Summary of “No College Kid Needs a Water Park to Study”

Even though the best interests of students and taxpayers revolve around college access, affordability and graduation outcomes, too often presidents and boards are more focused on the rankings, reputation and popularity of the institution itself.
In my career as the president of two state universities and a consultant to nearly 50 higher-education institutions, I’ve observed dozens of college presidents skillfully co-opt their governing boards into approving costly projects that make schools look more attractive.
College presidents sweeten requests for new buildings and research centers, as well as additional student affairs programming, with cleverly branded words like “Promise” and “Excellence.” What board would want to withhold promise and excellence from its beloved student body?
College presidents also tranquilize trustees into agreement with impossibly large volumes of reading material.
Most come away impressed by their president’s expertise and vision and assured that – thanks to their efforts – the university is on the right track.
The unfortunate truth is that while most college presidents care deeply about their institution’s success, an important part of their job is to shake free more resources.
Training on big-picture issues and higher-education trends, such as the financial trade-off between instruction and research, the costs of intercollegiate athletics, and the expansion of amenities, would help trustees develop courage to ask college presidents probing questions that look beyond institutional narratives and cherry-picked rhetoric.
I don’t mean to imply that trustees should devote themselves to ritual opposition to presidents, who usually possess an unmatched understanding of the institutions they lead.But presidents are not infallible.

The orginal article.

Summary of “As Flow of Foreign Students Wanes, U.S. Universities Feel the Sting”

The Trump administration is more closely scrutinizing visa applications, indefinitely banning travel from some countries and making it harder for foreign students to remain in the United States after graduation.
“As you lose those students, then the tuition revenue is negatively impacted as well,” said Michael Godard, the interim provost at the University of Central Missouri, where 944 international students were enrolled in the fall, a decline of more than 1,500 from the previous year.
International students pay double the $6,445 tuition of Missouri residents, and the lost revenue amounts to $14 million, according to Roger Best, the chief operating officer for the school, in Warrensburg, Mo. Dr. Best said that the university has been forced to cut instructors in computer programs, where many of the foreign students were enrolled, as well as defer maintenance and shave money from other departments, such as the campus newspaper.
An increasingly diverse population in that age group means that more of the students come from low-income families in which no one has ever gone to college, also presenting recruitment challenges for universities, according to Doug Shapiro, the organization’s executive research director.
Officials at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., reported an overall enrollment decline of more than 900 students, including 159 fewer international students.
For years, American colleges had been staking their futures on continued growth in foreign students, and after the recession a decade ago, those students were a lifeline for colleges that had poured money into new buildings and amenities.
The president, Matthew Wilson, said that students from India were reporting increased scrutiny of their visa applications, one of the reasons for a drop of about 200 international students.
Akron is one of several public universities in Ohio reporting drops in enrollment, including of international students.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A.I. and Big Data Could Power a New War on Poverty”

Second, we can bring what is known as differentiated education – based on the idea that students master skills in different ways and at different speeds – to every student in the country.
A 2013 study by the National Institutes of Health found that nearly 40 percent of medical students held a strong preference for one mode of learning: Some were listeners; others were visual learners; still others learned best by doing.
Even within the context of a standardized curriculum, A.I. “Tutors” can home in on and correct for each student’s weaknesses, adapt coursework to his or her learning style and keep the student engaged.
Today’s dominant type of A.I., also known as machine learning, permits computer programs to become more accurate – to learn, if you will – as they absorb data and correlate it with known examples from other data sets.
Big data sets can now be harnessed to better predict which programs help certain people at a given time and to quickly assess whether programs are having the desired effect.
As for the poisonous effect of ideology on the debate over public assistance: Big data promises something closer to an unbiased, ideology-free evaluation of the effectiveness of these social programs.
Before the commission expired in September 2017, it used government data to evaluate the effectiveness of government policy and made recommendations based on its findings.
This provides one more indication of the promise of A.I. and big data in the service of positive, purposeful public good.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Middle-Class Takeover of Bilingual Schools”

