NY Education

RFP Posted: Assessment of Homeless ...

RFP Posted: Assessment of Homeless Education Programming for McKinney-Vento Grantee Districts

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to design and conduct a statewide assessment of homeless education programs supported by McKinney-Vento grant funding. The study will focus on promising features of program implementation at the LEA level; outcomes for students experiencing homelessness; and academic and social-emotional program supports and resources provided by NYSEDís Homeless Education current technical assistance vendor, NYS-TEACHS.
News and Notes: New Professional De...

News and Notes: New Professional Development Materials

News and Notes: New Professional Development Materials
Funding Opportunity: 2014-15 Title ...

Funding Opportunity: 2014-15 Title I School Improvement Section 1003(a) - Basic School Improvement Grant Application

Section 1003(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires that State Education Agencies allocate funds to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) for Title I Priority and Focus Schools to meet the progress goals in their District Comprehensive Improvement Plan and School Comprehensive Education Plan(s) (DCIP/SCEP) and thereby improve student performance. These funds are to be used to support implementation of school improvement activities identified through the Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE) reviews or a school review with district oversight and included in the DCIP/SCEP.
RFP Posted: Special Education Media...

RFP Posted: Special Education Mediation Technical Assistance Center

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) P-12 Office of Special Education is seeking proposals to provide annual training to approximately 125 individuals who serve as New York State special education mediators, promote the use of special education mediation, provide reimbursement of mediation administrative costs to the Stateís twenty one (21) Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) and to collect and report data on the number and type of special education mediation sessions conducted throughout the State. NYSED seeks applicants for mediation training (Part I) with documented experience and expertise in alternative dispute resolution processes in special education and for data collection (Part II) with demonstrated experience in the collection and reporting of statewide data.
RFP Posted: State Performance Plan ...

RFP Posted: State Performance Plan Indicator 8; Parent Survey for Special Education Consumer Satisfaction

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Special Education is seeking proposals for the distribution, collection and analysis of a parent survey relating to special education.
RFP Posted: Evaluation of Categoric...

RFP Posted: Evaluation of Categorical Bilingual Education Programs

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to design, develop, and conduct evaluations of all Categorical Bilingual Education Programs funded by New York State and managed by the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies (OBE-FLS). The selected vendor will design and develop protocols to assess implementation and effectiveness of all programs. Due to the variety of goals and objectives of each program to be evaluated, in addition to protocols that can be used for all programs (demographic data, evaluation elements that are common to all programs, etc.), each program is likely to also require evaluation components that are specific to that programís evaluation (See Attachment C).


Essay on how academics can become e...

Essay on how academics can become entrepreneurs

Kerry Ann Rockquemore explains how academics trying to become entrepreneurs need to think about the services or goods they will deliver.

Essay by provost reflects on advice...

Essay by provost reflects on advice he gave to new provosts

Jim Hunt looks back at some advice he had for fellow provosts.

Essay on adjunct duties after a cou...

Essay on adjunct duties after a course is over

Cliffton Price considers the work adjuncts are asked to do after their courses (and compensation) are over.

Essay on difference between academi...

Essay on difference between academic and entrepreneurial mindset

Academics who want to be entrepreneurial need to think in new ways, writes Kerry Ann Rockquemore.

How much should your life path infl...

How much should your life path influence/dictate your career path? (essay)

Trenda Boyum-Breen describes how her personal needs shaped her professional choices -- and how to balance them when they compete.

Discussion on how adjuncts balance ...

Discussion on how adjuncts balance creativity issues with teaching obligations

Two adjuncts discuss how they balance their creative interests with course coverage obligations.

BBC News Education

'Disturbing' Trojan inquiry finding...

'Disturbing' Trojan inquiry findings

Nicky Morgan, the new education secretary, warns of evidence of intolerance in schools as the government's Trojan horse report is published.
Student loan system 'tipping point'

Student loan system 'tipping point'

There are so many problems and incorrect forecasts in the student loan system that there needs to be a complete review, says a report from MPs.
Funding boost for music education

Funding boost for music education

Music education for children in England is to receive an £18m boost in funding, the Department for Education says.
Graduate posts in the UK 'grow 17%'

Graduate posts in the UK 'grow 17%'

There has been a significant increase in the number of graduate vacancies in the UK but many employers are struggling to fill posts, a poll says.
FGM training for public sector staf...

