Finland tops the charts for most literate nation, with the United States coming in seventh. A new study looks not just at literacy rates but at literacy behaviors. These behaviors include counting libraries, newspapers, and years of schooling. Ranking nations based on reading assessment only would result in a very different list of top readers....more
Posts Tagged: education
Donna Drucker writes for Notches on the Dean of Women’s Office at Purdue University. The Dean of Women’s Office was the late 1960s predecessor to the university’s modern-day Dean of Students role. In her piece, Drucker looks at the period-specific complaints and concerns registered by female students, and how the office addressed a wide range of issues on sexuality during this time period....more
I wouldn’t be a songwriter if it wasn’t for the books I read as a kid. … When you can escape into a book it trains your imagination to think big and to think that more can exist than what you see.
Elissa Nadworny at NPR’s Education Team interviews a researcher and former teacher, Travis Bristol, on the decline of black men in the teaching profession. Bristol’s research discovered that, in several cities, the overall number of black teachers had fallen and the largest loss was among black male teachers....more
Take that, Mom and Dad. Turns out studying literature can be practical. The Atlantic looks at the evolution of climate fiction, a new genre that’s getting readers interested in environmental issues and inspiring students to study STEM subjects:
In this respect, cli-fi is a truly modern literary phenomenon: born as a meme and raised into a distinct genre by the power of social media.
A massive delay in textbook printing in India’s southern state of Kerala has led to accusations of corruption in the government education ministry and violent protests. Government officials suggested schools print the books themselves, but for low-income areas this solution is impossible because of its high cost....more
Recently, several novelists have criticized the primary curriculum in the UK for teaching a brand of creative writing that is too “complex.” For the Guardian, Ella Slater explains why she agrees with such criticism, arguing that her primary education has made writing simple and direct prose difficult:
As someone now struggling with keeping my prose simple and fluent, I can only say that I regret that the primary curriculum left so much to the secondary.
Colleges and universities cannot be expected to solve America’s problems of inequity. They cannot repair broken families, or make up for learning deficits incurred early in childhood, or “level the playing field” for students with inadequate preparation. But they should be expected to try to mitigate these problems rather than worsen them—and one main reason they are failing to do so is their relentlessly rising cost.
Even though liberal arts degrees are actually good for business, Matt Burriesci (author of Dead White Guys: A Father, His Daughter, and the Great Books of the Western World) believes that supporters of the humanities should lay that argument to rest:
A liberal arts education … may not teach you how to change your oil or program a website, but it prepares you to learn any skill, and most importantly, to question how any task is performed, challenge conventional wisdom, and introduce new processes.
Students who read four to six books in a summer are more likely to maintain their reading skills between semesters. As a result, many schools develop summer reading programs to help stave off the inevitable intellectual decline students face during the summer months....more
Twenty homeless shelters serving NYC families will be getting their own libraries as part of a new initiative from the Departments of Education and Homeless Services. The project, supported by Scholastic and a number of literacy organizations, aims to address the needs of the city’s growing population of homeless children; last year there were over 76,000 homeless students in K-12 schools....more
Parents in one of the wealthiest towns in Texas are lobbying to get Ayn Rand into schools, and in a classic case of life imitating art (or art being chosen to reflect and enact a desired worldview, perhaps) they intend to do so at the expense of ‘The Working Poor,” a contemporary anthropological study by David K....more
A graduate of Chabot College, Tom Hanks defends President Obama’s new community college proposal, explaining the benefits of his free education in the New York Times....more
Though plenty of adjunct professors still teach students, the full-time, tenured, middle-class professor position is nearing extinction. Adjunct professors are paid at wages below the poverty line while the costs of the career—attending conferences, performing research, accessing academic databases—continue to rise....more
A new scientific study has demonstrated that learning to write by hand before learning to type helps in developing children’s brains, and the benefits stretch from childhood to adulthood memory-wise. Psychologist (and Rumpus interviewee) Maria Konnikova explains on the New York Times:
Cursive or not, the benefits of writing by hand extend beyond childhood.
Michael Gove, Britain’s Education Secretary, is rewriting Britain’s public school curriculum to be more British. To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, and The Crucible are among the titles being dropped from required reading lists.
“I put this in the context of what’s going on in Europe and the world at large, which is a growing nationalism, a growing suspicion of other people’s perspectives and ideas and values,” says Christopher Bigsby, professor of American Studies at the University of East Anglia and author of a biography of Miller....more
…over the past 40 years, despite endless debates about curricula, testing, teacher training, teachers’ salaries, and performance standards…there has been no improvement—none—in the academic proficiency of American high school students.
Also, “American high schools are even more boring than schools in nearly every other country.”...more