NY Education

RFP Posted: Alternate Assessment fo...

RFP Posted: Alternate Assessment for New York State Students with Severe Cognitive Disabilities

The New York State Education Department (NYSED), Office of State Assessment (OSA), seeks proposals for the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics (Service 1), and separately for Science and Social Studies (Service 2). The NYSAA in ELA and Mathematics is administered to students each year in Grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. The NYSAA in Science is administered to students in Grades 4 and 8 and once in high school. The NYSAA in Social Studies is administered to students once in high school.
RFP Posted: Continuing the Developm...

RFP Posted: Continuing the Development of State Assessments in Elementary–and Intermediate–Level English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Measuring the Common Core State Standards

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to continue the development of tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics in Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 for multiple school years as defined in this RFP.
RFP Posted: Transition Services Pro...

RFP Posted: Transition Services Professional Development Support Center (PDSC)

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) P-12: Office of Special Education is seeking proposals for the Transition Services Professional Development Support Center (PDSC).
NYSED P-12 Guidance: Public Health ...

NYSED P-12 Guidance: Public Health and Education Laws Require Schools to Follow State Requirements for Vaccinations

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBE-WL) is seeking proposals to operate eight (8) Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN) technical assistance support centers in the State, which will include seven (7) regional RBE-RN technical assistance support centers and one (1) Statewide Language RBE-RN.
RFP Posted: Regional Bilingual Educ...

RFP Posted: Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN)

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages (OBE-WL) is seeking proposals to operate eight (8) Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBE-RN) technical assistance support centers in the State, which will include seven (7) regional RBE-RN technical assistance support centers and one (1) Statewide Language RBE-RN.
Funding Opportunity: 2015-16 Reward...

Funding Opportunity: 2015-16 Reward School Dissemination Grants

Funding for Title I Reward Schools to disseminate best practices, mentor low performing schools, and refine and enhance the Reward School’s own best practices.


How MOOCs can develop good (and bad...

How MOOCs can develop good (and bad) teaching habits (essay)

Teaching massive open online courses can encourage instructors? good (and bad) habits. Marie Norman explores how we can use what we learn to improve teaching.

Essay on how academics can gain con...

Essay on how academics can gain control of their e-mail and their time

Kerry Ann Rockquemore writes that you can gain control of your e-mail and your time, which is essential on the path to tenure.

Essay on pregnancy issues in academ...

Essay on pregnancy issues in academic job searches

Joseph Barber considers the questions about when a job candidate may want to reveal and what to say.

Advice for department chairs on man...

Advice for department chairs on managing conflict (essay)

Academic departments can encounter conflict from many angles, and it can undermine chairs if they don't manage it well. Patricia Price and Scott Newman offer advice on how they can do so.

Essay on why faculty members should...

Essay on why faculty members should seek jobs as administrators

Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt writes that it's important for faculty members to consider and go after jobs as administrators.


Essay on meals that are part of the...

Essay on meals that are part of the interview process for an academic job

Melissa Dennihy writes about what to do when dining is part of the interview process.

BBC News Education

Labour pledges £6,000 tuition fees

Labour pledges £6,000 tuition fees

Ed Miliband says £9,000 tuition fees in England have been a "disaster" and promises Labour would fund a reduction by cutting tax relief on high earners' pensions.
L'Oreal to change 'bad at maths' ad

L'Oreal to change 'bad at maths' ad

A numeracy charity's challenge prompts beauty giant L'Oreal to change an advert boasting about not being good at maths.
'Significant' rise in school meals

'Significant' rise in school meals

About three quarters of children in the early years of primary school are now taking school dinners, according to figures seen by BBC Scotland.
'No conclusions' on Savile in schoo...

'No conclusions' on Savile in schools

A lack of evidence means there are no conclusions from investigations into possible abuse during school visits by Jimmy Savile.
'Inadequate' free school to close

'Inadequate' free school to close

Durham Free School is to close at the end of this term after its action plan was judged insufficient to turn it around.
New commission on primary assessmen...

New commission on primary assessment

A teacher-led commission is being set up to help primary schools in England find new ways of assessing their pupils' progress.

US Govt Dept of Education

Visit to Virginia Elementary School...

Visit to Virginia Elementary School Underscores Commitment to Early Ed

U.S. Department of Education to End...

U.S. Department of Education to End Contracts with Several Private Collection Agencies

Following a review of 22 private collection agencies, the U.S. Department of Education announced today that it will wind down contracts with five private collection agencies that were providing inaccurate information to borrowers. The five companies are: Coast Professional, Enterprise Recovery Systems, National Recoveries, Pioneer Credit Recovery, and West Asset Management.
New Guidance to Help Protect Studen...

New Guidance to Help Protect Student Privacy in Educational Sites and Apps

When signing up for a new technology, digital service, or app, there?s a simple little check box near the end that most of us don?t give much thought. But for schools and districts, agreeing to a terms of service agreement could have big implications for student privacy.
Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness ...

