Posts Tagged: Education

Uber Optics

As communities are heading back to school, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate the educators who are also our Uber partner drivers. Whether it’s an afternoon shift or a summertime gig, partnering with Uber provides teachers with the flexibility and opportunity they need to continue creating a foundation of excellence for students across the country.

Every day teachers are asked to do more with less, constantly faced with new challenges and limited resources. Uber opens the door for more possibilities and delivers a meaningful impact to the communities we serve.

Teachers are among the most dedicated, passionate and hardworking professionals – a few of the qualities that [...]


Are The Startup Fellas Hellbent On Destroying Education Even Literate?

Lost in the maelstrom of sadness, confusion and malaise that marks our annual observance of September 11th was a Medium post by Udacity's new Director of Mobile Engineering, one Oliver Cameron.

Here's the opening paragraph of Cameron's post, "The Story of Building an Education Startup".

Most revolutionary companies aren’t born with the intent to change the world, yet there I was trying to do exactly that. I was on the verge of starting my third company, and I wanted to do something truly special. I listed all of the industries I thought I could have an impact in, and quickly became fixated on education. It’s a market that [...]


Your Massively Open Offline College Is Broken

I wrote a thing last fall about massive open online courses (MOOCs, in the parlance), and the challenge that free or cheap online classes pose to business as usual in higher ed. In that piece, I compared the people running colleges today to music industry executives in the age of Napster. (This was not a flattering comparison.) Aaron Bady, a cultural critic and doctoral candidate at Berkeley, objected. I replied to Bady, one thing led to another, the slippery slope was slupped, and Maria Bustillos ended up refereeing the whole thing here on The Awl.

Bustillos sees institutions like San Jose State experimenting with credit for [...]


The Evil Economics Of Judging Teachers

The Times and a host of other publications heralded last week's new study extolling the lifelong money-earning benefits of having a good primary/middle-school teacher. Oh, yay! Let's do what these economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggest, right?

Actually, ugh, no. What economists Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah Rockoff of Columbia want to do, apparently, is to identify and fire "weaker" teachers, for the sake of a barely perceptible increase in students' "lifetime income." Nobody has actually tried this yet; the report doesn't describe an experiment. It's just the conclusion they draw from their analysis of massive amounts [...]


"How a small group of extremely wealthy men have captured national education policy"

"When test scores become the goal of education by which students and schools are measured, then students in the bottom half—who will inevitably include disproportionate numbers of children who are poor, children with disabilities, children who barely speak English—will be left far behind, stigmatized by their low scores. If we were to focus on the needs of children, we would make sure that every pregnant woman got good medical care and nutrition, since many children born to women without them tend to have learning disabilities. We would make sure that children in poor communities have high-quality early childhood education so that they arrive in school ready to learn. We would [...]


Joel Klein Face-Down at the Money Trough in Record Time

"The state Education Department is poised to award a $27 million no-bid contract to a company former city Schools Chancellor Joel Klein oversees." —Good. Grief.


Devin the Dude, "What I Be On"

A lot of folks are wondering what people in Texas are smoking in light of the state board of education's decision to change its social studies curriculum to reflect a more conservative outlook. A new video from the great Houston rap-crooner Devin the Dude provides some insight.


That Big Study About How the Student Debt Nightmare Is in Your Head? It's Garbage

The worries are exaggerated: Only 7% of young adults with student debt have $50,000 or more.

— David Leonhardt (@DLeonhardt) June 24, 2014

Doesn't that sound like a fact? Well, it's something that might be a fact.

The Brookings Institute Institution (!!!) is here to tell you that the whole fable of debt-panicked young people in America is a lie! And their study comes complete with a huge announcement in the New York Times, which puts a rather snide slant on the whole thing. It's all in your head, millennials! "Only 7 percent of young-adult households with education debt have $50,000 or more of it," [...]


More Millionaires Declare That College Just Isn't Worth It

Serial entrepreneur millionaire Jason Calacanis is joining the crowd of rich people in turning against college: "In my estimation college is worth it if you have a ton of money and don’t care about ROI, or if you can pay less than $50k-$75k and get a job with starting pay of $50k or more (generally technical, trade or finance work)." Don't go to school, kids!

But there's an answer. And the answer comes from brave disruptors in tech! That's where all good answers come from. "They’re blowing up education by making it a) free, b) on demand and c) engaging—and even fun!" Yessir. "Did you know you can [...]


“If a pineapple were funnier, I would have written a pineapple in the first place"

“This was done by somebody who was barely literate." —Daniel Pinkwater, genius towering super-hero of literature, is profoundly pissed at the mangling of his work that then caused the uproar over the absurd and bizarre NYS reading exam test question about the pineapple in the race with the hare.


How They Got There: A Conversation With Poetry Teacher Marty Skoble

Marty Skoble sits in his office surrounded by the words of his students. Recently, one of his charges slipped a note under his door that read simply, "Waves look like white horses." That is not the most advanced of similes, but consider the context: The uncertainty of the pensmanship suggests that the anonymous writer was in his or her first decade.

