘bad’ side of the dichotomy of ‘good’/‘bad’ persons—including prisons, corporal punishment in schools, the schools-to-prisons pipeline, the death penalty, and the police—as well as against the ‘redemptive’ intermediaries of the military and work. Yet, abolitionists also need to resist institutions, such as higher education, that are associated with the ‘good’ side of the coin.
Brown’s Undoing the Demos and Maurizio Lazzarato’s Governing by Debt (first published in Italian in 2013) aim both to diagnose the contemporary neoliberal condition and to demonstrate the tragedy of its growing ubiquity. Brown’s is a markedly nostalgic work, at least rhetorically, since it hearkens to the imperiled values of a previous era of political liberalism before the current reign of homo oeconomicus (economic man) (her past writings are best known for demonstrating the failures of liberalism to confront the problems of patriarchy and economic inequality). Where Brown sees the promise in rejuvenating a political thought that replaces rampant economism, Lazzarato argues all forms of politics act as apparatuses for the capture of wealth by a given elite. For this reason he calls for strikes against the contemporary system, and the wholesale destruction of any economic structures that support it. This, too, is strikingly nostalgic — large-scale workers’ actions of the kind Lazzarato prescribes are modeled on an era more and more outmoded as neoliberalism spreads.
Bernie Sanders has long aimed to end the influence of money in politics. Now he hopes to reduce the corrosive influence of money in higher education with the College for All Act, a federal bill that would bring back tuition-free public higher education. Like most of Sanders’ proposals – supporting Social Security, a reasonable minimum wage, investment in infrastructure – his college plan is closely aligned with the mainstream views of the US electorate. On top of the free tuition, Sanders would regulate student loans and student labor, provide financial aid for living expenses and set a national standard for tenured/track faculty, including at teaching institutions. Nothing in the plan is without abundant precedent, both in the United States and abroad.
The popularity of College for All has forced reaction from the other presidential contenders, on both sides of the aisle.
Rognlie then makes an interesting insight; housing prices are going up because of artificial scarcity caused by land-use regulation. Put another way, the concentration of wealth is not an issue of the “1 percent” winning while the rest of us lose—it’s an issue of homeowners benefitting from government restrictions on property rights that prevent a free market in homebuilding, restricting supply and driving up prices.
If Rognlie is correct (and the data suggests he is), then the liberal prescription to address growing wealth inequality misses the mark. Further, it complicates the Left’s attempt to capitalize on Occupy populist outrage. Going after homeowners is a much different electoral and rhetorical proposition (especially if you’re still living in your parent’s basement) than going after the vilified “1 percent.
The successive withdrawals of support for our once esteemed university system was necessitated because political leaders of both parties have ducked the biggest budget buster for state government: out-of-control health costs for public employees and Medicaid recipients. That under-management, or mismanagement, call it what you will, means that other priorities get crowded out. The university in one in a long list of diminished priorities.
Are the Republican leaders real fiscal conservatives when they don’t deal with the largest fiscal crisis on their plate? Real fiscal conservatives manage fiscal challenges. They aren’t just slashers.
Cathy Sandeen, the new chancellor for the colleges and UW Extension, faced up to the fiscal realities imposed by the GOP and decided to take the cuts out of administration so instruction and students would be impacted as little as possible. That means at least 83 administrative positions will be eliminated on the 13 campuses, or about six or seven per campus. For perspective sake, the West Bend campus has about eight administrative positions at present.
When the reorganization shakes out over the next five months, the University of Wisconsin – Washington County in West Bend will probably be headed by an associate dean. The campus will no longer have its own dean, a loss since UWWC deans have long been prominent leaders in the county. The likelihood is that the regional executive officer will be based at UW – Waukesha, a larger campus than West Bend or Sheboygan in the new southeast regional grouping.
China knows a thing or two about distance learning. For two decades, the country’s education ministry has used the television airwaves to broadcast agricultural lessons to more than 100 million rural students—making it the largest such program in the world. And in the early 2000s, the charitable Li Ka Shing Foundation installed satellite dishes and computers to broadcast lectures to 10,000 rural schools. Now this top-down model of online learning is being joined by a surge in new commercial and university offerings.
And it’s no longer just about reaching rural provinces. In China a rapidly rising middle class—part of a population that now totals 1.4 billion—is creating a demand for education far outpacing what traditional teachers and schools can supply. In response, Chinese startups are identifying market niches and developing entirely new products, while universities are emulating online platforms first developed in the United States.
