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08 Jan 2012 11:44


Politics: “No Child Left Behind” turns 10, education experts want to leave it behind

  • It is time to acknowledge this failure and adopt a more effective course for the federal role in education. Policymakers must abandon their faith-based embrace of test-and-punish strategies and, instead, pursue proven alternatives to guide and support the nation’s neediest schools and students.
  • A policy assessment written by Lisa Guisbond, Monty Neill and Bob Schaeffer • Suggesting that No Child Left Behind, the Bush-era education law passed under bipartisan circumstances, should go the way of the dodo. The policy, now seen as an example of ineffective government overreach by many, celebrates its 10th birthday today, and politicians who once supported the law — including Rick Santorum, who voted for it and tried to push an intelligent design amendment into the bill — no longer do. Guisbond, Neill and Schaeffer’s report, which suggests revisiting the law based on the lessons learned from the past decade, is available to read over heresource

22 Nov 2011 16:41


Culture: Thanksgiving weekend homework: On Friday, thank a teacher.

  • Can you think of the one teacher that inspires you? On Thanksgiving this year, give thanks for your meal and how lucky you are to be with your family and all that jazz. On Friday, after you’ve convinced your dad that Chrome is the browser of the future, take part in The 2011 National Day of Listening, organized by the nonprofit StoryCorps, a group “dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs.” How can you help? Simple. Thank a teacher, and tell the world about it. Who inspired you to do your best work? Who encouraged you to try something you were afraid of doing? Who helped make you the person you are today? Take a couple days. Think about it. Then report back. On Friday, the ShortFormBlog staff will put up a couple anecdotes from our own teachers. And we’ll pick a couple from readers. Shoot us a message over here, or throw up a post; StoryCorps is also looking for Facebook posts and tweets with the hashtag #ThankATeacher. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say. source

13 Sep 2011 00:43


Culture: Angry Birds: Educational? Uh, sure, why the heck not?

  • That’s why it’s only natural that today’s more tech-savvy educators are recognising the potential of using games as a teaching device in their classrooms.
  • Ntombezinhle Modiselle, a South African teacher • Defending the use of technology in the classroom.  This teacher is trying to recognize the fact that “today’s learners are the gamer generation.” We kinda think that the Atlanta teacher using “Angry Birds” to teach velocity and acceleration might be taking it a little far, though. What’s next, urban planning through “SimCity”? (OK, OK, you’re right, that’s actually a good idea) World War II history through “Call of Duty”? Statistics through one of the “Final Fantasy” games? source

25 Aug 2011 22:44


U.S.: Rape victim forced to apologize to rapist

  • One nightmare after another: In 2008, a seventh grade special-ed student in Missouri told school administrators that she’d been raped by one of her classmates. Rather than fulfilling its legal obligation to report the incident to authorities, the school accused the girl of lying, made her write and hand-deliver an apology to her accused rapist, expelled her for the rest of the year, and referred her to juvenile authorities for filing a “false report.” When she returned to school in 2010, the same boy raped her again. School administrators once again brushed the girl aside, but a medical examination backed up her allegations, and the boy pled guilty in juvenile court. Now, the Republic School District, along with four specifically-named members of the administration, is being sued. There really are no words for something like this. source

06 Jun 2011 22:37


U.S.: Four years of high school in one week

  • 8 days to get a high school diploma, and it costs less than an iPad! source
  • » For all the benefits provided by a high-school education, there’s one pesky drawback: it takes four years to get one. InterAmerican Christian Academy in Florida seeks to rectify this injustice by offering a high school diploma to anyone with a free week and four hundred bucks. The school, which is co-run by a convicted felon and located next to a lubricant company, has rigorous curriculum comprised entirely of five short take home tests. But don’t worry; they come with “workbooks” (in case you get stumped), and the place has a “very flexible grading policy.” Supposedly, at least 88 students have used degrees from IACA to gain admission to Miami-Dade College.

25 May 2011 14:10


Biz, U.S.: Bubble watch: Is the student loan market about to crash?

  • $24k average amount of debt a graduating college student has
  • $800B amount in outstanding student debt — with 30% of it securitized
  • 40% number of student loans that are in default after 15 years; not good source
  • » This is huge. To put it in perspective: Student loans are the nation’s largest source of debt – even more than credit cards. Tuition has risen faster than inflation, and lenders are quick to help students. That’s because until 2009 the government had a program in place that purchased loans that weren’t paid back. That sounds a lot like the housing market, right? Couple all of that with the fact that college graduates are having harder times finding jobs, and you don’t get a very good picture over the long-term.

20 May 2011 17:08


Tech: Facebook for kids? Mark Zuckerberg wants to start ’em young

  • Because of the restrictions we haven’t even begun this learning process. If they’re lifted then we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger kids] are safe.
  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg • Explaining his frustrations with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which only allows children age 13 and older to use his service. He wants to make social media happen for children, too — for educational reasons. At this week’s NewSchools Summit in California, Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook had huge educational potential for young children. “Education is clearly the biggest thing that will drive how the economy improves over the long term,” he said. “We spend a lot of time talking about this.” Given the wariness that many already have towards Facebook as a social tool for kids, we don’t know how far Zuck’s pipe dream will go. But he is serious about education — last year, he gave $100 million to the troubled Newark school district. Let’s just say that he’ll have a lot of work ahead of him. source

03 May 2011 01:29


U.S.: Stay in school and you’re much, much more likely to get a job

  • This is why they tell you to stay in school, kids. Seriously, look at that discrepancy! Of course, the usual causation-correlation disclaimer is in effect here; maybe the kids who graduated college were the ones naturally more predisposed to keeping a job anyway? Nevertheless, this should give pause to any high schoolers considering dropping out. (source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis) source

20 Apr 2011 23:48


Tech: Soon, your Kindle will replace your library card

Amazon is rolling out some great new features to Kindle users, including book lending and access to 11,000 public libraries. No word on when they’ll be out, though. source

13 Apr 2011 22:01


U.S.: Virginia teacher simulates slave-trade in unfortunate classroom exercise

  • The lesson could have been thought through more carefully.
  • Mary B. Wrushen, principal of Sewells Point Elementary School • Regarding a well-intentioned but nonetheless awful idea on the part of Jessica Boyle, a fourth grade teacher at the school. In a lesson meant to illustrate the tragedy of slavery, Boyle separated her students by race–white students on one side, everyone else on the other–and had the white students “bid” on the black kids, as if they were purchasing slaves. A letter was shortly sent to parents, apologizing for such stupidity. Here’s to hoping Haley Barbour weighs in on this. source