September 02, 2014

7:12 PM | My Son's First Day: 10 Things I Want My Child To Gain From Schooling
Getting a great education is not about smartness. I picked the brown, leather high tops with the fluorescent green laces. Shoes make an impression on the first day of school. My son, Robeson, picked a Cars inspired backpack and a Planes lunchbox - school shopping. The small traditions that comprise the first-day build-up almost brought me to tears (not because of the prices). Parents’ expectations of their children’s schooling surface consciously or unconsciously. It’s only […]

September 01, 2014

8:26 AM | Care plans and care planning: a rare event?
Have you seen a care plan recently? Despite a massive effort, we didn't see many in our national evaluation of care plans and care planning. Our new paper reports the findings of this work, summarised here.

August 31, 2014

11:37 AM | Beyonce the Biochemist
Satire site The Onion recently launched a sister site called Clickhole. It’s a parody on Upworthy, Buzzfeed, and other such sites, but of course the content on Clickhole is all in Onion style. So, instead of quizzes like “Who’s Your Celebrity Best Friend?”, where you can figure out (based on mundane questions about your favourite […]

August 30, 2014

5:33 PM | Research on Making Policy Reforms Work for Dual Language Learners
If there’s any unifying thread in the story of the last several years of education debates, it’s that policy changes are education reform’s first, not final, steps. Given American education’s unwieldy, chaotic governing institutions, legal and regulatory changes are almost always susceptible to being watered down—or even reversed. For instance, while it seemed like a settled victory when the Common Core State Standards were adopted by 46 states, recent […]

August 29, 2014

8:01 PM | Are "Affordable Elite" Colleges Growing in Size, or Just Selectivity?
A new addition to this year’s Washington Monthly college guide is a ranking of “Affordable Elite” colleges. Given that many students and families (rightly or wrongly) focus on trying to get into the most selective colleges, we decided to create a special set of rankings covering only the 224 most highly-competitive colleges in the country (as defined by Barron’s). Colleges are assigned scores based on student loan default rates, graduation rates, graduation rate […]
8:00 PM | The Misguided #PayMyTuition Challenge
In a sort-of piggy back on the famous ALS Ice Bucket Challenge going on now, many college students are working on a challenge of their own. It’s called the #PayMyTuition challenge. According to a piece at Inside Higher Ed: Students… have taken to Twitter… [and] challenging various celebrities to help finance their higher education. There are lots of requests to the usual suspects -- President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, etc. Also there have been some notable responses. At […]
6:10 PM | Transfer Students Are Losing Time and Money
As I explained over on The Hill today, a new report from the Department of Education confirms that nearly 40 percent of students who transferred colleges at least once lost all of the credits they’d earned in the process. That’s a significant issue, given that almost a third of college students transfer schools at least once after enrolling. I wrote, For state and federal policymakers, those lost transfer credits translate into lower college attainment […]
3:12 PM | Going to a For-Profit College Doesn't Help at All When Looking for Job
I’m sure most people have seen this advertisement by now . I’m talking about Red Socks, the really rather charming commercial featuring a man going about his day before ending with his big job interview While red socks are in general not quite appropriate job interview attire, we can forget about that for a minute. The marketing campaign suggests Phoenix graduates have entered some sort of exclusive fraternity that helps them get the job because now they’re in this select […]
1:45 PM | More Research On Precisely What Works for English Language Learners
As I’ve pointed out in recent posts, there are considerable limits to what education research can do on its own—because of political realities and implementation challenges. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we should stop researching education, or that we should ignore existing research findings. It just means that we should: 1) be mindful of the limits of what research can do for politics and policy, and 2) even the best research usually has limited prescriptions for policy […]

August 28, 2014

5:00 PM | Today's College Freshmen Were Born in 1996, and Other Unsettling Facts
Today in Things That Make You Feel Old, Beloit College this week released its annual "mindset list" of who today’s college freshmen are and what their perception of the world is. The list has come out every year since 1998. This year most of the freshmen were born in 1996. For them: Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, and Carl Sagan have always been dead. Their first weeks of kindergarten were interrupted by the World Trade Center explosions of September 11th. Hard liquor has always been […]
3:29 PM | What Makes Charter Schools Work?
As politically polarizing as charter schools can be, doubts about their efficacy are being steadily put to rest. There’s increasing evidence that they can drive impressive academic gains for students—especially in the presence of strong accountability regulations. But because of the polarized politics surrounding them, charter schools are often misrepresented and misunderstood. So I’ve written a piece for The Daily Beast about what makes charters distinct—and […]