A “good” Ofsted judgment for any school is a cause for celebration and congratulation. So why would a leading headteacher say she was “sick” when she heard of a local school being given a good report by the inspectorate?
That is a question that will be of intense interest to those following the fate of the Hewett school in Norwich, a comprehensive currently in a maelstrom of controversy over its likely takeover by a local academy chain.
Email correspondence seen by us shows the head of Inspiration Trust, a chain highly regarded by the Department for Education, admitting she was less than pleased in 2013 when the Hewett got its “good” Ofsted report.
In an email to Sir Theodore Agnew, chairman of the trust, who at the time was also a DfE director, Dame Rachel de Souza, the trust’s CEO, says: “Hewett on 42% [provisional figures for the proportion of pupils achieving five good GCSEs in August 2013] – is it vulnerable again? That good they got [from Ofsted] made me sick!”
The school was half the size it is today, with 400 kids who were mostly Somali, part of a sudden infusion of Africans in the mostly white Longfellow neighborhood.
No one from Longfellow sent their kids to Sanford. Instead, as busloads of kids from outside the neighborhood rolled in each morning, busloads of Longfellow kids rolled out. It was as if a color-coded invisible fence had been placed around the school.
That changed with Val Ausland. Nine years ago, her oldest son was finishing up fifth grade at Dowling Elementary and needed a middle school. Sanford’s reputation as a “tough school with lots of fights” kept neighborhood families away for years, Ausland says. But she wasn’t ready to believe the hype.
Instead, Ausland, a beaming woman with a reputation as a volunteer extraordinaire, investigated it herself. A conversation with the principal convinced her that Sanford was trying to change for the better, and that she and her neighbors could help.
Van Zandt admits he has high expectations for his children. He also has high expectations for San Francisco Unified, which is why he and many parents like him were outraged when they learned Algebra 1 will no longer be taught in middle school under Common Core, the state’s new academic standards.
Instead, all students will have to wait until their freshman year in high school to take the class.
Valentina says delaying Algebra 1 is going to hurt gifted students because some classes are “too easy” or “aren’t very challenging” for high-achieving students.
The shift to now require Algebra 1 in high school may seem like a subtle change, but it hits on a deep-rooted debate over when advanced math should be introduced, and to which students.
Some say Algebra 1 at a young age causes students to flounder.
These days “education reform” is a loaded phrase, evoking politically charged disruptions of cherished institutions, Christie-ish harassment of honorable educators, and testing-mania. Certainly, if our schools are fine, we don’t have to change. If they’re not but we pretend they are, then we’re doing our children a disservice. As Mark Twain said, “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
So let’s look squarely at the data.
The median annual household income in New Jersey is $71,637. Those of us who dwell in middle-class suburban New Jersey know that our children don’t have access to schools like those in moneyed Millburn (median household income: $156,078), where 85 percent of students get more than 1550 points on the 2400-point SAT (1550 is considered a benchmark for college and career readiness) and 63 percent take an AP course, another marker for success beyond high school. But we also know that we don’t have the same concerns as families in Trenton (median household income: $36,727), where only 11 percent of high school seniors get at least a 1550 on the SAT and 4.9 percent take an AP course.
Let’s take three middle-class New Jersey communities: Nutley (Essex County), Florence (Burlington County), and Plumsted (Ocean County) and look at the most recent available data from the New Jersey Department of Education’s 2013-2014 school performance reports. All three towns have median household incomes that are average for New Jersey and all three have high schools that, according to the narrative that begins each performance report, are considered average in terms of “graduation and post-secondary readiness.”
First, Nutley, eight miles from Newark, which has a median household income of $76,167. Almost every student at Nutley High passed the High School Proficiency Assessments in math and language arts (the HSPAs, just replaced this past spring with PARCC tests). But only 35 percent of Nutley High’s graduating class got 1550 or better on their SATs and only 23 percent took an AP course. Sixteen months after graduation, 81 percent of students were enrolled in two- or four-year colleges.
Book co-authored by UCI sociologist debunks idea that Asian American academic achievement is due to unique cultural traits or values
One in four Americans today are either immigrants or children of immigrants. As the U.S. moves from a black and white society to a potpourri of racial and ethnic groups, researchers are turning their attention to why certain immigrant and second-generation groups are more likely to succeed. Asian Americans stand out for having the highest median household income and education level of all groups, including native-born whites, according to the Pew Research Center.
