Posts

July 25, 2014

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6:47 PM | Poison Ivy, Again
For the early part of this week social media was really excited about this piece in the New Republic about social mobility and the nation’s fanciest colleges. The Ivy League apparently has a zombie asshole problem. Attending an Ivy League (or Ivy Leage-ish Stanford, Williams, Duke, Amherst, etc.) school will ruin people, and risk turning them into “out-of-touch, entitled little shits.” As William Deresiewicz writes: Our system of elite education manufactures young people […]
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3:55 AM | Stop Trying to Plan the Campus for the Future
One of the big trends in policy journalism has to do with discussing college “in the future.” You know, when robot teachers instruct multiethnic superstar children in their bedrooms on Jupiter, or something. We’re never quite sure what’s going to happen, but it’s pretty clear it’s going to involve a lot of amazing new technology. Sometimes institutions attempt to plan for this, and design buildings for technology that doesn’t exist. This is maybe […]

July 24, 2014

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6:00 PM | Why Grandparents Should Pay for College
The cost of college is looking a little too high? Maybe you aren’t sure how you can ever afford four years of a rigorous collegiate education for your kids. Even public schools are looking pretty pricey these days. What to do? Well, your parents sure look to be living pretty luxuriously in their retirement. Maybe they could pay for your children’s college. That might be a fairly good idea, argues Robyn Post in a Reuters piece: Generosity can also be channeled toward significant […]

July 23, 2014

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9:08 PM | A Path Forward on Early-Ed Reform
If the recession was difficult for adults, it was just as hard on young children. Between 2009 and 2013, enrollment in state-funded pre-K programs barely budged, up from 40 to 42 percent. Meanwhile, per-child spending on those pre-K programs fell, and Head Start programs felt the effects of sequestration more acutely than most, with 57,000 kids forced out virtually overnight and their parents stranded to scramble for child care. Policymakers continued to ignore the needs of […]
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12:07 AM | Unaccompanied Children Crisis Has Implications for Education Budget
By now, readers have undoubtedly heard about the tens of thousands of children streaming over the border, largely from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The ranks of unaccompanied children, as they are known, has grown dramatically in recent months as children flee some of the most dangerous countries in the world outside of active war zones in hope of finding safety and refuge away from the gang violence and murder in their hometowns. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson predicted a […]

July 22, 2014

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8:49 PM | Imitating White Privilege: Why Our Public Schools Don't Look Like the Public
“Why can’t New Orleans have a charter school for middle class blacks?” A black physician and parent of a teenage daughter unashamedly asked me this question as we deboarded a first class cabin from our flight to the Crescent City. If I weren’t bourgie (African American slang for Bourgeoisie - pronounced boo-zhee), I would have cringed. Our affectations won’t allow us to admit, but black middle class families really do need quality public schools. Many middle-income […]
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2:19 PM | Colleges and Universities Aren't Ready for New Common Core Standards
America’s primary and secondary schools may be busy preparing for the onset of the Common Core standards, meant to better prepare students for college, but one key partner isn’t even close to ready: colleges and universities themselves. States with and without plans to assess student learning and the Common Core That’s the conclusion of a new report from the New America Foundation, which finds that “there is little evidence to suggest colleges are meaningfully aligning […]

July 21, 2014

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4:18 PM | Right and Wrong Methods for Teaching First Graders Who Struggle With Math
To help young kids who struggle with math, well-intentioned teachers often turn to non-traditional teaching methods. They use music and movement to involve the whole body.  They use hands-on materials such as popsicle sticks to help the students understand tens and hundreds. Or they encourage students to come up with different strategies for solving 7 + 8. One complicated way could be starting with 10 + 10 and then taking 3 away (because 7 is 3 less than 10) and then taking 2 away […]

July 18, 2014

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3:16 PM | When Teachers Cheat
What do we need all of these damn standardized tests for, anyway? Shouldn’t we just trust the teachers? So wonders Greg Jouriles in an interesting piece at Education Week. And he’s got a good point: Standardized tests are unnecessary because they rarely show what we don't already know. Ask any teacher and she can tell you which students can read and write. That telling usually comes in the form of letter grades or evaluations that break down progress on skills. So trust the […]