Breaking the Cycle of Homelessness for America?s Students and Families

In a recent video, the New York City Rescue Mission proved just how invisible America?s homeless are. Have the Homeless Become Invisible? illustrates the challenge. In this social experiment several people came face to face with their relatives and loved ones dressed as homeless persons on the streets of Soho. Not one individual recognized his or her loved ones.
Guidance Issued on Protecting Stude...

Guidance Issued on Protecting Student Privacy While Using Online Educational Services

The U.S. Department of Education today released model terms of service guidance and a training video aimed at helping schools and districts protect student privacy while using online educational services and applications.
The Importance of Transforming Adul...

The Importance of Transforming Adult Learning

Several years ago, Carmen ? a single, widowed parent ? immigrated from Mexico to California to create a better life for herself and her two-year-old son. When she arrived in the U.S., she spoke very little English. She enrolled in ESL classes at New Haven Adult School and then went on to earn her GED. But Carmen soon realized that she needed to acquire more skills in order to find a job that paid a living wage. While working part-time, maintaining a home and raising her children, Carmen went on to earn her Adult Education Teaching Credential.


Two Seattle-area high schools cance...

Two Seattle-area high schools cancel classes after threats

By Eric M. Johnson and Victoria Cavaliere SEATTLE (Reuters) - Two Seattle-area high schools were evacuated and later canceled classes on Friday after receiving security threats, and another high school in Washington state heightened its security after a threatening message was scrawled on a bathroom wall. Interlake High School in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue was put on lockdown and classroom doors were locked with students inside after administrators were told of an anonymous threat of a school shooting on campus, the Bellevue School District said in a statement on its website. "At this time the District and the Bellevue Police Department have made the decision to close Interlake High for the remainder of the school day and to release students," a statement said. In Des Moines, a city south of Seattle, Mount Rainier High school students were evacuated to nearby schools on Friday morning after the school received a bomb threat, an official with the Highline School District said.
Notre Dame president credited for t...

Notre Dame president credited for transforming school dies

FILE - The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C, president emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, talks about his experiences over 90 years of life at his desk in the Hesburgh Library on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., in this Sept. 24, 2007 file photo. The priest who transformed the University of Notre Dame into an academic power during his 35 years in charge while also serving as an adviser to popes and presidents died Thursday night Feb. 26, 2015 at age 97 according to University spokesman Paul Browne. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) ? The Rev. Theodore Hesburgh transformed the University of Notre Dame into a school known almost as much for academics as for football, even if it meant challenging popes, presidents or legendary football coaches.

4 Questions to Ask Before Enrolling...

4 Questions to Ask Before Enrolling in a For-Profit Online Program

"Don't count on the idea that these schools are going to watch out for you and only enroll students who are going to succeed -- it's not realistic," he says. The good news is the federal regulations, which kick in the summer, will require schools to release the debt-to-income ratios of their students. Before students sign up for an online, for-profit program, they should make sure they know what kind of credential and accreditation they need to enter their job or profession, says William G. Tierney, professor of higher education at University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education.
Lesbian kiss on Korean drama sparks...

Lesbian kiss on Korean drama sparks debate

Two women kiss during a scene from the tv drama 'Seonam Girls High School Investigators', February 27, 2015 in this image from South Korean cable TV network and broadcasting company JTBCAn unprecedented lesbian kiss between two high school students on a popular South Korean TV drama has fuelled a debate about portrayals of sexuality in a rapidly modernising society with deeply conservative roots. Homosexuality is not illegal in South Korea, but carries a significant social stigma, with few openly gay public figures.

LA teachers, union leaders rally am...

LA teachers, union leaders rally amid stalled talks

Susana Mercado, left, and Linda Cardwell chant slogans as they join thousands of fellow teachers for a rally to demand higher wages and smaller class sizes amid stalled contract negotiations, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, in Los Angeles. United Teachers Los Angeles is asking for an 8.5 percent pay increase, a demand the Los Angeles Unified district says cannot be met without significant layoffs. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)LOS ANGELES (AP) ? Dressed in red and raising signs into the air, thousands of teachers filled a downtown Los Angeles park on Thursday in demand of higher wages and smaller class sizes amid stalled contract negotiations.

Los Angeles teachers, union leaders...

Los Angeles teachers, union leaders rally amid stalled talks

LA teachers, union leaders rally amid stalled talksDressed in red and raising signs into the air, thousands of teachers filled a downtown Los Angeles park Thursday to demand higher wages and smaller class sizes amid stalled contract negotiations. "Everybody ...


Row within Labour party over who be...

Row within Labour party over who benefits from student tuition fee cuts

Tax relief on pensions for higher earners would be cut to pay for Labour?s plan to reduce university tuition fees from a maximum of £9,000 to £6,000 a year, Ed Miliband announced today.

Students 'seriously under-challenge...

Students 'seriously under-challenged' by the books they are given at school, study claims

Secondary school pupils are being  ?seriously under-challenged? by the difficulty of the books they are given to read and teachers must do more to encourage students to read demanding literature, according to a study.