School leaders took full advantage of the flexibility allowed to charters to launch what’s known as a “Dual-immersion” program: Children learn in both English and Spanish and, ideally, become fully bilingual in the process.
Portland Public Schools in Oregon has doubled the size of its dual-immersion programs to more than 5,000 students in the past eight years, with those classrooms instructing in a combination of English and Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Russian, or Japanese.
While the old bilingual-education programs served English-learning children separately, in some other wing of their schools, dual-immersion programs bring English-learning students into schools’ mainstream classrooms and convert their home languages into assets for the entire school community.
The cities’ school districts are using dual-immersion programs to encourage these new residents to send their children to schools in their own zip codes and to provide equitable educational opportunities for all kids.
Demand from privileged, English-dominant families can push ELs and their families out of multilingual schools and convert two-way dual-immersion programs into one-way programs that exclusively serve English-speaking children.
One of the city’s oldest immersion programs, Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, has seen its surrounding neighborhood become so English-dominant that the school is running short on native Spanish-speaking students.
In states where these programs are well established, like Texas and New York, districts are exploring ways of converting bilingual classrooms into dual-immersion programs.
The large majority of Utah’s new dual-immersion schools are one-way programs, for instance.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Reimagining Prison with Frank Gehry”

A dozen students would present their projects – designs for a humane prison – to a jury consisting mostly of Friends of Frank.
Gehry, best known for the billowing contours of his concert halls and museums, has never designed a prison, unless you count the episode of “The Simpsons” in which a Gehry concert hall is converted to a state prison when the town of Springfield discovers it hates classical music.
“We asked Frank, what would it mean to design a maximum security prison if you treated the corrections officers and the prisoners as the clients instead of the state bureaucracy,” said Christopher Stone, the outgoing president of Soros’s Open Society Foundation, who served as a juror.
“Frank kept saying, ‘You don’t need me to design a prison. Nobody’s going to build a prison I design. We need to get a curriculum. We need to get architects thinking in different ways.'”.
During the semester, Gehry accompanied the class to prisons in Norway and Finland, where sentences for even the most heinous crimes rarely exceed 15 years and where prisons resemble college dormitories.
Susan Burton, an activist who was in and out of jails as a young woman and now helps women released from prison find their feet, brought in parolees to educate the class about the grim reality of incarceration in America.
As students laid out their cardboard models for inspection and pinned up their master plans, it was clear most had ignored the part about “Men convicted of serious, primarily violent offenses.” They presented prison as university campus, prison as health and wellness facility, prison as monastery, prison as communal apartment complex, prison as summer camp, prison as textile workshop.
“A studio in architecture is to unlock students’ feelings about form and space and time, and how that relates to people. A prison program happens to be more emotional for them,” he said.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘The difficulty is the point’: teaching spoon-fed students how to really read”

My students are, for the most part, education students who live in regional Australia.
For the past four years I have been teaching a subject to education students that has been designed to actively interrogate their reading and writing abilities, and make them capable of passing their Acer test.
To satisfy this concern I want to tell you about semesters and classes shortened to save money on teaching; on passing incapable students simply to keep quotas up; on teaching students for whom attendance at university is no longer a necessary part of gaining a degree.
It asks students to write about their reading habits: how often they read, what they read, what they feel they take from their reading.
What have our students been reading before they come to our class? Some – a very few, and almost always women – have read 19th century classics: the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Charles Dickens.
The second thing that struck me was how difficult my students found the 10-page extract.
If you have never read anything more difficult than a Harry Potter book, how are you meant to proceed?
Like many students would after her, she had read Garner’s essay in the light of her university enrolment; it made her determined to enjoy herself, to unselfconsciously engage in learning, to stop being critical of herself.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The surprising thing Google learned about its employees”

