The Bookbyte Blog
Posts in Education
Kids are smart. Much, much smarter than we give them credit for. Most kids have an inherent curiosity, a craving for knowledge and a greater patience with the learning process than most adults. And curiosity is the most powerful force in education.
There's a problem at a lot of well-known, hyper-competitive schools. As it turns out when you get thousands of very successful students who've made their way into a top-tier college by getting straight A's, they don't want to stop getting straight A's just because they're suddenly surrounded by kindred spirits. Suddenly, just about everyone's getting A's for doing a comparatively average job and the grades start to mean very little.
A professor at Northwestern's management school recently published a study critiquing the cultural effects of encouraging independent work and independent values at colleges. The paper argues that middle- and upper-class students thrive in an environment that pushes independent values—like "express yourself" and "do your own thing."
A report thrown together by a Florida task force on education has proposed that more in-demand and higher paid majors (science, engineering, math, and tech) should pay less for tuition than the less in-demand majors (art, history, English, etc.).
You can educate yourself about candidates, but at the end of the day, most people will vote along party lines. That's just the way things are. But in most elections, there are other things at stake than just who will take office. The times democracy really gets to chance to shine are with propositions (or ballot initiatives or measures or whatever your state calls them).
<a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/vote.jpeg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1066" title="vote" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/vote.jpeg" alt="Vote pin on an American flag" width="540" height="230" /></a>I was an out-of-state student. For four years, my family and mailing address were in Virginia, but I spent the majority of the year up in Massachusetts. I kept my voting registration in Virginia, mostly because I'd rather cast a vote in a swing state than in one that tends to lean blue.
<a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/supremecourt1.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1052" title="supremecourt" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/supremecourt1.jpg" alt="The Supreme Court of the United States" width="540" height="364" /></a> The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/10/justice/court-affirmative-action/index.html"><em>Fisher v. University of Texas</em></a>, a case that could potentially change the way our country handles affirmative action. Here's the bare-bones facts of the case. Abigail Fisher, a student whose application to the University of Texas was rejected, sued the school for discrimination. She's white, and arguing that if she had been a racial minority, she would've been accepted.
<a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/florida.jpg"><img class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-1041" title="florida" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/florida.jpg" alt="The Florida State Flag" width="500" height="301" /></a> In its official strategic plan, Florida's Board of Education projected its goals for the next few years. The document set targets for the percentages of students the board hopes will be at grade level in the near future. But then it further breaks down those targets. By race.
<p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/rosalindsm.png"><img class="size-full wp-image-993 aligncenter" title="rosalindsm" src="http://blogdotbookbytedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/rosalindsm.png" alt="A comic on Rosalind Franklin from Kate Beaton's webcomic "Hark! A Vagrant"" width="540" height="405" /></a></p> <em>Source: <a href="http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=240">Hark! A Vagrant</a></em> The fact that women aren't paid as fairly as men isn't news to anyone. But this is the first time I've seen that stat approached as a highly controlled purely scientific study, and directed at the very people conducting the study.