FGM training for public sector staff

Extra training is to be given to teachers, doctors and social workers to help them to identify and assist girls at risk of female genital mutilation.
EC 'confident' in brain project

EC 'confident' in brain project

The European Commission has responded to criticism of its billion-euro Human Brain Project, declaring confidence that objections will be satisfied.

US Govt Dept of Education

My Brother?s Keeper D.C. Data Jam A...

My Brother?s Keeper D.C. Data Jam Announced

Cross-posted from ED’s My Brother’s Keeper website.
Statement by U.S. Secretary of Educ...

Statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on President Obama Signing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014

Following is a statement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on President Obama signing today at the White House the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014.
Administration Honors U.S. Departme...

Administration Honors U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees; Announces Second Annual Best Practices Tour

White House Council on Environmental Quality Acting Chair Mike Boots and U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Mark Schaefer joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to congratulate the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools and District Sustainability Awardees on their achievements at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
President Obama at My Brother?s Kee...

President Obama at My Brother?s Keeper Town Hall: ?America Will Succeed If We Are Investing in Our Young People.?

Cross-posted†from the White House Blog.
Know It 2 Own It: Celebrating the A...

Know It 2 Own It: Celebrating the Americans with Disabilities Act

This week, we celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law. This landmark legislation was the nation’s first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities.
U.S. Department of Education Expand...

U.S. Department of Education Expands Innovation in Higher Education through the Experimental Sites Initiative

As part of the President and Vice President’s new actions to provide more Americans with the opportunity to acquire the skills they need for in-demand jobs, today, the Department is announcing a new round of “experimental sites” (ex-


Most victims of fiery California bu...

Most victims of fiery California bus crash died of smoke inhalation

A FedEx truck drives past a makeshift memorial beside Interstate 5 in Orland, California(Reuters) - Most of the 10 people killed in a fiery crash of a bus full of college hopefuls in Northern California survived the initial impact and died of smoke inhalation from flames that engulfed the vehicle, the county coroner said on Tuesday. Seven of those who died after a FedEx truck crashed into the bus taking high school students to a college recruitment event in April succumbed to asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation, while two died of trauma sustained in the crash, the Glenn County Coroner's Office said. The dead in the crash in the city of Orland, an agricultural community north of Sacramento, included five Los Angeles-area students on their way to tour a Northern California university campus, as well as their chaperones and both drivers. While traveling south on Interstate 5, the FedEx truck gradually veered left and crossed a 58-foot-wide median before entering oncoming lanes of traffic, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a preliminary report published in April.

There?s No Point in Releasing Priso...

There?s No Point in Releasing Prisoners, Ever?Unless We Do This

In his college-level classes in New York?s correctional institutions, Baz Dreisinger has students who come from all races and backgrounds, and they are often extremely intelligent. The academic director of the Prison-to-College Pipeline at John Jay College of Criminal Justice has seen firsthand that no matter the prisoner?s background or continued access to higher education outside confinement, even the most talented students struggle to find solid work and safe housing after release. ?I had one student who was particularly bright,? Dreisinger recalls. "I was certain he was going to be successful.? On release, however, the student had no family to take him in, leaving him with one option: living in a dangerous halfway house.
Black colleges face hard choices on...

Black colleges face hard choices on $25M Koch gift

FILE - In this June 5, 2014 file photo, Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund, is interviewed in Washington. The United Negro College Fund announced a $25 million grant from Koch Industries Inc. and the Charles Koch Foundation, a large donation from the conservative powerhouse Koch name that Democrats have sought to vilify heading into the 2014 mid-term elections. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)America's black colleges are struggling for funds. The Republican Party is struggling to attract black voters.

