April 06, 2015

1:25 PM | Do You Know How Your Childcare Center is Doing? Why It's Hard to Find Out
Children play with materials at Highway 90 Daycare in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Owner Sherrie Jones has relied on private help to make improvements to her center. Photo: Jackie Mader LELAND, Miss. — When new mom Elizabeth Harris needed to find childcare, she turned to other parents in this small Delta town. She and her husband narrowed down their options to one of two childcare centers they heard were “higher quality” than others. Harris said she didn’t know what that […]

April 04, 2015

10:05 AM | After 350 years of academic journals it’s time to shake things up
Writing and reviewing journal articles is part of the core business of a scientist. But it’s not an efficient way to communicate research results.Researchers are estimated to waste 15 million person-hours a year on unpublished submissions to scientific journals. How can we make scientific communication more efficient?This was one of the questions raised at a recent debate at a conference celebrating the 350th anniversary of the Philosophical Transactions, the world’s oldest […]
7:23 AM | Tooling Up: Civic visions, FabLabs, and grassroots activism
Making is political. What happens when city authorities get involved?In February 2015, city authorities in São Paulo announced plans to open a network of 12 public FabLabs. Following in the wake of an earlier ‘telecentro’ initiative that opened up internet access and digital media to citizens, the FabLabs are meant to bring the tools of digital fabrication to the people, equipping them for a fuller role in what FabLab founder Neil Gershenfeld forsees as a revolution in the […]

April 03, 2015

3:23 AM | Why Atlanta Teachers Cheat
Earlier this week 11 former teachers and administrators in the Atlanta school system were convicted of racketeering for widespread efforts to cheat on the standardized tests administered by the state of Georgia to determine school effectiveness and reward and punish teachers. This is the problem with too much reliance on testing to determine school effectiveness. According to an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The alleged cheating was discovered when The Atlanta […]
2:39 AM | Why Are 57 Percent of Borrows in Income-Based Plans Getting Kicked Out?
One of the promising developments in student loan policy has been income-based repayment, which allows borrowers to pay back their loans based on their income. It's a potentially great program, but it turns out it's not working so well. Former students pay no more than 15 percent of their annual household incomes toward their debt. After 25-years, any remaining debt is forgiven. Borrowers have to certify that rate every year. This makes sense. It would be a gigantic problem if borrowers kept […]

April 02, 2015

8:17 PM | It's All About Economic Inequality
One of the major policy issues in higher education today is President Barack Obama’s plan to rate American colleges on factors including tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. Recently, we spoke with Catharine Bond Hill, economist and president of Vassar College, about at the challenges facing higher education. In recent years Vassar's efforts to transition from the quintessential school for the wealthy to one […]
4:35 PM | Adult Education Needs More 'Passion' and Investment From Technology Entrepreneurs, Report Says
Adult education could be improved through the use of educational technology, but there is not enough investment in it, according to two reports released this week. Millions of adults seeking new workforce skills say they need better educational opportunities, but little of the recent cash infusion into educational technology has gone toward addressing those needs, according to the first of two research reports, based on a national survey and study from Tyton Partners, a firm that provides […]

April 01, 2015

3:03 PM | Strapped Schools Turn to Online Fundraising Sites for Support
This weekend I was reminded again of how much digital tools have changed fundraising for schools. The ping came to me on social media, so bonus points for a double-dose of technology. A school leader I met nearly five years ago, Principal Salome Thomas-EL, sent me a note on Twitter. The charter school he leads has an award-winning chess team. They also happen to be in a low-income neighborhood, so the school raises the money to send them to competitions. These days, they use a website to […]

