Posts

October 30, 2014

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9:00 PM | How States Stopped Funding Higher Education
The Great Recession was pretty terrible for higher education. In state after state legislatures cut funding for public colleges. The economy has recovered, but the damage is permanent, particularly for poor students. According to this piece at Inside Higher Ed: A new report from the Center for American Progress details -- on a state-by-state basis -- the extent to which recession-driven reductions in public college financing since 2008 have sent tuitions soaring, and how disproportionately […]
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2:00 PM | The Two Sides of TFA: An Internal Memo Shows the Teacher Group's Defensiveness Over a Story About How it Changed in the Face of Criticism
EDITOR’S NOTE: Last year, The Hechinger Report published a story about a group of idealistic young Teach For America recruits who arrived in Seattle hoping to start jobs teaching in some of the city’s most struggling schools. Many of them remained unemployed, however, because Seattle didn’t really need more teachers. In fact, the district had an oversupply: “13,800 teachers had applied for just 352 full- and part-time positions,” Alexandra Hootnick reported in her […]

October 29, 2014

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7:00 PM | What Happens If You Just Pay Teachers a Hell of a Lot of Money?
One of the reform ideas proposed by education advocates—though not, admittedly, one of them that’s seen much implementation in policy—has been just paying teachers really well. Maybe if we paid teachers like small business executives they’d perform a lot better. Well the Equity Project (TEP) Charter School actually tried this. The results are pretty interesting. TEP is located in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood and enrolls mostly low-income, […]

October 28, 2014

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8:00 PM | Education Doesn't Matter in the 2014 Election
Despite the fact that education issues matter a great deal in policy discussions lately, and despite the fact that, as a reader of this blog, you’re probably pretty interested in education reform, it turns out politicians mostly don't care. An article in the Washington Post explains that candidates for election mostly aren’t saying much about education. This shouldn’t really surprise us, however. According to the piece: A systematic analysis of campaign Web sites for the 139 […]
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11:17 AM | 3D printing for environmental research
For Manchester Science Festival I have been demonstrating an exploration of using 3D printing (additive manufacturing) to support environmental and ecology research and teaching. Apart from the practical benefits I think 3D printing is an important development for open research because it allows us to share hardware more easily than ever before, simply by sharing …
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4:38 AM | Summarizing the Research on Dual Language Learners
It’s impossible to have a conversation about dual language learners in the United States without being drawn into questions about their “difference,” and just how much it should be taken into account at school. For years, English-only advocates have argued that these differences should be ignored or erased, that we need to educate DLLs much as we educate monolingual English students — with English instruction. Others have suggested that we should treat the instruction of […]

October 27, 2014

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2:29 PM | Three Lessons From the Science of How to Teach Writing
What’s the best way to teach writing? The experts have many answers — and they often contradict each other. In contrast to the thousands of studies on effective methods for teaching reading and mathematics, there are relatively few rigorous studies on writing instruction. That’s partly because it’s time-consuming and expensive to assess writing quality in a way that can be quantitatively measured. Commonly, researchers come up with an eight-point scale. They write […]
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3:00 AM | Pipeline to Prison: How the Juvenile Justice System Fails Special Education Students
Caledonia Miss. — Toney Jennings was illiterate when he was arrested at age 16. In the six months he spent at the Lowndes County Jail in Eastern Mississippi, he says he played basketball, watched TV and “basically just stayed to myself.” A special education student, Jennings qualified for extra help in school. Those services should have carried over to the justice system, but Jennings said he never even attended class while in jail. Now 20, he is still unable to read or […]
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2:53 AM | Pipeline to Prison: Special Education Too Often Leads to Jail for Thousands of American Children
GRENADA, Miss.— Cody Beck was 12-years -old when he was handcuffed in front of several classmates and put in the back of a police car outside of Grenada Middle School. Cody had lost his temper in an argument with another student, and hit several teachers when they tried to intervene. He was taken to the local youth court, and then sent to a mental health facility two hours away from his home. Twelve days later, the sixth-grader was released from the facility and charged with three counts […]

