Sara McLanahan & Christopher Jencks:
200119436-002In his 1965 report on the black family, Daniel Patrick Moynihan highlighted the rising fraction of black children growing up in households headed by unmarried mothers. He attributed the increase largely to the precarious economic position of black men, many of whom were no longer able to play their traditional role as their family’s primary breadwinner. Moynihan argued that growing up in homes without a male breadwinner reduced black children’s chances of climbing out of poverty, and that the spread of such families would make it hard for blacks to take advantage of the legal and institutional changes flowing from the civil rights revolution.
Moynihan’s claim that growing up in a fatherless family reduced a child’s chances of educational and economic success was furiously denounced when the report appeared in 1965, with many critics calling Moynihan a racist. For the next two decades few scholars chose to investigate the effects of father absence, lest they too be demonized if their findings supported Moynihan’s argument. Fortunately, America’s best-known black sociologist, William Julius Wilson, broke this taboo in 1987, providing a candid assessment of the black family and its problems in The Truly Disadvantaged. Since then, social scientists have accumulated a lot more evidence on the effects of family structure. This article will offer some educated guesses about what that evidence means.
Terence Tse and Mark Esposito:
hat is the staying power of an MBA education? Why year after year do students sign up for the countless MBA programmes across the world? Are they after new skills? Maybe. Eager to learn about the latest academic research output? Unlikely. Keen to go through a learning experience? Possibly. In search of a networking opportunity? Most certainly.
But perhaps a principle motive is to boost their career prospects. The notion that the harder you work, the higher you will climb the corporate — and therefore social — ladder is rooted in our DNA. Very often, this also translates into the higher you are in the corporate echelons, the more successful you are. For many, an MBA degree promises to deliver this; for anyone wishing to progress in their career, just get an MBA and its magic will do the rest.
Jessica Brondo Davidoff :
I scored a perfect 1600 when I took the SAT test in 2004.
A year after graduating from Princeton, I founded and ran The Edge in College Prep, an elite test preparation and admissions counseling company. Now, as the founder of Admittedly, a college advisory platform and an expert on these high stake tests, I’m convinced they shouldn’t be such a large part of the higher education decision-making game.
There are many, many reasons to take issue with these tests. But one of the reasons which resonates most with me is that it is so easy to improve someone’s score by 20%, 30% even 40%. That kind of improvement shouldn’t even be possible on a test that is supposedly designed to measure aptitude.
Karin Fischer & Eric Hoover :
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.
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.
Google’s education privacy practices are worth a look.
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?
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.
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.
Discipline & school violence forum
Lawrence Otis Graham:
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.
Why does a Rutgers University professor from one of the most affluent towns in New Jersey want to take away great schools from Camden families?
Everywhere I turn, Julia Sass Rubin seems to be talking for Camden’s poor. Just last week she told one of the state’s largest newspapers: “People in abject poverty don’t have the bandwidth to even evaluate charter schools. It’s just not going to be high on their list.”
Excuse me? That deeply offensive comment toward low-income families in Camden shows not only her complete disregard of our families, but a dangerous misunderstanding about what our families want.
Meanwhile, Madison continues with its monolithic, one size fits all K-12 governance model.
Minneapolis offers students a wide variety of choices.
New waves of Indians and Chinese are taking America’s business-school entrance exam, and that’s causing a big problem for America’s prospective M.B.A.s.
Why? The foreign students are much better at the test.
Asia-Pacific students have shown a mastery of the quantitative portion of the four-part Graduate Management Admission Test. That has skewed mean test scores upward, and vexed U.S. students, whose results are looking increasingly poor in comparison. In response, admissions officers at U.S. schools are seeking new ways of measurement, to make U.S. students look better.
Domestic candidates are “banging their heads against the wall,” said Jeremy Shinewald, founder and president of mbaMission, a New York-based M.B.A. admissions-consulting company. While U.S. scores have remained consistent over the past several years, the falling percentiles are “causing a ton of student anxiety,” he said.
we continue to play in the “C” (D?) leagues.
Madison’s disastrous reading scores.
Math forum audio and video. Math task force.
Madison School Board Accountabilty Commentary.
Andrew J. Rotherham & Richard Whitmire:
This may mark one of the great missed opportunities in education. With a sympathetic president as a partner, national union leaders could have spent the last five years telling their members the truth: The nation’s classrooms are changing fast, now at 50 percent poor and minority students, and our schools are simply not good enough for too many students. So the entire education sector, including teachers, must change as well.
