Education, Income, and Fertility in America, and What They Mean for the Future of the Country "Since the average American woman has 2.1 children, you might think we aren't experiencing a national fertility crisis. Unlike some European countries whose futures are threatened by low birth rates, Americans, on average, produce just the right number of future workers, soldiers, and taxpayers to keep our society humming... Two new studies bring the contrasting reproductive profiles of rich and poor women into sharp relief. One, from the Guttmacher Institute, shows that the rates of unplanned pregnancies and births among poor women now dwarf the fertility rates of wealthier women, and finds that the gap between the two groups has widened significantly over the past five years. The other, by the Center for Work-Life Policy, documents rates of childlessness among corporate professional women that are higher than the childlessness rates of some European countries experiencing fertility crises."
Big Data On Campus (NYTimes) “We don’t want to turn into just eHarmony,” says Michael Zimmer, assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where he studies ethical dimensions of new technology. “I’m worried that we’re taking both the richness and the serendipitous aspect of courses and professors and majors — and all the things that are supposed to be university life — and instead translating it into 18 variables that spit out, ‘This is your best fit. So go over here.’ ”
The Gates Foundation's Leveraged Philanthropy: Corporate Profit Versus Humanity
Part I on the Gates Foundation's international aid projects and II on Gates' domestic education projects. [more inside]
Part I on the Gates Foundation's international aid projects and II on Gates' domestic education projects. [more inside]
"Institutions of learning should be devoted to the cultivation of curiosity and the less they are deflected by considerations of immediacy of application, the more likely they are to contribute not only to human welfare but to the equally important satisfaction of intellectual interest which may indeed be said to have become the ruling passion of intellectual life in modern times." -Abraham Flexner, in his 1939 Harper's Article "The Usefulness of Useless Knowledge" (available at Harper's for money or in PDF from the IAS for free)
John Goerzen, an IT development manager in Kansas and a developer for Debian, has been teaching his two sons, ages five and two, respectively, how to use Linux. [more inside]
Discover Magazine posted a couple of blog entries about the law school scam as a cognitive bias and why law school tuition isn't more dispersed.
Slate: Technology is doing to math education what industrial agriculture did to food: making it efficient, monotonous, and low-quality. [more inside]
The Ph.D. Grind: A Ph.D. Student Memoir is Philip J. Guo's candid book about his six years of working towards a Ph.D. in computer science at Stanford University. Lots of Hard-earned wisdom and useful advice (especially in the epilogue) for those thinking about getting a Ph.D. [more inside]
Fundamentalist Christian schools in Louisiana will soon be citing the existence of the Loch Ness monster as proof that evolution is a myth. [more inside]
A Conversation With Bill Gates About the Future of Higher Education at the Chronicle of Higher Education. As always, Bill is honest and interesting as he talks about new developments and how they fit into a realistic view of the next 10-20 years of higher ed.
Rohinton Mistry's convocation speech to Ryerson [video - g&m, must wait for short ad) this link is to the text, with no ads, but hearing his reading is nice.
Teach With Portals. Last summer, a New York Times review of Portal 2 made the following prediction: "Somewhere out there an innovative, dynamic high school physics teacher will use Portal 2 as the linchpin of an entire series of lessons and will immediately become the most important science teacher those lucky students have ever had." With Teach With Portals, Valve's new education initiative, this just might be possible. [more inside]
The U.S. National Institute of Heath has urged steps to curb growth in "training" positions in biomedical research (report). [more inside]
On Thursday 26-year-old Michael Vipperman walked up to the podium during University of Toronto's Convocation Hall ceremonies, held up his 'no' sign and said, "I hereby renounce this degree." [more inside]
Khan Academy and the Effectiveness of Science Videos is an 8 minute video by Derek Muller that offers some skepticism as to the usefulness of science videos that only teach the facts without investigating existing misconceptions. TL;DW? Here's a 1 minute 29 second version. Too brief? Here's his PhD thesis.
Learning and Unlearning Math explores topic in mathematics from the perspective of a teacher. The author has developed series of articles on such varied topics as Multiplication, Quantity, Central Tendency, Math in Comics, and things not taught in schools. More recently, the blog has focused on the conventions for Mathematical Notation.
When the Penn State scandal came out last year, I kept getting tangled in the questions everyone else was getting tangled in: How does an institutional culture arise to condone, or at least ignore, something that, individually, every member knows is wrong? An alumnus of Horace Mann School writes a shocking expose (NYT) of a culture of sexual abuse at the elite prep school, some at the hands of teachers who were allowed to remain for years after accusations were first made.
Soo Bin Park in Nature has reported that South Korean highschool textbook publishers will be removing examples of evolution due to demands of creationist groups [more inside]
Traditionally, the Tuesday of the first full week of May is the National Teacher Day in the USA. Here's a message (SLYT) from your kids' teachers.
On May 18, after a hearing with the Superintendent of Edmonton Public Schools, Lynden Dorval was suspended for insubordination after repeatedly refusing to comply with his school's Grading Policy (PDF). This has sparked outrage and discussion about high school grading policies. Opponents of the "no-zero" policy claim that it does not prepare students for real life, while the Superintendent of EPSB, Edgar Schmidt, claims that it helps the School District achieve it's goal for "more students to complete high school". The 35-year veteran teacher expects to be fired for his position on the grading policy.