October 24, 2014

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8:08 PM | Opportunity Gap Narrows in Mississippi
The latest national survey that looks at the ability of young people to better their lives through economic opportunity and education comes with some good news for Mississippi: More students are graduating from high school and more people are going to college. But even with these positive measures of upward mobility, the state lags behind much of the nation in key areas, according to the 2014 “Opportunity Index.” The state’s overall education score — a count of 3 and 4 […]
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6:00 PM | Be Worried About Adjunct Professors, Even if You Aren't One
American professors are a vaguely resented lot. Critics, particularly conservatives, often see them as a coddled, inefficient group of people, luxuriating in their tweed and their generous pensions and studying something like gender issues in Shakespearean times, while the rest of us worker much harder to earn a living. The reality is that the secure professor, free to explore what he wishes while earning a reasonably good living, is rather rare. Only about 30 percent of college instructors […]
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8:07 AM | Season of your birth affects your mood in later life
I’m turning 40 early in the new year and planning to celebrate fearlessly and fabulously with a mid-summer cocktail party. I’m a summer baby, and according to new research that means I have a tendency to be excessively positive! I’m sure I can grumble with the best of them, but my husband confirms he wouldn’t have […] The post Season of your birth affects your mood in later life appeared first on Your Brain Health.

October 23, 2014

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7:07 PM | Lottery Losers: Poor Kids
In the past few decades many, many states have instituted state lottery systems, often as a way of paying for education without having to hike taxes on voters. The problem with state lottery systems designed for education funding, however, as Jamal Abdul-Alim puts it over at Diverse Issues in Higher Education, is that this lottery cash is mostly most used, not for general education funding, but scholarships for rich people. As he writes: Lotteries make inequities in higher education worse, […]

October 22, 2014

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11:58 PM | How the United Kingdom Stopped Grade Inflation
Grade inflation, the long-term increase in the average GPA earned by American college students, has worried education observers for years. While the ultimate drawback is perhaps a little unclear (are people really getting hired for jobs or being admitted to law schools who don’t really know what they’re doing because admissions officers and human resource professionals were hoodwinked by high grades?), inflation is a very real thing. In 1991 the average college GPA was 2.93. In 2006 […]
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10:01 PM | Cognitive bias in Forensic Science
Forensic evidence needs to be considered impartially and without prejudice. Recently cognitive bias has become somewhat a buzzword in FS circles… Recently I read a slightly tongue in cheek tweet from an […]
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3:49 PM | Private Companies Increasingly Drive Innovation at Public Research Universities
The new Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute is housed inside the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, home to cutting-edge advances in nanotechnology, plastics engineering, optics and more. (Photo Courtesy of UMass Lowell). The amount of research dollars public colleges and universities receive from federal and state governments is dwindling. Private companies are picking up the slack, driving innovation at public research universities. Starting next semester, […]

October 21, 2014

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3:16 PM | Louisiana, Do Your Homework: Student Absenteeism, Not Ebola, is the Real Epidemic
As a preventative measure to protect against the spread of Ebola, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education made new emergency changes to the state’s governing handbook. However, there is no emergency — just an Ebola scare, which the board simply contributed to by making changes to sound policy. There is currently no epidemic of the Ebola virus in the U.S., where three cases have been reported, with one fatality. The best preventative measure schools can take […]
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5:27 AM | Paradoxical Service And A Self-Contradictory Therapy
Billing Service Rep: Yes, We can provide Collection Services. Who owes the Debt to you? Chato Stewart: “YOU Do…” Signs: Acme Billing Services Caption: Paradoxical ( 1 2 3 4 5 6  ) My Top 6 Gorski on Charting cartoons On: Billing Service Paradoxical Paradoxical: “seemingly absurd or self-contradictory”…What is more self-contradictory then being owed […]

