Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Education Tabs

There's been a lot going on lately on the education front. Too many tabs, once again.

Why the World Is Smarter than Us. Dana Goldstein discusses a new book that looks at schools around the world, concluding that they value intellect more than we do.

But be sure to follow that one with this: What If the International Tests Are Wrong?

The advent of the Common Core curriculum is beginning to threaten the placid island that private schools have inhabited, safe from the sea of standardized testing. Why is it changing? Because one of the main architects of Common Core is the head of the College Board, and wants to see it extended to the SAT. In response, Steve Nelson, head of an exclusive Manhattan private school, recently wrote a great critique of standardized testing. One favorite quote:

Stress inhibits learning, so we design stressful expectations; dopamine (from pleasurable activities) enhances learning, so we remove joy from schools; homework has very limited usefulness with negative returns after an hour or so (for elementary age kids), so we demand more hours of work; the importance of exercise in brain development is inarguable, so we eliminate recess and gym; the arts are central to human understanding, but we don’t have time.
Now if only we could get Nelson's thinking applied to all students, not just those in private schools.

Check out this amazing chart comparing teacher salaries, by country, with how many hours they spend in the classroom. Note the U.S. with its big pink swooping curve from top to almost bottom.

(Click to see the chart at full size.)

An explanation and defense of teaching that incorporates African American Vernacular English, which I studied in college linguistics as Black English. Every time I hear the word "Ebonics," I want to slap the speaker upside the head.

Why Isn't More Education Giving Women More Power? from the Atlantic.

Diane Ravitch asks: What's Not to Like about Exeter? Sidwell? Lakeside? Dalton?

From Jacobin magazine, The Liberal Education Reform Revolt: Are liberals finally ready to oppose neoliberal education reform? As far as I can tell from looking at the anointing of Cory Booker, it doesn't seem like it's happening any time soon.

Finally, while this one is slightly off the topic of education, I just had to include it. I recently came across a list of the 35 best examples of someone thinking an Onion article was real -- a bunch of painfully stupid screen snaps of Facebook posts. Number 8 on the list was an article titled USDA Rolls Out New School Brunch Program For Wealthier School Districts. And some doofus not only thought the Onion's story of "brioche french toast and smoked salmon to the nation’s richest school districts" was real, s/he took it as an opportunity to expound on the failings of poor people:

Yes, this is what it says: "Poor people don't have what it takes to run a company let alone be in politics. If there lucky they can be a manager at a gas station or maybe an assistant manager of a McDonald's but nothing higher than that. After all, poor people aren't very smart if there poor. Money is what makes people smart."

"There" clearly among the not so smart.

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