AS PUPILS file into their classroom at Kipp Renaissance, a high school in a battered corner of north-east New Orleans, each one stops to shake the hand of a history teacher. “Changes”, a rap song by Tupac about the struggles of being poor and black in America, plays quietly in the background. Within a minute or two, the dozen teenagers—all black—are busily filling in test papers. Soon afterwards, Mr Kullman, the teacher, begins rapping himself—hopping around the room demanding quick-fire answers to questions about the civil war. Pupils shout back answers in chorus.
Kipp Renaissance is one of New Orleans’s newer high schools. Since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, only six traditional public schools, directly run by the city, remain. Instead 94% of pupils now attend charter schools, which are publicly funded but run by independent non-profit organisations such as Kipp (in full, the “Knowledge is Power Programme”).
To hear Mikia Hutchings speak, one must lean in close, as her voice barely rises above a whisper. In report cards, her teachers describe her as “very focused,” someone who follows the rules and stays on task. So it was a surprise for her grandmother when Mikia, 12, and a friend got into trouble for writing graffiti on the walls of a gym bathroom at Dutchtown Middle School in Henry County last year.
Even more of a surprise was the penalty after her family disputed the role she was accused of playing in the vandalism and said it could not pay about $100 in restitution. While both students were suspended from school for a few days, Mikia had to face a school disciplinary hearing and, a few weeks later, a visit by a uniformed officer from the local Sheriff’s Department, who served her grandmother with papers accusing Mikia of a trespassing misdemeanor and, potentially, a felony.
What teachers are paid matters. Many factors play a role in making the decision to become a teacher, but for many people compensation heavily influences the decision not only to enter the profession but also whether to stay in it and when to leave. For teachers, knowing where salaries start and end isn’t enough; they must also understand the path they will take from starting salary to the top of the scale.
But it’s another year in which enrollment in the main body of MPS schools shrank. That carries long-term implications.
Every year for at least the past half-dozen, the percentage of Milwaukee kids who are getting publicly funded kindergarten through 12th-grade education through MPS has gone down a percentage point or two from the prior year. This year, it went down more than two points.
I wrote a story for this newspaper about seven years ago with a premise that at the time was very striking to me: A third of all Milwaukee kids getting publicly funded educations were doing so outside of the conventional public schools.
It was such a change from days not long ago when the answer was always that publicly funded education meant you went to the public schools.
Now, instead of 33%, the figure is an even more eye-catching 43%. The official figures for this fall show 56.9% of the 120,895 publicly funded students were in schools staffed by MPS teachers.
You can see the day looming (maybe four years? maybe five?) when that percentage is 50% or less.
Where are all the other kids? I use the term publicly funded because Milwaukee remains one of the nation’s biggest arenas for options in schooling. Parents can utilize public support to send kids lots of places.
I’m a student. As a student, my school is one of my favorite places to be: I enjoy learning and find almost all my teachers to be agreeable. I’m also a programmer and an advocate of free speech. In that role, my school holds a more dubious distinction: it’s the first place where my interests in computers and my rights were questioned.
Like many other school districts, #284 of Wayzata, Minnesota puts censorware between students and the Internet. This filter lets the school claim federal funding in exchange for blocking pornography. However, Wayzata chose to implement an unsavory policy of blocking not just porn, but anything and everything they feel is inappropriate in a school setting. Worse, I could not find out who makes the judgements about what should be considered inappropriate. It’s not stated in the school board policy that mandates the filter: that police say that the filter should “only block porn, hate speech, and harassment.” Our censorware, however, blocks material ranging from Twitter to comic books. Meanwhile, students are told to use Twitter as part of our Spanish classes and our school offers a course on comic books. Beyond blocking sites that are used in classes, there are also many false positives.
I started trying to get around the content filtering system in 7th grade, halfway through middle school. I used the old trick of accessing blocked sites by looking up their IPs, then using those in place of their domain names. Back then, the censoring layer was something like a regex matcher strapped onto an HTTP proxy–in other words, all the data was routed through software that simply looked for certain domain names or terms in the URL, then blocked those requests. When the school upgraded their filter to a different product, I was stuck on the censored net again for a few months. By eighth grade, I had taught myself to code in C++, an “actual programming language” more powerful than the basic web scripting languages I’d known up until that point. Although I still wasn’t able to get past the new censorship with my relatively rudimentary knowledge, I did get introduced to the software tools that could – Linux, SSL, and SOCKS5. With these, I was unaffected by all the bad Internet policy decisions made in the next two and a half years: the blocking of YouTube and Vimeo, rate-limiting on downloads, and an exponentially expanding list of addresses that are deemed to be too horrifying for students to view, such as XKCD, Wikipedia, news websites and anywhere else that, somewhere, contains a naughty word.
The Einstein Papers Project, the decades-long effort to compile and preserve the scientist’s professional work and personal writings, is today opening to the public as a free searchable database containing thousands of documents.
The launch of the Digital Einstein Papers includes more than 5,000 documents that span the first 44 years of Albert Einstein’s life. As the organizations collaborating on the project — the California Institute of Technology (the project’s home), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (which houses the Albert Einstein Archives) and Princeton University Press — work to sort through tens of thousands of articles and letters, the website will grow to one day feature what the publisher said may be the first free digital collection of a prominent scientist’s complete works.
“The best Einstein source is now available to everyone, everywhere through the web,” said John D. Norton, a University of Pittsburgh professor of history and philosophy of science who wrote his dissertation on the history of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. “This is a great moment for Einstein scholarship.”
Full-time students complete four-year degrees with an average of 134 credit hours, according to Complete College America, a nonprofit focused on boosting college-graduation rates. That is well over the minimum of 120 hours—or about 15 credits per semester—required by most undergraduate degree programs.
That, in turn, means many students don’t graduate after the typical four years, which can weigh on a school’s reputation and a student’s wallet. A report this past week from Complete College America called four-year graduation timelines a “myth,” noting that less than one-fifth of bachelor’s degree students at nonflagship campuses of public schools graduate on time, while just over one-third of those at schools’ flagship campuses do.
Now, about half of states cap or plan to limit the number of credit hours that public institutions can require for a bachelor’s degree. Others are charging students extra for taking classes over certain limits, while schools are trying to do a better job of alerting students when they could have trouble completing enough credits in their major to finish on time.
The notion of institutions adopting reforms in order to maintain stability—sometimes called “dynamic conservatism”—captures how U.S. public schools, especially in big cities have embraced new policies (e.g., charter schools, Common Core standards, new technologies) signaling stakeholders that schools are, indeed, changing. Yet those districts and schools have left untouched essential structures that make U.S. schools the way they are (and have been for over a century) such as residential segregation, school revenue derived from property assessment, age-graded schools, self-contained classrooms, student promotion, and retention, textbooks, and state tests. [ii]
Without attending to these basic structures, entrepreneurial donors in their pursuit of particular reforms reinforce the stability of the very organizations they want to transform. Not intended to be Machiavellian or even necessarily planned, school districts have learned to maintain overall stability in structures, cultures, and practices—the status quo–in the face of strong external pressures by selectively adopting reforms.
Consider the example of grant-giving strengthening the status quo that occurred in the early 20th century when Northern white donors gave money to improve what was then called “colored” or “Negro” education in the South. John D. Rockefeller, Julius Rosenwald, and others gave grants to improve black education by building schools, helping teachers gain more knowledge and learn pedagogy, and raising teacher salaries. In aiding black communities improve schooling for their children, however, these donors gave the money directly to white school boards who then dispersed funds sparingly to black principals, teachers, and communities. In effect, these grants maintained the Jim Crow system of separate schooling for blacks and whites. Positive, negative, and perverse outcomes were rolled into one. [iii]
Essay was a much-dreaded word among my students. It was the fall of 2011, and I was teaching English at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in North Korea. Two hundred and seventy young men, and about 30 teachers, all Christian evangelicals besides me, were isolated together in a guarded compound, where our classes and movements were watched round the clock. Each lesson had to be approved by a group of North Korean staff known to us as the “counterparts.” Hoping to slip in information about the outside world, which we were not allowed to discuss, I had devised a lesson on essay writing, and it had been approved.
I had told my students that the essay would be as important as the final exam in calculating their grades for the semester, and they were very stressed. Each student was supposed to come up with his own topic and hand in a thesis and outline. When I asked them how it was going, they would sigh and say, “Disaster.”
I emphasized the importance of essays since, as scientists, they would one day have to write papers to prove their theories. But in reality, nothing was ever proven in their world, since everything was at the whim of the Great Leader. Their writing skills were as stunted as their research skills. Writing inevitably consisted of an endless repetition of his achievements, none of which was ever verified, since they lacked the concept of backing up a claim with evidence. A quick look at the articles in the daily newspaper revealed the exact same tone from start to finish, with neither progression nor pacing. There was no beginning and no end.
This fall, 305 local union organizations representing public school teachers, support staff, and custodial workers held recertification elections in school districts across the state. Despite everything that Walker has done to undermine them, more than 90 percent of the local unions were recertified. Indeed, according to the Wisconsin Education Association Council, 97 percent of its units that sought recertification won their elections.
The numbers are even more overwhelming for American Federation of Teachers union locals in Wisconsin.
“Since recertification elections began in 2011, every AFT-Wisconsin local union that has pursued recertification has won convincingly,” notes Kim Kohlhaas, an elementary school teacher in the Superior School District who serves as president of AFT-Wisconsin.
In many school districts, the numbers were overwhelming.
In Madison, where the Madison Teachers Inc. union has played a leading role in opposing Walker’s anti-labor agenda, the pro-recertification votes have been overwhelming.
According to vote totals released by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, Madison teachers gave 88 percent support to recertification, as did 81 percent of security staff, 77 percent of support staff, 76 percent of educational assistants and 74 percent of substitute teachers.
Notably, Walker won just 52 percent of the vote in his recent re-election run. So, if the governor claims any sort of mandate, he ought to accept that MTI has a much bigger mandate.
Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.
It is a persistent undercurrent in English educational debate, but it is peculiarly English: should academic selection at the age of 11 be restored?