Ed Miliband: Labour will put arts a...

Ed Miliband: Labour will put arts at 'the heart' of government

Ed Miliband has pledged to move the arts ?to the heart? of a Labour government with the creation of a permanent committee overseen by the Prime Minister himself and a guarantee that all young people will have access to a creative education.  

White pupils improve as much as eth...

White pupils improve as much as ethnic minorities

A claim that standards in London schools only soared as a result of the capital?s ethnic mix is dismissed in research released today.

Pressure builds on Labour to drop p...

Pressure builds on Labour to drop pledge to cut tuition fees from £9,000 to £6,000

Pressure is building within the Labour party to drop any idea of cutting student tuition fees to £6,000 a year as both current Business Secretary Vince Cable and Lord Mandelson, who held the post under Labour, warned against it.

Pressure builds on Labour to drop p...

Pressure builds on Labour to drop pledge to cut tuition fees

Pressure is building within the Labour party to drop any idea of cutting student tuition fees to £6,000 a year as both current Business Secretary Vince Cable and Lord Mandelson, who held the post under Labour, warned against it.

Education Week

Positive School Reform: Reimagining...

Positive School Reform: Reimagining the ESEA

Listening to educators and allowing research to guide decisionmaking will lead to real change in U.S. schools, writes Jack Jennings.
Most of Louisiana candidates for go...

Most of Louisiana candidates for governor oppose Common Core

Senate Republicans outbid governor ...

Senate Republicans outbid governor in education wish list

Christie proposes small bump for sc...

Christie proposes small bump for schools in budget plan

Education-voucher bill clears Oklah...

Education-voucher bill clears Oklahoma Senate committee

Religious expression bill rejected ...

Religious expression bill rejected by Arkansas House panel


The Role of Campus Leadership in En...

The Role of Campus Leadership in Ensuring IT Accessibility

“Everyone should have an opportunity to participate in higher education.”

With those words, Michael K. Young, President of the University of Washington, opens a new video from his institution’s AccessComputing Project, IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say. Developed with support from the National Science Foundation, this video presents university presidents, chief information officers, and other higher education leaders who stress the importance to higher education of accessibility for persons with disabilities, and of having campus technology environments that support it.

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The Game is Changing. What Will Be ...

The Game is Changing. What Will Be Expected of You?

“When we were doing our studies for the National Academies, the typical first response of university presidents or CFOs or provosts was to say: ‘I understand things are changing very rapidly, but I'll ask my CIO to take care of it. The CIO usually can.’ We would then ask: ‘Suppose you wake up in the morning and come in to your office and nothing works anymore. You can't access e-mail. All of your course systems have collapsed. Who fixes the problem?’ They begin to scratch their heads, and pretty soon it's like the five phases of grief. They start off with denial and anger, move through bargaining and depression, and finally reach acceptance.” — James J. Duderstadt, Change and the Research University

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The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues, 2012

The EDUCAUSE annual publication of top IT issues has long resonated as a yearly snapshot of the most pressing issues for IT leaders in higher education. At the top of list for 2012:

Updating IT professionals’ skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own device Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy


Below are the EDUCAUSE Review article summarizing the IT Issues Panel's findings for 2012 and accompanying resources.

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Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYO...

Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program

This free hour-long session, “Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program,” will offer ideas, sample policy statements and guidelines, and lessons learned for campuses interested in implementing a BYOD strategy for mobile devices on campus.

Those unable to attend may wish to visit the archives after the event or browse related resources.

Interact on Twitter at #EDULive.

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Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volun...

Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volunteer Submissions Are Due June 1

As someone who has a vested interest in higher education IT, you are part of a dynamic and close-knit community where we share new ideas, network with peers, and work toward the common good of the profession.

EDUCAUSE provides opportunities to be an active member by volunteering in a variety of roles, either short- or long-term, throughout the year. These opportunities include:

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Is Agile the Future of Project Mana...

Is Agile the Future of Project Management?

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, agile development methods will be used on 80 percent of all software development projects. Project Management Institute’s research shows that agile project management tripled from December 2008 to May 2011, and can help decrease product defects, improve team productivity, and increase business value.

Read the latest article release on agile project management from the Project Management Institute.

To help you apply project management processes at your organization, EDUCAUSE members have access to a selection of professional development resources:

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The Discipline Gap at My High Schoo...