It’s a demographic that’s often stereotyped as the “model minority,” who seemingly get ahead because they have the “right” cultural traits and values. But there are very specific immigration patterns, institutions and social psychological factors that foster high academic achievement among certain Asian American groups, says Jennifer Lee, UCI professor of sociology and co-author of The Asian American Achievement Paradox – a forceful rebuttal to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.
Public schools are a really nice idea. The government builds a building, right in your neighborhood, where anyone can send their kids to get an education for free. It’s simple and appealing.
But in practice, it’s quite a bit different. Land that is in the intake zone for a good school becomes more expensive, and you create a situation in which the school is open exclusively to the “public” of people who can afford a very expensive house.
Look at this chart showing the correlation between the price of a family-size house and the reading proficiency scores in the local school (the outlier, Garrison, where the reading scores are terrible and the houses are expensive anyway is my neighborhood public school):
It’s a widely noted fact that colleges and universities are under new pressure to justify their value and function. The same is true of tenure-track faculty members, who are at the heart of the higher education system whose benefits much of society now claims to find mysterious, and whose job security is increasingly criticized.
While colleges face criticism for converting most of their teaching posts to non-tenure-track status, they also face criticism for offering tenure to the rest. The final decision by the Wisconsin Legislature to weaken tenure and shared governance in the University of Wisconsin System teaches a lesson that should resonate beyond Wisconsin: the standard defense of tenure and shared governance isn’t good enough to address widespread skepticism about their public benefits.
I traveled light when I moved earlier this year from New York. The walls of my office here are still bare, and I’m debating even hanging my diplomas—except for one I’m particularly proud to display: a degree in pest control operations. My father thought that killing rats would be a good way for me to make a living. I listened to him but ultimately refused to accept that I couldn’t do better.
Some 30 years later, I feel the same way about science and the way we prepare scientists. As the new chair of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology (MMI), I’m eager to unpack a big, bold plan that challenges postgraduate training as we know it.
Congratulations. Two months ago, your kid graduated from college, bravely finishing his degree rather than dropping out to make millions on his idea for a dating app for people who throw up during Cross Fit training. If he’s like a great many of his peers, he’s moved back home, where he’s figuring out how to become an adult in the same room that still has his orthodontic headgear strapped to an Iron Man helmet.
Now we’re deep into summer, and the logistical challenges of your grad really being home are sinking in. You’re constantly juggling cars, cleaning more dishes and dealing with your daughter’s boyfriend, who not only slept over but also drank your last can of Pure Protein Frosty Chocolate shake.
North Texas has added around 1m people every decade since 1970. A region that can combine the élan and optimism of the emerging world with the pragmatism and infrastructure of the rich world has a lot going for it.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb saw the financial crisis of 2008 coming. As pundits like Jim Cramer confidently declared that Bear Stearns was a safe investment, Taleb stood behind his warning that consolidation of banks would lead to global financial collapse – and he invested his own money accordingly. By the time the housing bubble had burst, the stock market had collapsed, and the dust had settled, Taleb had augmented his personal wealth by tens of millions of dollars – and cemented his reputation as an astute observer of financial markets.
But Taleb doesn’t just see himself as an expert on finance. He would prefer that we call him an expert on risk, more broadly. As he opined in Antifragile, the 2012 bestselling book, “everything entailing risk–everything–can be seen with a lot more rigor and clarity from the vantage point of an option professional.”
In 2014 ShotSpotter launched its SecureCampus technology, offering the sound-monitoring hookup to campuses across the country. In September of that year, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) became the first school in the nation to install ShotSpotter, and on 17 June, Newark Memorial high school’s principal, Phil Morales, a former police officer, announced it had become the first high school to plant the technology throughout its campus. So far only these two schools have bought ShotSpotter, but it probably won’t stay that way for long.
“We’ve had a variety of colleges interested in the project, from all over the country – east and west, large and small,” Journey said. “The interest seems to be growing.”
Journey would not reveal how many schools are considering adopting ShotSpotter, but he did say: “We haven’t deployed it in any elementary schools at this point in time, but we certainly know that the technology is useful in all sorts of settings.”