Boris Johnson, perhaps in response to perceived UKIP pressure, has declared himself in favour of more grammar schools, and Teresa May, more cautiously, has welcomed plans for a satellite grammar school in her constituency of Maidenhead. In Kent, the Weald of Kent grammar school is preparing a new proposal to establish what is either (depending on your view) a new grammar school in Sevenoaks or a satellite site in Sevenoaks.
The arguments for restoring grammar schools are couched in terms of opportunity and social mobility: Boris Johnson called them mobilisers of opportunity. But the evidence to support this is almost non-existent.
There remain 164 grammar schools in England, and their socio-economic make up does not support the proposition that they turbo-charge social mobility: in all areas where there are grammar schools, the proportion of pupils on free school meals (FSM) is significantly lower in the grammar schools than in the area as a whole (1).
There’s little evidence to suggest that grammar schools work in the way their proponents suggest: research by Professor Ruth Lupton found that grammar schools work well for those who attend them, but few FSM pupils succeed in doing so. Moreover, the OECD international evidence (2) is clear that early selection is associated with lower performance, particularly from more deprived social groups.
More fundamentally, the argument for grammar school depends on four assumptions all being true. The first assumption is that a test for academic ability at age 11 can be reliable; that is, that a test at age 11 will reliably discriminate between those who are academically able and those who are not.
When it comes to how fast teachers can climb the salary ladder, Milwaukee Public Schools is a better than average place to work, according to a new report that studies the nuances of teacher compensation in more than 100 large districts.
After adjusting for cost-of-living, the report ranked Milwaukee 16th among the big-city districts studied, based on teachers’ likely lifetime earnings and the number of years it would take them to reach a salary of $75,000.
But a recent adjustment to the MPS salary schedule — not captured by the report, which is based on 2013-’14 figures — would likely drop the district lower on the list.
The report, “Smart Money: What Teachers Make, How Long It Takes And What It Buys Them,” was released Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington, D.C., think tank. It reviewed 2013-’14 teacher salary schedules for 113 school districts.
The report concludes that most school districts need to rethink their compensation systems, because offering traditional salary schedules with no way for educators to accelerate their earnings may be a hindrance to attracting and keeping high-quality talent.
OK, slight exaggeration. But with applications in free fall, schools are locked in a brutal competition to attract students who might theoretically one day be qualified to sit for a bar exam. And that, the New York Times reports today, has meant slashing tuition and dolling out discounts. At Northwestern University School of Law, one of the top ranked institutions in the country, “74 percent of first-year students this academic year received financial aid, compared with only 30 percent in 2009,” the paper notes. The University of Iowa, University of Arizona, and Penn State University have cut their prices. J.D.s are on sale!
That said, much like actual Black Friday merchandise, law degrees are being marked down from insanely high starting points. At Northwestern, the sticker price for tuition is about $56,000, to start.
But anyway, while I could choose this moment to revive my argument with Above the Law about whether it’s a good idea to go to law school (I’ve argued it is), there’s a different point I want to dwell on today. It seems fairly obvious that some law schools are going to have to close in the not too distant future. Between the fall of 2010 and fall of 2013, enrollments dropped 24 percent. This year’s crop of new students should be even smaller. And while schools are doing everything in their power to pare back expenses and prop up their head counts, it seems like someone is going to fall victim to a collapsing demand. “I don’t get how the math adds up for the number of schools and the number of students,” Northwestern Dean Daniel Rodriguez, told the Times. That’s because it probably won’t.
The speakers at TED conferences give the type of presentations that public speaking coaches use as examples of effective presentation skills. They open with arresting images or stories that engage the audience, speak clearly and passionately, and illustrate each of their points with concise evidence or examples.
TED Talks are also slick productions. The lighting is as well done as a rock concert’s, cameras film from a variety of angles to keep viewers visually engaged, and the length is never so long as to drain an audience’s attention span.
At the end of a TED talk, this author often feels inspired and enlightened, patting himself on the back for spending 10 minutes improving his mind instead of watching sitcom reruns. But according to a study performed by a group of psychologists, the degree to which a TED audience feels newly educated may be partly illusory – the result of showmanship as much as actual learning.
In their study “Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” a team of psychologists had students watch recorded lectures explaining why Calico cats are almost always female. (It’s essentially a genetics lesson, as the answer has to do with how the calico fur pattern is linked to X chromosomes.) One group saw a lecturer who presented with the skills of a TED speaker. The other watched the lecturer read haltingly from notes.
Fewer teacher candidates are expected to pass the state’s revamped assessment of teaching practice, under new cut scores approved by the state board on Tuesday. But the new test will be short-lived: Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) officials plan to scrap the test altogether when yet another, more comprehensive assessment comes fully online next September. Previously, 97 percent of teacher candidates who took one of the older versions of the Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) would pass. The rate is expected to drop to 81 percent using the new APT, which was rolled out this fall.
Raising concerns about fairness to teacher candidates, board member Vinni Hall cast the lone vote against the new cut scores for the revamped APT.
“I just thought this was a little disingenuous knowing we were going to eliminate the test eventually,” Hall said after voting on Tuesday during a special board meeting.
Jason Helfer, ISBE’s assistant superintendent for Teacher and Leader Effectiveness, said there was little anybody could do about the short lifespan of the revamped APT – which is taken by prospective teachers during the student teaching phase of their coursework.
Since its birth, the US has always defined itself as a egalitarian meritocracy, fundamentally distinct from the class-ridden societies of Europe.
And at times, this has even been true. On the eve of the American Revolution, the income distribution of American colonists was far more equal than those of the mother country. “Indeed, New England and the Middle Colonies appear to have been more egalitarian than anywhere else in the measurable world,” wrote economic historians in a 2012 paper. (To be clear, it’s difficult to consider a slave-holding society egalitarian at all. It was brutally unequal. But from an income distribution perspective, American colonists—meaning white men—were better off than their counterparts in Europe.)
Brianne Bolin thought her master’s degree in English would guarantee her at least a steady income. But like hundreds of thousands of others with advanced educations, she barely makes enough to feed herself and her son. Alissa Quart reports on a growing segment of Americans: the hypereducated poor.
Professor Bolin, or Brianne, as she tells her students to call her, might as well be invisible. When I arrive at the building at Columbia College in Chicago where she teaches composition, I ask the assistant at the front desk how to locate her. “Bolin?” she asks, sounding puzzled, as she scans the faculty list. “I’m sorry, I don’t see that name.” There is no Brianne Bolin to be found, even though she’s taught four classes a year here for the past five years. She doesn’t have a phone extension to her name, never mind an office.
The mother of a disabled eight-year-old boy named Finn, Bolin rushes in late to the lobby—she’d offered to give me a tour of her workplace. Her red hair is pulled back in a ponytail, and red electrical tape is wrapped around the left temple of her black geek-chic glasses; they broke a few months ago, and she can’t afford a new pair. Bolin dressed up for the occasion: a black vest (from a thrift store, she’ll tell me later), jeans (also thrift), and a brass anatomical version of a heart dangling at her throat from a thin black string. This is a rare and coveted evening off for her—Finn’s father’s fiancé agreed to babysit—but so far she’s too agitated to enjoy it. She just learned that the woman and Finn’s father, a blacksmith, are getting married in a few weeks, and they won’t be able to take care of the boy during that time. It’s all on her, again.
In 2012, P.J. Gunsagar and Dylan Arena founded Kidaptive and released their first iPad app, Leo’s Pad. It stars Leo, a young inventor with a treehouse laboratory, and combines segments of animated story with a variety of mini-games. It’s been downloaded over 800,000 times, with an App Store rating hovering near five stars. Kids love it.
But there is science hiding behind the fun: A tool, built on cutting-edge research in developmental psychology, that closely tracks the cognitive progress of its young users and adjusts the app’s difficulty accordingly. It’s a toy, but it’s one that gathers a tremendous amount of data on how it’s being used.
Now, Gunsagar and Arena want to put that data to use to help parents. Kidaptive’s new free app, Learner Mosaic, serves up ideas for backseat games and dinner table discussion topics that reinforce the skills being learned in the Leo’s Pad app. It takes the latest understanding of what kids ages five and younger should be learning, dices it into activities that are manageable for overworked parents, and surfaces those activities at just the right time in a kid’s development. The vision, as Gunsagar puts it, is to put a really smart preschool teacher in every parent’s pocket.
But there’s something deeper, too. The familiar bash brothers of globalization and technology (particularly information technology) have conspired to gut middle-class jobs by sending work abroad or replacing it with automation and software. A 2013 study by David Autor, David Dorn, and Gordon Hanson found that although the computerization of certain tasks hasn’t reduced employment, it has reduced the number of decent-paying, routine-heavy jobs. Cheaper jobs have replaced them, and overall pay has declined.
Your second question might be: Why have health-care wages been the exception to the rule? One answer is that health care is, generally speaking, the exception to many rules. Demand for medical services is dominated by the government (i.e. Medicare, Medicaid, and the employer insurance tax break), which doesn’t face the same vertiginous up-and-downs as the rest of the economy. So as the Great Recession steamrolled many industries, health care, propped up by sturdy government spending, kept adding workers. What’s more, computerization and information technology have yet to work their magical price-cutting power in health care as they have in other industries, for a variety of reasons. Americans are spending four percent less on food away from home than in 2007; but we’re spending 42 percent more on health insurance. As prices have increased, so have wages for younger workers in the medical field. (Update: Some readers have made the smart suggestion that money which might have gone to higher salaries has instead gone to paying higher health insurance costs.)
The vast majority of students at American public colleges do not graduate on time, according to a new report from Complete College America, a nonprofit group based in Indianapolis.
“Students and parents know that time is money,” said the report, called “Four-Year Myth.” “The reality is that our system of higher education costs too much, takes too long and graduates too few.”
At most public universities, only 19 percent of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years, the report found. Even at state flagship universities — selective, research-intensive institutions — only 36 percent of full-time students complete their bachelor’s degree on time.
Nationwide, only 50 of more than 580 public four-year institutions graduate a majority of their full-time students on time. Some of the causes of slow student progress, the report said, are inability to register for required courses, credits lost in transfer and remediation sequences that do not work. The report also said some students take too few credits per semester to finish on time. The problem is even worse at community colleges, where 5 percent of full-time students earned an associate degree within two years, and 15.9 percent earned a one- to two-year certificate on time.
