Renascence School Education News - private school

Monday, April 27, 2015

How Intel and Boeing Are Helping These Kids Learn STEM Skills

Time – Tim Bajarin

“An entire region of Arizona has made STEM education a core economic development tenant. As a tech analyst, one of the areas I’m highly interested in is STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education. I have written columns in TIME about why the San Francisco 49ers and Chevron are willing to spend millions of dollars getting kids up to speed on STEM. Their central goal is to help kids prepare for a world where technology has become pervasive, one where there will be a need for millions of STEM-educated students to work for and run all types of companies around the world. I was recently told about an entire region in Arizona that has made education — and especially STEM education — a core tenet of its economic development strategy. A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of going to Phoenix and attending what was called the PHX East Valley THRIVE Economic Diversity Summit. It was sponsored by what is known as the PHX East Valley Partnership, which encompasses Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Queen Creek, Apache Junction and Scottsdale.”(more)

Kids Must Be Our Nation’s Top Priority

The Huffington Post – Jim Steyer

“Putting our kids first is not just good public policy, it’s just plain common sense. That’s why we’re excited to announce the launch of our major new platform: Common Sense Kids Action. The mission is simple: to make kids and education our nation’s top priority. Period. Full stop. As we all know, kids don’t sit in corporate boardrooms and don’t have the votes or economic power to make their voices heard. Yet, their success in life is absolutely essential to our nation’s future. And when we stand up for all kids, we stand up for the best interests of our own kids as well. Too often in recent years, our national and state priorities have reflected the bidding of the powerful and well connected. Elected officials love to pay lip service to doing “right by our children,” and they all love to have their photos taken kissing babies. But the actions of Congress, many state legislatures and many businesses rarely, if ever, put children first.”(more)

Defining ‘College Readiness’ Down

Education Next – Chester E. Finn, Jr.

“A vast amount of contemporary education policy attention and education reform energy has been lavished on the task of defining and gauging “college readiness” and then taking steps to align K–12 outcomes more closely with it. The ultimate goal is to prepare many more young people to complete high school having been properly prepared for “college-level” work. The entire Common Core edifice—and the assessments, cut scores, and accountability arrangements built atop it—presupposes that “college-ready” has the same definition that it has long enjoyed: students prepared to succeed, upon arrival at the ivied gates, in credit-bearing college courses that they go right into without needing first to subject themselves to “remediation” (now sometimes euphemized as “developmental education”). But this goes way beyond Common Core. Advanced Placement courses also rest on the understanding that an “introductory college-level course” in a given subject has a certain set meaning and fixed standards. The people at ACT, the College Board, and NAGB have sweat bullets developing metrics that gauge what a twelfth grader must know and be able to do in order to be truly college-ready—again, in the sense of having solid prospects of succeeding in credit-bearing college courses in one subject or another.”(more)

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What the future of science education should look like

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“For over five decades, dramatic calls for schools to improve science literacy have been driven by fears of external economic and military domination. Despite inducements to change, and a half-century of research-based consensus that students would be well served by more active learning and less lecture and memorization, the latter practices are still ubiquitous. While we remain the world’s leading generator of science and engineering innovation, far too many Americans lack sufficient understanding of the foundational principles of the scientific investigations and engineering designs that have improved our lives. As a result, they are unable to fully engage in informed participation in debates about such critical issues as climate change, sustainable development and genetic engineering or evaluate the relative risks implicit in ubiquitous side-effect messages in televised drug advertisements. In addition, we have made far too little progress in diversifying the STEM workforce in ways that would surely benefit the lives of all Americans.”(more)

