Archive for the ‘Schools’ Category

What makes a good teacher?

August 23, 2017

Short answer: It’s anybody’s guess, until you see them in action.

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Interesting article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives

A couple of economic researchers chased after a Holy Grail: “Searching for Effective Teachers”.

They reviewed a stack of studies, conducted a few new ones and drew conclusions about teacher recruitment in public schools.

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Some of their conclusions are conventional, and some may surprise you …

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Warning: The gentleman’s C is dead … long live the gentleman’s A

April 7, 2016

Yep, grade inflation is alive and well.

The Washington Post reported findings from a 70-year retrospective analysis of college grades.

The central conclusion:

“Across the country, wherever and whatever they study, mediocre students are increasingly likely to receive supposedly superlative grades.”

In other words, these days, A is the new “average”.

Now, almost half of all grades given are A’s … triple the percentage from a few decades ago.

C’s – the old “average” – is dying a slow, steady death … and, there’s a higher likelihood of a student being struck by lightning than getting hit with an F.

 

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Here are some explanatory snippets and my take …

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WP: Conservatives give better commencement speeches …

March 17, 2016

It’s that time of the year when university officials are picking commencement speakers.

Perhaps they should heed to words of the Washington Post: Conservatives give better commencement addresses than liberals.

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Drawing on a sample of 48 speeches — 30 by conservatives, 18 by liberals — the Post concludes that the right-leaning speakers stand out for five reasons …

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School “misbehavior” can be lucrative long-run … say, what?

September 29, 2015

Talk about a potential license to kill …

That was my first thought, but the article reporting a study by a Johns Hopkins prof turned out to be more nuanced than the headline … and, in my opinion, very misleading.

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The summary conclusion: some students who misbehave in school learn less (as measured by conventional scoring) but end up earning more over their lifetime.

Here are the details and my take …

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Eureka: Common Core’s new math … take the minute quiz.

September 15, 2015

Heard a story recently about a 3rd grader who was failing math.

Her state had signed up to the Common Core Standards (and testing) … and her school district had embraced the the Common Core curriculum.

Her math grades in 1st and 2nd grade were just fine.

When the Fs started coming home, her father – a college-educated engineer – jumped into the fray to tutor her.

The Fs kept coming.

The Fs kept coming  even though her answers were right … her process of arriving at the right answer was wrong.

Before you say, “well, certainly she needs to do the problem the right way”, take this simple test.

Question: Little Joey has a jar with 35 jelly beans.  He gives away 17 of the jelly beans to his friends. How many jelly beans does Joey have left in the jar.  Show each step of your calculation and label all numbers.

Do it !  Should only take a few seconds ….

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Homework is discriminatory … say, what?

September 10, 2015

A recent study, published in The American Journal of Family Therapy concludes:

“Students in the early elementary school years are getting nearly three times as much homework than is recommended by education leaders”

According to CNN, parents reported first-graders were spending 28 minutes on homework each night versus the recommended 10 minutes.

Student doing homewrok

 

What are the potential consequences of this gross overload? 

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WP: Conservatives give better commencement speeches …

May 20, 2015

According to the Washington Post: Conservatives give better commencement addresses than liberals.

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Drawing on a sample of 48 speeches — 30 by conservatives, 18 by liberals — the Post concludes that the right-leaning speakers stand out for five reasons …

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Fix: How do you feel about public boarding schools?

May 7, 2015

I’ve long opined that disadvantaged kids from tough homes and neighborhoods would benefit from boarding schools that dislocate them from their challenging environments and provide them with a constructive, comprehensive learning and social experience.

What I didn’t know was that this education model is already in place in a few locales and is slowly being spread to others.

Click to view photo essay
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One of the pioneering public boarding schools is DC’s SEED Foundation Charter School …

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Baltimore Fix: How about more Jesuit high schools?

May 6, 2015

Yesterday, we looked at the numbers re: Baltimore City school’s spending …

Summary: Over $16,000 per student …  top 4 (or higher, depending on the study) in the country … with a  student to teacher ratio of about 15 to 1 … and a student to “adult” ratio of about 8 to 1.

Not bad.

While researching the post, I stumbled on an article in Business Insider:

How a Baltimore school that only accepts poor students has a 100% college acceptance rate.

The article profiles Baltimore’s Cristo Rey High School  which has achieved a 100% college acceptance rate among graduates despite taking only students from disadvantaged neighborhoods

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How does Cristo Rey do it?

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Baltimore Fix: More spending on education … say, what?

May 5, 2015

A largely unchallenged claim in the past week is that the way to fix many of Baltimore’s inner city problems is to spend more on education.

Makes sense until you look at the numbers.

Based on 2010 Census numbers, Baltimore City spent almost $16, 000 per student … more recent analyses peg the number even higher.

That spending level ranks Baltimore City 4th among school districts with at least 40,000 students …  more recent data reflecting an infusion of additional Fed funds pushes the ranking up to #2, trailing only NYC.

