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What the American Dream could cost you
Ask anyone who graduated college in the last 20 years why they went to college, and they’ll repeat the message they were always given: College = job = American Dream. But recent college graduates are quickly experiencing one of two things: There seems to be more college graduates than there are college-level jobs available. According to one analysis of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 35 percent of the 49 million college graduates in the workforce have jobs that require less than a college degree. For example, 33 percent of flight attendants, 16 percent of bartenders, and 13 percent...
Posted May 4, 2012 at
A growing trend in education over the last two decades has been exploring ways to use educational technology to maximize classroom time and extend learning opportunities beyond the classroom. The idea of a “ubiquitous learning environment,” where students can learn at any time and in any place, has long been a dream of many educators and goes back over one hundred years—correspondence courses, phonographs, radio, filmstrips, and television have all been re-purposed for learning. Today, with high-speed Internet and devices like smart phones and tablet computers more commonly in the hands of students, educators are closer than ever to realizing...
Posted Mar 12, 2012 at
Teachers still want “apples”
An apple for a teacher is the education cliché, but do you know why? As far back as the 16th century, parents of students in Scandinavia, and eventually in the United States, gave fruit to their child’s teacher to show their appreciation. But it was also, in part, a form of payment to help low-salaried teachers feed their families. Today, the salary scale remains, but the appreciation seems lost, resulting in U.S. schools having a harder time than ever keeping good teachers. In fact, according to a McKinsey & Company study, 14 percent leave teaching after only one year, and...
Posted Jan 31, 2012 at
Merit bonuses: Try, try again?
On July, 27, 2010, Secretary of Education and former Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan made this statement to the National Press Club about Chicago’s pay-for-performance program: “…every adult in the building—teachers, clerks, janitors and cafeteria workers—all were rewarded when [a] school improved. It builds a sense of teamwork and gives the whole school a common mission. It can transform a school culture.” However, we know, from studies of similar programs in New York and elsewhere that results of such programs have been inconclusive. In New York City Public Schools, from 2007−2010, teachers chose to receive bonuses based on the...
Posted Jul 5, 2011 at
What’s good for the body is good for the mind
First Lady Michelle Obama tours the country speaking of healthy eating habits, Dr. Oz answers your health questions on daytime TV, and the USDA recently updated the food pyramid. As obesity rates rise, healthy living is front page news. Then why are schools cutting physical education (PE) programs? That answer has also been front page news: budget cuts and falling academic scores. Schools need to do more with less, and cutting PE leaves more time and money for academics. In California alone, according to a policy brief released in May by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, 1.3 million...
Posted Jun 15, 2011 at
Approaching learning like a video game
Here are two common classroom scenarios: A student is bored while waiting for classmates to finish a test and, therefore, becomes disruptive, or a student is frustrated due to misunderstanding the material, but the class moves forward, anyway. One student wants to speed up past the group and one wants to slow down from the group. In either scenario, the student is left feeling unmotivated. But what would the scenario be if schools were not structured around groups, but rather the individual? We’re all familiar with basic video game design: A player participates individually, and when a level is complete,...
Posted Feb 25, 2011 at
Making the case for bottom-up change in school reform
In President Obama’s State of the Union address last week, he called out the Bruce Randolph School, a turnaround school here in Denver. Once one of the worst-performing schools in Colorado, Bruce Randolph graduated 90 percent of its seniors last year—and 87 percent of them headed to college a few months ago. Obama attributed the school’s success to reform that is not just “a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities.” So how did they do it? According to a Denver Post article, then-Principal Kristin Waters first asked all teachers to reapply for...
Posted Feb 2, 2011 at
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Jan 7, 2011
A Sign of the Times: Yale Pulls Investment in Urban Education
Yale University is shutting down its teacher preparation graduate program in urban education—a small, focused, and intense program—as well as its undergraduate early childhood education and secondary certification programs by the end of 2012. The university plans to reinvest these funds in a Promise scholarship program offering full state college tuition for New Haven public school students. Tara Stevens, a graduate of the soon-to-be-obsolete master’s program, considers the program a long-term solution to educational obstacles in New Haven, particularly the wealth-opportunity gap. She claims Yale is only throwing money at the problem by creating a new program. Others from the...
Posted Jan 7, 2011 at
Your Common Core problems—solved
With the arrival of the Common Core, states, districts, and schools are asking themselves: Do our state standards measure up to the new expectations? How can we identify and fill gaps in expected knowledge and skills? McREL’s standards experts asked those same questions and have created ways to answer them. To help educators understand and identify differences, we’ve aligned our Compendium of state standards to the Common Core standards—and included instructional resources and a video tutorial that shows how to navigate to the information you need. We’ve also linked lesson and unit plans to Common Core expectations, via the Compendium...
Posted Dec 17, 2010 at
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