News Beyond the Ridge: Thanksgiving Edition
A Thanksgiving week collection of recent interesting articles about education, parenting and schools.
How About Better Parents?
(Thomas Friedman, New York Times, November 19)
There’s no question that a great teacher can make a huge difference in a student’s achievement, and we need to recruit, train and reward more such teachers. But here’s what some new studies are also showing: We need better parents.
The Science of Sarcasm? Yeah, Right
(Smithsonianmag.com, November 14)
How do humans separate sarcasm from sincerity? Research on the subject is leading to insights about how the mind works. Really.
My Teacher Is an App
(Wall Street Journal, November 12)
More kids than ever before are attending school from their living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens. The result: A radical rethinking of how education works.
Soda Bans in Schools Have Limited Impact
(The New York Times, November 7, via NAIS)
“State laws that ban soda in schools — but not other sweetened beverages — have virtually no impact on the amount of sugary drinks middle school students buy and consume at school, a new study shows.”
College Application Essay as Haiku? For Some, 500 Words Aren’t Enough
(The New York Times, October 28 via NAIS)
The only problem with Penn’s writing was the math: It was 650 words, outside the 250- to 500-word range re-established by the Common Application this spring — after a four-year experiment with no upper limit — but only now being grappled with as deadlines for early admissions approach next week.
“I just had to chop down all the emotion,” Penn said.
Unlike other parts of the application, which, in its online version, cuts students off midword if they exceed character limits, the personal statement will not be truncated, raising the question in school corridors: Does 500 really mean 500?
In a word, no. In two words, kind of.
School, drug speaker clash over ties to teen
(The Pioneer Press, October 28)
When the Blake School learned about thousands of text messages a well-known drug-and-alcohol educator had exchanged with a student, it fired him. When it learned he invited the girl to his Minneapolis hotel room days after she turned 18, the school filed for a restraining order.
In trimming school budgets, more officials turn to a four-day week
(The Washington Post, October 28)
Pressed for dollars, a growing number of public schools are doing what many educators once considered unimaginable: eliminating an entire school day each week. At least 292 school districts nationwide have a four-day week, according to a Washington Post survey, more than double the 120 estimated two years ago.
Envisioning University of Future, in Person or Online
(The New York Times, October 23)
Will the university of the future be bigger — or smaller? Are college campuses still cradles of revolt — or merely marginal spectators to the Arab Spring? Should students expect to be trained for the job market — or is it more important to learn how to think?
Fortunately, the organizers of the “Reinventing Higher Education” conference held here last week didn’t try to force the participants to come to any consensus. Instead, Santiago Iñiguez, the conference host and president of IE University here, seemed to relish his role as provocateur-in-chief, predicting that tuition fees would continue to rise, while the duration of academic programs would shrink.
Screen Time Higher Than Ever for Children
(The New York Times, October 25)
Despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ longstanding recommendations to the contrary, children under 8 are spending more time than ever in front of screens, according to a study scheduled for release Tuesday. The report also documents for the first time an emerging “app gap” in which affluent children are likely to use mobile educational games while those in low-income families are the most likely to have televisions in their bedrooms.