August 08, 2014

1:53 PM | Are Some Elite Colleges Understating Net Prices?
As a faculty member researching higher education finance, I’m used to seeing the limitations in federal data available to students and their families as they choose colleges. For example, the net price of attendance measure (measured as tuition and fees, room and board, books, and other expenses less any grants received) is only for first-time, full-time students—and therefore excludes a lot of students with great financial need. But a new graphic-heavy report from The Chronicle of […]
1:49 PM | As State Pre-K Expands, Where Does Head Start Fit In?
Much of the expanding policy conversation around early childhood education has revolved around state pre-K. Head Start, the country’s largest early education program, has been somewhat left out of the conversation. Providing approximately one million children from low-income families with comprehensive services, Head Start can play a pivotal role in the lives of many youngsters. When implemented well, Head Start can be a high-quality pre-K model. However, the program has its critics and […]

August 07, 2014

6:28 PM | Streamlining in Early Ed Doesn't Mean Eliminating Programs
Observers of early childhood education in the U.S., from parents to researchers to policymakers, would be hard-pressed to find much evidence that the country has any system at all. Child care providers are siloed from pre-K teachers, who are often removed from opportunities available to K-12 schools. Families face a hodgepodge of eligibility rules and requirements as they move from home visiting to Head Start (or to a state-funded pre-K program). Even federal funding streams barely intersect, […]
4:31 PM | Building a Better Student Loan Default Measure
Student loan default rates have been a hot political topic as of late given increased accountability pressures at the federal level. Currently, colleges can lose access to all federal financial aid (grants as well as loans) if more than 25% of students defaulted on their loans within two years of leaving college for three consecutive cohorts. Starting later this year, the measure used will be the default rate within three years of leaving college, and the cutoff for federal eligibility will […]
4:00 PM | No, We Can't 'Coach' the Poor to Success in College
A new book, Mentoring At-Risk Students through the Hidden Curriculum of Education, by Buffy Smith, an associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at Minnesota’s University of St. Thomas, argues that colleges should help low-income students by trying to help them navigate American higher education’s “hidden curriculum.” Because, in theory, once the historically disadvantaged understand the hidden rules of college, then they’ll get it and succeed. There is […]
3:06 PM | An all-male panel is no way to honour Rachel Carson | Victoria Johnson
Rachel Carson faced gender-based slurs on her work in the 1960s but, 50 years on, why does the Royal Society still struggle to invite women to talk about her legacy?In October, the Royal Society, one of the oldest and most respected scientific institutions in the world is hosting an event with the Royal Literature Society, marking the 50-year anniversary of Rachel Carsons death. Taking Silent Spring, her most famous work on the environmental consequences of chemical pesticides (or biocides as […]

August 06, 2014

4:56 PM | Why Does UVA's Board Need a Gag Rule?
Apparently the University of Virginia, which back in 2012 got into a lot of trouble when the school’s Board of Visitors tried to fire its popular president for her lack of enthusiasm for an ambiguous plan to move toward more technology and Internet-based instruction, had a new plan to try to avoid controversy. Under new rules made public by the Washington Post, members of the school’s board would no longer be allowed to speaking publically if they had any object to decisions […]
2:51 PM | The Common Core State Standards Aren't a Big Deal
In a new column at Talking Points Memo, Conor P. Williams points out that, despite the superheated rhetoric, the Common Core State Standards are really pretty boring policy. But we should still stick with them. Common Core standards are neither a curse nor a cure-all. Neither pox nor panacea. But we should still stick with them. Why? Here’s something that most Americans don’t realize about our education system: we rarely have a good idea about what’s going on. We spend […]
11:16 AM | Science communication needs infrastructure, not more professors | Alice Bell
The Royal Society has advertised for a professorship in public engagement with science. This makes a mockery of both science and science communication expertiseThe Royal Society has advertised for a professorship in public engagement with science; a well-established scientist with exceptional scientific communication skills and media experience to support the societys public engagement work. There are two problems with this. Firstly, they seem to want someone to do PR, not public engagement. […]
9:51 AM | Blogging emerging technologies at UCL
Jack Stilgoe looks back at some of his students top blogs from 2013/14.Every year, I teach a course for UCL undergraduates on Governing Emerging Technologies. Students from our department Science and Technologies join students from science degrees around UCL to think about technologies before they are set in stone. The course is an exercise in navigating uncertainty. There are few definitive statements to rely upon, and I ask students to be sceptical of claims that scientists, inventors, […]

August 05, 2014

2:55 PM | Why Education Colleges Need to Move Out of the Ivory Tower and into Urban Schools
It’s time to move teacher-training programs to where they belong - the schools. Teachers in training simply don’t spend enough time developing the relationships and skills required to become effective, persisting professionals. Accordingly, teacher-training programs must adjust to give aspiring teachers more time in the actual settings candidates aspire to work in. However, adjusting academic programs to allow teacher candidates to train longer than the traditional 12-week student […]

August 04, 2014

5:42 PM | Reflections on the Underemployment of College Graduates
Most people — and especially parents of 20-something college graduates — know that the job market is particularly tough right now for recent college grads. But so tough that about half of them are either unemployed or underemployed? That is what analysts for the New York Federal Reserve Bank of New York calculated, in a January, 2014, report, “Are Recent College Graduates Finding Good Jobs?”  Defining “underemployed as working in low-paid jobs that don’t […]
2:47 PM | At Troubled Detroit Schools, Adjusting to More Class Time
DETROIT --Many of Malik Canty’s classmates left Southeastern High School of Technology and Law last summer when they discovered the school year would no longer end in June but barrel straight through to August. Malik, though, could see the value in the new requirement. And he thought his peers at other schools in the city, let loose for the summer while he was still in class, would have been better off sticking it out like he did. Coming from Detroit Public Schools, the 17-year-old said, […]