The Discipline Gap at My High School

I strongly support the work of the Center for Civil Rights Remedies to close the racial "discipline gap." I want to be clear in my agreement with "Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?" by Daniel Losen et. al. Part of my support, however, could be described as something that lawyers call a "concurring opinion." Students can't learn if they are not in class and we need to invest in Restorative Justice, and other alternatives to suspensions. Neither do I claim that educators are blameless or that we don't need to invest heavily in professional development. So, I concur with Losen's findings while worrying that systems will, once again, take the cheap and easy approach of claiming that better classroom instruction is enough to reduce suspensions. Although I intensively studied nearly 15 years of Oklahoma City suspension data, and taught at the state's lowest performing high school, I am surprised that in the two years after I left the classroom that the Oklahoma City Public Schools became "one of the top ten highest-suspending districts at the secondary level for all students, and is the highest suspending district in the nation for black secondary students." Moreover, between 2010 and 2012, "overall suspension rates at the high school level also increased from 24.7 percent to 45.2 percent during the same period." The latest database shows that at the secondary school level, OKCPS "suspension rates for Black students climbed dramatically from 36.3% to 64.2%." (I have my own theories on why, at a time when education funding was cut by 23%, the rate ballooned, but I will limit myself to what I witnessed and studied.) The OKCPS experience confirms a key finding in the Consortium on Chicago School Research's Organizing Schools for Improvement. It identified the intertwined factors of discipline and attendance as prime reasons why troubled schools fail to improve. When the Consortium looked deeply into stalled reforms, its "most powerful single finding" was the relationship between attendance problems and the failure to manage disciplinary issues. Moreover, the Consortium, "found virtually no chance of improving attendance in schools that lacked safety and order," and "where instruction alignment was weak or predominantly basic skills oriented." By 2009-2010 school year that was first studied by Losen et. al, the OKCPS had no choice but to invest all of its discretionary money for high schools in remediation for students who were failing their basic skills graduation exams. We were in the middle of the Great Recession which increased the state's homeless rate by 79%. The district barely had more than 40,000 students at any given time. Oklahoma City had 20,000 students who lived with their grandparents, foster parents, or other guardians, and most attended OKCPS neighborhood schools. During that year, I had 227 students with the majority being on special education IEPs or English Language Learners; eighteen of my students volunteered that they were mentally ill and I suspected that the diagnosis applied to another dozen. Every day, a new student transferred in or out. The following is just one example of why our school was unable to do more than use suspensions as band aids for the intertwined problems of chronic truancy, violence, and disorder. Between classes, a troubled student showed me a picture of her murdered brother, and said he appeared to her last night. A fight broke out in the hall and I could not keep her from running to join the battle. She was absent for the next few weeks. That month, I also managed a couple of brief conversations in the hall with my affable first period student who was chronically absent. Then, he was murdered in a gang-related conflict. Before, our school had been provided counselors after killings, but none came this time. Worse, because of the supposed need to focus unflinchingly on classroom instruction, we kept to our professional development schedule and sent a fifth of our staff to training. Consequently, we were on a skeleton crew in the aftermath of a gang-related murder. Without adult supervision in the cafeteria, the predictable gang fights started during lunch and spread through the school. Later that day, the student who had told me of the dream about her deceased brother returned to school. I was counseling her, when her guardian had a medical crisis. Rushing between emergencies, I overheard a middle school hall walker, who was cutting class and dancing awkwardly but not enjoying himself. A classmate asked him, "Did you see him die?" "Yeah, I saw the whole thing." The hall walker was the brother of my deceased student, but the guardian's possible life threatening condition took priority. I made a mental note to search for him, but he strayed from school, and I never had a chance. I must emphasize that the cascade of such crises was not unusual. In addition to class instruction, our job as teachers was to rush to one challenge after another, without having the time or tools to get to the roots of our kids' problems. The same applied to the principals who assessed suspensions. In a rational world, stories like those of my students would convince policymakers that schooling in the inner city must become a team effort. We would invest in early warning systems to address absenteeism before truancy spins out of control. We would invest in full-service schools and the medical and socio-emotional supports our students need. We would plan and fund programs like "Restorative Justice" and bring a second shift of counselors to help students work through their problems and thus head off anarchy and violence. If we can do so, "Are We Closing the School Discipline Gap?" will have performed a great service.
Education Department Terminates Con...

Education Department Terminates Contracts With Debt Collectors Accused Of Wrongdoing

