The Educational Value of an Election Year

On Tuesday night, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama went head to head in the second of three debates. We watched the debates avidly, hoping for further discussion of the two candidates' education policy plans -- and we were more than a little disappointed. Education policy has gotten little play in this year's election season. The only traction that … [Read more...]

Congress Saved the Student Loans, Right?

In the weeks leading up to July 1, college students across the nation waited anxiously for Congress to come up with some sort of viable compromise to prevent federal student loan rates from doubling from 3.4% to 6.8%. On June 29, quite literally at the eleventh hour, Congress finally passed a $127 billion bill that addressed student concerns...sort of. The bill dedicates roughly $120 billion to … [Read more...]

What Is The Higgs Boson Anyway?

The entire world got very excited last week when it was announced that scientists had (most likely) discovered the elusive Higgs boson, commonly called the “God particle”.  We all knew that this discovery was a huge deal – how could discovering something with God in the name not be a big deal? – but very few people seemed able to explain why it was such a huge deal. Since we are curious … [Read more...]

Teacher Performance Rankings: The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

teacherevaluation

Imagine if your state chose to rank surgeons practicing at public teaching hospitals, and then published these rankings in the local paper. Doctors whose patients die or fail to recover quickly would receive poor rankings, while doctors whose patients fully and quickly recover would receive high rankings. In theory, this might sound like a great idea – after all, if you need an operation, you … [Read more...]

Grading Parents: Would You Get an A?

gradingparentscnn

A little over a year ago, the Florida legislature floated an idea which would have required elementary school teachers to grade parents based on their involvement in their children’s education. Now, a Louisiana legislator is floating a similar bill. The idea of grading parents must, in some ways, be a balm to the besieged spirits of many of America’s hardworking school teachers. After all, … [Read more...]

Homeschooling: The New Education Reform?

santorumhomeschool

Super Tuesday has brought Rick Santorum to the forefront of American media. In recent weeks, media scrutiny has brought many of Rick Santorum’s viewpoints on social issues into the spotlight, including his views on education in America. Throughout his campaign, Santorum has flashed his homeschooling credentials as proof of his conservative education views. Although he voted in favor of No Child … [Read more...]

Is Failure the Secret to College Admissions?

admissionsoffice

In a recent post in Education Week, a dean of admission for Pitzer College ruminates on the benefits of failure in the college admissions race. The author correctly notes that there is no such thing as a “perfect” student, drawing the conclusion that applicants shouldn’t strive for perfection when seeking college admissions. In fact, the author says that he and his peers are often skeptical of … [Read more...]

State of the Union: Reducing College Costs

stateofunion

Can Obama lower the cost of college? In his State of the Union speech last Tuesday, President Obama spent a great deal of time discussing education in America. Recognizing the importance of an affordable higher education, Obama highlighted his administration’s goal of reducing college costs in order to make college more accessible. Anyone who doubts the need for such changes surely has not … [Read more...]

Do Standardized Tests Kill Reading Skills?

standardized-testing3

As the number of students that take standardized tests rises, the number of parents criticizing these tests is also rising... Nearly every standardized test includes a reading component. On the typical test, students are asked to read a small selection or excerpt and then answer a short series of multiple choice questions about the material. On the surface, this methodology makes sense: By … [Read more...]

Cross-Curricular Missteps

gascandal

This homework worksheet was assigned to 3rd graders in Georgia. Imagine this: Your third grade child heads back to school after winter break and comes home with a math worksheet. You, being the awesome parent that you are, help your child with his homework. You are shocked to read the following questions: If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one … [Read more...]