October 20, 2014

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2:13 PM | How can we use patient experience surveys to improve care?
One new answer, for cancer patients, comes from our analysis of the National Cancer Patient Experience Survey, published this week in the European Journal of Cancer Care We found strong inequalities in experience between patients with different cancer diagnoses, and these were pretty consistent across the whole patient journey, from pre-diagnosis care to post hospital ...read more
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2:11 PM | Twenty Five Percent of Low-Income Urban High Schools Beat the Odds
It won’t surprise anyone to learn that wealthier high schools send more students to college than low-income high schools. But a October 2014 report from the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse, which tracks college students, reveals that a quarter of low-income urban high schools are doing better than a quarter of their high-income counterparts. On average, low-income urban high schools with high concentrations of minority students sent about half, or 51 percent, of […]
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1:08 AM | Private Loans: Still the Most Dangerous Form of Student Loan Debt
At a time of low interest rates, our guard may be down when it comes to the dangers of taking out private student loans. After all, families with excellent credit may be able to obtain loans with interest rates lower than those available in the federal loan program. Perhaps that helps explain why more than 40 percent of college admissions directors who responded to a recent Inside Higher Ed survey said that it was “a good idea for students to take out private loans to pay for […]

October 19, 2014

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7:10 PM | An opportunity to cooperate
This is not simply a cheap call-back to Episode 6: “Iron Dad,” although if you go to teen inventor Chase Lewis’s YouTube channel, he is indeed a fan of Tony Stark, though his helmet is the movie version, not the animated Armored Adventures version.  Below is a message forwarded to the Greensboro Science Cafe Facebook page from … his mom? *** & [...]
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2:51 AM | Read “The Forest Unseen”
The book, “The Forest Unseen,” is seductive and delightful. Every one of the short chapters takes you on a journey from an overview down to a microscopic and then sometimes genetic level of an organism. [More...]

October 18, 2014

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3:53 AM | Here's One Way to Cut Student Debt
Just stop offering the loans. President Barack Obama has a plan to rate colleges based on things like tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of poor students in the colleges. Eventually he intends that the federal government will distribute federal money at least partially based on this information. One of the concerns some in higher education have raised about this is that there are different ways colleges can react to a system that gives them higher […]

October 17, 2014

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2:34 PM | Comments on the CollegeNET-PayScale Social Mobility Index
The last two years have seen a great deal of attention being placed on the social mobility function that many people expect colleges to perform. Are colleges giving students from lower-income families the tools and skills they need in order to do well (and good) in society? The Washington Monthly college rankings (which I calculate) were the first entrant in this field nearly a decade ago, and we also put out lists of the Best Bang for the Buck and Affordable Elite colleges in this year’s […]
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2:26 PM | Tracing School Funding Inequities All the Way Down to the School
Almost every education policy debate serves as a partial proxy for something else. Debates about expanding pre-K access are often really about disagreements regarding the scope of the federal government and/or money. Debates about school choice are often about protecting the real estate-based privileges of neighborhood school boundaries or efforts to blur church-state boundaries. Debates about the Common Core State Standards are often secretly about the Muslim Brotherhood, the United Nations, […]

October 16, 2014

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6:00 PM | The Public School Execution Strategy
What’s the future of American public elementary and secondary schools going to look like? For most of America’s history the story has been one of increasing access to free public school. It’s now offered to everyone, and everyone has to go. Concern about equity, particularly in the last century, now means that the country at least aspires to providing reasonably high quality instruction to children, regardless of their class, race, or geographic location. But maybe this is […]
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5:36 PM | And now for the fun part: choosing your outreach activities!
The wonderful thing about science communication and outreach is that there are an almost infinite number of ways to share your science. We’ve made a quick list of some of the kinds of activities you can be involved in to share your science.
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2:26 PM | Should teenagers sleep in and start school later in the day?
Would teenagers do better in their exams if they could sleep in and start school later in the day? Can physical fitness improve academic achievement? Will teaching the same lesson multiple times over with breaks between sessions improve learning? Can computer games teach children to read? These questions above are part of a multi-million-pound research project, […] The post Should teenagers sleep in and start school later in the day? appeared first on Your Brain Health.
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2:23 PM | Top 10 ADHD Blogs of 2014
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It’s also sometimes known as just attention deficit disorder. What happens when people with ADHD enter the blogosphere? Often they navigate their behavior with quirky, fun and informative blogging, and tell the story of ADHD as it really is, transcending the stereotype of a […]
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