The U.S. Department of Education, under fire for its lackluster oversight of student loan contractors, said Friday it will terminate its relationship with five debt collectors after accusing them of misleading distressed borrowers at "unacceptably high rates." The surprise announcement follows years of complaints about allegedly illegal debt-collection practices by Education Department contractors, the department's seeming lack of interest in ensuring that borrowers are treated fairly, and the relative opacity of the entire operation. The most prominent of the debt collectors, Pioneer Credit Recovery, is owned by Navient Corp., the student loan giant formerly known as Sallie Mae. Pioneer, under investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, generated $127 million from the contract over the past two years, according to its annual report to investors on Friday. It has worked for the Education Department since 1997. With the number of borrowers in default now more than 7 million as federal student debt surpasses $1.1 trillion, the contracts have become among the most lucrative Education Department offerings, generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year for debt collectors tasked with recouping cash from borrowers who have defaulted on their federal student loans. In November 2013, Dwight Vigna, the Education Department official who oversees the program, told the financial industry that debt collectors stood to reap nearly $5.8 billion in commissions over the four-year period ending in 2016. But the department's debt collection program has also become a headache for Education Secretary Arne Duncan, as plaintiffs' lawyers, state and federal regulators and borrower advocates have demanded changes after discovering evidence that borrowers in distress were given false information or otherwise mistreated when they tried to make good on their debts. The Education Department said Friday that its decision was prompted by what it described as "high incidences of materially inaccurate representations" to borrowers that it discovered in reviews spanning several months. The five debt collectors, according to the department, misled borrowers about their options to get out of default, the resulting benefits to their credit reports and collection fees. Misleading borrowers about their defaulted debts may violate federal fair debt collection laws. "Every company that works for the department must keep consumers? best interests at the heart of their business practices by giving borrowers clear and accurate guidance," said Education Undersecretary Ted Mitchell. "It is our responsibility -- and our commitment -- to uphold the highest standards of service for America?s student borrowers and consumers." The admission that some of its contractors likely violated borrowers' rights under fair debt collection laws will likely lead to increased scrutiny of the department's debt collectors, oversight of them, and how borrowers may have been harmed. The Education Department didn't respond to queries beyond an emailed news release. The Treasury Department is among federal agencies that have been concerned by the Education Department's debt collection program. The Huffington Post reported in November that the Treasury would soon take some student borrowers' accounts away from the Education Department's contracted debt collectors and give them to federal workers in a pilot program that may cut out student loan middlemen. The other companies to lose their contracts are: Coast Professional, Enterprise Recovery Systems, National Recoveries, and West Asset Management. The Federal Trade Commission in 2011 accused West Asset of violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The two sides settled for $2.8 million, which at the time was the FTC's largest civil penalty in a debt collection case. ?Student loan debt collectors that mislead and harm consumers must be held accountable," said Rohit Chopra, the consumer bureau's top official overseeing student loans. "Today, the Education Department took an important step by winding down contracts with five debt collectors for not playing by the rules. The CFPB will continue to work with our federal and state partners to root out bad actors and ensure that debt collectors are treating student borrowers fairly. Consumers need clarity, not confusion." The Education Department said it would transfer accounts from affected companies, including Pioneer, to its other debt collectors, and would officially terminate its relationship with the companies once all accounts have been moved over. The move is the department's most forceful response in years to alleged misdeeds by its student loan contractors. The National Consumer Law Center, which advocates on behalf of borrowers, has previously criticized the department's debt collectors for routinely violating borrowers' consumer rights under federal and state laws. Deanne Loonin has been among the borrower advocates most critical of the department's relationship with allegedly-sloppy debt collectors, and has urged the department for years to terminate its contracts as a result. Federal watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office and the Education Department's inspector general have repeatedly criticized the department's oversight of contractors. In a report last year, the GAO found that the Education Department documented apparent violations of federal debt collection laws by its contractors, yet did nothing about it. The Education Department's inspector general has faulted the department for ignoring both borrowers' complaints and its own debt collectors' potential violations of federal consumer laws. In its annual report to investors on Friday, Navient indicated it disagreed with the Education Department's decision. "We are engaged with [the department] to learn more about their decision and address any questions or concerns they may have," the company said. The Education Department's decision is likely to come as a shock to the debt collection industry and the financiers who bankroll the companies. Pioneer, Enterprise and Coast have been among the Education Department's highest-ranking debt collectors, according to the department. "After years of hearing complaints from borrowers of abusive treatment, we are relieved to hear that the Education Department has taken this first step to protect borrowers and hold the companies they contract accountable," said Chris Hicks, an organizer who leads the Debt-Free Future campaign for Jobs With Justice, a Washington-based nonprofit.
South Dakota Legislator Suggests Co...

South Dakota Legislator Suggests Common Core Contributed To Kids' Deaths

A South Dakota lawmaker thinks that the Common Core State Standards may have contributed to the deaths of Native American kids. The Common Core, a set of education standards that have been adopted in a majority of states, is designed to make sure students around the country are being held to the same benchmarks. The standards have received backlash from both conservative and liberal groups, and in recent months, a slew of states have tried to renege on their commitment to them. South Dakota is no exception to this, and this month legislators put forth a bill that would end the state?s involvement with the standards. When speaking last Tuesday about the bill ?- which ultimately did not receive enough votes for consideration ?- Rep. Elizabeth May (R) connected the Common Core to eight kids she said ?we?ve buried ? down on that reservation in the last week,? reports ThinkProgress. May was referring to suicides at the Pine Ridge reservation, home to the Oglala Sioux Tribe, where she lives. ?We need to sit up and pay attention. I?m not naive enough to think the Common Core is the ? is what?s causing all of this, but it?s part of the effect. We?ve got teachers down there who have just quit teaching it,? said May, according to the outlet. May clarified her comments for The Huffington Post, noting that, ?Our suicide rate keeps increasing on the [Pine Ridge] reservation, our kids are under a lot of distress socially and economically.? Indeed, the suicide rates of Native youth are disproportionately high around the country. May further said she thinks the Common Core State Standards put too much emphasis on standardized testing. ?Very simple, testing, testing testing. They have to teach to the test. You know and I know and every teacher in the trenches on the reservation know it,? wrote May in an email. ?It never is about children and teachers it's about a bureaucracy.? ?There?s kids who just won't go to school," she added over the phone. "This is not even just about Indian children, but about all of our children. We see it more in the depressed areas of our country. Not all children learn the same. We can't put everybody inside a box, it doesn?t work." The Common Core State Standards do not necessarily increase amounts of standardized testing, but tests aligned with the standards have been noted for their rigor. In 2015 alone, 19 states introduced legislation that would repeal the Common Core, reports Politico. However, such legislation has so far ?fared poorly,? the outlet notes.
Weathering Calm and Stormy Seas: Le...