Many cognitive, behavioral, and environmental factors im- pact student learning during college. The SmartGPA study uses passive sensing data and self-reports from students’ smartphones to understand individual behavioral differences between high and low performers during a single 10-week term. We propose new methods for better understanding study (e.g., study duration) and social (e.g., partying) behav- ior of a group of undergraduates. We show that there are a number of important behavioral factors automatically in- ferred from smartphones that significantly correlate with term and cumulative GPA, including time series analysis of ac- tivity, conversational interaction, mobility, class attendance, studying, and partying. We propose a simple model based on linear regression with lasso regularization that can accu- rately predict cumulative GPA. The predicted GPA strongly correlates with the ground truth from students’ transcripts (r = 0.81 and p < 0.001) and predicts GPA within ±0.179 of the reported grades. Our results open the way for novel interventions to improve academic performance.
FOR an hour or two on a foggy morning last December, some students at the University of Iowa (UI) mistook one of their professors, Serhat Tanyolacar, for a fan of the Ku Klux Klan. Mr Tanyolacar had placed a canvas effigy based on Klan robes, screen-printed with news cuttings about racial violence, on the Pentacrest, the university’s historic heart. The effigy had a camera in its hood to record public reactions.
The reaction among some black students was to fear for their safety, and that is not surprising. What is more of a puzzle—for anyone outside American academia, at least—is that students and UI bosses continued denouncing Mr Tanyolacar for threatening campus safety even after the misunderstanding was cleared up. In vain did the Turkish-born academic explain that he is a “social-political artist”, using Klan imagery to provoke debate about racism. Under pressure from angry students, university chiefs issued two separate apologies. The first expressed regret that students had been exposed to a “deeply offensive” artwork, adding that there is no room for “divisive” speech at UI. The second apologised for taking too long to remove a display which had “terrorised” black students and locals, thereby failing to ensure that all students, faculty, staff and visitors felt “respected and safe”. An unhappy Mr Tanyolacar feels abandoned by the university. He left Iowa earlier this month, when his visiting fellowship came to an end, and has suspended his teaching career.
In 2000, economist Steven Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Venkatesh published an article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics about the internal wage structure of a Chicago drug gang. This piece would later serve as a basis for a chapter in Levitt’s (and Dubner’s) best seller Freakonomics. The title of the chapter, “Why drug dealers still live with their moms”, was based on the finding that the income distribution within gangs was extremely skewed in favor of those at the top, while the rank-and-file street sellers earned even less than employees in legitimate low-skilled activities, let’s say at McDonald’s. They calculated $3.30 as the hourly rate, that is, well below a living wage (that’s why they still live with their moms).
If you take into account the risk of being shot by rival gangs, ending up in jail or being beaten up by your own hierarchy, you might wonder why anybody would work for such a low wage and at such dreadful working conditions instead of seeking employment at McDonald’s. Yet, gangs have no real difficulty in recruiting new members. The reason for this is that the prospect of future wealth, rather than current income and working conditions, is the main driver for people to stay in the business: low-level drug sellers forgo current income for (uncertain) future wealth. Rank-and file members are ready to face this risk to try to make it to the top, where life is good and money is flowing. It is very unlikely that they will make it (their mortality rate is insanely high) but they’re ready to “get rich or die trying”.
As technology becomes more dominant in the workplace, here are the three job skills that you need to thrive.
As the Pepper robot from Softbank scurries about your home or office, it reads your emotions by your words, tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. It then responds in all those ways; its hands and posture in particular are remarkably expressive. If you thought emotions were beyond the competencies of robots, you were right for a long time. But no more.
Maybe you believe that humans uniquely will always have to perform the highest-stakes, most delicate and demanding tasks in our lives, such as surgery. But researchers at the University of California at Berkeley are training a robot to identify and cut away cancerous tissue—not like today’s surgical robots, which are actually tools used by human surgeons, but entirely on its own.
The first thing you should know about reading in college is that it bears little or no resemblance to the sort of reading you do for pleasure, or for your own edification.
Professors assign more than you can possibly read in any normal fashion.
We know it, at least most of us do.You have to make strategic decisions about what to read and how to read it. You’re reading for particular reasons: to get background on important issues, to illuminate some of the central issues in a single session of one course, to raise questions for discussion. That calls for a certain kind of smash-and-grab approach to reading.You can’t afford to dilly-dally and stop to smell the lilies. You might not think that’s the ideal way to learn, and I would sort of agree. But on the professiorial side of things, we feel a real obligation to cover a particular field of knowledge in the course of a semester, and we can’t do it all through lectures. Nor would I personally want to talk at my students day in and day out.
