The key differences between Indian and Chinese students studying in the US

Saptarishi Dutta:

India and China already compete over global influence and natural resources. Here’s a new area of rivalry—the number of students each has in America.

From 2008-12, India sent 168,034 students to the US, accounting for 15% of the total foreign students studying there, according to a new Brookings Institution report. This number is second only to China’s 284,173 students enrolled in various programs in US universities during the same period.

The Original Charter School Vision

Richard Kallenberg & Halley Potter:

ALTHOUGH the leaders of teachers unions and charter schools are often in warring camps today, the original vision for charter schools came from Albert Shanker, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

In a 1988 address, Mr. Shanker outlined an idea for a new kind of public school where teachers could experiment with fresh and innovative ways of reaching students. Mr. Shanker estimated that only one-fifth of American students were well served by traditional classrooms. In charter schools, teachers would be given the opportunity to draw upon their expertise to create high-performing educational laboratories from which the traditional public schools could learn.

Mr. Shanker was particularly inspired by a 1987 visit to a public school in Cologne, Germany, which stood out for a couple of reasons. Teams of teachers had considerable say in how the school was run. They made critical decisions about what and how to teach and stayed with each class of students for six years. And unlike most German schools, which are rigidly tracked, the Cologne school had students with a mix of abilities, family incomes and ethnic origins. Turkish and Moroccan immigrants were educated alongside native German students in mixed-ability groups. Sixty percent of the school’s students scored high enough on exams to be admitted to four-year colleges, compared with 27 percent of students nationally.

Mr. Shanker argued that charter schools could help reinvigorate the twin promises of American public education: to promote social mobility for working-class children and social cohesion among America’s increasingly diverse populations. There is considerable research to back up this vision. Richard M. Ingersoll, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that where teachers have more say in how their school is run, the school climate improves and teachers stay longer — trends that have been independently associated with increased student learning. And data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress in Mathematics show that low-income fourth graders who attend economically integrated schools are as much as two years ahead of low-income students stuck in high-poverty schools.

The Vexing Legacy of Lewis Terman

Mitchell Leslie:

To the Los Angeles juvenile authorities in 1923, Edward Dmytryk was an ordinary runaway trying to escape a vicious father who tore up his schoolbooks and clubbed him with a two-by-four. Mr. Dmytryk wanted his 14-year-old son back — if only, as the caseworker suspected, because Edward brought home vital income.

While the authorities deliberated, a letter arrived from Professor Lewis Terman, the nation’s most famous psychologist and the man who had planted the term “IQ” in America’s vocabulary. He wasn’t a relative or family friend; he had never even met the boy. But the Stanford professor believed Edward deserved a break because he was “gifted” — a word Terman coined to describe the bright kids he devoted his life to researching.

Edward’s high score on an IQ test had qualified him for Terman’s pathbreaking Genetic Study of Genius. Terman, who had grown up gifted himself, was gathering evidence to squelch the popular stereotype of brainy, “bookish” children as frail oddballs doomed to social isolation. He wanted to show that most smart kids were robust and well-adjusted — that they were, in fact, born leaders who ought to be identified early and cultivated for their rightful roles in society.

Though the more than 1,000 youngsters enrolled in his study didn’t know it at the time, they were embarking on a lasting relationship. As Terman poked around in their lives with his inquisitive surveys, “he fell in love with those kids,” explains Albert Hastorf, emeritus professor of psychology. To the group he always called “my gifted children” — even after they grew up — Terman became mentor, confidant, guidance counselor and sometimes guardian angel, intervening on their behalf. In doing so, he crashed through the glass that is supposed to separate scientists from subjects, undermining his own data. But Terman saw no conflict in nudging his protégés toward success, and many of them later reflected that being a “Terman kid” had indeed shaped their self-images and changed the course of their lives.

Election, Tax & Spending Climate: As new year school year begins, Wisconsin’s education scene lacks energy

Alan Borsuk

In recent years on this Sunday, the last before most kids start school, I have offered thoughts on what is new and worth watching on the school scene in Wisconsin and particularly in Milwaukee.

I started to make up a list for this year and was struck by how, um, boring it was. Permit me to try a different approach, namely, a debate with myself (I win!) over this proposition:

Wisconsin education is suffering a serious case of the blahs.

In defense of this statement, I point to how few new schools, new programs and initiatives there are this year, particularly in Milwaukee.

With its large voucher and charter sectors and with Milwaukee Public Schools frequently undergoing changes, you could count on Milwaukee to offer new developments each fall in recent years.