Weathering Calm and Stormy Seas: Leadership Tips From Captain Phillips

Captain Richard Phillips became a household name when Tom Hanks portrayed him in the highly acclaimed movie about the hijacking by Somali pirates of the U.S. Maersk Alabama. It was the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in more than 200 hundred years. The story is based on true events that unfolded in early April 2009, when four armed Somalis seized the 508 foot ship. For five days, the world watched as the ship and its captain and crew became the center of an incredible international drama. Captain Phillips retold his story to a crowd of 500 students at Fairfield University, many of whom braved single digit temperatures to hear him speak. The title of the lecture is "Steering Your Ship Through Rough Waters: Lessons on Leadership from Captain Phillips." Everyone sat on the edge of their seats for 90 minutes listening as he explained how he had to make decisions quickly, calmly and efficiently as the leader of the vessel. Phillips has a gruff likability and explained to students that the hijacking taught him about his own personal strength. In his deep Boston accent he told students, "You will be confronted with stormy seas in your careers or personal life. You are stronger than you know" - a theme he continued to reinforce. The U.S Maersk Alabama had an unarmed crew of just 20 sailors and was transporting food from the United Nations World food program that was intended for several African countries. The American ship looked like a million dollar vessel to the Somalis who were able to get on board and off their small boat. While much of the crew was in lockdown in different parts of the ship, the Captain was able to keep himself, his crew and his ship together even as his world had become violently undone. Just as Rudy Giuliani led New York City after the dark days of September 11, 2001, Captain Phillips steered his crew to safety after five days of unfathomable horror and in front of an international audience. Educators and business leaders often say that overcoming such odds in the face of adversity is the mark of a great leader. After serving 22 years as a Captain at sea and 35 years in the business, the now retired Phillips is now sailing into new waters: Motivational speaker focused on leadership skills. Phillips spoke to the students about "why" and 'how" he survived and explained that these tips will help anyone when confronted with "stormy seas." Here are some of Captain Phillips tips on leadership. 1. You are stronger than you know. 2. As a leader, hope for the best but plan for the worst. On the day before the hijacking, the crew had just practiced drills in the event they were attacked by pirates and came up with code words. 3. One crazy idea will make someone else think of a new idea. 4. Be flexible. Every voyage is different. 5. When you vow not to quit, it is amazing what happens. Much to the amazement of students, Captain Phillips explained how he was forced off the U.S Maersk Alabama at gunpoint and spent five days in a boat with barely any food or water and temperatures of 100 degrees. "It was like being in a sauna," he said. "But I never quit." 6. Leaders must remain calm. Don't let emotions get in the way. "You can't persevere when you are panicked." 7. In tough and changing times, you must unite as a team. 8. Critique your successes and failures after any voyage. 9. Honesty. Your employees are a reflection of you. If you make honest and ethical decisions, your crew will follow. Have a well-trained and committed crew where there is always mutual respect for one another even though you may not see eye to eye. 10. A captain must be dedicated to his crew and his crew must be motivated by strength, kindness, and respect. There is never room on board any vessel for harsh or unkind remarks. It will separate the crew. Morale is linked to productivity. Following his speech, many of the students asked questions including, "Do you have any desire to see your captors face to face?" Without hesitation, Captain Phillips said, "No. Their problems were their fault - not mine." Another student asked about the accuracy of the movie. Captain Phillips smiled and said, "I think Tom Hanks did a remarkable job but his accent might have been a little off." Captain Richard Phillips is now traveling the country and speaks to crowds about leadership, courage and endurance. The word "hero" often comes up but he frequently reminds people that he was "just doing his job" and that he was a well-trained and prepared leader. All of us will face a crisis in our lifetime - whether on land or sea - and he believes that all students should prepare themselves so they can be well prepared for adversity. This lecture is sponsored by the Fairfield University Student Association and the Quick Center for the Arts. The title of the lecture is "Steering Your Ship Through Rough Waters: Lessons on Leadership from Captain Phillips." He is the author of A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea.
Behavioral Science May Prove to Be ...