I’m going to keep this tutorial light on math, because the goal is just to give a general understanding.
The idea of Monte Carlo methods is this—generate some random samples for some random variable of interest, then use these samples to compute values you’re interested in.
I know, super broad. The truth is Monte Carlo has a ton of different applications. It’s used in product design, to simulate variability in manufacturing. It’s used in physics, biology and chemistry, to do a whole host of things that I only partially understand. It can be used in AI for games, for example the chinese game Go. And finally, in finance, to evaluate financial derivatives or option pricing . In short—it’s used everywhere.
Three days after the most recent Madison school year ended, Toki Middle School teacher Dani See was back on a bus. It wasn’t a yellow school bus, but a fancy coach bus, one of two that was taking 58 students and six staff chaperones on the school’s annual eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C.
For See, it was the 20th consecutive year she was making the trip as its coordinator and tour director. The six-day trip takes students on a whirlwind tour of the nation’s capital, with additional stops at Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania and Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg. It reinforces the social studies, civics and history curricula of eighth grade in a way no classroom work can, See said.
“I tell the kids and parents that my D.C. trip safeguards our heritage and our future by providing a first-hand understanding of history,” she said. “(It) creates a ‘hands-on’ approach to learning.”
That is not to say we haven’t achieved great things. We have expanded and protected parents’ right to choose their children’s schools through a citywide unified enrollment system. We have created a city in which independent charter schools and charter management organizations are enthusiastically and successfully serving a population much more at risk than that of the traditional school district. And while people in cities like New York and Washington, D.C. argue over whether charter schools should “backfill,” our charter schools are already serving all students, accepting them year-round, and creating innovative programs for students with significant disabilities.
So, what does this mean? And what does it mean for the next 10 years?
Over 70 years later, that fifteen minutes is now fifteen seconds. Memorizing facts is becoming obsolete. Knowing how to find, organize, synthesize and present information is THE 21st century skill to have. Fortunately, we have a few new toys to help us improve.
WHEN offices handle public money, said Aristotle, “there must of necessity be another office that examines and audits them.” Today’s equivalent is the “Supreme Audit Institution”, and 192 countries have one. These beancounters-cum-watchdogs check on behalf of legislatures and the public that their governments spend money cleanly and sensibly—and hold them to account when they do not. Though public, they are (or at least are supposed to be) independent of government.
In “The Art of Audit”, Roel Janssen, a veteran Dutch journalist, tells their story through conversations with former top auditors from eight countries. Number-crunching may be number-crunching, but their experiences, and the outfits they run, differ enormously.
America’s 94-year-old Government Accountability Office (GAO) is a bulky, sophisticated machine employing 3,000 people that holds the government’s feet to the fire on behalf of Congress. David Walker’s main achievement, as its head from 1998 to 2008, was to raise the alarm about America’s exploding federal debt. Running Iraq’s audit board from 2004 to 2014, Abdulbasit Turki Saeed worried more about being blown up himself. His predecessor was killed in the job, as were some people on Mr Turki’s team; he had a lucky escape when he discovered a bomb under his car.
Related: Spending issues on Madison’s last maintenance referendum lead to calls for a maibtenance audit.
Venezuela’s embattled government has taken the drastic step of forcing food producers to sell their produce to the state, in a bid to counter the ever-worsening shortages.
Farmers and manufacturers who produce milk, pasta, oil, rice, sugar and flour have been told to supply between 30 per cent and 100 per cent of their products to the state stores. Shortages, rationing and queues outside supermarkets have become a way of life for Venezuelans, as their isolated country battles against rigid currency controls and a shortage of US dollars – making it difficult for Venezuelans to find imported goods.
Pablo Baraybar, president of the Venezuelan Food Industry Chamber, said that the order was illogical, and damaging to Venezuelan consumers.
I am a freak for the American road trip. And I’m not alone, as some of this country’s best writers have taken a shot at describing that quintessentially American experience. “There is no such knowledge of the nation as comes of traveling in it, of seeing eye to eye its vast extent, its various and teeming wealth, and, above all, its purpose-full people,” the newspaper editor Samuel Bowles wrote 150 years ago in Across the Continent, arguably the first true American road-trip book.
