July 08, 2014

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 […]
4:07 PM | What-Syn-a-Name?
Synthetic biology is attracting attention from both scientists and regulators. But there is little agreement on what it is. Can we find a road out of synthetic biologys definitional quagmire?He was looking quite lost. An eminent scientist and UN delegate was stumbling over the meaning of a term that has been the subject of recent international debates: synthetic biology. Often called extreme genetic engineering, synthetic biology usually refers to new genetic engineering approaches that give […]
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 […]
11:35 AM | No one mention the war? Medics and the peace movement | Alice Bell
From 1951 onwards, groups of UK medics were active in the anti-nuclear movement. As we look back on their history - alongside that of the Radical Statistics movement and more - could we imagine such vibrant professions-based activism today?It started, as some things do, with a letter to the Lancet. It was January 1951, the Korean War was in full force, and the letter sought to draw attention to how military spending was impacting on healthcare. Signed by seven distinguished doctors - including […]
11:32 AM | Protest and Survive: highlights from the Medact archive | Elena Carter
Elena Carter, project archivist at the Wellcome Library, unveils five treasures from the Medact archive which tell the story of medical anti-nuclear activism during the Cold WarIn pictures: the history of anti-nuclear medical campaigning and protestAt the height of the Cold War, a group of medical professionals swapped stethoscopes for placards in a bid to highlight the threat posed by nuclear weapons.The Medact archive has just been catalogued at the Wellcome Library, and tells the story of […]
11:24 AM | Beds Not Bombs: The history of anti-nuclear medical campaigning and protest.
The Medact archive - just catalogued by the Wellcome Library - tells the story of a group of doctors, nurses and other specialist medical practitioners, who joined together to protest against nuclear weapons. Continue reading...

July 07, 2014

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 […]
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. […]

July 03, 2014

9:21 PM | Education Reform: You Can Fix the Sanctions but the Problem Is Still There
Beginning in 2010, the Obama administration offered states waivers from the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind Act, under which all students in America were supposed to be proficient in reading and math by this year, and if they weren’t, school would have to institute “corrective action” and restructuring plans. States weren’t on target to meet these requirements, of course, and the Obama waivers would allow states and districts to avoid NCLB sanctions, if they […]
4:24 PM | What Are the Most Expensive Colleges in America? Depends on How you Ask the Question
The U.S. Department of Education has just released its new college affordability numbers, designed to help families and students choose colleges. This also allows observers to look up fun things like the list of the country's expensive collages. So what are the costly ones? Well it's sort of complicated. In part this is because colleges can hide their true costs through financial aid polices. Colleges might officially charge a high price, but financial aid really means only fairly rich […]
1:55 PM | In New Orleans, a Case Study in How School, Health Care Decentralization Affect Neediest Children
NEW ORLEANS —One New Orleans 15-year-old with explosive disorder felt abandoned after the only therapist she trusted left town. A 14-year-old diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, who became suicidal and threatened others, had to travel 300 miles to get admitted to a hospital. A 6-year-old with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder was told he couldn’t come back to his public school until his mother found mental health care services for him. In recent years, New […]

July 02, 2014

10:44 PM | Maybe Bill Gates Can't Ever Fix Education
Bill Gates has given some $28 billion, though the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to help fix the world's problems. He's tackled global poverty, agricultural development, disaster relief, and combatting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, with notable success. But there have also been some big failures. One of the biggest problems, he said, has been trying to fix American education. Maybe it's time to consider why that's so difficult for him. According to an Associated Press piece […]
6:46 PM | Focusing on Latino Parents' Strengths
One of the biggest challenges for writing about traditionally underserved demographics in American education is to remember to take an assets-based approach. It can be easy to focus on what students from these backgrounds lack, rather than what they bring to the table. This is a common problem for education policy discussions orbiting Latino students. There’s no question that these students frequently face serious challenges: over one-third of Latinos are enrolled at high-poverty schools. […]
3:02 PM | Colleges Keep Increasing Discounts to Keep Students Coming
Colleges and universities continue to give record-high discounts on tuition, which is good news for students, but bad news for the institutions, a new report shows. The so-called discount rate—the amount of revenue that goes back out the door in the form of financial aid to fill seats—was projected to have grown to more than 46 percent at colleges and universities this past academic year, according to the report, from the National Association of College and University Business […]

July 01, 2014

4:35 PM | Where are Most of California's Tenured Teachers?
A California judge recently ruled that teacher tenure and other job protections violate a student’s right to education and, as such, are unconstitutional. The case, Vergara v. California, prompted speculation about what it would mean for other states where similar lawsuits might be filed. But what does the ruling - if it survives appeals - mean for California? The impact may be greater on some areas of the state than others. The map below shows the percentage of teachers with tenure by […]
2:26 PM | Higher Ed Data Plan Would Supersize Burden
Last week, both the House and Senate key education committees took a step forward on reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the House with a white paper outlining principles for reform and the Senate with a draft comprehensive bill. Despite both the Republicans’ and Democrats’ rhetoric calling for increased transparency, neither bill makes the one small change–repealing the ban on a federal student unit record data system– that could make a big difference in […]

June 30, 2014

5:19 PM | What Makes for Happier Teachers, According to International Survey
Teachers who say they get included in school decision-making and collaborate often with other teachers are more likely to say that teaching is a valued profession in their society.  In turn, these same teachers report higher levels of job satisfaction and confidence in their ability to teach and to motivate students, according to a 2013 survey of  middle-school teachers in 34 countries and regions around the world conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and […]

June 29, 2014

4:37 PM | Gauging Public Support for Education Spending
I attended First Focus’ annual Children’s Budget Summit this week to hear about the latest federal budget trendlines affecting programs that serve children. The accompanying report is full of interesting information on the United States’ budget priorities. Across all programs, inflation-adjusted federal spending on children declined by 13.6 percent from 2010 to 2014. Education is down 15.1 percent, and early childhood spending 6.2 percent over the same time period. These are […]
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