But they didn’t. Instead, union leaders spent the last five years telling their members that change was not necessary. You are blameless, they insisted in their fight against “reformers.” You’re being demonized. Poverty is to blame, not our schools.
Those demanding change, they insisted, are “corporate reformers” out to “privatize” your schools. What’s needed instead, they told their teachers, was a massive digging-in to block those very changes.
For students from third to eighth grades, achievement has remained stagnant over the last five years. Last school year, the district had 26.9 percent of third graders ranked as proficient or above in language arts. That proficiency stayed in the low 20 percent range for grades four through seven. In eighth grade, 42.2 percent were ranked as proficient or higher in language arts and literacy.
Math scores hovered between 44 and 32 percent proficient in the 2013-2014 school year for grades three through six. For grades seven and eight, scores sank to 20 and 25 percent, respectively.
In the HSPA test given to 11th graders, there was a 71 percent proficiency in language arts and a 39 percent proficiency in math. There has been an improvement in language arts in the last four years, said Edward Ward, supervisor of instructional technology and accountability.
Johnson said her team is crafting a response by gathering information from teachers in high achieving schools in the district about their best practices and proven methods while also examining what works throughout the state and country.
Via Laura Waters.
Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.
JOHN TULENKO: Last month, about 1,000 ninth graders marched to the football field at Northeast High School for a very different kind of kickoff ceremony.
WOMAN: We are doing a mock graduation. It’s an opportunity for our incoming ninth grade class to make a commitment. We want to put the urge in them that they promise they are going to be right back here in June 2018.
JOHN TULENKO: But hanging over this ceremony and the odds students will graduate is a school budget crisis that’s been called the worst in the country. Northeast has 3,000 students and two principals, Sharon McColskey and Linda Carroll.
SHARON MCCOLSKEY, Northeast High: In past years, operating budgets were probably 10 times what ours is right now, if not more.
Just the thought of opening the schools with what we have in the bank, real or in our budget, was really scary.
Philadelphia’s 2014-2015 $2,814,500,000 budget for 131,362 (2013–14) students. That’s $21,425 per student!
Related: Philadelphia school reform commission cancels teacher union contracts.
The Simpson Street Free Press will celebrate 23 years of academic success – Sunday, November 2, 12-3pm. Visit Dane County’s first after-school (and summer) youth center dedicated solely to core subject academics. Meet our student writers and see academic achievement in action. Get a newsroom tour from local kids who tackle achievement gaps everyday – with writing and hard work. Preview data that shows real results. SSFP students will thank all of you, the many Friends and supporters who make this youth center, and our students, successful. Location: South Towne Mall, 2311 West Broadway.
The Simpson Street Free Press (SSFP) delivers core subject academic instruction in after-school settings. Students (ages 8-18) write and produce five separate youth newspapers, including a new bilingual publication: La Prensa Libre de Simpson Street. SSFP graduates (now in college) supervise younger students. SSFP also operates a network of youth book clubs. The goal of the SSFP is to foster literacy, spark student success, and bridge achievement gaps.
The SSFP formula accomplishes multiple outcomes. Central to SSFP pedagogy is across the curriculum instructional practices. Lesson plans are designed to support in-school learning. Students encounter predictable connections to the school day. Young writers conduct research, use technology, write and read extensively. They learn practical and transferable academic strategies. They acquire real-world workplace skills. School grades and attendance are measured. SSFP students participate in civic discourse and influence their peers. As their name suggests, free speech and journalism are great ways to spark learning.
Innovation is among the most abused buzzwords in education today. While few doubt the need for schools to innovate, often, it seems, some school leaders – innovation chasers – those who are keen to attach the label of “innovator” to themselves, have failed to understand what innovation really means.
Horace Dediu has coined the term “innoveracy” to describe those who suffer from innovation illiteracy, the inability to understand the concept and role of innovation. This, he contends, is rooted in a “misuse of the term and the inability to discern the difference between novelty, creation, invention and innovation”. I tend to agree with Dediu’s perspective: too often what is falsely celebrated as innovation is, in reality, mere novelty.
Disastrous reading results remain job number one.
More than ever, students go to college because they want to get jobs — good jobs. To that end, students and parents want to know which schools give them the best chance at getting a desirable job after graduation. This is where we can help.