August 02, 2014

7:48 AM | What Homeland has to do with causal inference in process tracing
More often than one might expect, television series and films offer excellent illustrations of methodological and methods-related arguments (which is worth a blog post of its own). When I was working on my paper on comparative hypothesis testing in process … Continue reading →

August 01, 2014

6:00 PM | Common Core Has a Messaging Problem. It Also Has a Real Problem.
Recently Stephanie Simon over at Politico wrote that opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a project to bring state curricula into alignment and improve the quality of American education by requiring common, high-level examinations, is escalating because Common Core advocates have been “fighting emotion with talking points.” But things might get better because advocates will now change their focus in order to ...get Americans angry about the current state of […]
1:39 PM | A Look at Mississippi's Request to End Cheating, with Tests Included
Last week, the Mississippi Department of Education requested $1 million from the state legislature to combat cheating on statewide examinations. The request comes on the heels of alleged cheating systems The Clarion-Ledger wrote about at Clarksdale’s Heidelberg Elementary School earlier this year. Thereafter the state’s education department spent $300,000 to hire Utah-based consultant Caveon Test Security to investigate the Heidelberg case. The case comes amid a spate of cheating […]
1:26 PM | Surrounded by Messy School Reform and "Drama" on the Streets, a Newark Girl Tries to Land on Her Feet
NEWARK, N.J. -- Nydresha is a small girl with big dreams about Hawaii. In her dreams, the 12-year-old and her mother live in a beach house. There is peace, and there is quiet. There is no drama, no abandoned houses and no cursing -- not even by Nydresha herself. She curses sometimes in real life but always feels badly about it afterwards. Nydresha’s mother, known on the streets as Lil’ Bit for the tiny stature she passed on to her only child, likes how the girl thinks. She’d […]
4:00 AM | More Education for Women No Longer Means More Divorce
For decades one of the awkward things about education achievement is that, while we all kind of thought education was a good thing, there were unintended consequences. Some of the outcomes for educated people turned out not be so great for society itself. In particular, women who were better educated than their husband were more likely to get divorced. It’s not true anymore. According to a study published recently in the American Sociological Review: The reversal of the gender gap in […]

July 31, 2014

5:55 PM | Financial Aid as Deception
What’s wrong with financial aid in America? A lot, for sure, but one of the common responses when critics complain about the high cost of college in America is that colleges also offer quite generous financial aid packages to students. We discount everything in America when we sell it. Why should college be any different? But that’s a problem, argues Sara Goldrick-Rab, associate professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. As she […]
2:48 PM | Huge Confusion in Mississippi Over Common Core
It’s been called a federal curriculum, the end of literature lessons, and even, here in Mississippi, a “Muslim takeover of schools.” The Common Core, a set of math and English language arts standards that spells out what skills students are expected to master in kindergarten through twelfth grade, will be rolled out in every Mississippi school this year. The new standards are not a curriculum; instead they set benchmarks for math and English achievement in each grade. In 2010, […]

July 30, 2014

9:10 PM | New Research on the Efficacy of Providing School Breakfast
When I was a kid, I got weirdly obsessed with eating breakfast. As I remember it, this was almost entirely a result of this cereal commercial: It wasn’t just the commercial, of course. I have three younger brothers; ours was a raucous house where I did, indeed, have “a lot to do before lunch.” Every. Single. Day. If I missed breakfast, those guys would eat me alive on the field, on the court, or at the card table. Most of us take it as a given that breakfast is a critical […]

July 29, 2014

6:21 PM | Why a New Jersey School District Decided Giving Laptops to Students is a Terrible Idea
Inside Hoboken’s combined junior-senior high school is a storage closet. Behind the locked door, mothballed laptop computers are strewn among brown cardboard boxes. Others are stacked one atop another amid other computer detritus. Dozens more are stored on mobile computer carts, many of them on their last legs. That’s all that remains from a failed experiment to assign every student a laptop in this northern New Jersey suburb of New York City. It began five years ago with an […]
2:40 PM | Report: 31 Million Americans Have College Credits, But No Degree
At a time when policymakers are struggling to increase the proportion of Americans with college and university degrees, more than 31 million people have already accumulated credits but quit without graduating, a new report shows. And while a third of those left after as little as a single term, about 21 million spent more than a term on campus before giving up on their higher educations, according to the research, from the National Student Clearinghouse. More than four million have at least two […]

July 28, 2014

10:22 PM | Special Education Law in Need of an Overhaul
New America’s Clare McCann writes on The Hill that lawmakers have constructed a formula that creates significant disparities in federal special education funding to school districts. She writes, The fact that states are receiving such inequitable IDEA allocations to afford education for one of the country’s most vulnerable populations should serve as evidence that lawmakers need to take action to update and revise the formula and rid it of those disparities. States and local […]
5:06 PM | US Educators Lead the World in Overestimating Student Poverty, Which May Affect Educational Mobility
AndreSource: Andreas Schleicher OECD Do educators’ perceptions of how disadvantaged their students are matter? Put another way, when teachers think their students are underprivileged, do they have lower expectations for them, and do their students achieve less at school? In a July 22, 2014, article “Poverty and the perception of poverty - how both matter for schooling outcomes,” Andreas Schleicher, director of education and skills at the Organization for Economic […]
8:00 AM | Islamic reform in South Asia: Book review
This is a preprint of a review whose final and definite form has been published in Contemporary South Asia © Taylor & Francis; see publisher's version and entry in my publication list. The book itself is here Islamic reform in South Asia, edited by Filippo Osella and Caroline Osella, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013, xxviii + 509 pp., ISBN 978-11-0703-175-3 read more
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