Research, Discuss Sexual Violence o...

Research, Discuss Sexual Violence on College Campuses as a Family

As sexual assaults on college campuses make headlines, many parents of prospective college students struggle to address the issue with their families and universities. In May, the Department of Education released the names of more than 50 institutions that are under investigation for possible Title IX violations, which concern the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints. In early July, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., released a report that found that many of the 440 institutions surveyed failed to comply with federal requirements for handling sexual assault cases. Sexual violence can be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, so experts provide the following advice on what prospective students and their parents should know about the issue as they research colleges.
California law limits school footba...

California law limits school football practices to cut concussions

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters) - Football practices at which middle- and high-school students tackle each other will be restricted in California under a law signed on Monday by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, the latest U.S. effort to minimize brain injuries from the popular sport. The measure, which limits practices with full-on tackling during the playing season and prohibits them during most of the off-season, comes amid growing concern nationwide over brain damage that can result from concussions among student as well as professional athletes. "This is a very balanced approach," said Democratic Assemblyman Ken Cooley, the law's author. It's good for kids and it's good for parents." The measure, which goes into effect in January, makes California the 20th state to restrict practices by middle school and high school football teams during which tackling and other full-contact activities are allowed.
The Scopes Monkey trial and the Con...

The Scopes Monkey trial and the Constitution

On July 21, 1925, the famous Scopes Monkey trial over teaching evolution in public schools concluded. Mostly remembered today was the clash between two legendary public figures. But the legal fight didn?t end that day in Tennessee.


Trojan Horse schools: Teachers to b...

Trojan Horse schools: Teachers to be barred for not 'protecting British values'

Teachers face being barred from the profession if they fail to protect British values in their schools, new Education Secretary Nicky Morgan declared today.

Privatisation of student loan book ...

Privatisation of student loan book to be scrapped

The £12 billion privatisation of the student loan book in England and Wales is to be scrapped, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said.

Privatisation of student loan book ...

Privatisation of student loan book to be scrapped

The £12bn privatisation of the student loan book in England and Wales is to be scrapped, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said.

Family of severely disabled boy bar...

Family of severely disabled boy barred from taking term-time holiday

The mother of a severely disabled teenager who has been given only a few years to live says she has been threatened with fines and prosecution if she takes him on a term-time holiday.

Trojan Horse report: Birmingham sch...

Trojan Horse report: Birmingham schools broke law with Islamic assemblies and banned sex education

Hardline governors in some Birmingham schools were guilty of ?serious malpractice? and headteachers were undermined in order to introduce Islamic worship and ban sex education, a damning report into the ?Trojan Horse? allegations found today.

Trojan Horse: '10 Birmingham school...

Trojan Horse: '10 Birmingham schools investigated showed elements of the conspiracy,' education expert finds

Hardline governors in some Birmingham schools were guilty of ?serious malpractice? and headteachers were undermined in order to introduce Islamic worship and ban sex education, a damning report into the ?Trojan Horse? allegations found today.

Education Week

Missouri delays vote on KC schools ...

Missouri delays vote on KC schools accreditation

State providing safety training to ...

State providing safety training to schools

Los Angeles school requires concuss...

Los Angeles school requires concussion tests

Lawsuit filed against Gov. Jindal o...

Lawsuit filed against Gov. Jindal over Common Core

ND supe wants Indian culture taught...

ND supe wants Indian culture taught in schools

Indiana chooses 5 counties for pres...

Indiana chooses 5 counties for preschool program


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:

  1. Updating IT professionals’ skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models
  2. Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own device
  3. 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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Sophomore Year: Time to Begin Think...

Sophomore Year: Time to Begin Thinking About College

The summer season is always an active and engaging time on college campuses, when we in the admissions field meet families who are visiting to learn more about the opportunities available at their institution. Usually this time of year, we speak mostly to rising high school upperclassmen--juniors and seniors--who have college on their minds and are closest to the application process.

