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Sweden’s School Choice Disaster

It’s the darker side of competition that Milton Friedman and his free-market disciples tend to downplay: If parents value high test scores, you can compete for voucher dollars by hiring better teachers and providing a better education—or by going easy in grading national tests. Competition was also meant to discipline government schools by forcing them to up their game to maintain their enrollments, but it may have instead led to a race to the bottom as they too started grading generously to keep their students.
So it turns out that the good results of the Swedish school voucher system of "free" school choice, long the benchmark for those wanting to disrupt public schooling were created by, well, cheating.
posted by MartinWisse on Jul 27, 2014 - 38 comments

Our nation’s preschool-to-prison pipeline

"My son has been suspended five times. He’s 3." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 25, 2014 - 116 comments

Rarely is the question asked: is our kids competing?

"We sort our kids. We rate them. We chart them, and we measure their progress against the rest of the country and pray that they come out on the high end of the curve. And frankly, it's all horseshit. Every last bit of it. The competition industry is crushing us all." Drew Magary, at Deadspin, unloads on the idea that "these kids today" are little ninnies made soft by participation trophies and unscored soccer games. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jul 16, 2014 - 49 comments

Another way the school testing regime is rigged against the impoverished

Meredith Broussard at The Atlantic discusses another way the system of standardized testing is rigged against the underclass - thanks to the incestuous relationship between testmakers and textbook manufacturers, the tests are easy to pass - if the students are taught from the right textbooks, which many poorer districts simply cannot afford. [more inside]
posted by NoxAeternum on Jul 15, 2014 - 36 comments

Wrong Answer

In an era of high-stakes testing, a struggling school made a shocking choice. A look inside the standardized-test cheating scandal in Atlanta.
posted by zeptoweasel on Jul 14, 2014 - 108 comments

Reporting a Rape, and Wishing She Hadn't [SLNYT]

The New York Times examines the case of a student raped by football players at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The colleges are under investigation by the Department of Education [Not Alone, previously] [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jul 13, 2014 - 62 comments

“The instructor is just there to deliver the content”

Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a small non-profit school, has gained a reputation for its adoption of for-profit marketing and operating techniques, relying on prolific advertising and a faculty of low-paid adjuncts to teach its online courses. More recently the school earned the unenviable title of "The Amazon of Higher Education". [more inside]
posted by Librarypt on Jul 7, 2014 - 25 comments

#peakedinhighschool

In March, Lawrenceville School Student Body President Maya Peterson, the first Black woman to be elected to that position, posted a photo to her Instagram account where she depicted what she described to be a “Lawrenceville boi”: white, Republican, and cockily holding a hockey stick. She used the hashtags “#romney2016,” “#confederate,” and “#peakedinhighschool." In response to the backlash from the photo, Maya, who is headed to Wesleyan in the fall, chose to step down. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 7, 2014 - 314 comments

Learning languages with Muzzy, the clock-eating fuzzy alien

“Je Suis La Jeune Fille.” “Yes, that’s French they’re speaking. But no, these children aren’t French – they’re American!” If you grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s, or watched children's TV programming from that era in the US or UK, no doubt you saw that commercial for Muzzy (formally titled Muzzy in Gondoland). The show was first produced by the BBC in 1986 to teach English as a second language, as seen in this playlist of five videos, and later expanded with Muzzy Comes Back in 1989 (six episode playlist). The shows were both translated in to French, German (playlist), Spanish (and the Spanish vocabulary builder), and Italian (Muzzy in Gondoland, Muzzy Comes Back).
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 28, 2014 - 32 comments

You're way off.

What was the average American college graduate's college-related debt in 2013? What state has the highest rate of poverty in the United States? Answer these and other depressing questions (or submit your own) at How Wrong You Are.
posted by desjardins on Jun 24, 2014 - 40 comments

Unrelenting Swearword Missionary

Chris Broad bought up a bunch of copies of a Japanese book called 正しいFUCKの使い方 (How to Use "Fuck" Correctly) and proceeded to introduce it to some locals.
posted by gman on Jun 23, 2014 - 58 comments

Me real, me fake, anxiety drowning, safe never

Every year students at Madonna University's Sign Language Studies program create ASL music videos of popular songs, incorporating elements of ASL poetry and storytelling. Each video comes with a comprehensive guide explaining the translations and artistic choices behind each line of the video. Some examples: Pompeii by Bastille, Four Women by Nina Simone, and of course Bohemian Rhapsody.
posted by divabat on Jun 18, 2014 - 2 comments

School chaplaincy program deemed unconstitutional

Today the High Court of Australia ruled (Williams v Commonwealth of Australia [2014] HCA 23) for the second time that Commonwealth funding of school chaplains was unconstitutional. This is in direct contradiction of the Abbott government's recent budget moves to totally defund secular counsellors in favour of a $244M school chaplaincy program[me]. [more inside]
posted by wilful on Jun 18, 2014 - 48 comments

