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
Posts Tagged: education
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. Sarah Kendzior at AlterNet explains why underpaid adjunct faculty is a sign of a greater problem:
But all Americans should be concerned about adjuncts, and not only because adjuncts are the ones teaching our youth.
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
The reading skills of American adults are significantly lower than those of adults in most other developed countries, according to a new international survey. What’s more, over the last two decades Americans’ reading proficiency has declined across most age groups, and has only improved significantly for 65-year-olds.
In it, Tressie McMillan Cottom writes about the students getting swindled by “schools” like the one Mills worked for, who are disproportionately low-income women of color....more
“Québec has long been a holdout, but that era’s over. Which makes the students indisputedly right about one thing: the problem with ‘reforms’ like these is that they constitute an abandonment of that old saw, the projet de société.”...more
“In its breadth, depth and frank embrace of sexuality as, what Vernacchio calls, a ‘force for good’ — even for teenagers — this sex-ed class may well be the only one of its kind in the United States.”
A NY Times Magazine article on the state of sex education highlights a Philadelphia Quaker Friends high school teacher’s comprehensive approach to teaching sex ed....more
“The problem with mass-produced textbooks…was that they can cost $65 each and aren’t aligned with Minnesota’s math tests so the district would be paying for whole chapters that are never used.”
A few Minnesota high school districts look to save money and improve test scores by replacing imported textbooks with online curriculum created by teachers in the district....more
Diane Ravitch walks us through the history of school issues and the failed reform policies in the American educational system. The black-white achievement gap, test scores that diverge along socioeconomic lines and the failures of the No Child Left Behind legislation—Ravitch goes through it all....more
Technology and higher education have been enjoying a symbiotic relationship in recent years.
Apple’s creative visions have been coming to life and flourishing on academic platforms, but now that Steve Jobs is stepping down, should we be worried about how it’s going to affect higher education?...more
Finland’s got an optimally functioning educational system, one that America can learn a thing or two from. Its success is due to its “whatever it takes” methodology, and also its top tier educators who are selected from the top 10% of Finland’s graduates....more
Haruki Murakami was removed from a summer reading list for middle schooler and high school students in one New Jersey school district. Apparently, some of the language in Norwegian Wood concerned parents and a couple students. And this is the perfect transition into announcing Banned Books Week, coming up the week of September 24th, which is all about combating censorship!...more
Wired’s got an article on technologically-informed education—Khan Academy, an educational website in which, “Students, or anyone interested enough to surf by, can watch some 2,400 videos in which the site’s founder, Salman Khan, chattily discusses principles of math, science, and economics.”
This website ostensibly aids in solving the “middle of the class teaching,” that neglects the specific needs of students....more
Another miraculous educational turnaround, another example of rampant cheating. I think we’ve seen enough of a pattern now of school districts doing a quick turnaround only for the numbers to be fishy that now when a politician starts claiming “miracle!” the assumption should be that they fiddled with the numbers and we just have to look for it....more
Mother Jones published an article about the latest battle on the education front—evaluating teachers, which is re-raising issues about what public school model works best.
The implementation of the new evaluation methods involves both “internal measurements” (where teachers are measured by other experienced teachers and principals) and “external measures” (performance-based measures like test scores)....more
An article in the Atlantic discusses the Washington Post’s graph that charts undergraduate degrees and their expected income levels.
The Post’s graph seems pretty deterministic (or maybe it just reflects how trendy it is to plot income level against groups of people), implying that all humanities majors get ready for frugal lifestyles in education and social work....more
“People talk about accountability, measurements, tenure, test scores and pay for performance. These questions are worthy of debate, but are secondary to recruiting and training teachers and treating them fairly. There is no silver bullet that will fix every last school in America, but until we solve the problem of teacher turnover, we don’t have a chance.”
Dave Eggers and Nínive Calegari, cofounders of 826 Valencia, wrote an op-ed on the dire state of the teaching profession as evidenced by their dwindling salaries, high professional turnover and the need to recruit the next generation of teachers....more
There’s so much to love about this story–the use of a feminist icon as an educational motivator for women in non-traditional trades; the acknowledgment that jobs dominated by women aren’t valued monetarily the same way jobs dominated by men are; the determination of Lynn Shaw to not be the only woman on the job anymore, just for starters....more
My first preschool tour was not a good experience. It was going okay until I realized I had dirty underwear balled into the leg of my pants. At first I thought the back of my leg was swollen, but then I felt the bump slide a little lower and realized what was happening....more