Financial Status of All NEA State Affiliates. In-depth analysis will follow in the weeks to come, but for now here is the table containing total membership, total revenues, surplus or deficit status and net assets for all 52 National Education Association “state” affiliates for 2012-13
Related: $1.57M for four State Senators.
As one of the few black male reporters at The Journal, I’ve had experiences over the years that are unknown among my white colleagues, though anything but unique among other black men. We’ve all had our encounters; we’ve all been in situations where being black becomes synonymous with being suspicious, where demanding rights and respectful treatment can be seen as resisting law enforcement.
So after the grand jury’s decision on Monday not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., I found myself thinking back on episodes in my own life. My first thought was: What’s the difference between a 6-foot-3-inch, 230-pound, black 17-year-old and a 40ish, 5-foot-6-inch black man? Depending on the circumstances, I knew, not much.
It was the late 1970s, and I was that large, 17-year-old, high-school kid—getting good grades and college-bound. I was walking home from Bowlero, a bowling alley in Alexandria, La., on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I was carrying my bowling bag, complete with a 16-pound ball, shoes and a towel.
Turkey has seen a sharp rise in religious schooling under reforms that President Tayyip Erdogan casts as a defense against moral decay, but which opponents see as an unwanted drive to shape a more Islamic nation.
Almost a million students are enrolled in “imam hatip” schools this year, up from just 65,000 in 2002 when Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party first came to power, he told the opening of one of the schools in Ankara last month.
The schools teach boys and girls separately, and give around 13 hours a week of Islamic instruction on top of the regular curriculum, including study of Arabic, the Koran and the life of the Prophet Mohammad.
“When there is no such thing as religious culture and moral education, serious social problems such as drug addiction and racism fill the gap,” Erdogan told a symposium on drug policy and public health earlier this year.
Efforts to prepare students for college, careers, and civic engagement have traditionally emphasized academic skills, but a growing body of research suggests that interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies, such as communication and resilience, are important predictors of postsecondary success and citizenship. One of the major challenges in designing educational interventions to support these outcomes is a lack of high-quality measures that could help educators, students, parents, and others understand how students perform and monitor their development over time. This report provides guidelines to promote thoughtful development of practical, high-quality measures of interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies that practitioners and policymakers can use to improve valued outcomes for students.
What research and development is needed to create high-quality measures of students’ interpersonal and intrapersonal competencies?
Which competencies should be addressed first?
Which research and development goals should receive priority for the identified competencies?
How long will the research and development process take, and how much money needs to be committed to support the efforts?
How should the measurement-development process be managed?
When it comes to studying abroad, the U.S. is no longer THE place to go.
A new global migration report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation shows American universities are losing their supreme position in the global education system.
In 2000, nearly one in four students looking for education abroad picked a college in the U.S.
In 2012 — the latest year for which data is available — it was just 16%.
Although the U.S. still attracts the highest proportion of foreign students, other countries are becoming increasingly popular, biting into the U.S. market share.
All other English-speaking developed countries and Spain have increased their share of foreign students.
“We, the Committee of Public Safety, find Jean Valjean guilty. The sentence is death by guillotine!”
Molly McPherson, a redhead with glasses, is dressed in a blue bathrobe — in costume as Robespierre. Her seventh-graders are re-enacting the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, with a little assist from Les Miserables.
But after they write down their verdicts, she asks them to reconsider — they may not have heard the best evidence available, and may be relying on hearsay instead of primary sources.
“What does bias mean?” she asks.
“You single him out for the part he did wrong instead of looking at the part he did right,” responds one girl.
Decked out in black tie and formal dresses, guests at Mr. Jefferson’s Capital Ball finished their salmon with horseradish sauce just as the band lured them onto the dance floor with classics including “Shout” and “My Girl.” Some of the people who paid up to $400 a couple to attend the event in the Grand Ballroom of the historic Mayflower Hotel joined in the Electric Slide.
The ball was more than just another Friday night party to ease Washington into the weekend. It had the commendable purpose of raising money for scholarships to the University of Virginia.
But not the kind of scholarships that go to low-income students based solely on their financial need. The proceeds from Mr. Jefferson’s Capital Ball are destined for merit aid for applicants who have the high grade-point averages and top scores on entrance tests that help institutions do well on college rankings. Merit aid can also attract middle- and upper-income students whose families can pay the rest of the tuition bill and therefore furnish badly needed revenue to colleges and universities.
As institutions vie for income and prestige in this way, the net prices they’re charging the lowest-income students, after discounts and financial aid, continue to rise faster on average than the net prices they’re charging higher-income ones, according to an analysis of newly released data the universities and colleges are required to report to the U.S. Department of Education.
The supplies are rolling in. At 1 p.m. on a Thursday, three delivery trucks line College Avenue. Around the corner, five more clog East Clayton Street. In downtown Athens, the center lane belongs to those who bring the booze.
Out come the boxes. Budweiser and Blue Moon, Bacardi Gold and Southern Comfort, Red Bull and rainbows of mixers. Stacked high on dollies, the goods are wheeled into bar after bar, each catering to students at the University of Georgia, where the iconic iron Arch stands within sight. Cutters Pub, On the Rocks, the Whiskey Bent. The blocks just beyond campus boast dozens of bars that own the late-night hours, when undergrads press themselves into crowds fueled by Fireball shots and beer as cheap as candy.
Athens, home to the flagship university and some 120,000 people, could be almost anywhere. This college town, like many others, celebrates touchdowns, serves early-morning cheeseburgers, and pours many flavors of vodka. When the sun goes down, some students get hammered, just as they do in Chapel Hill, Ann Arbor, and Eugene.
America is embroiled in an immigration debate that goes far beyond President Obama’s executive order on undocumented immigrants.
It goes to the heart of who “we” are. And it’s roiling communities across the nation.
In early November, school officials in Orinda, California, hired a private detective to determine whether a seven-year-old Latina named Vivian – whose single mother works as a live-in nanny for a family in Orinda — “resides” in the district and should therefore be allowed to attend the elementary school she’s already been attending there.
On the basis of that investigation they determined that Vivian’s legal residence is her grandmother’s home in Bay Point, California. They’ve given the seven-year-old until December 5th to leave the Orinda elementary school.
Never mind that Vivian and her mother live during the workweek at the Orinda home where Vivian’s mother is a nanny, that Vivian has her own bedroom in that home with her clothing and toys and even her own bathroom, that she and her mother stock their own shelves in the refrigerator and kitchen cupboard of that Orinda home, or that Vivian attends church with her mother in Orinda and takes gym and youth theater classes at the Orinda community center.
The point is Vivian is Latina and poor, and Orinda is white, Anglo, and wealthy.
And Orinda vigilantly protects itself from encroachments from the large and growing poor Latino and Hispanic populations living beyond its borders.
Madison has long supported wide demographic variation.
Go ahead and watch this jaw-dropping Choice Media interview with retired John F. Kennedy High School metal shop teacher Lee McNulty, Save Jerseyans, and then reflect upon the fact that New Jersey taxpayers are spending, on average, $20,454 per K-12 student in Paterson this year.
The National Education Association just filed its 2013-2014 LM-2 filing with the U.S. Department of Labor, and once again, it spent big to preserve its declining influence over education policymaking. The nation’s largest teachers’ unions spent $132 million on lobbying and contributions to what are supposed to be like-minded organizations, a slight increase over the $131 million poured into such activities last year. This, by the way, doesn’t include another $45 million spent on so-called representational activities which are almost always political in nature.
This past fiscal year, NEA poured plenty of money into Democracy Alliance, the secretive progressive group that played a big role in trying to elect Democratic candidates to national and state offices this year. As Dropout Nation reported earlier this month, NEA and AFT have worked hard to pull Democracy Alliance into its fold; this includes NEA Executive Director John Stocks, a longtime player on the organization’s board, becoming its chairman. NEA poured $160,000 to the main organization itself, along with $250,000 into its Latino Engagement Action Fund, $150,000 into its Youth Engagement Fund, and $50,000 into its Committee on States. Altogether, NEA has devoted $610,000 to Democracy Alliance and its main affiliate organizations. Things didn’t work out so well this past Election Day for either Democracy Alliance or NEA; but that won’t stop either from spending plenty this next election cycle.
Helicopter parenting may be ruining the American marriage, but the same cannot be said for France. The French state simply does not allow hovering mamans and papas hooked on the US-driven religion of parenting—and America would do well to follow suit.
In the French schoolroom, moms and dads are sensibly kept at an arm’s length, dropping their little treasures at the door as early as 8:20am and only returning at 4:30pm or later to pick them up. Open-door policies do not exist and teachers work without the incessant parental input common in the US. Hours spent chatting every afternoon with overbearing moms is not part of the job description.
It obviously wouldn’t be ethical to test for the effects of a whole childhood spent in front of screens on children. A few years ago, researchers came up with perhaps the next best thing. Affixing colorful lights and speakers broadcasting Cartoon Network sounds to mouse cages, they subjected young mice to six hours of “television” for 42 days straight.
Seattle Children’s Research Institute director and pediatrician Dimitri Christakis presented the spooky results at a TEDx Talk in Washington: In an observation box, the control mice traveled along the perimeter—your standard, cautious, don’t-get-caught-in-the-open mouse behavior, while the media-binge rodents scurried all around and every which way. They’d turned into hyperactive risk-takers.
Upon his re-election in 2006, then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein offered the free use of underutilized school facilities to a bumper crop of charter schools opening that year—including my first. Fueled by this policy, charter-school enrollment in the city grew from 11,000 to almost 70,000 by the end of Mr. Bloomberg’s second term in 2013, and my one school grew to 22.
As the founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools—free public schools open to all children in New York City through a random lottery—I’ve seen firsthand how allowing “co-location” with district schools has helped charter schools and their students thrive. Success Academy currently has 32 schools spread across the Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan and Queens boroughs and recently was granted approval from our chartering authority, the State University of New York, to open 14 more.
BAKING everyday might sound fun, particularly at this time of year. But for one recent graduate of the University of Georgia, working in a cake shop for six months quickly turned from sweet to sickly. At her birthday party recently she warned sweet-toothed friends that she just couldn’t face another black forest gateau.