July 17, 2014

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4:53 AM | Does Khan Academy Work?
Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization that offers instruction via video tutorials on YouTube, is one of the newest exciting developments in education. So many of us today learn how to do things--cook food, do home repair, change the oil in our cars--using videos we found by Googling stuff on the internet. It makes sense to extend this to education. Why shouldn't we let people learn at their own pace? This is what spurred former hedge fund analyst Salman Khan to create the academy […]
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3:49 AM | Why San Francisco's Dysfunctional Community College Gets to Suvive
Last fall former Monthly editor Haley Sweetland Edwards wrote a piece for this magazine about California’s low-performing community colleges. She concentrated on the City College of San Francisco, a community college that had recently endured one of the worst fates to befall an institution of higher learning. As she wrote: Earlier on the… afternoon of my visit, the regional accrediting commission announced its decision to strip the seventy-eight-year-old institution of its […]

July 16, 2014

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8:57 PM | Federal Education Data Show Male-Female Wage Gap Among Young College Graduates Remains High
Conventional wisdom has it that young men and women tend to earn similar wages as young adults, but that the male-female gap widens a lot with age, especially as women “lean out” during their child-bearing years. The Pew Research Center, for example, calculated that young adult women (ages 25-34) earned 93 cents for each dollar that her male counterpart earned in 2012. Near parity. But the latest data from the U.S. Department of Education, which surveyed a nationally […]
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3:35 PM | Beyond Subprime Learning: Our Ideas for Accelerating Progress in Early Education
In January, the Early Education Initiative released the report Subprime Learning: Early Education in America Since the Great Recession. We found that during the last five years the federal government and states focused on building infrastructure and improving coordination across early childhood programs. This attention was sorely needed, but now it’s time to turn the focus to teaching and learning in the early years and up through third grade. Our new report, Beyond Subprime Learning: […]

July 15, 2014

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4:36 PM | Willing to Die for Justice? Comparing Post-Katrina Student Activism to Freedom Summer
­Two of the most significant student movements in the United States occurred in Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans - separated by less than a three hours’ drive and fifty years. En masse, high school students and coeds migrated to these cities leading up to Freedom Summer of 1964, and they came in the years immediately following Hurricane Katrina. Those cities served as classrooms that taught students sociology lessons like no other, but what parallels and distinctions can we draw […]
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4:33 PM | Free College Idea Picks Up Momentum
Adele Williams hears from a lot of her friends from high school about their struggles to afford the cost of college. “I have a best friend who goes to a public university, and she’s in quite a lot of debt,” said Williams. Higher and higher tuition, she said, “is just a scary thought for people to face.” Except for her. Williams doesn’t pay any tuition at all. She goes to Alice Lloyd College in Kentucky, where students attend for free in exchange for […]
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4:29 PM | The Case Against Exit Exams
Students today cannot afford to be high school dropouts any more than they can afford to enter college and the workforce unprepared. Luckily, the transition to college- and career-ready standards across the country offers states the opportunity to fully reimagine how they can best ensure students not only graduate from high school, but do so ready to succeed in higher education and on the job. The new standards open possibilities for richer instruction, better curricula, and more deliberate […]

July 14, 2014

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6:03 PM | In Mississippi Schools, Access to Technology Lacking, Uneven
CLINTON, Miss.—When Kelsi Collins was first given a laptop last year at Clinton High School, she hesitated to change from years of reading textbooks and writing assignments by hand to researching topics and typing papers online. It didn’t help that, after she’d ignored teachers’ warnings to back up her work, her computer crashed and she lost ‘everything’ just nine weeks into the school year. Still, within a few months, Collins was hooked. “I use it for […]
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1:00 PM | How the Washington Monthly Helped Kill Corinthian Colleges and Tame the For-Profit College Industry
Last month I wrote about how Corinthian Colleges, one of the largest for-profit education companies in the United States, was in trouble. A lot of trouble. After months of wrangling about the outcomes of Corinthian students, the federal government finally put a 21-day hold on the company’s access to federal grants and loans. And that turns out to have been a serious blow. On July 4, Goldie Blumenstyk wrote at the Chronicle of Higher Education that Corinthian will die: Corinthian […]

July 12, 2014

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1:57 PM | Should Colleges Be Able to Determine Costs of Living?
I was reading through the newest National Center for Education Statistics report with just-released federal data on the cost of college and found some interesting numbers. (The underlying data are available under the “preliminary release” tab of the IPEDS Data Center.) Table 2 of the report shows the change in inflation-adjusted costs for tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, and other expenses included in the cost of attendance figure between 2011-12 and […]

