Archive for the ‘News that matters’ Category

Free Thinkers by Joshua Davis – Inspirational Case Study

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Free Thinkers by Joshua Davis from the Nov. 2013 issue of Wired Magazine tells how a teacher in a Mexican border town converted his classroom from the factory model of the 1800′s to one drawing on modern research with amazing results. It’s an inspirational case study featuring a special teacher and student that all school leaders need to pay attention to. The author (@JoshusDavisNow) is a contributing editor for Wired and has written 30 feature articles for the magazine.

The Setting

  • José Urbina López Primary School sits next to a dump in Matamoros, Mexico. It’s a city of almost half a million, and a flash point in the drug war. Shoot-outs are common as are bodies in the street. The school was known as a place of punishment. Students sat in rows and listened as teachers doled out knowledge that they were expected to parrot back. Sergio Juárez Correa taught such classes for five years when he realized that they were a wast of time.
  • In 2011 he started to experiment. He was inspired by the work of Sugata MItra who gave children in India access to computers without instruction. What he found is that they were able to teach themselves a surprising variety of things. Even though Sergio had no computers, he was still able to give his student much more control of their learning.

Problems With Our System

  • The current system in the US generates hundreds of thousands of dropouts, and one third of those who do graduate from high school are not prepared for college. The dominant model of public education is rooted in the industrial revolution that spawned it. Conversely, children are motivated by curiosity and playfulness and teach themselves a tremendous amount when left to their own means. In sort, human cognitive machinery is incompatible with conventional schooling. Children soon learn that their questions don’t matter, which is not the way natural selection designed us to learn. If you don’t control your learning, you simply won’t learn as well.
  • Since schools were invented, the top three skills have been reading, writing, and arithmetic. Today in the real world, they are teamwork, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. In response, a new breed of educators are inventing new ways for children to learn, grow and thrive. Knowledge is no longer a commodity that is delivered, but something that emerges from exploration. The idea is to create ways for children to discover their passion.
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Good men are hard to find.

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Women have been outperforming men in school for some time. Now the numbers are in and their better performance in schools is paying off in the work place. In terms of pay and employment, women have made big gains at the expense of men. According to an article by M. P. McQueen in the February 12, 2010 “Wall Street Journal”, by 2007, women were earning 35% more bachelor’s degrees and 66% more associate’s degrees than men. While women still make less than men, they are catching up as their pay increased 5.3% last year compared to 3.4% for men. These numbers are even more unbalanced for blacks where women earn 92% more bachelor’s degrees and have a 13.3% unemployment rate compared to 17.6% for black men.
Steady increases among women with college degrees over the past two decades seems to be paying off in the current economy as women for the first time surpassed the number of men holding payroll jobs. “Men have traditionally needed less education, because guys could get good jobs in construction without a master’s in Education and women couldn’t, so education substitutes for that,” said Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University economist.
Women started catching up by the 1960s, and by the 1980s they were earning more bachelor’s degrees than men, and a growing share of graduate and professional degrees. Woman earn more college degrees in all fields except the physical sciences, math, engineering, business and economics. I think the message here is that males can either work harder in school or work harder to find a good woman who can bring home the bacon.

Click here for the McQueen article.

Great Video by Yong Zhao

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Youg is the author of a recent book, Catching-Up or Leading the Way, that takes NCLB to task for its emphasis on standardized testing that has been a problem for China for the last 1,400 years. Thanks to the people at The NewLearning Institute, you can now watch a ten minute video in which Yong explains the essence of his vision regarding education and standardized tests. If you want to get a group of educators or parents talking, just show this at a meeting. You should also consider purchasing Yong’s book.

Click here for Yong Zhao’s 10 minute video.
Click here for my summary of Yong’s Book.

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Hot Health Topics From 140 Conference in NYC

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

From day 1 of Jeff Pulver’s 140 Conference in New York City, I have summaries of a number of the presentations. While these stood out in terms of being easy to summarize, all of the presentations were solid and useful. Be sure to check the Day 2live feed here.

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How to stop a bully

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

The July 23, 2010 op-ed page in the New York Times offers an article from two professors at Williams College in Massachusetts (Engel and Sandstrom). They cite a new state law and the fact that many other states are taking similar measures. Their research finds that in order to combat bullying, schools need to make it an essential part of the curriculum. They tell us we need to teach kids to be “good to each other” without giving them rational for doing so. I believe that bullies ultimately suffer for their behavior and that being kind is in one’s own self interest. Yes, it is selfish to be kind to others. What goes around, comes around. This goes against the idea of being good for goodness sake, which is the sense I get from this article. Let me know what you think.

Here is the link to this article.

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Is Obama Bush III on Education?

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Nick Anderson of the Washington Post reports on September 25, 2009 that Teacher Unions are not happy with what they are seeing from the Obama administration as they approach the reauthorization of NCLB.
“It looks like the only strategies they have are charter schools and measurement,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “That’s Bush III.”
Standardized testing, school accountability, performance pay, charter schools — all are integral to President Obama’s $4.35 billion “Race to the Top” grant competition to spur innovation. None is a typical Democratic crowd-pleaser.
Click here to download the entire article.

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It would be funny if it weren’t true.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

An article in the NY TImes (12/27/2009) sites a department of Education estimate that in order to apply for part of the $4 billion in federal Race to the Top grant money, a state will need to spend 681 hours to fill out the application. If you haven’t seen the application it is available below. I can’t imagine anyone reading it all without being compensated, but a quick scan is likely to be amusing or depressing depending on your personality.

Click here to see the article..

Click here to see the Race to the top application..

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March Madness – UPDATED 4/1/2010!

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Updated 4/1/2010 after announcement of round one winners (Start with slide 15 for update.) I couldn’t help but notice how the current madness associated with the Race to the Top finalists and the Obama Administration’s blueprint for reauthorization of NCLB are analogous to the other madness associated with March. Don’t forget that the secretary of education was a basketball player. Thanks to information from the New York Times, Education Week, and my own thinking, I have a humorous (I hope) and factual take on the current status. Let me know what you think (dgreen@stny.rr.com).

Click here to see Dr. Doug’s March Madness..

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Move Amazing News From 140 NYC – Thanks to Jeff Pulver for a Great Show.

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Welcome to day 2 of @jeffpulver’s 140 Health and Wellness Conference in New York City. Let’s start with a couple of quotes by Charlie Seltzer (@drcharlies). “Not being dead is a really good motivator,” and “following someone else’s diet and exercise plan is like using someone else’s eye glasses.” This was an amazing experience. What follows are summaries of some of the cool day 2 speakers that Jeff rounded up. I extend my regrets to those I missed and those who’s inspirational stories didn’t lend themselves to my format. Enjoy.

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Obama vs. Bill Gates – Place Your Bet

Friday, November 27th, 2009

These two heavyweights are both trying to improve education by throwing money at the problem. The Obama administration’s $4 billion “Race to the Top” fund will go to the states that can convince government raters that they have the best reform agendas. The feds are also spending $350 million to help create common assessments for the nation that will replace the individual tests that states currently create and use to rate schools as required by federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation.
Meanwhile, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is donating $350 million in the next ten years to answer the question: “What, exactly, makes a good teacher effective.
With the federal government spending over twelve times as much as the Gates foundation, you would think that they would show more dramatic and significant results. Since it is too soon to tell, all we can do is place our bets. What do you think. Email your pick to me (dgreen@stny.rr.com) and I will post the results. After I get your votes I will post a detailed rational for who I think will win and why.

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