This was not the career she had in mind when she pursued a degree in linguistics, but getting a good job in the South is tough if you’re young. A new report from MDC, a non-profit based in Durham, says that more than 30% of those under 25 in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina are “underemployed”: they are either looking for a job, settling for part-time work or giving up on the search entirely. This is quite a bit higher than the overall underemployment rate in those states, which is less than 15%. This makes it hard to secure a return on the cost of tuition, particularly as the price of a degree continues to rise. Tuition costs at public universities in Louisiana, Georgia and Florida, for example, have risen by 50% since fiscal year 2008.
Why are young people having such a tough time in the labour market? Part of the problem is competition. Many Southern cities, with their low cost of living, cheap property prices and good weather, attract graduates from across America, and there aren’t enough jobs to employ them all. Houston saw a 50% increase in graduates aged between 25 to 34 in the 12 years since 2000; Nashville saw a 48% leap. Newcomers clash over the available jobs, and residents with inferior credentials are easily displaced. Those who fail to become knowledge workers often end up shunted into the growing service sector, doing the kind of jobs (serve coffee, fix up houses) that techie types are too busy to do for themselves. “Talent recruitment is not balanced against talent development in the South,” says David Dodson, president of MDC. “It’s almost like a colonial economy, because the benefits accrue to those that come from someplace else.”
We’re building the college experience we wished existed, an education rooted in theoretical foundations with heavy emphasis on the technologies, tools and practices relevant to today’s industry. We believe in learning by doing, studying takes a back seat to creating. We believe the app is the new resume, a portfolio of products is more powerful than any credential. We believe coding is the world’s first superpower, our graduates will help make the world a better place. Our goal is to help inspire and educate the next generation of superheroes.
To our team, thank you for believing in us and pouring your heart and soul into teaching others. To our students, thank you for taking a chance on a new style of education and inspiring us everyday. To our investors, friends and family, thank you for supporting us and motivating us to overcome the challenges we’ve faced. We’re blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing community as we attempt to tackle one of the most difficult and important problems facing tomorrow’s economy.
Massive open online courses, first envisioned as a way to democratize higher education, have made their way into high schools, but Washington is powerless to stop the flood of personal data about teenage students from flowing to private companies, thanks to loopholes in federal privacy laws.
Universities and private companies this fall unveiled a slew of free, open-access online courses to high school students, marketing them as a way for kids to supplement their Advanced Placement coursework or earn a certificate of completion for a college-level class.
But when middle and high school students participate in classes with names like “Mars: The Next Frontier” or “The Road to Selective College Admissions,” they may be unwittingly transmitting into private hands a torrent of data about their academic strengths and weaknesses, their learning styles and thought processes — even the way they approach challenges. They may also be handing over birth dates, addresses and even drivers license information. Their IP addresses, attendance and participation in public forums are all logged as well by the providers of the courses, commonly called MOOCs.
It has become difficult to avoid research about so-called millennials, the unofficial generational nickname typically applied to people born in the 1980s and 1990s.
According to research (collected from this reporter’s in-box):
• They will soon be the majority of the U.S. workforce–a huge generation!
• Slightly more than one-third of them are skilled at 3D printing and 22% of them are skilled at driverless cars–new technology!
• 79% of them have bachelor’s degrees–so educated!
• 17% of millennials would “rather become a YouTube star than fall in love”–different priorities!
• And 55% more millennials are signing up for 401(k) plans–good savers!
Graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools eligible for The Kalamazoo Promise are much more likely to enroll in college and more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree compared to their peers nationwide, the latest Promise data shows.
More than 90 percent of Promise-eligible students have enrolled in college since the program started with the Class of 2006, compared to two-thirds of recent U.S. high school graduates.
In terms of college completion, 41 percent of Promise-eligible students in the Class of 2006 have a bachelor’s degree compared to 37 percent of U.S. high school graduates age 25 to 29, based on U.S. Census reports.
That favorable comparison is “significant,” particularly since so many Promise-eligible students come from low-income families, said Bob Jorth, executive director of the scholarship program, which marks its ninth anniversary this month.
The United States is still the world’s most popular destination for highly skilled professionals. But it doesn’t seem to have quite the allure it used to.
In fact, professional migration to the US has declined substantially since 2001, according to a new study (pdf) that used a massive dataset culled from LinkedIn career histories.
LinkedIn data scientists Bogdan State and Mario Rodriguez found that while 27% of migrating professionals chose the US in 2000, just 12% did in 2012. The drop for professionals in science, engineering, technology, and math fields was even steeper, from 37% to 15%. The trend holds across degree types (with the data based on the highest degree earned):
Just a decade or so ago, most public‑school-educated parents felt obliged to give their children the same start in life they themselves were given — selling off heirlooms to send their Jacks and Henriettas off to Eton, Stowe, Cheltenham Ladies or St Paul’s. These days the price is just too high, says Andrew Halls, head of King’s College School in Wimbledon, and he’s been honest enough to name the cause: the hordes of prospective parents from other countries, oligarchs and oil men, all jostling for places for their progeny. They push the price of an elite ‘British’ education up beyond the reach of any ordinary Brit.
He’s brave to raise the issue, but what he doesn’t mention is that there is a price to be paid for this by the independent schools themselves. With these new wealthy students — from China, Nigeria, Ukraine, Russia and the Gulf States — come new and often conflicting cultures. They inevitably bring very ‘traditional’ views to schools that have spent the past 20 years remaking themselves to fit the modern world.
According to the Independent Schools Council, there are 2,536 Russian pupils (with overseas parents) studying in this country — three times as many as there were in 2007. It is the trendy thing for moneyed Russian families to do. One 16-year-old Russian girl quoted in the Guardian last year put it well: ‘Nothing brings out the smugness in a middle-class Russian parent’s voice more than saying: “Oh, my children go to school in England.”’ This is good news for so-called UK Plc, but there are downsides too.
After centuries of little change, the basic “sage on a stage” business model of higher education is beginning to undergo a radical transformation. Buffeted by high tuition costs and loan debt, students and their parents are seeking better value for money. Meanwhile technological change spearheaded by online education and such innovations as “massive open online courses” (MOOCs) is shaking up the economics of educational information and teaching. And new business models, introducing such approaches as competency based degrees and blends of online and campus-based learning, are reducing costs and offering more customized degrees.
Thanks to these developments, the cost of acquiring the skills needed to be successful in the future economy is likely to fall sharply. That will be good for the economy. It will also open up opportunities for skill-based economic advancement for the many Americans who today cannot afford college without incurring crushing debt.
For this transformation to achieve its full potential, however, three things are needed.
But Jeanne Williams, past president of the Wisconsin Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and chair of the educational studies department at Ripon College, said the state is already preparing to release educator preparation program report cards, in accordance with a state law passed in recent years to strengthen teacher training.
Those will report graduates’ pass rates on required licensure exams and provide data about where graduates get employed.
Williams did not agree with using test scores of students taught by the new teachers to review their programs that trained them.
She said several studies had shown that using student test data to evaluate teacher preparation programs is “not valid or reliable because of the numerous intervening variables that can affect student performance,” such as poverty, school climate and rates of teacher turnover in a school.
National Council on Teacher Quality reviews and ranks teacher preparation programs.
When A stands for average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education receive sky high grades. How smart is that?
I read with interest Erika Sanzi’s fine Nov. 25 Commentary piece (“Election bodes well for R.I. students”) on the election of two pro-student candidates as governor and lieutenant governor of Rhode Island. Neither Governor-elect Gina Raimondo nor Lieutenant Governor-elect Dan McKee seems to be beholden to the teachers unions.
I hope and pray that Ms. Sanzi is right. But I remember with dread the endorsement of Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, of candidate Raimondo in the last weeks before the election. Was there a quid pro quo? And what will be the payback demanded?
– See more at: http://www.providencejournal.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/20141126-tom-foley-i-hope-our-leaders-stand-up-against-walsh-teachers-unions.ece#sthash.YrD2FNyF.dpuf
With opposition to the new Common Core State Standards and the assessments linked to them reaching a fever pitch, advocating for better tests seems like an unpopular proposition. But what if U.S. students took fewer tests that measured their ability to understand academic concepts far more deeply than current tests permit?
A growing chorus of scholars is calling for just that: fewer but harder tests that go beyond the standard multiple choice model, ones that ask students to answer open-ended questions, solve tougher problems, and interpret harder texts.
“We could get the benefits of higher-quality assessments and spend less than we’re spending today,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, a leading professor of education at Stanford University, during a recent presentation. “We’re just not spending it in ways that are very optimal for promoting deeper learning.”
If the quality of tests are a reflection of how much students are expected to know, the standardized assessments of the No Child Left Behind era have missed the mark on measuring students’ ability to process complex knowledge, some research suggests. A recent RAND Corporation study of 17 state standardized tests found that 2 percent of the math questions and 21 percent of the English Language Arts questions assessed students on higher-order skills. Several other studies have come to similar conclusions.
A decade ago, as a 22-year-old grad student, von Ahn helped create something called CAPTCHAs—squiggly text that people have to type into websites in order to sign up for things like free email. Doing so proves that they are humans and not spambots. An upgraded version (called reCAPTCHA) that von Ahn sold to Google had people type distorted text that wasn’t just invented for the purpose, but came from Google’s book-scanning project, which a computer couldn’t decipher. It was a beautiful way to serve two goals with a single piece of data: register for things online, and decrypt words at the same time. Since then, von Ahn, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, has looked for other “twofers”—ways to get people to supply bits of data that can serve two purposes. He devised it in a startup that he launched in 2012 called Duolingo. The site and smartphone app help people learn foreign languages—something he can empathize with, having learned English as a young child in Guatemala. But the instruction happens in a very clever way.
The company has people translate texts in small phrases at a time, or evaluate and fix other people’s translations. Instead of presenting invented phrases, as is typical for translation software, Duolingo presents real sentences from documents that need translation, for which the company gets paid. After enough students have independently translated or verified a particular phrase, the system accepts it—and compiles all the discrete sentences into a complete document. Among its customers are media companies such as CNN and BuzzFeed, which use it to translate their content in foreign markets. Like reCAPTCHA, Duolingo is a delightful “twin-win”: students get free foreign language instruction while producing something of economic value in return.