August 26, 2014

10:23 PM | I'd Rather Black, Superhuman Student-Athletes Just Be Human
What happens when prep athletes take off their uniforms? The same black males who are beloved heroes on schools’ playing fields can be treated as violent trespassers off of them. Between being a celebrated superhero and a profligate thug, black students just need to be seen - as human. Last week, Jackie Robinson West became the first all black Little League team to win the American title and to advance to Little League World Series. My heart raced like my sons played on Jackie Robinson […]
10:18 PM | Lessons from Hawaii: Tracking the Right Data to Fix Absenteeism
Good school attendance is associated with all sorts of good educational outcomes, especially higher grades and higher test scores. It’s obvious: if you’re not showing up for school, you’re not going to learn as much. But only 17 states track and report chronic absenteeism data, according to the Data Quality Campaign and Attendance Works, a non-profit organization that advocates for more focus on absenteeism data and ideas for getting students to come to […]
10:15 PM | The Tensions Between Pre-K Politics and Research
With the federal government rancorously gridlocked for the last four years, some folks have taken to a familiar—and understandable—way of expressing their frustration. Why, they ask, can’t politicians just “listen to the research?” Why must every policy argument descend into ideological bickering when we already know what works? We especially hear this a lot in the early education world. The tension between democracy and expertise is a longstanding theme. […]
2:00 PM | A House Made From Mushrooms? An Artist Dreams of a Fungal Future
San Francisco-based artist Phil Ross creates sustainable materials from mushrooms. What started as an art project has now turned into a budding startup.

August 25, 2014

9:14 PM | Three things I don’t like about science communication these days
THING 1 Twitter. We created a monster. On the one hand it’s an amazing medium to reach out to non-scientists and scientists alike, and a great way to meet people across the world with similar interests, and a tool I will continue to recommend for anyone going into science communication. On the other hand, it’s […]
4:26 PM | How One Ohio Mother is Trying to Take Down Common Core
CINCINNATI - The several hundred people that filled the sanctuary of Faith Christian Fellowship Church on the outskirts of Cincinnati on a Monday evening in July murmured their indignation as Heidi Huber blasted a book that taught that homosexuality was normal. The book wouldn’t be important except it had popped up on a Catholic school association’s website as an example of what elementary school students might read under the Common Core State Standards. “We are arming the […]
1:28 PM | A Lot of College Students Are Living with Their Parents. That's Normal.
According to a piece in Forbes, more college students are now living at home while in college. This might sound a little depressing, for those of us who had the traditional dorm-frat-apartment college living experience, but it’s maybe not so important. What does this mean? Well, probably not much. The story explains that: More than half of college students (54%) chose to live at home to make school more affordable, according to Sallie Mae’s most recentHow America Pays for […]

August 24, 2014

5:00 PM | Extinction Level Events
I spent 5 days in Washington, D.C. last week with my family. We biked the mall to see the various monuments. We selectively toured some Smithsonia (or is it Smithsonians?); check the Facebook page for that album, including the Hall of Human Origins exhibit. We hadn’t really inherited anything recently, so we slept on the floor of one of my wife’s grad school buddies. Oh, and my son attended the World Pokemon Championships, not as a contestant, but as a fanboy […]