This year, there’s not much. A few programs are being launched or growing, such as the addition of parent centers in many Milwaukee schools that didn’t have them until now. But it’s really kind of status quo out there. And it’s a status quo in which less than one in five MPS students are rated as proficient or better in reading.

Consider my snapshot summary of the three big sectors of Milwaukee schools:

Unfortunately, status quo governance has become the norm in Madison and generally across the Badger State. Our agrarian era K-12 governance structures persist, mostly on the fumes of the past. Yet, spending continues to grow, with Madison’s $15,000+ / student double the national average, despite long term disastrous reading results. A 2012 comparison with the Austin, TX school district is worth a look.

Financial Advice for College Freshmen

Wall Street Journal:

1. Set up a student bank account.

Entering college comes with many new responsibilities, including being accountable for your money, whether acquired from your parents or from your own efforts. Setting up a bank account is a good place to start! Keep track on a regular basis of what goes in and what goes out. Balance a checkbook! Also, make sure you understand all of the account fees and their justification before signing up. In addition, setting up an account will make it easy for your parents to send you money; the best way to do this is to find out what banks have branches located on your college campus, and then see if any of them also have a branch in your hometown.

2. Learn to budget your expenses and don’t overspend.

Make a budget and stick to it. Here are some small ways to get the most out of what you have:When you go out to eat, order an appetizer. Appetizers are usually meant to be shared by a party of four, yet are cheaper than an entree.

Buy as much food as you can in bulk (from Costco, COST 0.00% if you can), and don’t waste any of it. If fruit starts to go bad, then freeze it and make it into a smoothie later.

American Diversity and the Wild West

Peggy Noonan:

Tenderfoot is in big sky country. On the drive from the airport to the ranch, the Tetons, a range of great splendor and dignity that Tenderfoot had thought were two mountains called Grand, are spread before her. It is dusk. To the left the Snake River curls softly against the road. To the right, open fields, working ranches, herds of buffalo. In the air the scent of sage. The sky is huge, a dome of softening blue. All this is expected—this is how the West looks—yet the real thing startles and overwhelms. You stare dumbly at the wonder of it.

“God’s country,” her host says, not as a brag but with awe still in his voice after more than 20 years here.

Tenderfoot’s host, a friend of many years, a substantial and numeric man, tells her Wyoming facts. There are fewer people in this state than any other. (“They must be lonely,” she thinks.)

Tenderfoot doesn’t really like to be in a place where there aren’t a lot of . . . witnesses. She’s from the city and knows the canyons of downtown, the watering holes of the theater district. She knows her Brooklyn, her Long Island, her Jersey, is a walker in the city and a lost rube in the country. She is here because she loves her friends and will go far to see them. She does have a relationship with the American West and does in fact love it, but it is the West as mediated by John Ford, Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry. She doesn’t really know the real one.

How to Survive – and Maybe Enjoy—PC University

Welcome to campus, class of 2018!

You’ve survived the modern college admissions rat race and wrangled your mother into buying you that overpriced shower caddie at Bed Bath & Beyond. BBBY 0.00% It would seem the hard part is over, but not so fast.

Sure, you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s, but you haven’t yet learned to “check your privilege.” That’s what orientation is for. Perhaps you’re only now learning that white is a synonym for racist. Brace yourselves for lectures all week on how to spot diversity and workshops about how to ensure your room is a safe space.

Here are some tips for surviving PCU, the politically correct university of your choice:

Your course catalog may include offerings like “Transnational Transgender Social Formations: Political Economies and Health Disparities” (at Columbia) or “Romantic Extremities: Madness, Revolution, Sublimity, and the Celtic Fringe” (Wesleyan) or “Made from Scrap: The Poetics and Politics of Salvage in the Americas” (Berkeley). If you don’t know what any of that means, you’re not alone.

Stick to classes where you understand every word in the course title. Subjects with two syllables are a good bet: Econ. Latin. Great Books. Con Law. Plato. Austen. Milton. Dante. Nietzsche.

Sesame Street: not suitable for children

Hadley Freeman:

Thrillingly, the early episodes of Sesame Street have just been released on DVD, but be warned – those shows are dangerous! Slapped across the front of the case is the message, “These early Sesame Street episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.” And looking at the wobbly sets and be-stringed puppets, they probably are better suited to sentimental adults than kids raised on Pixar. But this sticker is an expression of concern.

It’s not the psychedelic nature of the programme in its 70s incarnation that worries, but the behaviour it might encourage. Children dancing in the street! Grown men reading storybooks to kids – for no apparent reason!