This post explains what Google learned about its employees, and what that means for students across the country.
Google originally set its hiring algorithms to sort for computer science students with top grades from elite science universities.
In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998.
Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last.
The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others; having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas.
Could it be that top Google employees were succeeding despite their technical training, not because of it? After bringing in anthropologists and ethnographers to dive even deeper into the data, the company enlarged its previous hiring practices to include humanities majors, artists, and even the MBAs that, initially, Brin and Page viewed with disdain.
Google takes pride in its A-teams, assembled with top scientists, each with the most specialized knowledge and able to throw down one cutting-edge idea after another.
Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Inside The Voucher Schools That Teach L. Ron Hubbard, But Say They’re Not Scientologist”

Garrett Cantrell, who is not a Scientologist, recalled his time at the school as he sat near Clearwater’s harbor, surrounded by Scientologist retreat centers.
Clearwater Academy International is one of dozens of schools and tutoring centers in the U.S. that use learning materials based on the ideas of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of the church of Scientology.
Five of these schools and tutoring centers, including Clearwater Academy, receive public funding through voucher or tax credit scholarship programs, HuffPost has found.
HuffPost has been investigating the schools that receive such money for students, which comes via state-level voucher or tax credit programs.
As Applied Scholastics schools continue to receive millions of dollars in taxpayer funds and are therefore more accountable to the public than typical private schools, their claims of secularity deserve heightened scrutiny.
Voucher programs provide scholarships for students to go to private schools based on criteria like income.
The Florida Department of Education’s directory of schools that participate in its voucher and tax credit programs list the four institutions that use curriculum associated with Hubbard as “Non-religious.”
The four schools in Florida that use Study Technology take advantage of the state’s voucher program specifically for students with disabilities.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What’s College Good For?”

Every college student who does the least work required to get good grades silently endorses the theory.
Of course, college students aren’t supposed to just download facts; they’re supposed to learn how to think in real life.
College students do hone some kinds of reasoning that are specific to their major.
Today’s college students are less willing than those of previous generations to do the bare minimum of showing up for class and temporarily learning whatever’s on the test.
“Full time” college students now average 27 hours of academic work a week-including just 14 hours spent studying.
For the individual student? Would I advise an academically well-prepared 18-year-old to skip college because she won’t learn much of value? Absolutely not.
Failure rates are high, particularly for students with low high-school grades and test scores; all told, about 60 percent of full-time college students fail to finish in four years.
Simply put, the push for broader college education has steered too many students who aren’t cut out for academic success onto the college track.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Eva Moskowitz’s Plan for Education”

In New York, I could cover the biggest education revolution ever attempted: a total overhaul of the way public schools worked, in the country’s largest school system.
The drivers of this transformation were the city’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and his handpicked schools chancellor, Joel Klein, a prosecutor who had previously taken on Microsoft and had now set his sights on toppling his hometown’s education status quo.
The school’s principal, Eva Moskowitz, spoke next.
While the idea was to improve on traditional public schools, the first comprehensive report on outcomes revealed that many charter schools performed no better, and sometimes worse, than comparable district schools.
A tiny outpost in Harlem spawned brethren all across Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens; Harlem Success Academy is now part of the Success Academy Charter Schools network, of which Moskowitz-the author of a lively new memoir, The Education of Eva Moskowitz-is CEO. From that position, she has become one of the country’s most influential crusaders at a turning point for charter schooling.
Although charter schools are still boutique side offerings in most parts of the country, a growing number of cities have turned them into a centerpiece, which makes The Education of Eva Moskowitz especially timely and important reading.
Traditional public schools must follow suspension and expulsion policies written by the school district; charter schools write their own rules, and many have a no-excuses style that mandates good posture, precisely folded arms and legs, and silent hallways-injunctions some hail as essential to a strong school culture and others skewer as paternalistic and inhumane.
It’s our best shot at delivering the public-school system we wish we had. Take integration: While a majority of Success schools serve homogenous populations, the network has opened a new crop of schools in neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, that are more integrated than most traditional New York City public schools.

The orginal article.