Americans increased their borrowing this summer, taking out more new mortgages for the first time in over a year while adding to their car, credit-card and education loans.
For the most part, consumers are taking on new loans carefully, yet late payments on one fast-growing category of debt—student loans—are worsening, new figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show.
Above all, she aims straight for the most sacred cows to which even Tory ministers sometimes pay obeisance. Claims that you can teach “transferable skills”, that the 21st century changes everything and that “teacher-led instruction is passive” – all these are myths, she says. She is scathing about how Ofsted highlights and praises lessons where pupils do things “spontaneously”, such as spelling French words correctly, as though it were unnecessary to instruct them on such things. She dares to criticise John Dewey, a staple of teacher training courses, for his opaque writing style and to chide Charles Dickens for creating, through Hard Times’ Thomas Gradgrind and his daughter, the myth that teaching facts turns children into emotionally stunted adults. As a West Ham supporter who played for Warwick University’s women’s football team, she even critiques how we develop young footballers, arguing that children shouldn’t play 11-a-side matches on full-sized pitches until they’ve learned ball control.
I remember the day I stopped humming the theme song to the television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It was midway through the semester at Towson University, and I had just met with a student who was furious that I had asked her to leave class because she had been e-mailing. She couldn’t believe I would do such a thing. I was angry that she flouted my no-texting/e-mailing classroom policy and, worse, that she lacked even a whiff of contrition.
I walked into my next class, a course that explored the declining health of civility and community in American culture. As usual, everyone’s eyes were buried in their cellphones. When class started, the tension was palpable. Ever since we had started exploring the toxic state of community, students had grown defensive. They hadn’t bought my argument that they needed to break out of their hyperconnected cocoons — “ramparts” may be more accurate — and live in ever-expanding communities where face-to-face relationships breed tolerance and the rewards of individual sacrifice.
I posed a question. “I just read a study which says that 81 percent of your generation doesn’t trust most people or large institutions,” I said. “So, how can we create community if we only trust our small circle of friends and families?”
“What’s wrong with finding our own small communities?” Ashley huffed.
A wave of “Yeahs!” sounded.
intentionally skimming,” said Anderson, “but all of these things are leading to a higher concentration of the neediest kids in fewer [district] schools.”
Charter advocates winced and went on the defensive. Charter detractors grinned and high-fived. Both reactions miss the point.
Statisticians and social scientists argue about the presence and/or impact of this unintentional bias cited by Anderson, what Richard Kahlenberg, senior fellow at the progressive Century Foundation, calls “the self-selection problem that skims the most motivated families into charter schools.” So let’s start by agreeing that many charter schools are subject to unintentional skimming (and note the irony that Anderson’s “One Newark” universal enrollment plan, the subject of much criticism, was created specifically to avoid that bias.)
But this narrow reading of Newark’s public school enrollment template ignores the big picture. New Jersey parents have a long proud tradition of self-selection of schools. It’s as New Jersey as cranberries. Charter school skimming in Newark is just New Jersey’s school segregation problem writ small, an in situ version of a statewide pattern.
There are 21 school districts in Essex County, including Newark, which educate 124,000 students in 247 public schools. The median household income is $55,000, about $16,000 below the state’s median $71,000. The county’s racial makeup is diverse, with equal numbers of white and black residents and a growing Hispanic population. However, as Paul Tractenberg pointed out in these pages last year, Essex is the most segregated county in the state. Twelve school districts are almost entirely white and wealthy. Four, including Newark, “are urban, desperately poor, and almost entirely populated by students of color.”
I remember the day I stopped humming the theme song to the television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It was midway through the semester at Towson University, and I had just met with a student who was furious that I had asked her to leave class because she had been e-mailing. She couldn’t believe I would do such a thing. I was angry that she flouted my no-texting/e-mailing classroom policy and, worse, that she lacked even a whiff of contrition.
I walked into my next class, a course that explored the declining health of civility and community in American culture. As usual, everyone’s eyes were buried in their cellphones. When class started, the tension was palpable. Ever since we had started exploring the toxic state of community, students had grown defensive. They hadn’t bought my argument that they needed to break out of their hyperconnected cocoons — “ramparts” may be more accurate — and live in ever-expanding communities where face-to-face relationships breed tolerance and the rewards of individual sacrifice.
For nearly 20 years, Darrell Eberhardt worked in an Ohio factory putting together wheelchairs, earning $18.50 an hour, enough to gain a toehold in the middle class and feel respected at work.
He is still working with his hands, assembling seats for Chevrolet Cruze cars at the Camaco auto parts factory in Lorain, Ohio, but now he makes $10.50 an hour and is barely hanging on. “I’d like to earn more,” said Mr. Eberhardt, who is 49 and went back to school a few years ago to earn an associate’s degree. “But the chances of finding something like I used to have are slim to none.”
Pearson Plc’s pavilion at a book fair in Beijing. The global education service company said that its business revenue in China reached $300 million last year from $10 million in 2007 when it entered the Chinese market.
Global giant to take mixed, blended learning approach for success
Pearson Plc, the global education service company, is planning a major push into China in response to the country’s swelling demand for English-language skills both from students and the business community.
Pearson acquired one of the world’s leading providers of English language training Wall Street English in 2009, which has dozens of sites across the country. It also bought the Beijing-based Global Education and Technology Group for $294 million in 2011, which is considered the largest test preparation provider for the International English Language Testing System and a leading provider of educational courses and related services in China.
John Fallon, Pearson’s chief executive officer, who visited Beijing recently, said rising numbers of Chinese students are looking to study at English speaking universities, a lot of which are raising their English entry requirements.
Perhaps the least controversial thing that President Obama ever said was that “in the coming decades, a high school diploma is not going to be enough. Folks need a college degree.” This vision is commonplace, but it implies a bleak future where everyone must work harder just to stay in place, and it’s just not true. Nothing forces us to funnel students into a tournament that bankrupts the losers and turns the winners into conformists. But that’s what will happen until we start questioning whether college is our only option.
Is higher education an investment? Everyone knows that college graduates earn more than those without degrees. Maybe that earning power comes from learning valuable skills, networking with smart people or obtaining a recognized credential. Well, maybe — it’s hard to say exactly, since “college” bundles so many different things into one arbitrary package. And if all the most ambitious kids in our society go to college just because it’s the conventional thing to do, then what happens on campus might not matter, anyway. The same kids would probably enjoy a wage premium even if they spent four years in the Peace Corps instead.
I was born and raised in North Camden and still live here today. There are good people here who chose to stay and raise their families when they could have left for a better future. People here work hard and want what is best for their children so that they can have a better future than my generation has.
I attended elementary and middle school in the city but never made it out of seventh grade. I was held back twice and tagged as a troublemaker. As a result it felt like I was trapped in middle school. Since I had nowhere to go, I just dropped out. I did get my GED. Then I worked in factories. Now I work as a housekeeper at a local hotel.
Until this year, my children were going to a public elementary school because it was the closest. The school wasn’t working for them and my children were headed down a path similar to mine. They hated school. Classrooms were out of control and there were no consequences for bad behavior. They didn’t know how to do homework when they got home in the afternoon, and they didn’t want to go to school in the morning. They wanted to give up.
Then this past summer I learned about Mastery’s North Camden Elementary when I saw fliers and people representing the school were on my street talking with the neighbors. I decided to enroll them because I really wanted to try something different for my children. Today, my children can’t wait to get to school. They love their teachers. And I love that there is real structure there, unlike where they came from.
The Supreme Court declined to draw a clear line on racial discrimination in university admissions in last year’s Fisher v. University of Texas decision. Now new lawsuits are moving to challenge how far colleges can go in using racial preferences.
A group called Students for Fair Admissions filed lawsuits Monday against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina in federal court. The suits argue that the schools use race…
This is a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. We recommend that scholars read the available reviews, assessments and descriptions provided here, and then decide for themselves whether they want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards. The criteria for determining predatory publishers are here.
We hope that tenure and promotion committees can also decide for themselves how importantly or not to rate articles published in these journals in the context of their own institutional standards and/or geocultural locus. We emphasize that journal publishers and journals change in their business and editorial practices over time. This list is kept up-to-date to the best extent possible but may not reflect sudden, unreported, or unknown enhancements.
In the decades after the Industrial Revolution, educational reformers led the effort to modernise schools and classroom spaces, and the ubiquitous one-room schoolhouse gradually gave way to bigger and more sophisticated designs. Scholars such as Lindsay Baker at the University of California, Berkeley have traced the subsequent history of these school designs, and have noted the surprising ebb and flow of attention to details such as indoor air quality and access to daylight.
This article explores some school designs from across these decades in the USA and Europe.
Related: Frederick Taylor.
Humanities degrees have received a bad rap recently, even from President Obama. Many people, including top policy makers, routinely push policies to encourage more students to major in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Some governors have even suggested that state subsidies for public universities should be focused on STEM disciplines, with less money going to “less useful” degrees such as the humanities. Yet, in contravention to this perceived truth, the data show that humanities degrees are still worth a great deal.
As part of a recent project estimating the economic impact of my university, I had a reason to compute the predicted value of college degrees in a wide variety of fields. While it is certainly true that science, engineering, math and business degrees all produce graduates with high expected salaries, those humanities degrees still pay off rather handsomely.
This map shows average student loan debt and student loan default rates in the U.S. when your cursor hovers over a state. The table below shows a ranking of states by their average student loan debt. Explore, then see our conclusions below.
Now that he’s retired as chief executive officer of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer has time for popular billionaire pastimes. First, he bought a basketball team for $2 billion. Now he’s gotten into big-bucks philanthropy.
Ballmer and his wife, Connie, are giving $50 million in unrestricted funds to bolster the endowment of the University of Oregon, her alma mater. (She’s also on the university’s board of trustees.) They’re kicking in a seemingly comparable amount to significantly expand the computer science department at Harvard University, from which he received his undergraduate degree in 1977. The gift will allow Harvard to add a dozen computer science professors, bringing the department to 36 faculty, compared with 55 next door at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (The exact sum wasn’t disclosed, but when the Harvard Crimson estimated $60 million — 12 slots at an endowment of $5 million each — Ballmer called the numbers “pretty good.”)