Behavioral Science May Prove to Be Our Most Important Science

Science has changed our world. We take for granted the impact of the physical and biological sciences on our world, forgetting that it once took months to get from the East coast to the West coast or to communicate with someone across the ocean. Science has dramatically improved our health too. In nineteenth century England more than 100,000 people died of cholera before John Snow showed that contaminated water was the cause of cholera. It might seem that no such stunning changes are possible when it comes to human behavior. We continue to have significant problems with crime, drug abuse, depression, academic failure, and poverty. Reading the headlines, you might think that we have made no progress on these problems and that no change is possible. But you would be wrong. A great deal of progress has taken place on how we can treat and prevent these problems and it is this science that has the potential to enhance human wellbeing far beyond the physical sciences. If you are unaware of the progress of the behavioral sciences, it is because progress is relatively recent and because the policies and programs that can prevent or ameliorate these problems are not yet in widespread use. We are on the cusp of a revolution in the use of behavioral science that will improve the wellbeing of people in ways that will prove as dramatic as the changes we have seen in medicine, physics, and chemistry. The Institute of Medicine's report on prevention put it this way: "The scientific foundation has been created for the nation to begin to create a society in which young people arrive at adulthood with the skills, interests, assets, and health habits needed to live healthy, happy, and productive lives in caring relationships with others." The report showed that over the past 40 years, behavioral scientists have developed preventive interventions for every phase of development -- from the prenatal period through adolescence. Numerous programs for families and schools have been shown, through rigorous randomized trials, to prevent multiple problems among young people. Most of these interventions continue to prevent problems long after the program has ended. And most save far more money in reduced criminal justice, victim, special education, and healthcare costs than it takes to deliver them. At the same time, behavioral scientists have identified an array of policies that are beneficial in preventing problems like alcohol-related injuries and adolescent smoking initiation. Similar progress has been made in how to treat people who have problems. Steve Hayes has written on this site about many of the interventions that are revolutionizing clinical psychology. Simply reading the research won't bring you in contact with the children and adults whose lives are changing for the better. For example, the Nurse Family Partnership has proven benefit in helping poor, at-risk mothers during their first pregnancy and the first two years of their babies' lives. It has already reached more than 200,000 mothers. It has helped women like Shanice by providing a caring, knowledgeable nurse to help her get the social and medical support she needed during her pregnancy and to guide her in how to care for her infant. In the first evaluation of this program, 35% of the children who didn't get the program were arrested by the age of fifteen, but among those who were in the program, fewer than half as many were arrested. Think what the impact of that may have been among the more than 200,000 families that benefited from this program. Or consider the Good Behavior Game, which is increasingly being used in schools throughout North America. It helps children learn to cooperate and concentrate. Small teams of students earn simple rewards, such as a chance to dance or make funny noises after they have worked together successfully for short periods. A study of the Good Behavior Game done at John Hopkins University showed that young people who played the Game in just first or second grade were less likely to be arrested or to smoke by middle school. By the time they were entering adulthood, those who got the Good Behavior Game had less suicidal behavior and drug abuse and were more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. The game changes lives. The widespread implementation of the programs, policies, and practices that behavioral scientists have developed can have significant benefit for millions of Americans. But we will not achieve all of the improvements in human wellbeing that are possible unless we also reduce poverty and economic inequality. The U. S. has the highest level of child poverty of any developed nation. This is because in the past half century public policy has evolved in a direction that most of us didn't want it to go. Before John Snow showed that contaminated water caused cholera, raw sewage emptied into the Thames upstream from the intake of drinking water. Now such unsanitary conditions would be unthinkable. I look forward to the day when it will be unthinkable to allow a child to live in an environment that fails to nurture their development. In my next post, I will tell you what the key ingredients are in these effective programs and how the science of human behavior can help us evolve a more nurturing form of capitalism. Anthony Biglan is a Senior Scientist at Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon and author of the forthcoming book, The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives and Our World.
'Make Me a Woman'

'Make Me a Woman'