March 31, 2015

8:05 PM | New Data on Heightened Cash Monitoring and Accountability Policies
Earlier this week, I wrote about the U.S. Department of Education’s pending release of a list of colleges that are currently subject to heightened cash monitoring requirements. On Tuesday morning, ED released the list of 556 colleges, thanks to dogged reporting by Michael Stratford at Inside Higher Ed (see his take on the release here). My interest lies in comparing the colleges facing heightened cash monitoring (HCM) to two other key accountability measures: the percentage of students […]
3:36 PM | Colleges, How in Good Conscience Can You Do This to Kids?
The Science Leadership Academy is a progressive science and technology high school in Philadelphia. Photo: Nichole Dobo This year has been a fantastic year for Science Leadership Academy college acceptances. We’ve seen our kids get into some of the most well respected schools in record numbers - and many of our kids are the first SLA-ers to ever get accepted into these schools. Whether or not they are able to go to is another question. Today, I was sitting with one of our SLA seniors. […]
2:50 PM | Does the Anti-Common Core Movement Have a Race Problem?
While protests against the Common Core have sprung up in communities as diverse as New York City, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana and Portland, Oregon, a new poll suggests that the protestors themselves may be less diverse: White parents tend to dislike the standards, while the majority of black and Hispanic parents approve of Common Core. K. Butler, right of Benton, Miss., and Lynn Wagner of Hickory, second from right, speak to school children from Meridian as they are guided past their […]
2:45 PM | Principals of Public Schools Shouldn't Decide Who Gets in Them
It’s “March Madness,” and we still don’t compete for black children. A recent report out of the Education Research Alliance of New Orleans found that principals, compelled to compete in the highly decentralized environment of New Orleans, reacted to market pressures by curating their student bodies. In hopes of academic improvement, these principals recruited per pupil expenditures attached to students and/or “creamed” for children who maximized chances to […]

March 30, 2015

7:52 PM | I Would Send My Daughter To The University of Everywhere
Teacher, education writer, and fellow SUNY alum Robert Pondiscio has written a generous critique of my book, The End of College. Of my arguments that modern colleges and universities are “operating on a deeply flawed and increasingly unsupportable model,” he grants that “I’m sure this is true, and worse.” Yet now that his daughter has reached college age, he is “following a well-worn path trod by countless other parents and high school juniors touring […]
7:51 PM | Early Assessment of Common Core Standards Shows Small Gains
In a very early assessment of how Common Core standards may be influencing how much students learn, a new Brookings report finds small math and reading test score gains for students who live in states that embraced the new standards early. The researcher, Tom Loveless, looked at how fourth-grade reading scores changed between 2009 and 2013 on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a trusted national test taken by students across the United States every two years. He found […]
7:42 PM | Why is it So Difficult to Sanction Colleges for Poor Performance?
The U.S. Department of Education has the ability to sanction colleges for poor performance in several ways. A few weeks ago, I wrote about ED’s most recent release of financial responsibility scores, which require colleges deemed financially unstable to post a bond with the federal government before receiving financial aid dollars. ED can also strip a college’s federal financial aid eligibility if too high of a percentage of students default on their federal loans, if data are not […]
7:40 PM | How to Measure English Learners' Development More Accurately
The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously posited that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. That is, by the time you go back for the second dip, the water you touched the first time is long downstream. This makes it challenging to get clear understanding of the river: is it full of fish? What’s its temperature? Etc. Each splash into the water is simply one slice of time. To get more complete knowledge, you’d need to measure it over a longer period of time. […]

March 29, 2015

6:30 PM | What do we learn about case studies from follow-up regression analysis?
Most multi-method research (MMR) studies with which I am familiar start with regression analysis (or, in recent years, QCA) and perform the case studies afterward. This is the order recommended by Lieberman in his nested analysis article which, in turn, … Continue reading →

March 27, 2015

7:00 PM | Did Jeb Bush's Education Reforms Work in Florida?
One of the positive points of a potential Jeb Bush presidential candidacy is that he has some claim to success as governor of Florida, particularly with regard to education. Some of his education reforms (support for school privatization and more accountability) are unpopular among liberals. Some (particularly Common Core) are unpopular with conservatives. But at least he can claim to be actually moderate. What’s more, according to this article at Newsweek his reforms don’t seem […]
3:00 PM | We've Got Education Reform All Wrong
Everyone knows that American education is in crisis. Education is one of the few fields where an obsession with failure can be good for a career. Education secretaries get applause when they talk about the great and immediate need to make radical changes. It is unacceptable that our country performs like Latvia. Our schools are bad. Our teachers are bad. Our children are stupid. And so we’ve enacted near-continuous reforms, and spent truckloads of money, trying to improve American […]
2:41 PM | One of the Biggest Threats to Student Privacy​? Failure to Communicate
Lorrie Faith Cranor, a professor of computer science and of engineering and public policy in her office at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Online programs bring new educational resources to classrooms and homes. And with them comes the responsibility to ensure children are safe when they log in to play games, chat with friends and explore the world. Policymakers, businesses and educators continue to debate appropriate controls. The U.S. Department of […]
9:06 AM | Let’s keep talking: why public dialogue on science and technology matters more than ever
Experiments in public engagement, pioneered by the Sciencewise programme, are one of the quiet success stories of UK science policy over the past decade.The need for researchers to escape the lab or the seminar room from time to time, and talk to the wider public about the work that they do, and why it matters, is now such an established feature of the academic landscape that it’s easy to forget how far and fast we’ve travelled.From the paternalistic if well-intended talk of […]