Increasingly, however, we host families with students who are just entering their sophomore year. Barely finished with their first year of high school, these enterprising students are already fast-tracking the process to entering college. I am always impressed with these intrepid individuals, and think how their foresight and dedication to the cause might be an inspiration to all 15 year-olds.

With this in mind, I would like to offer some suggestions to high school sophomores who know college is in their future, but maybe have yet to give it much thought. It is not too early to think about this major life step, and one's actions sophomore year can help pave the way to success. While students have heard many of the following suggestions before, it is important to emphasize the following steps in an early college search:

1. Challenge yourself and keep the grades up. Your high school transcript is arguably the most important document in your application for college admission. The courses you take and the grades you earn are paramount to a college "accept." If you have the chance, begin taking an Advanced Placement (AP) course or two. They may be rigorous, but admission committees would rather see you earn a B+ in an honors-level course than see a straight-A transcript in less-rigorous, basic coursework. And along the way, read! There is no better way to stretch your mind and to prepare you for upcoming exams and college-level work.

2. Meet with your guidance counselor and think about careers. Some second-year high school students have yet to sit down with a member of the guidance office. The time is now to introduce yourself. Begin to map out a plan that leads to a successful college process. At this time, a broad discussion of your interests, likes, and life goals will help point you to appropriate college choices down the road. Here, your counselor may introduce you to Naviance, a popular college planning and career assessment software tool.

3. Go online to begin some researching of your own. Maybe you have a particular college in mind? Go to its website and look into majors, activities and opportunities. Beyond specific searches, log on to sites like Zinch, Cappex, and CollegeXpress to create a profile and explore several institutions at once, based your entries. Head to sites like Unigo to read college reviews directly from students attending. Explore; the web is a great place to get your proverbial feet wet!

4. Think about signing up for some of those standardized tests. You know about the SAT or ACT, and how these tests may be an important component of your college application. While these tests may be a year or so away, you can still sign up for the PSAT--sort of a practice SAT exam that gives students an idea of how they will fare on the real SAT and can qualify students for scholarship awards. This is also a good time to take any SAT 2/Subject Tests, sometimes required for college admission. Take these focused exams right after you finish the coursework and the material is still fresh in your mind. You may also want to look into the ACT's Plan test for sophomores, which is, again, a sort of practice exam (its name is changing to Aspire in the next cycle).

5. Get involved and hone your leadership skills. A resume of your meaningful extracurricular activities is another important part of your college application. Remember, though: think "quality" over "quantity." Join clubs and pursue activities that you will stick with over time, will show your dedication and perseverance, and will demonstrate your maturity and focus. Sometimes a meaningful activity is outside of school. Volunteer in the community, and cultivate meaningful relationships with people who can comment on your drive and character.

6. Okay, now go visit some actual schools! As I mentioned, many younger high schoolers are already visiting campus. Plan some trips with your family to visit a few schools on your "long list" of possible choices. Go to some larger schools and some smaller; go to some urban colleges and some more rural. At this stage, you will want to explore broadly to see what aspects of an ideal institution appeal to you. While there, speak to students (many are still studying in the summer) and get their impressions. Also, in the spring, attend any official college fairs in your area to gain an additional perspective.

Sophomores, enjoy the upcoming school year! And know that this early preparation and action will help to make some important college decisions down the road.
A basic flaw in the argument agains...

A basic flaw in the argument against affirmative action

Co-authored with Ted Dintersmith

The University of Texas (UT) at Austin got approval this week from the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to continue using race as one of many factors in its admissions. Abigail Fisher, a white student, had sued, claiming that she was a victim of racial discrimination, because some minority students with less impressive credentials than hers had been admitted when she was not.

Texas' admissions policies include a "Top Ten Percent Plan," which guarantees the top 10 percent of graduates of every state high school a place at the UT-Austin campus or other universities in the state system. In 2008, when Fisher applied, 92 percent of UT-Austin's slots were filled this way. The remaining slots are decided based on an Academic Achievement Index (grades and test scores), plus a Personal Achievement Index (extracurricular activities, accomplishments, leadership, service, and family background, including race, poverty, language background, and other factors).