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Let’s put those numbers into context …

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Banned substance: Red ink is,well, threatening …

April 3, 2015

I once worked for a CEO who wouldn’t stand for lemon in his water or red ink.

That is, both the red ink on a financial statement and red ink on a document.

Apparently, he was onto something with the latter.

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In the UK, hundreds of schools have banned their teachers from marking in red ink.

Here’s why …

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Do you think I’m sexy? … My ratings hang in the balance!

December 11, 2014

According to BigThink.com

The website ratemyprofessors.com has students anonymously comment on their professors’ “helpfulness,” “clarity” and “easiness.”

The punctuation point: Raters are asked where the prof is “hot” or “not.”

Four professors from Central Michigan University trolled through the data and wrote a paper examining “Attractiveness, Easiness, and Other Issues: Student Evaluations of Professors on rateMyProfessors.com.”

After conceding that the site is rife with “issues”, the authors dug in and researched the relationship between student perceptions of professor “hotness” and their evaluation of “quality of instruction.”.

Guess what?

A large percentage of American college students consider courses to be high-quality when the professor is attractive..

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As Gomer Pyle would say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

The only surprise is the magnitude and consistency of the relationship.

Profs that are “not hot” are toast.

The Central Michigan “scholars” also evaluated the relative hotness of profs by discipline …

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Maybe, the best college essay ever written …

August 12, 2014

Too bad it was written after-the-fact.  After the rejections.

The WSJ published an op-ed by a HS senior: To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me

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It’s worth reading … says the things that most of us are probably thinking.

Here are some highlights:

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Banned substance: Red ink is,well, threatening …

March 21, 2014

I once worked for a CEO who wouldn’t stand for lemon in his water or red ink.

That is, both the red ink on a financial statement and red ink on a document.

Apparently, he was onto something with the latter.

image

In the UK, hundreds of schools have banned their teachers from marking in red ink.

Here’s why …

(more…)

Do you think I’m sexy? … My ratings hang in the balance!

October 2, 2013

According to BigThink.com

The website ratemyprofessors.com has students anonymously comment on their professors’ “helpfulness,” “clarity” and “easiness.”

The punctuation point: Raters are asked where the prof is “hot” or “not.”

Four professors from Central Michigan University trolled through the data and wrote a paper examining “Attractiveness, Easiness, and Other Issues: Student Evaluations of Professors on rateMyProfessors.com.”

After conceding that the site is rife with “issues”, the authors dug in and researched the relationship between student perceptions of professor “hotness” and their evaluation of “quality of instruction.”.

Guess what?

A large percentage of American college students consider courses to be high-quality when the professor is attractive..

 

image

 

As Gomer Pyle would say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

The only surprise is the magnitude and consistency of the relationship.

Profs that are “not hot” are toast.

The Central Michigan “scholars” also evaluated the relative hotness of profs by discipline …

(more…)

Maybe, the best college essay ever written …

April 1, 2013

Too bad it was written after-the-fact.  After the rejections.

The WSJ published an op-ed by a HS senior: To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me

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It’s worth reading … says the things that most of us are probably thinking.

Here are some highlights:

(more…)

Sequel: Better to be smart or hot?

March 22, 2013

Yesterday we posted that Georgetown ranks #4 for having the “smartest & hottest” students.

Turns out that it’s not just the students.

The Georgetown Patch reports that Georgetown University has the #6 “Most Attractive Workforce” in DC.

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The rankings were done by some outfit called The Hinge “which accumulated more than one million ratings” … to see which local workplaces had the most attractive employees.

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I can only assume that The Hinge was talking about the b-school faculty.

Giddy up.

Thanks to former Patch reporter SMH for feeding the lead.

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma           >> Latest Posts

Better to be smart or hot?

March 21, 2013

Georgetown students don’t face the dilemma.

They’re both smart & hot.

Business Insider reports that Georgetown is #4 on the College Prowler ranking of schools that are both hot and smart.

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma                         >> Latest Posts

$$$: Tuitions jump at public colleges

March 14, 2013

According to the WSJ

Tuition at public colleges jumped last year by a record amount.

The average amount that students at public colleges paid in tuition climbed 8.3% last year, the biggest jump on record.

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In some cases, state tuition has risen so much that costs approach what students might pay at a private college.

Tuition revenue accounted for a record 47% of educational funding at public colleges last year.

Rising tuition costs are “another example of the bind that public institutions are in,” said Sandy Baum, an economist at Skidmore College.

Unless we make public funding a higher priority, the funds are going to have to come from parents and students.”

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Ken’s Take:

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Banned substance: Red ink is,well, threatening …

February 15, 2013

I once worked for a CEO who wouldn’t stand for lemon in his water or red ink.

That is, both the red ink on a financial statement and red ink on a document.

Apparently, he was onto something with the latter.

image

In the UK, hundreds of schools have banned their teachers from marking in red ink.

Here’s why …

(more…)