"Within the university system today, adjunct faculty are made invisible"

”Practicing openness and making oneself radically vulnerable is not only scary, it is the opposite of what we are taught to do within the logic of the contemporary university (and society more generally). Our marginalization, meager pay and lack of job security, along with the attacks on professors by students and the administration’s refusal to back up even tenured professors, all contribute to a culture of paranoia and enmity (among administration and faculty, among tenure-track faculty and adjuncts, among professors and students). Even when we manage to maintain our commitment to our students (and we do), the university seeks to capture this affective relationship and use it to further exploit us when we ask for fair wages or better conditions with the reprimand that ‘we are doing this for the students and not the money.’ Just as the practitioners of modernity gutted the erotic and sold us the pornographic, administrators attempt to gut the material and affective conditions of teaching and sell us ‘passion.’” Dr Priya J. Shah: "My Last Day as a Professor."
posted by koeselitz on Jun 6, 2014 - 40 comments

The Big Game.

These Spelling Bee Champions Can Teach Us an Important Lesson About Race in America "In the past few years, the 89-year-old competition has seen a striking pattern in which Indian-American contestants have lifted the winner's trophy eight consecutive times and in 13 of the past 17 outings. Their streak feeds into years of conversation around race, achievement and immigrant success — all tied to problematic notions of what it means to be "American."
posted by sweetkid on Jun 2, 2014 - 70 comments

Who or what broke my kids?

Who or what broke my kids? "The basic premise of the activity is that students must sort cards including probability statements, terms such as unlikely and probable, pictorial representations, and fraction, decimal, and percent probabilities and place them on a number line based on their theoretical probability. I thought it would be an interactive way to gauge student understanding. Instead it turned into a ten minute nightmare where I was asked no less than 52 times if their answers were “right”. I took it well until I was asked for the 53rd time and then I lost it. We stopped class right there and proceeded to have a ten minute discussion on who broke them."
posted by escabeche on Jun 1, 2014 - 107 comments

A Different Kind of Field Trip

Some of us have more toys and bigger homes than others. We all have a lot in common, but there are certain things that make us unique, too. Let’s talk about those things and celebrate them, even. This is not standard prekindergarten curricular fare, but it’s part of what the 4- and 5-year-olds at the Manhattan Country School learn by visiting one another’s homes during the school day. These are no mere play dates though; it’s more like Ethnography 101. Do classmates take the bus to school or walk? What neighborhood do they live in? What do they have in their homes? - For Lessons About Class, a Field Trip Takes Students Home (SL NYTIMES)
posted by beisny on Jun 1, 2014 - 85 comments

Out to Pasture: Herding Education to Slaughter

Friedrich Nietzsche, famously a full professor at the tender age of 24, was in a good position to develop an acute sensitivity to the university as machine: "The student listens to lectures . . . Very often the student writes at the same time he listens to lectures. These are the moments when he dangles from the umbilical cord of the university. The teacher . . . is cut off by a monumental divide from the consciousness of his students . . . A speaking mouth and many, many ears, with half as many writing hands: that is the external apparatus of the academy; set in motion, that is the educational machinery of the university." [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on May 29, 2014 - 13 comments

How Children What?

"John Holt and Paul Tough are a half-century apart. Both were interested in children and how they learned. One wrote a book called How Children Learn, the other a book called How Children Succeed. Their juxtaposition has a lot to tell us about how we think about and treat our young people."
posted by overeducated_alligator on May 27, 2014 - 11 comments

Bee '14

Tomorrow morning 281spellers will begin to compete for the title of 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, and starting Wednesday, you can play along. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 26, 2014 - 29 comments

Number Sense

Five reasons not to share that Common Core worksheet on Facebook [more inside]
posted by eviemath on May 25, 2014 - 202 comments

NASA and Kerbals, sitting in a tree...

Minecraft in Space: NASA embraces the space simulator Kerbal Space Program with the Asteroid Redirect Mission patch.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 23, 2014 - 39 comments

Burning down the debts: protesting the high cost of education in Chile

Francisco Tapia, aka "Papas Fritas" (French Fries), is an artist and activist whose recent work has drawn international attention. It might not look like much, but it is US$500 million of ashes, the burnt remains of "debt papers" for student of the now defunct Universidad Del Mar, a private institution in Chile that was stripped of its legal standing in 2012. While this might sound like a singular bold move to make people pay attention to the cost of education in Chile, it's just one of many acts in support of efforts to reclaim a very expensive private education options in Chile, with student protests going back to 2006. Chile's president Michelle Bachelet proposed a reform bill on Monday, May 19th, but it doesn't go as far as some protesters would like.
posted by filthy light thief on May 21, 2014 - 8 comments

One Newark?