One of my sheroes is Sojourner Truth. A brilliant but illiterate woman, she was a great orator and powerful presence who possessed great courage and determination. I often wear a pendant with her image and words: “If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.” An unwavering defender of women’s rights and an abolitionist, Sojourner continues to fuel my determination to fight for equality for women, people of color, and children left behind. She was born into and lived nearly three decades in slavery but dedicated her life to combating slavery and gender inequality and second-class citizenship. She never gave up talking about or fighting for justice and equality. Sarye Huggins is a high school senior who knows her Black history and has also been inspired by Sojourner Truth. Read a few lines from her spoken word poem “Make Me a Woman”: Make me a woman in this world of poverty and deceit. They'll know I’m a woman by the sounds of determination coming from my feet. ... Just make me a woman.  Don’t you think the time has come? I can hear my ancestors summoning me by the sounds of their drums. A woman, me? Imagine that. Once you grant me this wish, I’m never turning back. She also writes that she knows “strong women run through my blood”—but her journey towards becoming a strong, confident young woman has not been easy. Sarye lives in Brooklyn, New York’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, a community disproportionately plagued by poverty and violence. Her teacher explains, “She’s survived ‘Bed-Stuy, do or die’—that’s the motto of our neighborhood.” Sarye’s mother, a teacher, died from a brain tumor when Sarye was 2. Her father was frequently part of her early life, and she was raised by a beloved aunt. As a smart, shy girl attending some of the poorest and roughest schools in New York City, Sarye didn’t always feel she fit in. Although she won awards in elementary school for being an outstanding student, she also endured a lot of teasing and bullying from her peers and harbored much of the pain inside. In middle school things got worse when her father stopped calling and visiting. For the first time her grades started slipping, causing her to lose her confidence, and she began trying desperately to change herself to gain acceptance by her peers. When the inner turmoil reached a breaking point, she started cutting herself and described some of the pain she was feeling in another poem: I didn’t want to be smart anymore. I was no longer myself. I got angry, and placing blades to my skin just did not help. I knew that what I was doing to myself wasn’t a felony, nor was it a crime, but at the same time I didn't realize that I was just destroying my heart, my soul, my body, and my beautiful mind. The odds were stacked against Sarye, as they are against so many of our Black girls and boys today. Black children are the poorest children in America; every other Black baby is poor, and every two minutes a Black baby is born into poverty in our wealthy nation. Black children are less likely to live in two-parent families, are more likely to be abused or neglected or enter foster care, and suffer worse health outcomes than white children. Black students fall behind in school early and do not catch up; more than 80 percent of fourth- and eighth-grade Black public school students cannot read or compute at grade level, and a Black high school student drops out every 33 seconds during the school year. Black children and youths are at greatest risk of being funneled into the prison pipeline and are at highest risk of gun violence, the leading cause of death among Black children and teens ages 1 to 19. For many of the children in Sarye’s neighborhood, these odds have already proven too much. Sarye was blessed by her aunt’s unfailing support, and by caring teachers who began nurturing her potential during her freshman year of high school . She says, “They just saw something in me that I didn’t even really see in myself at the moment, and I think that’s what I really needed.” After Sarye attended the Summer Bridge Program at Boys & Girls High School, her English teacher recommended she apply for the Smart Scholars Program, which would allow her to take classes at Long Island University beginning in 10th grade. She surprised herself by testing into college-level English during the entrance exam. Though still in high school, she’s maintained a 4.0 in her college classes while excelling in her high school courses. Unsurprisingly, English has remained one of her strengths—and she’s embraced writing as a way of expressing some of the feelings she struggled to hide inside. From her poem “I’m Free From It”:   I didn't have to hide behind the bars of shame, hurt, or declaration. I could build on the things that were given to me and renovate the parts that were taken. My dreams that were deferred had me shaken up, but only to produce a better me in the making. ... I can look in the mirror and smile, embracing all my scars, marks, and imperfections, perfectly imperfect, not stressing to make the perfect impression, not ashamed, scared, nor confused because I am who I am for a reason. Sarye is one of five extraordinary high school students the Children’s Defense Fund-New York will honor next week for beating the odds. A scholarship will help ease their way on the path to college. She knows she’s already made great strides and says, “I feel like allowing people to actually help me and to influence me to do better is what saved me.” What a privilege it is to help young people like Sarye become the strong Black women and men they want to be. All of us must change the odds and help all of our Black girls—and boys, and all children—become the strong and contributing adults they want to be and we need them to be as we look at the security of future generations and our nation.


The New MCAT

The New MCAT

Starting in April 2015 the MCAT is brand new. So what does this mean for those of you who are interested in attending medical school? The biggest practical change is that the MCAT now has four sections vs the three sections of the old MCAT. The new sections are Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological...Continue Reading >

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3/2 Engineering Programs

3/2 Engineering Programs

We will sometimes have a student interested in a traditional pre-med program also be considering a major in some field of engineering. I have discussed in the past my concerns about majoring in engineering if you want medical school in your future. But for the student who really wants an engineering background, there is another...Continue Reading >

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How Do You Decide Which Colleges to...

How Do You Decide Which Colleges to Visit?

This time of year many high school juniors are thinking about visiting some colleges over the Spring break. But how do you decide which colleges to actually visit? For most students, it isn’t so much about which specific colleges you visit as it is about visiting different types of colleges. Start by visiting colleges near...Continue Reading >

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How Do We Find the Right College fo...

How Do We Find the Right College for You?

We are sometimes asked how we decide on which college to recommend for each student. There are several factors that go into our college recommendations. One of the biggest factors is having the knowledge of hundreds of colleges which we have visited. Kelley and I each visit a number of different colleges around the US every...Continue Reading >

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Forbes College Rankings-Garbage In,...

Forbes College Rankings-Garbage In, Garbage Out

I am not a fan of college rankings. If you have read my blog for any length of time you are aware of this. The problem is that colleges, unlike cars and dishwashers, are not easy to compare to each other. And the criteria used is typically manipulated to get the result the publisher wants....Continue Reading >

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Quarters, Semesters, 4-1-4. What is...

Quarters, Semesters, 4-1-4. What is the Difference?

One of the issues that students rarely think about, but should, is what type of academic term do you want from a college? What do I mean by academic terms? The academic term is very simply how long does each class last. There are many variations of this from college to college One of the...Continue Reading >

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