Fisher, who is the child of UT alumni, may have hoped her legacy status would compensate for the fact that she did not graduate in the top 10 percent of her class, and her GPA (3.59) and test scores (SAT -- 1180 out of 1600) were not high enough to qualify her for automatic admission. Nonetheless, these numbers were higher than those of 47 students who were admitted in part based on their personal achievements.

Fisher, now graduated from Louisiana State University, vows to continue her lawsuit, keeping the affirmative action elephant smack dab in the center of the room. The question hangs in the air: Do highly qualified applicants lose out in the college admissions race because less qualified applicants got special treatment due to race?

Never mind that, in Abigail Fisher's case, only 5 of the 47 students admitted with lower grades and test scores than Abigail's were minority, while 42 were white. Never mind that 168 black and Latino students with grades as good as or better than Fisher's were also denied entry into the university that year.

Playing the race card is what gets America's attention.

But there is another, even more fundamental, problem with this debate: Its core premise is deeply flawed.

The debate's underlying assumption is that statistical measures -- GPAs, SATs, ACTs, and AP test scores -- are the most objective, and hence useful, gauge of an applicant's merit. Clearly, or so the thinking goes, a well-off applicant with near-perfect SAT scores and a 4.3 GPA (adjusted with extra points from AP courses that are common in affluent schools and rare in low-income schools) is more qualified than an inner-city student with lower numbers. So the debate rages about whether universities should admit "less qualified" applicants on the basis of criteria designed to help offset historical inequities.

But myriad studies conclude that standardized test scores are a poor predictor of success in college and in life. More than 80 percent of the variance in college success is attributable to factors other than test scores. Over and over across our country, we find leaders of business, non-profits, or policy with checkered academic transcripts.

Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of human relations and operations at Google, told The New York Times that company officials found that GPAs and test scores are "worthless" as predictors of career performance at his company, a company widely admired for its innovative excellence. Bock notes that "learning ability" is the number one criterion for hiring -- the capacity to find, weigh, and analyze diffuse information, put the pieces together, and figure out what it means for solving real problems and developing something new.

Researchers such as Angela Duckworth have emphasized the overwhelming importance of character traits such as perseverance, grit, tenacity, and resourcefulness. At some level, we all realize that it is the kid who never gives up and always finds a way to move forward, not the kid who can define "nugatory," who will make important contributions to her employer, community, and society. Yet educational measures place outsized weight on esoteric academic pursuits -- pursuits that all too often have no meaningful connection to the skills needed in life. We gauge the worth of a child on how facile he is with the quadratic equation (when was the last time any adult used it?), not on his resourcefulness or creativity.

Even worse, we fail to consider the toll exacted by these hollow figures of merit.

In well-off communities, students often spend their formative years on a soul-crushing mission to build the perfect college application. They cram and regurgitate facts for tests, instantly forgetting them. They grind away at subjects like AP Calculus that are obsolete in today's computationally rich world. Their families spend tens of thousands of dollars on tutoring, test prep, and college counseling. They learn that life is about pleasing anonymous college admissions officers, instead of finding and pursuing passions. They become increasingly dependent on adults for structure and "motivation." And, over time, they develop into fragile micro-managed hoop-jumpers.

What about students in low-income communities? Many grow up handling responsibilities that most well-off peers can't begin to fathom. They often make their way through under-resourced schools in large classes taught by over-stretched teachers. They are reminded regularly of their academic "limitations" as they are assessed relentlessly on mind-numbing tests. And for those that do overcome enormous obstacles and claw their way into a top college? They encounter upper-crust classmates questioning whether they belong, as evidenced by the recent "Affirmative Dissatisfaction" controversy at Harvard.

Yet on the dimensions of tenacity and grit, as well as personal accomplishment, these students run circles around many "highly qualified" upper-crust applicants. And, in fact, research by former university presidents William Bowen and Derek Bok on the outcomes of affirmative action programs found that minority students admitted to selective universities did as well or better than their white counterparts on a number of outcomes -- and opened doors for generations after them.