Cookie Monster is the number one problem, not because he is a monster, but because he eats cookies (encourages obesity), and when his addiction takes a special stranglehold, the plate (might hurt). His alter ego, Alistair Cookie, used to smoke a pipe before eating it, which, Sesame Street producer Carol-Lynn Parente explained to the New York Times, “modelled the wrong behaviour”, and so Alistair was, tragically, dropped, and he now probably munches down on pipes in bitterness in illegal pipe dens.

The clearly depressed Oscar the Grouch is another problem: “We might not be able to create a character like Oscar today,” said Parente, which is possibly one of the most depressing sentences I have read in my life.

Relax, your kids will be fine

The Economist:

Philosopher John Locke warned that children should not be given too much “unwholesome fruit” to eat. Three centuries later, misguided ideas about child-rearing are still rife. Many parents fret that their offspring will die unless ceaselessly watched. In America the law can be equally paranoid. In South Carolina this month Debra Harrell was jailed for letting her nine-year-old daughter play in a park unsupervised. The child, who had a mobile phone and had not been harmed in any way, was briefly taken into custody of the social services.

Ms Harrell’s draconian punishment reflects the rich world’s angst about parenting. By most objective measures, modern parents are far more conscientious than previous generations. Since 1965 labour-saving devices such as washing machines and ready meals have freed eight hours a week for the average American couple, but slightly more than all of that time has been swallowed up by childcare. Dads are far more hands-on than their fathers were, and working mothers spend more time nurturing their sprogs than the housewives of the 1960s did. This works for both sides: children need love and stimulation; and for the parents, reading to a child or playing ball games in the garden is more fulfilling than washing dishes.

Is Your Student Prepared for Life?

Ben Carpenter:

AS 16 million young adults set off for college this fall, they are looking at some frightening statistics. Despite the ever-rising cost of getting a degree, one number stands out like a person shouting in a campus library: According to a recent poll conducted by AfterCollege, an online entry-level job site, 83 percent of college seniors graduated without a job this spring. Even when these young people finally do get jobs, the positions are often part time, low wage or not related to their career interests. The problem isn’t the quality of higher education in the United States, so what’s missing?

Two years ago, in a full-blown panic, I asked myself this exact question when I realized that my eldest daughter, a recent college graduate, had no idea what the world was about to demand of her. She had gone to a good school and done well as a student, but had never thought about her future in a structured way, and I realized what she was missing — an education in career training.

gap, Latin America must produce better teachers

The Economist:

THE Liceo Bicentenario San Pedro is a modern secondary school in Puente Alto, a gritty district of Santiago in Chile. Opened in 2012, the school nestles amid the vestiges of a shantytown where urban sprawl meets the vineyards of the Maipo valley. Most of its pupils are drawn from families classed as “vulnerable”. Yet in national tests it ranks fourth among municipal (ie, public) schools in Chile.

The school has done well by hiring committed young teachers and by offering them more time for preparation and in-service training, according to Germán Codina, the mayor of Puente Alto. When Bello strolled around the liceo recently, he saw teachers who visibly commanded the attention of their pupils. Sadly, it is far more common in Latin American schools to see inattentive children talk among themselves while a teacher writes on the blackboard. It is schooling by rote, not reasoning. And it imposes an unacceptable handicap on Latin Americans.

Revisiting Teenage Dreams: School Alums Watch Video Messages They Made Ten Years Before

Sue Shellenbarger:

One great way to make yourself cringe is to watch video of yourself as a teenager. If only you could go back in time and give yourself a little advice to ease the way forward.

Young adults from the York School Class of 2004 in Monterey, Calif., were confronted with their teenage hopes and dreams when they gathered earlier this month for their 10-year high school reunion. Each viewed a video “message to my future self” recorded more than a decade ago during senior year. The videos—mostly about a minute long—are a 15-year tradition at York, a private high school with a diverse enrollment of 230 students, 35% to 40% of them on financial aid.

While the videos elicited plenty of laughter and eye-rolling, the 14 members of York’s 53-student Class of 2004 who attended the reunion saw value in pausing to revisit goals set long ago. Many found that their teenage selves had sketched out achievable road maps—though they’d underestimated the confidence and patience needed to pursue them.

The members of the York Class of 2004 were unusually well-equipped to achieve their ambitions. Nearly all York students attend college and 83% graduate in four years, more than twice the national average. Still, they exited college into a recession, and most of them had trouble building the careers they wanted.