By analyzing employment patterns of over 300 million LinkedIn members from around the world, we figured out what the desirable jobs are within several professions and which graduates get those desirable jobs. As a result, we are able to rank schools based on the career outcomes of their graduates.
Defining “desirable jobs”
We define a desirable job to be a job at a desirable company for the relevant profession. For example, we define desirable finance jobs as finance jobs at companies desirable for finance professionals.
We start with identifying desirable companies for each profession.We let the career choices of our members tell us how desirable it is to work at a company. To illustrate this, imagine there are two companies, A and B. If more finance professionals are choosing to leave company A to work at company B, the data indicates that getting a finance job at B is more desirable. This is based on the hypothesis that when a professional moves from one company to another, she gives the company she moves to a strong vote of confidence.
Explore Linkedins’ University rankings.
Andrew Yang, via Kate Zellmer:
There are currently six prominent paths for achievement-minded recent college graduates: financial services, management consulting, law school (still), med school, and grad school/academia. The sixth is Teach for America, which continues to draw approximately 5,000 graduates (and 50,000 applicants) a year from universities across the country.
Splitting pupils as young as six into classes based on ability – known as streaming – makes the brightest children brighter but does little to help the rest to catch up, according to new research into schools in England.
The analysis of the progress made by 2,500 six and seven-year-olds in state primary schools in England, conducted by academics at the Institute of Education in London, found that the use of streaming appears to entrench educational disadvantage compared with the results of pupils who were taught in all-ability classes.
But, does the other approach make a difference? Madison’s experience with English 10 and small learning communities has not moved the needle.
Now, Warren is not the only person decrying this state of affairs: the spiralling cost of education provokes widespread alarm these days. But what is notable about Warren is that she is one of the few politicians who openly attacks the financial industry, US Treasury and Federal Reserve alike. This, of course, is the key reason she is unlikely to ever become a serious contender for the Democratic Party nomination: Warren’s outspoken comments have created many enemies in Washington and Wall Street. But her willingness to articulate unpleasant facts – such as the shocking explosion in student loans – is also a key reason she commands strong populist support in some quarters. Political giants such as Clinton ignore this at their peril; even (or especially) at a time when America is supposed to be enjoying an economic “recovery”.
Taxpayer subsidized student loans should be the exception rather than the rule.
Black, Hispanic and low-income students, as well as students with disabilities and English language learners, show proficiencies well below those of the district as a whole, Jeff Spitzer-Resnick points out on his blog.
“While overall the Department of Public Instruction considered that MMSD ‘meets expectations,’ a closer examination of vulnerable student populations suggests many MMSD students are not receiving an education which will prepare them adequately for adulthood,” writes Spitzer-Resnick, an attorney who has blogged before about school district accountability.
Citing information from the Report Card detail available here on the DPI website, Spitzer-Resnick compares district-wide levels of proficiency in reading and math with consistently lower levels among students of color, low-income students and those with disabilities or limited English language skills.
Hardly a recent issue, unfortunately. Madison’s long term disastrous reading results.
Meanwhile, Madison continues to support wide low income variation across its schools.
I have been asked for my “single best idea for reforming K-12 education”. When you only have one shot, you want to make it count. So I thought I would share my idea here, in case anyone has a brighter insight.
Root cause: factory model of management
To decide what is the single best idea for reforming K-12 education, one needs to figure out what is the biggest problem that the system currently faces. To my mind, the biggest problem is a preoccupation with, and the application of, the factory model of management to education, where everything is arranged for the scalability and efficiency of “the system”, to which the students, the teachers, the parents and the administrators have to adjust. “The system” grinds forward, at ever increasing cost and declining efficiency, dispiriting students, teachers and parents alike.
Given that the factory model of management doesn’t work very well, even in the few factories that still remain in this country, or anywhere else in the workplace for that matter, we should hardly be surprised that it doesn’t work well in education either.
But given that the education system is seen to be in trouble, there is a tendency to think we need “better management” or “stronger management” or “tougher management”, where “management” is assumed to be the factory model of management. It is assumed to mean more top-down management and tighter controls, and more carrots and sticks. It is assumed to mean hammering the teachers who don’t perform and ruthlessly weeding out “the dead wood”. The thinking is embedded in Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind.
These methods are known to be failing in the private sector, because they dispirit the employees and limit their ability to contribute their imagination and creativity; they frustrate customers, and they are killing the very organizations that rely on them. So why should we expect anything different in the education sector?
Much more on a focus on adult employment, here.