Boring bien pensant opinion in Europe has long maintained that low-brow American culture — all the greasy fast food, oafish Hollywood shoot ‘em up films (often starring a muscle-bound Austrian, Belgian, or Swede), and schlock television — has done incalculable damage to highbrow European culture. And it has happened with the assent of the average European, who happily scarfs down a McRib sandwich, feet swaddled in Air Jordans, while queuing for the latest “Transformers” film.
But there is a more pernicious American cultural invasion, as irritatingly destructive as the North American gray squirrel and, unlike the Hollywood blockbuster, wholly immune from free market pressures. It was noticed in 1994 by a reporter for Reuters, who gravely reported that the scourge of political correctness, “an American import regarded by many Britons with the same distaste as an unpleasant virus, finally seems to be infecting British society.” First it poisons the local universities, then within a generation wends its way into the broader culture, wreaking havoc on the native intellectual ecosystem. It’s the most odious, implacable, and least remarked upon manifestation of American cultural imperialism.
Yet despite their numbers, none of them is addressing in a meaningful way the greatest threat to our republic: our gigantic and rapidly growing national debt. America’s cumulative borrowing is rapidly approaching $20 trillion, while the federal government’s unfunded liabilities (future expenditures minus future tax revenue) now exceed a whopping $127 trillion — better than $1.1 million per taxpayer.
That’s not merely unsustainable; it’s suicidal.
Following a similarly risky path, Greece has now defaulted on its obligations, sending a shock wave through financial markets around the world. This was a crisis that could have been avoided through sound fiscal policy, but the Greek government has for years lacked the political will to do what it takes to secure that nation’s financial health. The nightly news showcases the unfolding Greek tragedy as though it were another TV reality show. A country on the verge of collapse, full steam ahead on a similar trajectory as the American economy — and journalists are largely silent.
At issue in the court case is a rule established at the program’s inception that requires providers to set rates for schools and libraries at the lowest prices offered to comparable customers. The theory was that bargain rates would help schools in less-wealthy areas provide their students with access to the Web.
An investigation in 2012 by ProPublica found that the preferential pricing rule had been widely neglected by AT&T and the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees the program. The result was that many schools were paying more than the program’s framers envisioned, draining the federal fund and limiting the reach of the subsidies.
AT&T said then, and reaffirmed in a recent email to ProPublica, that it complies with the requirement that it charge such customers what is known as the “lowest corresponding price.”
Heath, whose consulting work involves helping school districts obtain refunds from telecom overcharges, first sued Wisconsin Bell, a unit of AT&T, in 2008, alleging that the company routinely withheld information about the available lower rates from public school and library customers and billed them at higher levels. He filed it as a whistleblower case, meaning he would secure a percentage of any damages if Wisconsin Bell were found liable or reached a monetary settlement.
While that case made its way through the court system, Heath in 2011 filed another whistleblower lawsuit in Washington against AT&T and 19 of its subsidiaries for allegedly defrauding E-Rate from 1997 to 2009.
The story mentions that this a reaction to the industry’s attempt to self-regulate with a privacy pledge this past October, and that the legislation which will be similar to California’s SOPIPA, which prohibits targeting students with online marketing and advertising, selling student information, profiling students based on data collected, and requiring companies to put security measures in place to protect student data. (While security measures are required to protect student data, SOPIPA set no bare minimum security standards for education technology companies, and did not require companies to disclose their security measures to users.)
Fewer than half of underclassmen at the two high schools here said they felt safe at school in their responses to voluntary annual youth risk behavior surveys taken during the school year that just ended.
The 48.4 percent who said they feel safe is significantly lower than the 58.4 percent from the year before who responded that they felt safe.
The survey results also show that more than 28 percent of respondents said violence is a problem at their schools, and nearly 14 percent reported being in a physical fight at school. The percentage of respondents in fights is up a bit from the year before while far fewer students than the previous year felt that violence is a problem.
Suspensions up, too
In addition to the survey, district information shows that two of the four intermediate schools reported many more suspensions for all causes last year than the year before. Fighting and threatening behavior were the two major reasons for the increases, Daniel Weast, director of student services, told the West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board last week.
The intermediate schools seeing the signficant increases were Frank Lloyd Wright and West Milwaukee, with both still well below their 10-year highs in the number of suspensions.
Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of educational policy and sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is under fire for tweeting to some incoming freshman an article about the budget cuts and attacks on tenure at her institution. The campus College Republicans started a campaign denouncing her tweets as “disgusting and repulsive” and declared, “The College Republicans of UW-Madison call on the University of Wisconsin-Madison to address the harassment of these future Badgers on Twitter.”
