August 18, 2014

6:30 PM | Lawmakers Dabble in Early Education Reform
In our recent report, Beyond Subprime Learning: Accelerating Progress in Early Education, we put forth dozens of recommendations for federal, state, and local policymakers; teacher preparation programs at colleges and universities; community organizations; and school leaders to help the field better meet the needs of young children and their families and improve access to high-quality early education opportunities. New America is just one of many groups with ideas for how to improve […]

August 15, 2014

8:50 PM | Increased Child Poverty Rate Disproportionately Impacts the Nation's Youngest Learners
The Annie E. Casey Foundation is out with its 25th KIDS COUNT Data Book, which has been providing the public with an annual glimpse into the well being of American children for the past quarter-century. As big anniversaries do, this one provides a natural opening to look at how we have fared. Trends were both positive and troubling during a time of major demographic shifts: The nation’s population of children climbed from 64 million to 74 million. The percentage of white children […]
8:48 PM | How Long Does Med School Need to Take?
So much of the discussion of health care in America, at least lately, centers around insurance, and how to make the medical industry more efficient and cost-effective. But another potential reform holds a lot of promise as well. Should we be trying to get doctors thorough medical school faster? According to a piece at NPR: Some doctors in the state of California will soon be able to practice after three years of medical school instead of the traditional four. The American Medical […]

August 14, 2014

3:00 PM | Kentucky State University President Takes a Salary Hit for his School
It’s odd that this happens so rarely given the financial constraints of academic institutions, but sometimes college administrators really do make big sacrifices for their institutions. Raymond Burse (below), since June the interim president of Kentucky State University, recently decided to give up part of his own generous salary to ensure that school’s lowest-paid employees can get raises. According to an article by Lillian Cunningham in the Washington Post: The 24 school […]

August 13, 2014

3:00 PM | The Education Silver Bullet
Standard and Poor’s, the very non-partisan financial ratings agency, recently warned the country that we were soon facing big problems if we didn’t address inequality. No longer is inequality just a problem for American poor people, because they don’t have very much money. No, it’s actually going to start to be a problem for the economy as a whole. According to the agency: Standard & Poor's sees extreme income inequality as a drag on long-run economic growth. We've […]
11:41 AM | Margaret Thatcher's surprising relationship with Dorothy Hodgkin | Alice Bell
A new play explores one of the most intriguing friendships in the history of science and politics: Margaret Thatcher and Dorothy Hodgkin. Alice Bell spoke to playwright Adam GanzAdam Ganzs new play The Chemistry Between Them, to be broadcast on Radio 4 this month explores one of the most intriguing friendships in the history of science and politics: Margaret Thatcher and Dorothy Hodgkin.As well as winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her pioneering scientific work on the structures of […]

August 12, 2014

1:32 PM | Getting Boys - and Girls- Interested in Computer Coding
Thanks to the glorification of Silicon Valley riches and a desire to inspire more of the next generation of children to pursue science and technology careers, computer coding instruction for children is spreading like wildfire around the United States. , an industry-financed group that is promoting computer coding in schools, says that 31,000 kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms are using its course, reaching 1.3 million students. It plans to train another 10,000 teachers […]

August 11, 2014

9:17 PM | Teach for America Shows it's Learned a Lesson About Diversity: Now, What's Next?
Teach for America is browner than ever before. This week, the organization announced that 50 percent of its incoming corps of 5,300 identify as people of color. This compares to the less than 20 percent of all teachers nationwide. Whether friend or foe, all should be encouraged by the news that a mainstream organization is responding to the needs of our communities and country. The question I have is, how good does TFA look now that it’s beige? Click to read more Andre Perry. Not only is […]
4:42 PM | Q & A With Author Elizabeth Green: Great Teachers Need ‘Specialized Skills and Knowledge’
In her new book Building a Better Teacher, Chalkbeat CEO Elizabeth Green obsessively explores what good teaching looks and sounds like - and whether the most effective teachers are “born for the blackboard,” in her words. Green’s quest takes her to schools of education and to classrooms in the United States and Japan, where she observes an array of methods and practices. Elizabeth Green Green finds that good teaching is “a complex craft,’’ but that “far […]

August 10, 2014

10:17 AM | Why are the media so obsessed with female scientists' appearance? | Alice Bell
Yet another profile of Susan Greenfield feels the need to dwell on her long, youthfully blond hair. Why are the media so rubbish at covering women in science?The Observer has an interview with Susan Greenfield this weekend. There are lots of questions it might prompt. Why, for example, has she still not answered Dorothy Bishops 2011 question about cause preceding effect when it comes to comments about autism, ADHD and internet use? Is the climate change analogy really all that helpful? Or why […]

August 08, 2014

6:00 PM | MOOCs Will Never Replace Real College. They'll Just Fix It
Unbundled! Revolution! Disruptive technology! For the last decade or so education futurists have been predicting radical changes to the structure of American colleges as a result of advances in technology. While certainly students use more new and innovate gadgets in college —indeed, many of these gadgets are a crucial part of their courses—the revolution hasn’t really happened. The basic structure of college, and its pricing, remains unchanged. As Benjamin Winterhalter puts […]
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, […]
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