Let’s say I’m trying to learn about a difficult mathematical concept. For this example I’ll use Markov chains because I recently saw a highly-appreciated visualization of Markov chains due to Victor Powell and Lewis Lehe. For now I’ll pretend I’m the typical person who claims to be a visual thinker and the only reason I don’t get math is because nobody is patient enough to explain things in a way I can understand. (Such people are everywhere.)
So I’ve heard the mysterious term Markov chain, and tried to learn about it previously by reading a book. Maybe I want to even write a computer program to “do” a Markov Chain, whatever that means. I go check out the Powell-Lehe visualization and at the end I think “Wow! That was so easy to understand! A Markov chain is just a little diagram with a ball bouncing around, where the ball is represents the state a system, and the thickness of the lines is how likely the ball is to use that line to travel.”
“In my view, the rigour of the Common Core state standards must be the new minimum in classrooms,” Mr Bush said. “For those states choosing a path other than Common Core, I say this: Aim even higher. Be bolder. Raise standards and ask more of our students and the system, because I know they have the potential to deliver it.”
Mr Bush said the US government must make education reform a priority and, if that happens, it could make Common Core a 2016 election cycle issue. Last month, Rand Paul, Kentucky’s Republican senator, said that a supporter “doesn’t have much chance of winning in a Republican primary.”
Mr Bush pointed to Black and Hispanic American fourth graders reading two and a half grade levels below their white peers on average. He also cited the global rankings that place American students 21st in reading and 31st in mathematics.
“But if we buy the excuses, if we let kids struggle, if we herd them into failing schools, how can we expect young people to grasp those first rungs of opportunity?” Mr Bush asked. “That is why the challenge of fixing our schools must be among the most urgent of national priorities.”
New York State saw a significant drop in the number of candidates who passed teacher certification tests last year as tougher exams were introduced, state officials said on Wednesday, portraying the results as a long-needed move to raise the level of teaching and the performance of teacher preparation schools.
In the 2013-14 school year, 11,843 teachers earned their certification in New York, a drop of about 20 percent from the previous two years.
Candidates without certification cannot teach in public schools, and education schools with high failure rates may eventually lose their accreditation.
Related: a Wisconsin MTEL “toe dip”.
Enter community colleges. They provide technical programs for emerging careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are comparable to — if not better than — some of their four-year counterparts, at a fraction of the cost. Often, they’re the launchpad to baccalaureate programs for people without the time, money or academic skills to jump into a four-year program straight out of high school.
And as part of the American Association of Community Colleges’ 21st Century Initiative, they’re updating their missions and nimbly shifting to serve the economy of the future.
Here are some of the ways they’re facing problems that weigh down all of higher education — and succeeding.
Sure, it’s nice to have a graduate degree from Yale, but a new study finds that attending an elite undergraduate institution counts for an awful lot when it comes to lifelong earnings.
A researcher at the Vanderbilt University Law School found that people with advanced degrees from elite schools and undergraduate diplomas from less-selective institutions earn less than people who attended elite schools for both their graduate and undergraduate degrees.
The results hold up across a broad swath of graduate programs, from law degrees to M.B.A.s. And those who attended less elite undergraduate institutions are unlikely to ever close the salary gap, according to the study.
Joni Hersch of Vanderbilt Law School said the survey results came as somewhat of a surprise, but suggests that it’s not really undergraduate education driving the pay disparity, but instead the social status of graduates of elite colleges.
The parents of students at elite colleges tend to be better-educated than the parents of those at less competitive schools, Hersch said; the children of educated parents tend to have more early networking opportunities and understand certain social cues.
“It’s the vacations you can talk about, the small talk you can make, what wine you order in restaurants” that could make the difference in a hiring manager’s decision, said Hersch, who earned her undergraduate degree at the University of South Florida.
Last week the New Jersey Senate Education Committee approved a bill proposed by Sen. Dick Codey (D-Essex) that would authorize “a study on the issues, benefits, and options for instituting a later start time to the school day in middle school and high school.” Makes sense, right? After all, we know that the hormonal changes of puberty affect teenagers’ circadian rhythms which, in turn, dictate sleep schedules and alertness. If you’ve had teenagers (I’ve had four) you know that they’re late to bed and late to rise, a pattern that hardly squares with school start times of 7:30 or so. Sen. Codey’s bill logically proposes that middle and high schools students start school when they are awake enough to fully benefit from academic instruction. This shift is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
You’d think that this would be an easy call for the State Legislature, but it’s complicated. With all the agonizing we do over the state of American education — our kids are underperforming! our kids are over-tested! it’s the race to nowhere! it’s their only chance! — we rarely focus on the fact that school schedules are shaped by an assortment of priorities that at times coexist harmoniously with the academic mission of schools and at times conflict with that mission. One of those conflicts is our tradition of designing school schedules to accommodate the needs of extracurricular activities. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of Sen. Codey’s bill is that it forces us to examine that compromise.
President Obama is in the process of expanding a student loan forgiveness program through his executive power (the infamous pen). Whether constitutional or not, he appears to believe that he can add more students to the eligibility list for a program he created by regulation in November 2013. This “Pay-As-You-Earn” program is partly about lowering the monthly payments to make student loans more affordable for graduates, but mostly it is the foot in the door to student loan forgiveness.
Under the latest version of President Obama’s giveaway to former college students, people with student loans that meet certain income eligibility standards will only need to pay 10 percent of their discretionary income for a maximum of 20 years. Discretionary income is the amount you earn above the poverty line for your family size. If a borrower works for a government or in a job defined as public service, they only have to pay for 10 years. After that, the remaining balance is forgiven.
This was the year of vaping, according to Oxford Dictionaries, which has chosen “vape” – the act of inhaling from an electronic cigarette – as its word of 2014 after use of the term more than doubled over the last year.
Vape – defined as to “inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device” – beat contenders including slacktivism, bae and indyref to be chosen as Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2014. The shortlist is compiled from scanning around 150m words of English in use each month, applying software to identify new and emerging usage. Dictionary editors and lexicographers, including staff from the Oxford English Dictionary, then pinpoint a final selection and an eventual winner, which is intended to be a word judged “to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year and to have lasting potential as a word of cultural significance”.
Aware of such research, Green circles back to the education schools, where a zealous coterie of scholars has been trying to identify and inculcate the “habits of mind” that define the disciplines. They tend to follow the work of Stanford University’s Lee Shulman, who coined the term “pedagogical content knowledge” to describe the intellectual apparatus that you need to teach a given subject. I am a full professor at a major research university, but I could not, without much preparation, teach high school chemistry. I could, of course, require my students to memorize the periodic table of elements. But I couldn’t teach the discipline, because I don’t understand its history or structure: how it developed over time, what it has discovered, what is left to know, and what counts as “knowledge” in the first place. These are hugely complicated questions, usually reserved for graduate study in the disciplines themselves. But unless you understand how a discipline actually works, you won’t be able to help anyone else understand it, either.
And that brings us to the saddest fact of all: most of our teachers don’t possess a deep working knowledge of any discipline, at least not in the way that good teaching demands. Perhaps the teachers of very small children do not need the same mastery of a discipline as their counterparts in middle and high schools. But surely they need a deep and theoretically sophisticated understanding of the ways that children learn. Even the teaching of so-called simple arithmetic turns out to be an immensely complicated endeavor, but most of our teachers do not treat it as such. Part of that failing has to do with the lack of constructive collaboration inside our schools, where teachers work almost entirely in isolation.
By contrast, many other advanced countries have institutionalized critical commentary by peers and also provide intellectual support to improve skills and learning as part of teachers’ professional practice. Japanese teachers even have a separate word for this process, jugyokenkyu, which is built into their weekly routines. All teachers have designated periods to observe each other’s classes, study curriculum, and otherwise hone their craft. But they also learn a great deal in their pre-service training, which is both more rigorous and more demanding concerning particular subject matter than anything American teacher-education students are likely to encounter.
Forced to keep discounting their prices as enrollment stagnates, U.S. universities and colleges expect their slowest growth in revenue in 10 years, the bond-rating company Moody’s reports.
The squeeze could threaten further cuts in services even as tuition continues to increase.
A quarter of colleges and universities are projecting declines in revenue, according to a closely watched annual Moody’s survey. Half of public and 40 percent of private institutions say they will take in only 2 percent more than the inflation rate, or worse.
“Smaller entering classes in much of the country over the next few years foreshadows continued revenue pressure.” Eva Bogaty, vice president and senior analyst, Moody’s
Moody’s analysts say regional public universities and small private colleges, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest where birth rates are flat and enrollment growth has stalled, are at the greatest risk. But the problems are dogging campuses everywhere.
Admissions officers at Morehouse College in Atlanta were shocked several years ago when a number of high school seniors submitted applications using email addresses containing provocative language.
Some of the addresses made sexual innuendos while others invoked gangster rap songs or drug use, said Darryl D. Isom, Morehouse’s director of admissions and recruitment.
But last year, he and his staff noticed a striking reversal: Nearly every applicant to Morehouse, an all-male historically black college, used his real name, or some variation, as his email address.
In 2013-2014, the number of Chinese students in the U.S. rose 8.1 percent from a year earlier, while those from India swelled by 17 percent, the IIE said. Foreigners are attractive to colleges because they bring diversity to campuses and many pay full freight. That’s a boon to schools, which doled out about $48 billion in grant aid in the form of discounts in 2013-2014, almost double the rate of a decade earlier when adjusted for inflation, according to the New York-based College Board.
“There’s room in American higher education for more foreign students,” said Allan Goodman, president of the institute.
All week we’ve been reporting on big changes in reading instruction brought on by the Common Core State Standards: a doubling-down on evidence-based reading, writing and speaking; increased use of nonfiction; and a big push to get kids reading more “complex texts.”
Whatever you think of these shifts, they’re meaningless ideas without a classroom and kids to make sense of them. That’s today’s story, as we round out our series on reading in the Core era.
It’s mid-morning at Watkins Elementary in Washington, D.C. From the fourth floor, Amy Wertheimer’s fifth-grade classroom looks out over a red-brick grid of rowhouses and, looming over it all, the U.S. Capitol. But every back is to the view as Ms. Wertheimer calls her kids to the reading rug.