March 26, 2015

5:50 PM | Education Technology Hasn't Worked Yet. Why's It Going to Work Now?
It’s tempting to think technology can fix most of education’s problems. There have, in history, been lots of problems that seemed intractable and in need of vast complicated policy initiatives to address them. And then, in an instant, technology makes them disappear. During the 19th century, for instance, the streets of America were covered in horse excrement. Public health reformers puzzled for years about how to fix this problem, how to get the horse poop out so children could […]
5:38 PM | Happy birthday to the bioweapons convention
Recent proposals for biological deterrence shouldn’t spoil the 40th birthday party of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. But they serve as a reminder of the need to guard against the creeping legitimization of biological weapons. Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC), which entered into force on 26 March 1975. This disarmament agreement, which now binds 173 countries, prohibits the development, production, stockpiling acquisition […]
2:33 PM | Three Cheers for Failure! Wait, What?
ATLANTA, Ga. - A faux evergreen tree set up inside a convention center hotel here last week was festooned with hand-written confessions from school leaders. “Inadequate WiFi density caused classroom technology to crash during Open House!” “Teacher technology stipends: All pain, no gain.” “Did not check references.” “Poor construction management destroys existing network.” Of course, most of the events at the annual conference for the Consortium […]
8:51 AM | Remembering an overlooked treaty
On the 40th birthday of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention, we look back on an important moment in the history of science, technology and arms controlOn this day in March 1975 dignitaries gathered at ceremonies in London, Washington D.C. and Moscow to celebrate the entry into force of the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (known as the BWC). Entry into force meant the terms of this international treaty, outlawing germ warfare, had now gained legal traction. Today’s […]

March 25, 2015

6:24 PM | What if a High School Diploma Guaranteed a Highly Paid Job?
WACO, Texas — At first glance, there’s nothing revolutionary about the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy, a vocational school opened in 2013 to serve students in and around this central Texas city. The machines are fancy and gleaming, but the students here learn skills for the sorts of jobs that fueled America’s economy last century: welding, manufacturing, building homes. Around Waco, though, those jobs are still heavily in demand. And the academy offers a unique […]
3:01 PM | A 'Promising' Way to Help Low-Income Students To and Through College
Maryville College, Photo: Maryville College Why do so few low-income students go to college? Is it simply because there is not enough federal financial aid available? Or are there other factors at play? These are vital questions to answer considering that the federal government spends about $35 billion a year on the Pell Grant program, which annually provides low-income students up to $5,730 each to help pay for college. Despite the government’s huge investment in the program, the […]
2:51 PM | Tools That Use Student Data Show Promise, but Concerns About Student Privacy Remain Hotly Debated
On Monday, two Representatives, one a Democrat, the other a Republican, were putting final touches on a proposed new Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act, thus joining the White House in efforts to update federal data privacy law. Almost immediately after a draft of the legislation began to circulate Monday, some people said it did not alleviate all of the concerns. Generally speaking, the proposal would limit the ability of companies to tailor marketing or advertisements to students […]
5:23 AM | Amid March Madness, Americans Express Concern About College Sports Spending
Sixteen men's basketball teams are still alive in the N.C.A.A. March Madness tournament, including No. 7 Wichita State which knocked off No. 2 Kansas over the weekend. Today March Madness brings to mind more than big upsets and broken brackets, though. The multi-billion-dollar college sports industry is increasingly answering questions about academic standards, player safety and growing inequities between coaches and athletes.With tuition and fees on the rise, a poll from Monmouth University […]
4:16 AM | Moving Young Learners Forward
Last month, Conor Williams and I wrote a series of posts on how young learners, PreK-3rd grade, could be better supported in a newly reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind. An ESEA reauthorization is eight years overdue. No Child Left Behind waivers are the temporary law of the land, and Congress is attempting to find common ground in a mostly partisan process. Over the past several years, interest in pre-K and other early […]
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