This is a disturbing reaction: engaging in a conversation or political debate on Twitter is not even remotely close to harassment. The fact that the College Republicans describe it as “harassment” (they replace this with the term “out-of-line actions” in their formal press release) indicates that they think it is deserving of punishment. We need to reject the very stupid notion that being exposed to an idea you disagree with is a form of “harassment.”
In the fall of 2012, Concordia University Libraries started planning for renovations which would result in the increase of study spaces in one of its two libraries and the reduction at the other. In order to maximize the functionality of the reduced study space footprint, a survey and focus groups were used to better understand the specific space needs of the library’s campus community. The study revealed differences in the use of the library among the respondents from different programs of study. Respondents enrolled in science programs visit the library more often but seek assistance less than the respondents in social sciences programs. The survey comments and focus groups pointed to students’ dissatisfaction with the quality of study spaces the library offers, either for individual or group study. Library users wanted larger table space, comfortable furniture, and more desktop computers. The overall ambience of study spaces proved to be rather important and a large point of dissatisfaction. The findings from the study have provided valuable information on how to prioritize targeted improvements and which aspects of the library’s space and services to highlight when promoting library services to different departments.
The federal government has invested nearly $100,000 to bring Shakespeare to the stage—only without the legendary playwright’s words.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and its state agency the Virginia Commission for the Arts has funded numerous shows from the Crystal City-based Synetic Theater, including a production of Hamlet without words, making the title character’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy slightly less potent.
The Wall Street Journal bemoaned the dumbing down of Shakespeare, noting Shakespeare’s plays “without puns is like French cooking without butter,” in a recent review of Synetic’s adaptations.
“The latest Shakespeare fashion, at least in the Washington area, is to invite people to a feast of language and serve nothing but grunts, grimaces and grins—with a few gyrations thrown in for dessert,” James Bovard wrote on Monday.
At street level and in popular culture, Americans are freer with profanity now than ever before—or so it might seem to judge by how often people throw around the “F-bomb” or use a certain S-word of scatological meaning as a synonym for “stuff.” Or consider the millions of fans who adore the cartoon series “South Park,” with its pint-size, raucously foul-mouthed characters.
But things might look different to an expedition of anthropologists visiting from Mars. They might conclude that Americans today are as uptight about profanity as were our 19th-century forbears in ascots and petticoats. It’s just that what we think of as “bad” words is different. To us, our ancestors’ word taboos look as bizarre as tribal rituals. But the real question is: How different from them, for better or worse, are we?
While not so concernng on its own, this means PowerSchool — and all the student data it owns — is now in the hands of a company that has failed to join the 153 education companies that have pledged to not sell student data or use targeted advertising toward students.
The slow creep of private software companies into public education has accelerated enormously since PowerSchool was first founded in 2000. According to Education Week, public schools in the U.S. spend over $3 billion providing digital services to their students. Some, like Code.org and Kahn Academy, offer individualized tutoring to help take the load off of overpopulated schools. Others, like Google, have offered their own free versions of expensive digital tools such as Microsoft Excel and Word.
Even so, American higher education remains the envy of the world. But that respect really only extends to a few hundred universities at the most. At too many colleges attended by the vast majority of American students, costs are spiraling out of control and quality is declining. And the very worst of the institutions suffer from low graduation rates, high debt loads for students, and poor placement rates into jobs.
Last week, on a panel I moderated about the future of higher education at a conference in Nashville, Tom Angelo, an expert in teaching and learning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, called these bottom-feeder institutions a “cancer on American higher education.” In most markets, such bad players would simply go away, driven out by more-efficient and less-expensive options.
An Uneven Recovery for Low-Income Families
Let’s start with the good news. With 2.95 million jobs created, 2014 was the best year of job growth in the United States since 1999.1 For 12 consecutive months, from March 2014 through February 2015, the economy added more than 200,000 jobs per month.2 Although there was a drop in jobs created in March 2015, the numbers have since rebounded.3 At 5.4 percent, April’s national unemployment rate was at its lowest level since April 2008.
But there are some worrisome economic indicators for families in the bottom half of the income scale, particularly African Americans and Latinos. Although new job growth has occurred at all wage levels, it has been disproportionate in low-wage sectors, such as retail and food services, and in some of the lower-wage positions within health care and home care.5 And, a stagnating federal minimum wage has exacerbated low wages.