With research showing language gaps between the children of affluent parents and those from low-income families emerging at an early age, educators have puzzled over how best to reach parents and guide them to do things like read to their children and talk to them regularly.
A new study shows that mobile technology may offer a cheap and effective solution. The research, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research this month, found that preschoolers whose parents received text messages with brief tips on reading to their children or helping them sound out letters and words performed better on literacy tests than children whose parents did not receive such messages.
Pediatricians are now advising parents to read daily to their children from birth. Some communities are developing academic curriculums for home visitors to share with parents of babies and toddlers, while other groups are mounting public information campaigns for parents on the importance of talking, reading and singing.
Related: Madison’s disastrous long term reading results.
News: Apple’s head designer Jonathan Ive says he struggles to hire young staff as schools are failing to teach them how to make products.
Speaking at London’s Design Museum last night, Ive attacked design schools for failing to teach students how to make physical products and relying too heavily on “cheap” computers.
“So many of the designers that we interview don’t know how to make stuff, because workshops in design schools are expensive and computers are cheaper,” said Ive.
“That’s just tragic, that you can spend four years of your life studying the design of three dimensional objects and not make one.”
Ive, who is Apple’s senior vice president of design, said that students were being taught to use computer programs to make renderings that could “make a dreadful design look really palatable”.
Of course, public schools officials will never accept a rating system that includes a failing-grade option; some things are OK for students, but not for the people who educate them.
None of these initiatives is any older than 2011, when Republicans took over complete control of the state government, but parents have been voting against the Madison district — with their feet — since they were first allowed to in 1998.
The open enrollment program was included in the 1997 state budget bill and allows parents to enroll their children in any public school district that has the space.
In the years since, the Madison district has never seen more students coming in than going out. In the current school year, 1,203 children living within the district’s boundaries opted to go to other districts, according to a district report. Another 372 opted to come into Madison from other districts.
A 2009 survey of families who took advantage of the open enrollment program to leave Madison found that 61 percent of parents pointed to environmental problems with Madison schools as among the reasons they left. Overcrowded classrooms, bullying and poor communication were among the specific complaints.
This summer, we revisited a literacy test from the Jim Crow South. Given predominantly to African-Americans living in Louisiana in 1964, the test consisted of 30 ambiguous questions to be answered in 10 minutes. One wrong answer, and the test-taker was denied the right to vote. It was all part of the South’s attempt to impede free and fair elections, and ensure that African-Americans had no access to politics or mechanisms of power.
How hard was the test? You can take it yourself below (see an answer key here) and find out. Just recently, the same literacy test was also administered to Harvard students — students who can, if anything, ace a standardized test — and not one passed. The questions are tricky. But even worse, if push comes to shove, the questions and answers can be interpreted in different ways by officials grading the exam. Carl Miller, a resident tutor at Harvard and a fellow at the law school, told The Daily Mail: “Louisiana’s literacy test was designed to be failed. Just like all the other literacy tests issued in the South at the time, this test was not about testing literacy at all. It was a … devious measure that the State of Louisiana used to disenfranchise people that had the wrong skin tone or belonged to the wrong social class.” (Sometimes the test was also given to poor whites.) Above, you can watch scenes from the Harvard experiment and students’ reactions.
With college costs soaring and the job market for new grads sputtering, one trend is worth watching: more and more states are authorizing community colleges to grant bachelor’s degrees. Already, more than 20 states — now including California, which enrolls one out of every four of the nation’s community college students — have authorized community colleges to grant these degrees.
Turf will be an issue as this trend continues, but there is a division of labor between community colleges and universities that makes sense. Community colleges can and should be encouraged to develop bachelor’s-degree programs in career and technical areas and to avoid the liberal arts degrees that are integral to the mission and education delivered by universities. In any case, turf isn’t the bottom line in this coming shift. The bottom line is the bottom line: Do the technical and career-oriented degrees in which community colleges specialize pay off in the labor market?
Students in the class of 2013 who took out loans to attend public and private nonprofit colleges graduated with an average of debt of $28,400, a 2 percent increase from the previous year, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Institute for College Access and Success.
About 70 percent of graduates had student loans, the report says, but the amount they owed varied widely across different institutions and states.
Six states — New Hampshire, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Connecticut — had graduates with average student loan debt in excess of $30,000. At the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico and California, at $18,656 and $20,340, respectively, were the states with the lowest average student loan debt.
The OntoMathPro ontology has been developed by a research group from Kazan Federal University. The ontology is geared to be the hub for math knowledge in the Web of Data. We shared the sources with the Semantic Web community to engage our colleagues from elsewhere in its further development. We are going to create an ecosystem of datasets and mashups around the ontology.
Each November our family has a tradition of listing things we’re grateful for on 100 colorful construction-paper leaves and taping them all over the windows by the kitchen table. The recent publication of Blended of course tops my list!
Admittedly that’s in part because of the relief of a finished project, but the more lasting joy is from knowing that Michael Horn and I helped preserve stories that I think need to be told about children and school and the profound effect of adults’ choices on children’s lives. The book begins with a story about Jack, a fifth grader at Santa Rita Elementary School who started the 2010-11 school year at the bottom of his math class. He struggled to keep up and considered himself one of those kids who would just never quite “get it.” In a typical school, he would have been tracked and placed in the bottom math group. That would have meant that he would not have taken algebra until high school, which would have limited his college options.
Instead, I’m addressing this post to a specific type of person. But it’s a type that I’ve been encountering with greater frequency recently.
I’m talking about the kind of person who has various passions — theoretical or practical — and wants to study and/or gain skills in their area(s) of interest. For this type of person, college is often a very poor choice. At the very least, college can be a very circuitous path to those goals; there are paths that are way more direct.
It’s not that college doesn’t include some things that can further these goals. It might, but only incidentally. And along with a bunch of stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with these goals. College also includes things that are diametrically opposed to them.
Attentive observers won’t be surprised by the new international-enrollment numbers released on Wednesday by the Council of Graduate Schools. But there’s something momentous about the annual report’s key finding: For the first time since the council’s reports began, in 2004, first-time enrollment by Chinese students in graduate programs at American universities actually dropped this year.
The writing has been on the wall for more than a year. In April 2013, the council reported that Chinese applications to American graduate schools fell 5 percent after seven consecutive years of double-digit growth. The drop was so unexpected that the council’s president at the time, Debra W. Stewart, didn’t believe it at first. The possibility that the dip was an aberration was proved unlikely this year, when the council reported that applications from China fell again.
What’s your first priority?
Our first priority is to fix No Child Left Behind. The Republican proposal to fix NCLB would give states the option — not mandate — to take federal dollars and let those dollars follow children to the schools they attend. We want to expand choice, but my view is that the federal government shouldn’t mandate it. … Republicans would [also] transfer back to states the responsibility for deciding whether schools are succeeding or failing. Tennessee, Texas or New York would decide what the academic standards would be, what the curriculum would be, what to do about failing schools and how to evaluate teachers.
Do you support the Common Core State Standards?
I support giving states the right to decide whether to [adopt] the Common Core or not.
What about higher education? There’s a lot of pressure to hold institutions more accountable for the $200 billion they get in federal aid and to bring the cost of college down.
The cost of higher education is more affordable than people think. At a community college, average tuition is $3,600. At a four-year public institution, it’s $8[,000] to $9,000. Many students can get a Pell Grant they don’t have to pay back, up to $5,000. We lend $100 billion every year in student loans at an interest rate of about 4 percent to people with no credit history. Tennessee is the first state to say two years of community college is free. I expect more states to do that.
I’m [also] working with [Colorado Democratic] Sen. Michael Bennet to take the 108-question student-aid application form, known as FAFSA, and reduce it to two questions: ‘What’s your family income?’ and ‘What’s your family size?’ … The complexity of the form is discouraging students from attending college. So the greatest barrier to more college graduates is this federal application form.
Urban areas are often associated with poor educational attainment. But London is different. Recent analysis suggests that the attainment and progress of pupils in London is the highest in the country. A leading education policy commentator argues that: “Perhaps the biggest question in education policy over the past few years is why the outcomes for London schools have been improving so much faster than in the rest of the country”. Some have argued that this is the result of policies and practices adopted by London schools. If so, identifying the key policies is a great prize, with the hope that they can be implemented more broadly. Another recent report emphasises more the importance of primary schools.
In this research I have set out the evidence that a big part, almost all in fact, of the answer lies in the ethnic composition of London’s pupils. More broadly, my interpretation of this leads to a focus on pupil aspiration, ambition and engagement. There is nothing inherently different in the educational performance of pupils from different ethnic backgrounds, but the children of relatively recent immigrants typically have greater hopes and expectations of education, and are, on average, more likely to be engaged with their school work. This is not by chance of course; a key part of the London effect is its attraction to migrants and those aspiring to a better life.
Investment in higher-education technology is booming. Venture-capital funding for individual companies trying to break into the market has climbed well past the million-dollar mark, and the growth shows no sign of slowing.
According to Peter Yoon, a managing director at the Berkery Noyes investment bank who specializes in the education and training sector, ed-tech investment has increased steeply since 2006. More than $1-billion was invested in ed-tech companies in 2013, he said, and in the first quarter of this year more than $50-million was invested.
“It’s quite a brisk pace in terms of the amount of investment,” Mr. Yoon said. “Compared to previous years, it’s a tremendous increase.”
– See more at: http://m.chronicle.com/article/A-Look-at-Ed-Tech-s-Biggest/149943/?key=Tj1wdAZma3UWZS1hYj5KMzZdaHBlZUIpZSYdOSohblpUEA==#sthash.9Lr5A2L2.dpuf
When the media gets a charter school story wrong, I usually suspect political bias.
Progressive media outlets often underplay the effectiveness of charter schools, while conservative outlets overstate their impact.
But sometimes everyone misses a major part of the story.
All of the following media outlets reported on Mathematica’s study of The Equity Project: Vox.com (leans left), the Wall Street Journal (leans right), National Public Radio (leans left), the National Review (leans right), Shanker Blog (leans left).
Most of these education writers are top notch.
But all of them, I think, missed the mark.