Almost four years after Mark Zuckerberg made a very well publicized 100 million dollar donation to Newark, NJ schools, and two years after the Newark Teachers Union agreed to a new merit-pay based contract, the current superintendent of schools, Cami Anderson is attempting a new education reform initiative called One Newark. Ironically, the plan has deeply divided the city, and last night members of the the Newark Students Union staged a sit-in at the Board of Education meeting, demanding Anderson resign. [more inside]
posted by lownote on May 21, 2014 - 13 comments

Why Libraries Matter

A day in the life of New York City's public libraries: Traveling from borough to borough, this short documentary by Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks reveals just how important the modern library is for millions of people. Why Libraries Matter.
posted by cashman on May 17, 2014 - 6 comments

"has no place in the field of public education"

Tomorrow, is the 60th Anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision (pdf) in Brown v. Board of Education [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 16, 2014 - 12 comments

Who Gets to Graduate?

Who Gets to Graduate? "If you compare college students with the same standardized-test scores who come from different family backgrounds, you find that their educational outcomes reflect their parents’ income, not their test scores."
posted by epimorph on May 15, 2014 - 48 comments

The Moral Question Of Our Time: Can We Share The Planet?

UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 23, 2014 - 50 comments

Racial and gender biases in faculty mentoring

"Faculty at private schools were significantly more likely to discriminate against women and minorities than faculty at public schools. And faculty in fields that were very lucrative were also more likely to discriminate. So there was very little discrimination in the humanities. There was more discrimination among faculty at the natural sciences. And there was a lot of discrimination among the faculty at business schools." (link to NPR story). Katherine Milkman and colleagues conducted a field experiment in which professors were contacted by fictional prospective doctoral students and found that "faculty ignored requests from women and minorities at a higher rate than requests from White males, particularly in higher-paying disciplines and private institutions."
posted by needled on Apr 22, 2014 - 95 comments

InBloom wilts under privacy heat

Controversial education tech company InBloom has shut down over student data privacy concerns. Backed with $100 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, InBloom quickly announced nine states (CO, DE, GA, IL, KY, LA, MA, NC, NY) as partners, with more than 2.7 million students enrolled, with the goal of using big data to direct education emphasis and other decisions. With a recent decision by New York state to halt participation in any project involving storing student data in the way InBloom had planned (and the deletion of any such data already stored), all nine states had either put data sharing plans with InBloom on hold, made them voluntary, or pulled out completely. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Apr 22, 2014 - 29 comments

Nobody lives here.

Nik Freeman has created a map, based on census data, to illustrate the 47% of the United States where nobody lives.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 21, 2014 - 113 comments

The hardest word

A better way to say sorry.
posted by MartinWisse on Apr 18, 2014 - 59 comments

Hogwarts Is Here!

Ever wish you could actually take classes in Charms, Transfiguration, and Potions from Hogwarts for real? Now you can!
posted by divabat on Apr 17, 2014 - 38 comments

Resegregation in the American South

The most recent story in ProPublica's Living Apart: Examining America's Racial Divide series is "Segregation Now," which focuses on the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, city school district "and its fleeting experience with the challenges and virtues of integration." But beyond Tuscaloosa, "almost everywhere in the United States, the gains of integration have been eroded. And nowhere has that been more powerfully and disturbingly true than in the South – once home to both the worst of segregation and the greatest triumphs of integration. Freed from the federal oversight that produced integration, schools districts across the 11 former states of the Confederacy have effectively re-instituted segregation for large numbers of black students, in practical terms if not in law." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 17, 2014 - 90 comments

Protein Packing

Harvard University and XVIVO have come together again (Previouslyw/ a commercial focus, Previouslierw/an Academic focus) to add to the growing series of scientific animations for BioVisions -- Harvard's multimedia lab in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. 'Protein Packing' strives to more accurately depict the molecular chaos in each and every cell, with proteins jittering around in what may seem like random motion. Proteins occupy roughly 40% of the cytoplasm, creating an environment that risks unintentional interaction and aggregation. Via diffusion and motor protein transport, these molecules are directed to sites where they are needed.
Much of this is no doubt inspired by the beautiful art and explained illustrations of David Goodsell, a biologist at Scripps who has been accurately portraying the crowdedness of the cellular landscape for a long time now.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 10, 2014 - 9 comments

Why Don't More Poor Kids Get to See Art?