Guidelines [pdf] recently published by a coalition of religious liberty and free speech organizations caution educators against violating student rights when trying to enforce anti-bullying policies. Other groups, however, worry that concern for free speech rights may keep educators from effectively addressing bullying. [more inside]
"It's the dirty little secret of higher education," says Mr. Williams of the New Faculty Majority. "Many administrators are not aware of the whole extent of the problem. But all it takes is for somebody to run the numbers to see that their faculty is eligible for welfare assistance." [more inside]
Filipaj worked as a custodian for 20 years to finance learning English, then Latin and Greek. He says he'll keep working at Columbia while continuing to study, rather than looking to move to a more lucrative job immediately.
A report by the ABA shows that some law schools hire as many as 15% of new graduates in an effort to boost employment numbers.
Harvard and MIT today announced a new partnership for offering free online courses, called edX. [more inside]
Ten desirable skills you can teach yourself is a nice round-up of terrific guides to teaching yourself new tricks including basic repair skills, learning a language (the Foreign Services Institute has a chart of how hard various languages are to learn), teaching yourself to code, building electronics (starting with soldering), getting yourself up to speed in photography, learning an instrument, developing a basic sense of design, the inevitable cooking tips, and even some starter self-defense moves. Also, a very nicely organized list of free online college courses.
Today, President Obama signed an executive order which places stricter disclosure requirements on recruiters for for-profit schools looking to recruit veterans and soldiers. The move comes amid growing concern among state and federal legislators that for-profit educational institutions are doing more harm than good and are employing predatory recruiting practices especially on veterans who are exiting the military and looking to improve their education through the Post-9/11 GI Bill. [more inside]
More Universities Should Shut Down Their Computer Science Programs
The University of Minnesota recently announced that its College of Education and Human Development has created a searchable online catalog of "open textbooks" that are reviewed by U of M faculty. The books must be Openly Licensed, complete (not a draft version of the text, or a collection of lecture notes), suitable for use outside of the author's institution, and available in print for a reasonable price, generally less than $40 USD. [more inside]
Coursera - free, online, introductory- to upper-undergraduate level classes in a wide variety of subjects, led by instructors from Princeton University, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the University of Pennsylvania
The Vikings Of Bjornstad a "a living history and educational group, concentrating on the Viking age " reviews every viking movie ever made for its authenticity in depicting Vikings and Viking Culture. Every. single. one. [more inside]
In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
"Refusing to allow such threats to paralyze the entire university community in its pursuit of learning and teaching,"
Starting on February 13th The University of Pittsburgh has received a steady stream of bomb threats. The Chancellor of the University has stated that the school has no intention of ending its semester early even though the threats show no sign of stopping and the authorities have been unable to find any leads after finding that some of the threats were routed through systems in Austria. The school's Vice Chancellor wrote this letter to students and faculty in response to the ongoing situation.
Student loan debt is now extending to K-12 private educations, fueled by parents who believe getting their children into the "right" primary school is essential to future success.
On a recent Monday night, a gaggle of 20-somethings crammed into a former Curves fitness center along the industrial edge of Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn. The storefront gym had been carved into two classrooms... It was just another school night at [Metafilter's* own] Brooklyn Brainery, a hipster schoolhouse started by a pair of underemployed polymaths, where students can learn abstruse subjects like the secret lives of bacteria, taught by teachers with few teaching credentials. Tuition is $5 to $30, enrollment takes place online and PayPal is accepted. [more inside]
The David Rumsey Map Collection presents 19th-century maps, drawn by children. Relics of an approach to the teaching of geography through the copying of existing maps and atlases, many of these maps are stunning in their detail and elegance--though not always in their accuracy. Also, I'll be damned if one of the teachers mentioned didn't create something that looks an awful lot like an infographic. [Via]
The Guardian has a feature today on computer science education in the UK It includes short interviews with teenagers who use coding (for fun or work), an article on encouraging girls to get involved in computer science, an editorial encouraging an overhaul of the UK's system of teaching computing, and some discussion of Young Rewired State, a group that offers "festivals of code" to help kids learn to "program the world around them", and also encouraging use of open data.
"The world is full of 'bad books'; not just uninteresting, or ill-informed, or morally repugnant books, but books that set out to present or defend positions that are insupportable in logic….Often these bad books become quite popular, and frequently gain a wider audience than good books on the same subjects. In discouraging my students from relying on such bad books, I began to wonder why they are popular." [more inside]
With the number of LSAT test takers in sharp decline, has the law school tuition bubble finally burst?
Tom Monaghan had a dream: To create a law school and surrounding community that would adhere strictly to Catholic values. Things have not gone according to plan. [more inside]
Touted as the cure for what ails public education, charter schools have historical roots that are rarely discussed. [more inside]
A group of high school students from The Bronx calling themselves The Resistance have released a 10-point plan to reform NYC public schooling. (via Colorlines) [more inside]
March 5-10, 2012 is the first Open Education Week. The effort has been lead by the Creative Commons Education Project and the Open Courseware Consortium. The effort hopes to highlight and promote the use of open educational resources (OER). Events listed here.
This is apparently a real advertisement [gore warning] for the Central Institute of Technology in Australia. Mind blown. TV in America sucks.
An upstate NY man claims he has "decoded music". Using a decoder ring. And music authorities seem to agree. *Eastman School of Music, at 1:55 in the video
A student group has a novel idea to reduce college costs: pay nothing up front, instead paying out 5% of their income to the UC system for 20 years after graduation.