Navient Corp, the largest student loan servicing company in the US, gave a glimpse into worsening trends in the $1.2tn market as it reported a 40 per cent drop in profits due to a big rise in provisions and a squeeze on interest margins.
Student loans have been the only consumer debt segment to grow in the US since the Lehman crisis, with the total outstanding more than doubling since 2008. At the same time, fears have risen that the jobs market is not strong enough to support such towering amounts of debt.
We’re raising $50,000 to help school kids eat better. Introducing the limited-edition Chef Totes.
Somehow I became the canonical undergraduate source for bibliographical references, so I thought I would leave a list behind before I graduated. I list the books I have found useful in my wanderings through mathematics (in a few cases, those I found especially unuseful), and give short descriptions and comparisons within each category. I hope that this list may serve as a useful “road map” to other undergraduates picking their way through Eckhart Library. In the end, of course, you must explore on your own; but the list may save you a few days wasted reading books at the wrong level or with the wrong emphasis.
The list is biased in two senses. One, it is light on foundations and applied areas, and heavy (especially in the advanced section) on geometry and topology; this is a consequence of my interests. I welcome additions from people interested in other fields. Two, and more seriously, I am an honors-track student and the list reflects that. I don’t list any “regular” analysis or algebra texts, for instance, because I really dislike the ones I’ve seen. If you are a 203 student looking for an alternative to the awful pink book (Marsden/Hoffman), you will find a few here; they are all much clearer, better books, but none are nearly as gentle. I know that banging one’s head against a more difficult text is not a realistic option for most students in this position. On the other hand, reading mathematics can’t be taught, and it has to be learned sometime. Maybe it’s better to get used to frustration as a way of life sooner, rather than later. I don’t know.
“While our share of the overall UW System budget cut was eventually reduced, the nearly $5 million cut that we are left with is the largest in our history,” the chancellor, who has been in the job since December, said Tuesday. “The challenge we face is not new, but it is now acute. We can no longer avoid taking significant action.”
Only $100,000 (0.25%) will be cut from the instructional budget. No faculty positions will be eliminated, and there will be no campus closures, she said.
“The reforms we are developing, with extensive and valuable input from our internal and external stakeholders, will help UW Colleges position itself for the future,” Sandeen said in a prepared statement.
Under the new model, the 13 UW Colleges campuses will be grouped into four regions, with a single executive officer/dean for each region. One associate dean will be located on each campus and will oversee day-to-day operational needs. The four regions are:
Information and communications technology (ICT) has become indispensable in the twenty-first century and is integral to the undergraduate student experience. From standard productivity software to specialized multimedia applications, from online research to course management systems, undergraduates use technology throughout their academic experience. Despite the persistence of the digital native image in the media, however, not all college students own and use these technologies to the same extent, which can hamper their ability to use ICT effectively for academic purposes. At the same time, budget pressures and restructuring discussions mean that colleges increasingly adopt academic technologies to help address some of the challenges facing higher education. How does this rising use of academic ICT change students’ experiences?
Academic institutions and higher education research organizations use data to make decisions about student services and academic technologies, yet much of the data collected is quantitative. Although surveys can show how many students own a smartphone or how long each student commutes to campus, they tell us little about the lived experiences of our students. In contrast, qualitative research lets us hear student voices and can add valuable detail about the college experience; that, in turn, can inform and guide faculty and administrative decisions about instructional technologies for student use.
Bowen and Tobin argue that universities must rewrite their rules so as to meet the demands of the twenty-first century. If they intend to reclaim their role as “engines of mobility,” institutions of higher education need to feature strong leadership at the presidential level, to use technology aggressively, and to implement what they call a “professional teaching staff.” About this last, they write:
In the intensifying debate over whether to reduce federal government regulations on universities and colleges, one number has been at the forefront: $150 million.
That’s what Vanderbilt University says a study found it spends each year complying with government red tape: 11 percent of the university’s entire budget.
The figure was in a report drafted by the principal higher education lobbying organization, the American Council on Education, or ACE, at the request of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. It was the headline of a news release from the committee’s chairman, Republican Lamar Alexander of Tennessee. Alexander cited it again in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. And other advocates for easing rules on colleges and universities have repeated it, adding that it averages out to $11,000 per year in additional tuition for each of Vanderbilt’s 12,757 students.