The Mathematica Study; The CREDO Study
The Equity Project is a charter school in New York City. It pays teachers $125,000.
Mathematica just completed a rigorous study and found that, over four years, The Equity Project delivered an additional 1.6 years of math gains and .4 years of ELA gains.
The good: Minneapolis Public Schools want to decrease total suspensions for non-violent infractions of school rules.
The bad: The district has pledged to do this by implementing a special review system for cases where a black or Latino student is disciplined. Only minority students will enjoy this special privilege.
That seems purposefully unconstitutional—and is likely illegal, according to certain legal minds.
The new policy is the result of negotiations between MPS and the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Minority students are disciplined at much higher rates than white students, and for two years the federal government has investigated whether that statistic was the result of institutional racism.
Related. Madison’s problematic discipline policy.
When we’re young, our brains are able to form new neural connections extremely quickly – an ability known as “plasticity” that allows us to learn how to walk, talk and play all in the space of a few years. But, as we get older, this ability fades and, sadly, it takes us longer to learn new things.
Now scientists from Stanford University in the US have managed to unlock child-like plasticity in the adult brains of mice by interfering with a protein known as PirB (or LilrB2 in humans).
The breakthrough is pretty exciting as it could not only lead to new mind-enhancing drugs, but could also help us work out how to make the brain more malleable and better able to recover from damage.
Rafiq Kalam Id-Din is walking down a hallway at Brooklyn’s Professional Prep charter school when he sees a fourth-grader in the doorway of a so-called “djed room.” The room, named after an ancient Egyptian symbol for stability, is a quiet, safe space where students can recollect themselves if they’ve been disruptive or a teacher suspects they’re about to become so.
“Are you here by choice, or did you get sent here?” Kalam Id-Din asks. The student’s head is down, and he hedges a bit before acknowledging that a teacher saw him acting up and suggested he step out before the behavior escalated.
At Professional Prep, teachers can’t send their kids to the principal’s office. Because there isn’t one.
One of three “managing partners” at the school, Kalam Id-Din is about the closest thing Professional Prep has to a school leader. Yet his main job is to teach a group of 20 or so fourth-graders rather than deal with the day-to-day administrative issues—hiring, discipline, staff and parent meetings—a typical principal might handle. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
The school’s entire approach to discipline, for instance, was designed by teachers and was rooted in the idea that every action is a deliberate choice by a student. Kalam Id-Din says the djed rooms are much more effective than a trip to the principal’s office, citing the school’s low suspension rate as evidence.
On Immunity: An Inoculation
Graywolf Press, $24 (cloth)
After my daughter was born, whenever I heard about parents who refused vaccines, I’d feel a flare of hostility. Not because I couldn’t relate to them—as an easily spooked new mom, I could relate all too well. No mother is thrilled to see a needle jabbed into her child. It hardly helps to know that the needle contains a substance derived from a disease-causing agent. Even leaving aside the debunked autism claims, the visceral reality of vaccination runs counter to every parental instinct.
But I had decided to trust the experts and not think about it too much. My daughter’s blue immunization book was fully up to date. Hearing about parents who opted out reminded me of my unease. Their existence was also an implicit rebuke; thinking of them put me on the defensive. They would, I imagined, deem me a bad mother, negligent and misinformed. I all but wanted to shout, “I know you are but what am I” at my hypothetical anti-vaxxer adversaries.
In On Immunity, Eula Biss’s quietly impassioned new book, the author evinces no such hostility (and considerably more maturity). She does attribute one pitch-perfect line to her father, a doctor who serves as the wry voice of reason in the book. Biss is groping for words to explain the phenomenon of chicken pox parties as alternatives to vaccinations. “I say, ‘Some people want their children to get chicken pox because,’ and pause to think of the best reason to give a doctor. ‘They’re idiots,’ my father supplies.”
Studies of the charter school sector typically focus on head-to-head comparisons of charter and traditional schools at a point in time, but the expansion of parental choice and relaxation of constraints on school operations is unlikely to raise school quality overnight. Rather, the success of the reform depends in large part on whether parental choices induce improvements in the charter sector. We study quality changes among Texas charter schools between 2001 and 2011. Our results suggest that the charter sector was initially characterized by schools whose quality was highly variable and, on average, less effective than traditional public schools. However, exits from the sector, improvement of existing charter schools, and positive selection of charter management organizations that open additional schools raised average charter school effectiveness over time relative to traditional public schools. Moreover, the evidence is consistent with the belief that a reduction in student turnover as the sector matures, expansion of the share of charters that adhere to a No Excuses philosophy, and increasingly positive student selection at the times of both entry and reenrollment all contribute to the improvement of the charter sector.
For those of you who follow N.J.’s charter school wars within the circumscribed twitter universe, the last few days have been pretty hot. The backstory here is that Mark Weber (a popular anti-reform blogger known as Jersey Jazzman who studies with Bruce Baker at Rutgers) and Julia Sass Rubin (professor at Rutgers and founder of the anti-charter organization called Save Our Schools-NJ) published a report on charter school demographics, paid for by an anti-charter foundation, also based at Rutgers. The study aimed to prove that charter schools “cream off” cohorts of kids who are less impoverished, less disabled, and more fluent in English than those enrolled in traditional district schools.
The conclusions imbedded in the report have been disputed by charter school leaders. Carlos Perez, head of the N.J. Charter School Association, for example, dismissed the report as “anti-charter propaganda.” But the primary igniter of this week’s heat wave was not the report itself but Ms. Rubin’s remark, printed in the Star-Ledger, that charter schools draw a less poor and more informed group of parents because “poor families are less able to focus on the best place to educate their children.” Here’s her quote:
South Africans Thato Kgatlhanye and Rea Ngwane are co-founders of the business Rethaka. Their brand of Repurposed Schoolbags are made from recycled and reinforced plastic shopping bags. Many of the recipients come from poor families.
But it’s so much more than a bag. Because the kids often live in shacks and remote areas with no electricity, Repurposed Schoolbags are built with some other smart features. On the outside of the flap is a pocket for a solar panel, which charges on the long walk to and from school. That screws onto a Consol glass jar that the kids use as a lamp at home when doing homework in the evenings. The bag is also reflective because many of these kids wake up at the crack of dawn and walk in the dark to get to school on time.
What does it take to achieve excellence? I’ve spent much of my career chronicling top executives as a business journalist. But I’ve spent much of the last year on a very different pursuit, coauthoring a book about education, focusing on a tough but ultimately revered public-school music teacher.
And here’s what I learned: When it comes to creating a culture of excellence, the CEO has an awful lot to learn from the schoolteacher.
The teacher at the heart of the book Strings Attached is on the face of it an unlikely corporate role model. My childhood music teacher Jerry Kupchynsky, who we called “Mr. K,” was strictly old school: A ferocious Ukrainian immigrant and World War II refugee, he was a tyrannical school orchestra conductor in suburban New Jersey. He would yell and stomp and scream when we screwed up, bellowing “Who eez DEAF in first violins?” His highest praise was “not bad.” He rehearsed us until our fingers were raw.
In the garden of Dee’s Tots Childcare, amid the sunflowers, cornstalks, and plastic cars, a three-year-old girl with beads in her braids and a two-year-old blond boy are shimmying. These are Deloris Hogan’s 6:45 p.m. pick-ups. Nearby, also dancing, are four kids who won’t be picked up until late at night, as well as two “overnight babies,” as Deloris calls them. Dee’s Tots stays open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; the children’s parents work unconventional hours, producing an unexpected cycle of drop-offs and reunions. One afternoon in August, the kids bounce on the center’s inflatable castles, rustle around at the sand tables, and eat a watermelon snack. Then it gets dark.
Well-paid professionals who work evenings may be able to afford one or two nannies, or they may have partners who stay at home. But parents like the ones who rely on Dee’s can’t afford such luxuries.
State Superintendent Tony Evers wants to boost funding for Wisconsin’s K-12 schools by $613 million in the next biennial budget, combined with increases to the amount of money schools can raise in local taxes, and a new way of funding the Milwaukee voucher program.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s 2015-’17 budget request released Monday kicks off the conversation about the future of public school funding, ahead of Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature putting together the biennial state budget in early 2015.
But the newly elected Legislature is even more conservative than the previous two Legislatures — neither of which warmed to Evers’ similar “Fair Funding for our Future” budget proposals in 2010 and 2012.
“This is our third kick at the cat to get Fair Funding passed,” said DPI spokesman John Johnson.
The proposal calls for a 2.5% increase in state aid in the first year of the budget, which Johnson said would put the state back on track from the education cuts in the last four years. The 2016-’17 school year would see an even larger increase, 4.9%, in state aid. In total, that accounts for a $453 million increase in general school aid, according to the DPI.
The plan also calls for a $160 million increase in separate aid for specific uses, known as categorical aid.
More significant for school districts is Evers’ aim to increase the revenue limit — or the amount districts can raise in state aid and local property taxes — by $200 per pupil in 2015-’16 and $204 per pupil in 2016-’17.
Current state law calls for no increase to the revenue limit in 2015-’16 and thereafter, according to the DPI.
The DPI wants to tie the revenue limit increase each year to the rate of inflation.
Props to Molly Beck for including total spending. Ideally, the article would incorporate performance information…
Wisconsin’s K-12 taxes & spending have increased substantially over the years. Outcomes
I knew the day would come, but I didn’t know how it would happen, where I would be, or how I would respond. It is the moment that every black parent fears: the day their child is called a nigger.
My wife and I, both African Americans, constitute one of those Type A couples with Ivy League undergraduate and graduate degrees who, for many years, believed that if we worked hard and maintained great jobs, we could insulate our children from the blatant manifestations of bigotry that we experienced as children in the 1960s and ’70s.
We divided our lives between a house in a liberal New York suburb and an apartment on Park Avenue, sent our three kids to a diverse New York City private school, and outfitted them with the accoutrements of success: preppy clothes, perfect diction and that air of quiet graciousness. We convinced ourselves that the economic privilege we bestowed on them could buffer these adolescents against what so many black and Latino children face while living in mostly white settings: being profiled by neighbors, followed in stores and stopped by police simply because their race makes them suspect.
But it happened nevertheless in July, when I was 100 miles away.
Related: The Poverty & Education Forum.