Suppose for a moment that we lived in a world where our education system cared more about grit than GPAs. About resourcefulness than parents' resources. About ability to create rather than ability to cram. About whether a young person is passionate about making the world better, or is simply seeking to follow his parent's footsteps into the 1 percent? In that world, we might look at a prep school graduate at Harvard and say, "Gee, I wonder if he got here through the school's 'rich kid' affirmative action initiative? Does he really have the grit to belong here?"

Beyond reshaping our views on affirmative action, this different world would bring profound benefits. For starters, high school would change overnight. We would start teaching kids skills that matter (e.g., collaboration, creative problem solving, making sound decisions, learning how to learn, leveraging your passions and talents to achieve your dreams), instead of drilling kids endlessly on academic trivia they retain for a matter of days. We would prepare kids for life, instead of for standardized tests and college admissions. We would teach skills that matter enormously but are hard to measure precisely, instead of low-level skills that can be tested cost-effectively in bulk.

So the next time the subject of affirmative action comes up, think broadly about how we evaluate the merits and potential of our youth. Think of how different the school years of all kids -- rich and poor -- would be if education were aligned with life, instead of tailored to the needs of Princeton statisticians. We might begin to make progress after decades of failed education reform, and might start graduating kids able to make their way in the world as adults. Imagine.

Ted Dintersmith is Chairman of LearningInnovation.us, and Partner Emeritus with Charles River Ventures, a leading early-stage venture capital firm. He was chair of the National Competitiveness Committee for the National Venture Capital Association, was selected by President Obama to represent the United States at the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 focusing on global education issues, and is funding several initiatives to bring education into the 21st Century.

This blog originally appeared July 17, 2014, in Washington Post column, The Answer Sheet.
Dropping the Needle: Disruptive Inn...

Dropping the Needle: Disruptive Innovation and Higher Education

More than 30 years ago I would huddle with other music majors at our college's music library, the cords from our headphones stretching over each other's record players as we tried to cram a semester of classical music listening into a few hours at the end of the term. We know our professor would randomly "drop the needle" on records during our final exam, challenging us to identify a composition and its composer by its structure, instrumentation, motifs and harmony. The music library of our generation was a room with 12-inch records, record players, and headphones.

There was some great bonding that came from roaming the small library, stretching our headphone cords all the while, comparing notes on our strategies to recognize open fifths, plagal cadences, Mozart's use of the clarinet, or Stravinsky's "Petrushka" chord. In the end, one learned to recognize the compositional attributes that made a piece a chanson, a sonata, a recitative, through-composed, atonal, and so on. You were trying to make sense of an aural landscape having been dropped in the middle of it. It was very exciting, stressful, and chaotic.

In much the same way I am trying to make sense of our era during a sabbatical from my day-to-day responsibilities at Marymount California University. I had committed early on to trying to get up-to-date on literature regarding wellness, resilience and disruptive innovation. I started this week with a pile of New Yorker magazines, trying to ease myself back with a predictably high-quality publication that offers the occasional cartoon chuckle. I got lucky because, over the course of a couple of issues, I got a sense of how the American higher education sector feels about disruptive innovation.

Disruption theory comes from the business literature, but it has been co-opted by other sectors as it provides a framing device that helps us make sense of the fast-paced 21st century. Harvard professor Jill Lepore's article, "The Disruption Machine," along with the letters to the editor that followed, goes after the theory put forward by her Harvard colleague, Clayton M. Christensen. While some subscribe to the theory as a way to identify successful companies, Lepore plays the contrarian, sharing that theory is really about how things go wrong: "Disruption is a theory of change founded on panic, anxiety, and shaky evidence... a competitive strategy for an age seized by terror."

Lepore takes the reader through the ages (enlightenment, reason, industrial, evolution, technology) to support an argument that we see our current age as an era "founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse... and an apocalyptic fear of global devastation." Lepore portrays the disruption ethic as applied in modern business as: "Forget rules, obligations, your conscience, loyalty, a sense of the commonweal. Don't look back. Never pause. Disrupt or be disrupted... the time has come to panic as you've never panicked before."