Shakespeare getting little love from American colleges

The San Francisco Chronicle – Nanette Asimov

“A new study finds that English departments at just four of 52 top-ranked universities require English majors to take a course on the 16th century playwright and poet who is considered the English-speaking world’s greatest man of letters. UC Berkeley is one of the four. “Our department feels very strongly about this,” said Professor Katherine O’Brien O’Keeffe, who chairs the English department at UC Berkeley. “Shakespeare is the single most influential writer in English. Not only that, he’s one of the most supremely absorbing writers in any language. We couldn’t imagine how a student could achieve a degree in English without taking a course in Shakespeare.” Only Harvard, Wellesley and the United States Naval Academy share that view, according to the study released Thursday — believed to be the Bard’s birthday — by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C., that focuses on academic freedom and holding “colleges and universities accountable.” The study, “The Unkindest Cut: Shakespeare in Exile,” looks at the 26 top-ranked universities in the nation — including the eight Ivy League schools — and the 26 top liberal arts colleges as ranked by this year’s U.S. News & World Report, and found more than 92 percent do not require English majors to take a course on Shakespeare. Stanford is one of them.”(more)

When To Pay For Education-Related Financial Help

Forbes – Robert Farrington

“There is a booming industry forming to help people with education financial assistance. There are companies and services that can help with FAFSA and Financial Aid, finding scholarships, financial planning for college, and help with your student loans after graduation. The topic of “how to pay for college” is one of the fastest growing areas in financial services, but consumers need to know when they should and when they shouldn’t pay for help. Because in any area that is booming, there are bound to be companies prowling for victims and scamming student loan borrowers.”(more)

What If Students Could Fire Their Professors?

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“A bill circulating in the Iowa state Senate would rate professors’ performance based on student evaluations. Just student evaluations. Low-rated professors would be automatically fired — no tenure, no appeals. The bill’s author, state Sen. Mark Chelgren, a Republican, argues that too many students are taking on student loan debt but not getting their money’s worth in the classroom. “Professors need to understand that their customers are those students,” Chelgren told the Chronicle of Higher Education.”(more)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Smartphones making children borderline autistic, warns expert

The Telegraph – Javier Espinoza

” Children struggle to read emotions and are less empathetic than a generation ago because they spend too much time using tablets and smartphones, a leading psychiatrist has warned. Iain McGilchrist said children as young as five were less able to read facial expressions because of too much interaction with technology. He added that he had evidence that more pupils were displaying borderline “autistic” behaviour. Dr McGilchrist, a former Oxford literary scholar who retrained in medicine, said he had heard of increasing numbers of teachers who had to explain to their pupils how to make sense of human faces. However, experts have said children’s lack of ability to read emotions may be down to cultural or language barriers and not just technology. Mr McGilchrist said he’d heard from teachers who said they now have to explain to their pupils how to make sense of the human face more than a few years ago. Mr McGilchrist said he has been contacted by teachers of five to seven year olds who have estimated that roughly a third of their pupils find it difficult to keep attention, read faces and show empathy.”(more)

A very British business

The Economist – Staff Writer

“THEY are known, quaintly, as “public schools”, though they are certainly not open to just anyone. Their names—Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Fettes—conjure up images of striped blazers and straw boaters, speech days and rugger matches. Be not deceived: for all their whimsiness, these are some of the world’s most ruthless businesses. Britain’s elite private schools are service-industry superpowers. They have increased their fees threefold in real terms since 1980 but still have parents beating at their doors. They have become thoroughly global: more than a third of their boarding pupils are foreign and the schools have established campuses in far-flung places such as Almaty, Kazakhstan (Haileybury) and Bangkok (Harrow) as well as more obvious ones like Singapore and Beijing. The secret of their success is simple: they provide a first-class academic education, and a ticket to the best universities, in an age when the rewards for academic success are rising. Their exam results far outstrip those of state schools (though there is a debate over how much this is because of the selectivity of their intake). They bag two-fifths of the undergraduate places at Oxford and Cambridge, despite educating just 7% of children in Britain.”(more)

The College Education Game Just Got Changed

Time – Sabrina Toppa

“Arizona State now offers online pay-as-you-pass freshman years with no required SAT. Arizona State University (ASU) is partnering with the education nonprofit edX to offer students around the world the opportunity to take freshman year courses online — without a required SAT score or high school transcripts. The earned credits enable students to finish their degrees at Arizona’s campus or that of any university campus accepting the courses.”(more)