July 11, 2014

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4:56 PM | What the Department of Education Gets Wrong About School Counselors
Alyson Klein at Politics K-12 reports that, on the heels of a civil rights data release revealing that one in five high schools has no school counselor, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is pushing state school chiefs to support school counselors more effectively. Though Klein focuses on the divergence between the administration’s rhetorical support for school counseling and the possible ramifications of their funding strategy, the Secretary’s letter underscores the […]
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4:51 PM | Teacher Input in the Quest for Personalized Learning
As everything in our media environment becomes more tailored to an individual’s tastes and skills, education too is searching for ways to put the technology’s capacity for individualization to use. Whether to boost student engagement, diagnose a student’s learning gaps more precisely, or provide automated differentiation, personalized learning is the object of much hope for those who see technology’s potential for improving education. Still, that potential is far from […]

July 10, 2014

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5:00 PM | Stop Blaming the High Schools
Americans have been thinking for quite some time that the country’s education system doesn’t really work out so well. Our high school graduation rate is too low. Our college graduation rate is too low. Even college graduates don’t seem to do very well when compared to college graduates in other countries. But what’s really the source of the problem here? According to this piece over at Vox, maybe it’s not the colleges responsible for the problem. As writer Libby […]
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3:15 PM | Federal Special Ed Funding Formula Needs Repair
Last month, the Obama administration announced a new plan to hold states accountable for the successes and failures of students with disabilities in the K-12 educational system. Students with disabilities graduate from high school at a rate 20 percentage points lower than the overall student population, and struggle to achieve proficiency in math and reading. States should have high expectations for those students, said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, or risk those […]

July 09, 2014

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5:13 PM | Harvard Creates Central Office To Investigate Sexual Assault
Harvard will implement its first university-wide sexual assault policy this fall. As part of the policy, a team of trained civil rights investigators, working out of a new centralized office, will review all sexual assault cases at each of the university's thirteen schools. Previously, academic administrators had been the ones to investigate those reports. In a statement, President Drew Faust said the university is committed to fostering an environment "free of sexual violence and […]
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5:00 PM | For Now, Religious Colleges Still Have to Cover Contraception
The decision in the Hobby Lobby case week, in which U.S. Supreme Court determined that privately held corporations could be exempt from components of laws to which their owners religiously object, was potentially interesting to many colleges. A few schools, after the passage of Obamacare, indicated similar concerns about their health insurance policies covering things like contraception. Many Catholic colleges baulked at being forced to cover birth control. But there is, according to this […]
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1:41 PM | State Financial Aid Application Deadlines-A Lousy Rationing Tool
Financial aid reform has become a hot political topic in Washington as of late, with legislation introduced or pending from Senate Democrats, House Republicans, and the bipartisan pair of Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Michael Bennet (D-CO). (Here is a nice summary of the pieces of legislation from the National College Access Network.) All three of the proposals support the use of “prior prior year” or PPY, which would advance the financial aid application timeline by up to one […]

July 08, 2014

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6:55 PM | Higher Ed Data Bill Band-Aids Over Problems
The House kicked off its incremental Higher Education Act reauthorization plan last week with the release of a few pieces of higher education legislation, including the Strengthening Transparency in Higher EducationAct. That bill, authored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and introduced by members of the House Education and Workforce Committee, would re-up a portion of the law to collect and create better consumer information related to colleges and universities. Foxx’s bill would make some […]
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1:31 PM | Q & A With Dr. Pamela High: Should Reading Be Part of a Checkup with the Pediatrician?
Not all babies will attend day care or preschool, but sooner or later, just about every kid visits the doctor. So if you have a message you want the parents of all young children to hear, turn to your local pediatrician to deliver it. That’s the logic behind the recruitment of pediatricians in Hillary Clinton’s Too Small to Fail campaign urging parents to read, talk and sing to their babies from infancy onward. And recently, as the publisher Scholastic donated a half-million books […]

July 07, 2014

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9:57 PM | In the Race to Improve New Orleans Schools, Let's Not Forget One Special Group
New Orleans’ renaissance won’t be determined by how many “smart” people emigrate into the city. Her resurgence will be determined by how smartly the space includes all its residents’ gifts. For five weeks in the summer, Carlos, my 18 year-old son, who has special needs, contributes to New Orleans’ recovery by building bat boxes - assembled homes for the oft-misunderstood flying mammals. “We typically think of bats as pests,” said Meaghan […]
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8:12 PM | In Mississippi, Food Gap Widens During Summer
Each summer, millions of Mississippi’s children rely on the federal Summer Food Service Program to provide up to two nutritious meals a day. It’s a small solution to a larger problem in Mississippi, where many of the most rural parts of the state lack access to healthy foods. Jackie Mader reports on the challenges and efforts to provide food to the state’s most vulnerable children. The town of Rolling Fork is nestled off Highway 61, 11 miles east of the Mississippi River. […]
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