Home schooling rate accelerates in North Carolina

T. Keung Hui

North Carolina’s home schools are growing at a record rate and are now estimated to have more students than the state’s private schools.

New figures from the state show there were 60,950 home schools in the 2013-14 school year, a 14.3 percent increase from the prior year and a 27 percent increase from two years ago. The state estimates there are 98,172 home-schoolers, marking the first time that North Carolina’s home-school enrollment has surpassed the number in private schools.

Last school year, there were 95,768 students at the state’s private schools, a total that’s been dropping annually since the 2007-08 school year.

“If you’re dissatisfied with public education, you really have two routes,” said Kevin McClain, president of North Carolinians For Home Education, a statewide support group. “You can send your child to a private school – which is really expensive – or you can home-school. The economy means that, for many people, you home-school.”

Cancel that violin class

The Economist:

parents fear two things: that their children will die in a freak accident, and that they will not get into Harvard. The first fear is wildly exaggerated. The second is not, but staying awake all night worrying about it will not help—and it will make you miserable.

Modern parents see risks that their own parents never considered. They put gates at the top of stairs, affix cushions to table corners and jam plastic guards into sockets to stop small fingers from getting electrocuted. Those guards are “potential choking hazards”, jests Lenore Skenazy, the author of “Free-Range Kids”. Ms Skenazy let her nine-year-old son ride the New York subway on his own. He was thrilled; but when she spoke about it on TV, a mob of worrywarts called her “America’s worst mom”.

Is De-Skilling Killing Your Arts Education?

F Scott Hess:

In 1974, when I was a freshman art student at a small Midwestern liberal arts college in Wisconsin, I wanted to learn to draw the human figure. One untenured professor took me under his wing and encouraged that process, but the department chair, an alcoholic abstract painter, stumbled into the studio late one evening while I was studying a plaster head that showed the muscles of the face. He slowly looked at me, then at the head. “This is not art!” he screamed, lifting the cast high and smashing it on the cement at his feet. Pleased with his stirring defense of Western Civilization, he staggered out the door.

Over the years my representational painting colleagues have expressed many similar stories, some funny in retrospect, coming as they do from the lucky few who successfully survived the vicissitudes of our academic art institutions. My experience was by no means an isolated incident for me. Other professors in other institutions purposely scribbled crude ‘corrections’ over carefully drawn works, daily held my work up to ridicule because of its style, or browbeat any opinion that tried to breach their academic dogma. I was a stubborn young cuss and held my ground. I often heard from fellow students, “I want to draw like you, but I don’t dare!”

Choose your parents wisely


SHANA, a bright and chirpy 12-year-old, goes to ballet classes four nights a week, plus Hebrew school on Wednesday night and Sunday morning. Her mother Susan, a high-flying civil servant, played her Baby Einstein videos as an infant, read to her constantly, sent her to excellent schools and was scrupulous about handwashing.

Susan is, in short, a very conscientious mother. But she worries that she is not. She says she thinks about parenting “all the time”. But, asked how many hours she spends with Shana, she says: “Probably not enough”. Then she looks tearful, and describes the guilt she feels whenever she is not nurturing her daughter.

The College Education Bubble

Michael Hurd

Clearly, government intervention has done for the higher educational marketplace what it did for the real estate marketplace a decade back. Politicians in both parties decided that it would be nice for everyone to own a house. As a result, regulations and incentives were initiated by the government to ensure that home loans were cheap and easy to get. This created the biggest real estate bubble in human history. Who got the blame? The private lenders and “lack of regulation,” even though it was regulation (i.e. manipulation of the marketplace for political ends) that gave us the bubble. (For one of the best books on this subject, see Cato Institute president and former BB&T CEO John Allison’s The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure: Why Pure Capitalism is the World Economy’s Only Hope.)

It’s the same dynamic in education. Government “does everything possible to ensure every young American gets a college education.” What could be wrong with that? In practice, it means government does everything possible to make it easier for people to get college educations, thereby driving up demand relative to the limited supply. This inevitably breeds inflation. The more you try to make something free or cheap, the more demand you will create for it. The result will either be shortages or inflation. There’s no getting around it!

Politicians such as Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren and others maintain that college tuition inflation is the fault of the private sector and mean people who won’t allow “more” funding. But what does “more funding” actually consist of? The national debt cannot be paid off for decades or centuries, and it’s growing exponentially even without more student aid. More loans? But tampering with the loan marketplace, artificially stimulating demand, only creates a bubble, as we saw with real estate and now with education.