1/7/2014 – Pivotal Year For Education

THIS WEEK: Beating The Odds Has Its Costs … A Two-Tiered Education System … New Grading Practices Trigger Fears … Walmarts Of Higher Education … Make Public College Tuition-Free


A Pivotal Year For Education, What Now?

By Jeff Bryant

“2013 was a “pivotal year” for the nation’s education policy… Just like what’s happening in the economic arena, where a populist rage against inequality and systemic unfairness is causing even President Obama to take notice, anger over inequity and unfairness of policies labeled as education ‘reform’ has stirred the masses into action and sent a clear warning sign to policy leaders in 2014, an election year … So rather than declaring allegiance to yet another technocratic ‘solution’ sold as “reform,” policy leaders should take the current disruption in the education debate as an opportunity to listen.”
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Can Upward Mobility Cost You Your Health?

The New York Times

“Those who do climb the ladder, against the odds, often pay a little-known price: Success at school and in the workplace can exact a toll on the body that may have long-term repercussions for health … If disadvantaged children were succeeding academically and emotionally, they might also be protected from health problems that were more common in lower-income youth. As it turned out, the exact opposite was true … Behaving diligently all of the time leaves people feeling exhausted and sapped of willpower. Worn out from having their noses to the grindstone all the time, they may let their health fall by the wayside, neglecting sleep and exercise, and like many of us, overindulging in comfort foods.”
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A Two-Tiered System: As The Socioeconomic Achievement Gap Widens, What Can Be Done To Fix Public Education?

The Southerner

“The strong correlation between family wealth and student achievement has been documented since at least 1966 … The reasons behind this correlation are less clear … What almost everyone can agree on, however, is that a more equitable system is necessary in order for the country to stay internationally competitive and to fulfill the promise of the American dream. Fifty years removed from the iconic March on Washington, a growing number of people is becoming convinced that the march toward educational equity could be the civil rights issue of this generation.”
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Think Homework Can Help Your Kid’s Grade? Think Again

Education Week

“A national movement that – sometimes amid a formidable backlash – is rebuilding how a child’s performance in a class or course is calculated … It’s switch that seeks to move away from rewarding students merely for completing work, and instead bases grades on mastery of a subject. Swept away are points for finished homework assignments, or good behavior and class participation. Instead, grades are more heavily based on exam results and the quality of work … The changes – which run counter to how school has functioned for generations – have triggered fears from parents … Kevin Beckner, [a] coordinator of student assessment, says it’s not about educators chasing a fad. ‘We have a culture of points, percents and letters … Just doing what you were told, doing your homework, got you points, helped your grade. Those things are life skills that are really important, but we don’t want to report them in exactly the same way as learning.'”
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We Are Creating Walmarts Of Higher Education

The Atlantic

“Under pressure to turn out more students, more quickly and for less money, and to tie graduates’ skills to workforce needs, higher-education institutions and policy makers have been busy reducing the number of required credits, giving credit for life experience, and cutting some courses, while putting others online. Now critics are raising the alarm that speeding up college and making it cheaper risks dumbing it down … There has been little research into the effectiveness of massive open online courses, or MOOCs … To allocate funding for public universities based on measures such as graduation rates, rather than simply enrollment … will compel faculty to pass more students, including some who may not deserve to be passed … The focus on increasing the quantity of graduates may be diverting attention from innovations that could improve the quality of their education.”
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Here’s Exactly How Much The Government Would Have To Spend To Make Public College Tuition-Free

The Atlantic

“A mere $62.6 billion dollars … that’s how much tuition public colleges collected from undergraduates in 2012 across the entire United States … The federal government spent a whole $69 billion in 2013 on its hodgepodge of financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants for low-income students, tax breaks, work study funding. And that doesn’t even include loans. … Washington could make public college tuition free with the money it sets aside its scattershot attempts to make college affordable today.'”
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