Increasing the accessibility of cultural capital: "In New York, a place whose cultural institutions attract people from around the world, there are residents who not only have never visited those institutions but also some who have never even been uptown."
posted by gemutlichkeit on Apr 6, 2014 - 41 comments

A message for the Secretary of State for Education

"Dear Mr Gove" - a poem by Jess Green.
posted by EndsOfInvention on Apr 4, 2014 - 16 comments

It is the first self-taught and the longest-course I have ever taken

Long Island teenager Kwasi Enin made headlines this week for having the honor of being accepted at all eight Ivy League colleges, as well as Duke, Stony Brook University, SUNY Geneseo and Binghamton University. This is the essay he credits with a big part of his success.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Apr 2, 2014 - 149 comments

The Drugging of the American Boy

By the time they reach high school, nearly 20 percent of all American boys will be diagnosed with ADHD.

posted by Sokka shot first on Mar 28, 2014 - 116 comments

"You shouldn't dream your film, you should make it!" ~ Spielberg

Filmmaker IQ offers an extensive variety of free online courses, articles and tutorial videos for aspiring filmmakers. Their image gallery is also fun to browse through. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 27, 2014 - 8 comments

The SHSAT is a diagnostic, the canary in the coal mine.

Bill De Blasio blamed the lack of racial diversity in New York City's top high schools, such as Stuyvesant, on the standardized admissions test, and campaigned on ending it. The New York Times has written pieces reminding of it. But the parent of a biracial son attending Stuyvesant has a different argument: that the problem is not with the test, but with the substandard education system that dominates much of New York City.
"By having these pathetic SHSAT results publicized year after year, it shines a light on just what an awful job inner city schools are doing educating those students who can’t afford to buy their way out of a broken system, either through private schools or private tutoring centers. If the specialized high schools’ racial balances were “fixed,” we might be tempted to consider the problems they expose 'fixed,' too."

posted by corb on Mar 26, 2014 - 165 comments

Make Everything Awesome For Everybody: Bridging The CP Snow-Style Divide

The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution - "[Charles Percy Snow] was pleading for a more adequately educated ruling class so that the suffering of the poor might be ameliorated... Snow wanted to believe something like this: political decisions in the modern world often concern how to deploy science and technology, so people well-trained in science and technology will be better prepared to make those decisions. But that's a syllogism without a minor premise." (previously) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 15, 2014 - 37 comments

In Focus: Mothers and Daughters

Today, March 8, is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women, and focus attention on areas still needing action. In the run-up to the event, Reuters photographers in countries around the globe took a series of portraits of women and their daughters. They asked each mother what her profession was, at what age she had finished education, and what she wanted her daughter to become when she grew up. They also asked each daughter at what age she would finish education and what she wanted to do in the future. (SLAtlantic)
posted by capricorn on Mar 8, 2014 - 11 comments

The one that is the smaller is the larger

The Teaching of Arithmetic: The Story of an experiment. In the fall of 1929 I made up my mind to try the experiment of abandoning all formal instruction in arithmetic below the seventh grade and concentrating on teaching the children to read, to reason, and to recite - my new Three R's. And by reciting I did not mean giving back, verbatim, the words of the teacher or of the textbook. I meant speaking the English language. I picked out five rooms - three third grades, one combining the third and fourth grades, and one fifth grade. I asked the teachers if they would be willing to try the experiment.
posted by Wolfdog on Mar 8, 2014 - 18 comments

"'You aren't black on the inside' - childhood friends"

I, Too, Am Harvard. A photo campaign highlighting the faces and voices of black students at Harvard College. 63 students participated, sharing their experiences with ignorance and racism. "Our voices often go unheard on this campus, our experiences are devalued, our presence is questioned-- this project is our way of speaking back, of claiming this campus, of standing up to say: We are here. This place is ours. We, TOO, are Harvard." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 5, 2014 - 38 comments

World of Tomorrow

Live, from Washington, D.C., out of 2500 submissions, it's the 16 official selections of the first ever 2014 White House Student Film Festival [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 28, 2014 - 1 comment

Growing Up in a Cocoon

In an ongoing revisionist history effort, Southern schools and churches in the United States still pretend the Civil War wasn't about slavery.
posted by SkylitDrawl on Feb 22, 2014 - 459 comments

Trusting God

Patrick Henry College has been called "God's Harvard." The tiny, elite school is considered a safe haven for fundamentalist evangelical Christians. It teaches a dominionist "Biblical Worldview" and has a uniquely religious campus culture (pdf) that emphasizes evangelical moral values. Which leaves female students in a particular bind: How do you report sexual assault at a place where authorities seem skeptical that such a thing even exists?
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2014 - 154 comments

Gentlemen

Gentlemen, Formerly. "A gentleman in 1720 could read Greek while mounting a running horse. Today’s gentleman reads GQ in the bathroom. From rapists to stylists, a history of the American gentleman." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Feb 16, 2014 - 61 comments

American Promise

American Promise is a PBS documentary (live streaming through March 6) that follows two middle class African-American boys, Idris and Seun, who enter The Dalton School as young children, and follows them for 13 years. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 16, 2014 - 14 comments

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