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This infographic shows the future trends in scientific fields, claiming that of all the STEM degrees awarded in 2009, nearly half of them were awarded to women. It is true that in the past decade, the STEM gap in America's workforce has been steadily closing. But interestingly, there's still a significant unbalanced gender divide for engineering, physics, and computer science fields. (A small clip of the infographic. LOOK at all that blue!)
It all started with an April Fool's prank from the National Public Radio (NPR), who printed a story on April 1st about how Porsafillo Preschool Academy applicants are required to submit a DNA analysis of their children. According to this New York Times article, before NPR had a chance to say “April Fools!”, parents were already getting a DNA analysis for their preschool application; some parents went so far as to get the analysis while their child was in the womb! This story definitely tells the reader what kinds of lengths new parents will go to in order to ensure that their children start their education career at an elite preschool. If new parents even think about sending their child to a good preschool then they had better be prepared because the competition is going to be extremely fierce. It sounds like they would need to start looking into preschool before the child is even born! This is good news for elite private preschools as they'll be able to hike up their prices because of the competition, but bad news for the parents who can not afford the rising prices. It seems that competitive preschools and wealthy parents are the winners of this situation. Just because a preschool is “elite” it doesn't mean that students would necessarily learn more than the more affordable schools. Thankfully, applicants won't need to submit a DNA analysis... at least not until DNA tests can predict academic achievement.
Over at the National Review, Reihan Salam has an interesting attack on the conventional narrative of summer vacations. We've often heard how the extended summer vacation enjoyed by students is a relic of an agricultural economy, in which students needed those months off to help their parents with the harvest. Hence the obvious solution to summer learning loss: extend the school year. Salam argues that summer ...
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A recent study conducted by the Book Industry Study Group examined faculty attitudes about the role of textbooks in teaching and reluctance to explore digital formats. The study rather unsurprisingly found that 93% of professors believe course-assigned reading is important for classroom success. Only 32% of those surveyed said that they were open to making required readings available in electronic format and this could be an availability issue, respondents mentio...
Researchers at the University of Akron have just released a very timely study in which they claim that automated scoring software (AES), across a variety of brands, has proved capable of rating student essays (or extended-response writing items) with a similar level of accuracy and consistency as human evaluators. The student work used was 22,000 short essays from students in grades 7-9, divided into traditional writing or responses to prompts. The scoring involved a variety of rubrics, depending on the type of essa...
We all know of the explosive growth in student loans to pay for college and graduate school education, with total student loan debt now approaching a trillion dollars. This trend has mirrored a concomitant growth in tuition costs. It is therefore not too surprising to discover that demand for loans to cover the costs of private secondary and primary education, up to and including kindergarten, is on the rise. Discontent with the opportunities provided by the public school sy...
Harvard University, home of the oldest American Ed.D program, announced plans this week to end the program and transition graduates towards a Ph.D instead. This fracturing could be part of a greater trend tow...
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As part of a 5-year strategic plan aimed at making the most of university resources, Lasell College in Massachusetts is requiring that all faculty members use their Moodle platform for all courses. If you've ever fielded LMS support, you may have an inkling of the sort of nigh...
The New York Times recently ran an article with a very ominous warning regarding the nation's security and the economy. According to a panel led by former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and former chancellor of the New York City's school system, Joel Klein, if America does not reform education, our country's security and economy will collapse! Does this warning seem too dramatic, or not dramatic enough? This may seem like a no-brainer to those who know all too well that our school system is still designed for the industrial age and that the system needs to “adapt or die”, but do we need this stern warning from the panel to convey this thought to the general public, to those who have no idea about the outdated school system in need of a good fixing? Well, first off, who is this panel that has Rice and Klein leading the charge? It's a 30 member committee organized by the Council on Foreign Relations, which is a New York based research and policy organization. The committee believes that today's school system is not preparing enough students to qualify for the military and this is what is threatening our national security. However, they suggested several solutions to this problem. The three main proposed solutions are the following: 1) Adopt the Common Core standards and expand them to include science, technology and foreign languages, 2) Give students more of a choice when selecting schools, especially for students in poor schools, and 3) Governors, along with the federal government, should develop and deploy a national security readiness audit for all schools. Do you think these solutions will actually help students become better qualified for the military and improve the school system? Is the general public going to take more notice of the issues regarding the school system now that we have this official warning about national security?
After years of cost cutting, lay-offs, and reorganizations, the venerable Encyclopaedia Britannica announced this week the cessation of print publication. From now on, new versions of the encyclopedia will only be available in digital form. Their final print run was for 12,000 sets, which stands in sharp contrast to the 500,000 online subscribers. This shift comes as something of an anti-climax, as the company had already changed focus several years ago from the encyclopedia to the more lucra...