Skoble started teaching poetry at Brooklyn's Saint Ann's in the 1980s. More than 30 years later, the balding, bearded gentleman who speaks with the thoughtful cadence of a lifelong educator is an institution, meeting with every lower school student once a week and 400 children in total. In [...]


Maybe Teachers Aren't To Blame For Every Terrible Thing

"Though you would never know it from the state of public alarm about education, the numbers show that regular public school performance has skyrocketed in the last two decades to the point that, for example, black elementary school students now have better math skills than whites had only 20 years ago. (There has also been progress for middle schoolers, and in reading; and less, but not insubstantial, progress for high schoolers.) The reason test score gaps have barely narrowed is that white students have also improved, at least at the elementary and middle school levels. The causes of these truly spectacular gains are unknown, but they are probably inconsistent with [...]


College Admit Rate Plummets: Big Money College Bonanza Time!

Good news for America's money-hungry colleges and universities! Yale: "Class of 2015 admit rate lowest ever." UCLA: "A record-high number of applicants for UCLA results in low admissions." Harvard: "Harvard Accepts Record Low 6.2 Percent of Applicants to the Class of 2015."

So, yes: application rates are through the roof, admission rates are way down, and at the same time, prices are going up! Coupled with the trend of the use of high-priced admissions "consultants," who help eliminate admissions to needy ("poor") students so as to get more paying students, it's going to be a great year for institutions (to sock away some cash and educate [...]


Ohio Town Up In Arms Over Firing Of Teacher Who Refused To Do His Job: The John Freshwater Story

There was a teacher in my high school, Mr. Johnson. I had him for Current Events class my senior year. He would sporadically stop class and call out "Pop quiz: Who's Catholic?" Then, he'd point to each raised hand and say, "Plus five, plus five, plus five…" He was joking about giving out this Catholic extra credit. Sorta kinda. But he'd give the football players exemptions from homework assignments if they played a good game-for real, and let everybody know about it. He had a mustache and wore polo shirts tucked in too tight. He was one of the "cool" teachers in the school and very popular with the [...]


Dr. Ruth: Nobody Does It Better (It Being Twitter)

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, Feministing executive director and Planned Parenthood global communications specialist Lori Adelman tells us more about what it’s like to chill with Dr. Ruth.

Another Tuesday, another selfie with the subversively cheeky Dr. Ruth :) #365feministselfie cc @AskDrRuth @PPActionNJ

— Lori Adelman (@Ladelman) March 18, 2014

Lori! So what happened here?

Dr. Ruth was delivering the keynote at a fundraising dinner for the New Jersey chapter of the nonprofit where I work, which I’d been asked to attend on behalf [...]


Elementary School Lockdowns: How We Teach Our Kids About Terror

Do you have or know small children who go to a school for small people? Then you may know about the latest fad for the littlest consumers: terrifying campus lockdowns. Because our Constitution requires all citizens to keep enough guns and ammo to wipe out everyone in their zip code, it takes nothing more than a threatening phone call or some gibberish on Facebook to turn your neighborhood school into a potential site of mass murder.

My oldest child, a second grader, spent the latter part of his Tuesday class time huddled in fear underneath a desk, which is what they were all trained to do after Newtown. In every [...]


Leftist California Students Want Socialism, Affordable Education

In case you missed it, thousands of students from all over the UC system marched on Sacramento yesterday afternoon to protest California's broken school system, where college tuition has tripled over the last ten years. In the evening, 68 were arrested inside the capitol when they refused to leave.


Why Not Occupy The Schools? The Failures Of Bloomberg's School Reform Agenda

What’s next for the Occupy Wall Street movement as it regroups after its eviction from Zuccotti Park? A small but energetic group of New York City education activists hope the Occupiers will channel their rage toward Mayor Mike Bloomberg by taking a closer look at his local school reform record.

Last Friday at noon, some two-dozen of these protestors, many of them black and Latino parents with kids in the public schools, crowded the sidewalk on the east side of Zuccotti Park. Pack the book bags of our kids! Not the pockets of the rich!, they chanted. They mostly failed to attract the attention of the hard-core Occupiers—the tent-dwellers—who were [...]


An Entire Country's Student Body Stands Up to Privatization

The Chilean student demonstrations are really amazing—at least 527 or possibly 552 or could be 800 people all told were arrested yesterday (often, let's say, not nicely), and students occupied state TV offices to get the message out in a traditional fashion. The higher education system is now predominately a group of for-profit businesses, and the students are organizing on the principle that going permanently into debt for education is not a way a country's education system should be run. How about that. Today, student organizers are turning down a vague proposal from the government that increases some public funding. Good!


"Jimmy's Failing Math," Brought To You By Bill & Bob's Roast Beef

I guess this will at least provide more of an incentive to get kids reading: "[A]ds for local ice cream shops or hair salons could soon be appearing on permission slips, class calendars, and school notices sent home with Peabody elementary school students after a unanimous School Committee vote this week. The novel plan to sell ad space on school communications marks the latest twist in how commercialization of schools – from the sale of billboard space to ads on buses – is generating cash in lean times."