August 22, 2014

5:42 PM | Michelle Rhee Leaves the Education Reform Trenches
Just about no one has a mixed view of former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. Even the announcement that she’s stepping down from leadership at the education reform organization Students First prompted a firestorm of commentary. So I decided to add a few (quieter) thoughts about Rhee’s departure in a TPM column this week: ...if Rhee’s departure feels like a surrender, her critics have badly misunderstood the state of American education debates. There are […]
4:00 PM | Transfer Students Often Don't Get Credit
A frequent recommendation of financial planners is that for parents want to save money on college they should sending their kids to inexpensive community colleges and then transfer to a four-year schools after two years. That way the student gets the name brand degrees at half the price. While I’ve long questioned how appropriate a solution this really is to the cost problem—If more students want to go to community colleges, how do the community colleges cope? They don’t have […]
3:01 AM | Mills College: Now a Women’s College Any Way You Slice It
Women’s colleges have for the last few years had a little trouble with how to address transgender students. Historically these schools were created to help address discrimination and gender imbalances in higher education. Many of the country’s colleges back in the 19th century only admitted men. The reason we have women’s colleges is to fix that, and give women an education. But with transgender students the question became a little more complicated. Many women’s […]

August 21, 2014

2:00 PM | Guns and Roses
A tree, a bird, a military base and one of largest ecological restoration efforts in the United States.

August 20, 2014

11:01 PM | Do You Believe in Dog? A New Ball Game
Hello Do You Believe in Dog(ers)!(source)After two years of mostly pen-pal style blogging, we're excited to share our new direction!When we first decided to create Do You Believe in Dog?, we committed to blogging back and forth about canine science for two years. We were able to celebrate achieving that goal at the recent 4th Canine Science Forum in Lincoln, UK and also reflect on the future of Do You Believe in Dog?The DYBID blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds have become vibrant places to […]

Dijk E.M.V. (2011). Portraying real science in science communication, Science Education, 95 (6) 1086-1100. DOI:

Fischhoff B. & Scheufele D. (2013). The science of science communication, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110 (Supplement 3) 14033-14039. DOI:

8:52 PM | Thousands of California Kids Don't Get Past Middle School
LOS ANGELES - Devon Sanford’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was in the eighth grade. After barely finishing at Los Angeles’s Henry Clay Middle School, he never enrolled in high school. Instead, he spent what should have been his freshman year caring for his mother and waiting for the police to show up asking why he wasn’t in school. No one ever came. “That was the crazy part,” he said. “Nobody called or nothing.” Although the […]
4:36 PM | Why working too hard impairs your thinking.
This week’s blog post comes from Rebekah Lambert. Rebekah makes her living as marketing, content creation and copywriting freelancer at Unashamedly Creative and as head of Disruption for Discordia Zine. Rebekah has just begun a mission to improve the mental health and wellness outcomes for freelancers and entrepreneurs as one half of the Hacking Happiness team. You can follow her journey […]The post Why working too hard impairs your thinking. appeared […]
12:30 PM | Summer Break / Summer Reading
Photo: otsphoto / ShutterstickCompanion Animal Psychology Blog is taking a summer break. Meanwhile, on twitterand facebookwe continue to share links to the best writing about companion animals and their people. Why not join us?If you’re looking for some summer reading (and listening and viewing), these are some of our favourites:We’re delighted that some CAPB stories now appear in Pacific Standard, including Dog Training, Animal Welfare and the Human-Canine […]
12:22 PM | Before you set a hashtag for your course or have students blog, think FERPA
Are you going to require that your students post on a public blog this semester?  Will you be creating a Facebook page for your class and asking students to post on it?  Will you have students post selfies on Twitter with a course hashtag?  For those instructors that use social media with their students and courses, this could be the most important tweet you read all year:   Is your …

August 19, 2014

5:04 PM | Teacher-School Match: Education Needs Long Relationships, Not 'One-Night Stands'
Teacher preparation programs should see themselves as matchmakers. We match professionals with schools and students who’ll hopefully consider their arranged partnership happy, healthy and productive. Communities benefit when new teachers share their fates with their surroundings. Matriculation and graduation are the few separation rates teacher prep programs should celebrate; in the very least, the public should expect students, schools and districts to get their dowries back. In order to […]
3:31 PM | The “Hazardous” Chemistry of E-waste
It’s so easy to forget when you get a new shiny phone, what can be lurking inside this cool polished look. The fact that some toxic compounds are used in the manufacture of electronic devices is not new. For example, in 2011, 137 Chinese workers needed hospitalisation to treat n-hexane poisoning, after complaining of sweaty [...]
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