Many academics weighed in on Lepore's article over the last month. The University of Maryland's David B. Siclia challenged disruption theory when citing Alfred D. Chandler's research that found successful companies evolved a great deal, but "without self-cannibalizing their hard-won know-how for the sake of change." UT Arlington's Kathryn Hamilton Warren wondered why "the idea that something that works must be changed for change's sake -- and that change in and of itself is seen as progress -- is an economic driver." There are a good number of points of view about the Lepore vs. Christensen debate to be found online if you are interested.

Why is it important for us to contemplate this debate? Disruption theory is now so pervasive that it presents itself to our students in the classroom and when they enter their professions. University presidents and newspaper editors are being dislodged from their appointments for "failing to be disruptively innovative," as Lepore puts it. Politicians and influential thought leaders have predetermined that the same technologies that provided us with the "Angry Birds" app will revolutionize higher education. University graduates have ambitions of becoming entrepreneurs who will disrupt their chosen industry, create great value in a new company, and then sell it.

Disruption theory correctly observes that many businesses ultimately fail because they are not organized in a manner that easily allows for adaptation to rapidly changing environments. Quite simply, the ones that succeed do so when they provide products or services that society desires to buy or support. Successful organizations are always developing new products or services, relying on the law of averages to play out. Some things will succeed and some will fail, but organizations need to resource the development of new initiatives knowing that not all will fly.

In other words, organizations resource failure. In an "on demand" culture, it is quite understandable that most feel that "failure is not an option," but that runs counter to everything we know about human learning and development, and, of course, university research. Finding information or data no longer challenges young professionals, but are they equipped to discern what is significant in the seemingly endless supply of information pouring out of the Internet fire hydrant?

In recent years American higher education has absorbed national conversations about MOOC's, Title IX, for-profit colleges, accountability, and unacceptable graduation rates. Our society is conflicted about economic stratification, immigration, wars in the Middle East, and global warming. All of this is happening while universities are trying to preserve what they have done really well for nearly for a thousand years: putting students in classrooms with faculty who can inspire them about what it means to be human. Environments where character formation is at the heart of the enterprise.

Higher education's entire value proposition is seriously being reconsidered by modern society, often because it is not considered innovative enough. Picture the stress of the modern world relentlessly pressing in against the four walls of university classrooms, beckoning students to forego the undergraduate degree with the siren songs of venture capitalism, creating value, making one's "nut" by the age of 30, etc.

Is this an era of disruption? There can be little doubt that the constant barrage of infotainment influences how we perceive personal and societal circumstances. Do we have time to reflect on what we are learning from our families, our colleagues, our students and our research?

For some unknown reason I took breaks from my work today to learn that there are Internet followers who believe Steven Spielberg has killed dinosaurs; that snorting ground-up rhinoceros horn was trendy in Vietnam; and that the walnuts I had ordered from Amazon were on the delivery vehicle making their way to my mailbox.

Did I need to know any of this? Is this what "dropping the needle" is now for me? What is different from the records that our faculty assembled in that old music library and the infotainment that technological innovation is delivering to me all the time? Is this what disruption feels like?
Student Debt and Higher Education

Student Debt and Higher Education

There is no doubt that students are graduating with more debt for a college education than they did even a decade ago. However, student debt is not a new issue. Without student loans, I would not have been able to go to college. Loans carried me through my bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. It was a happy day when I paid them off, not all that long ago.

Student debt has been a hot topic of discussion in Washington, Albany, and all around the country. Such debt is causing many college graduates to move back home as they can't afford one of their own. These graduates are losing lifetime wealth due to college debt. Although this may be true, it may not be the entire issue.

Higher education institutions are funded differently depending on type. Some institutions are for-profit, some are private non-profit, and some are public four-year or two-year colleges. Thus, the costs borne by students at these different institutions may vary considerably.

Community colleges, like Fulton-Montgomery Community College, are publicly supported. In New York State, community colleges were to be funded one-third by tuition, one-third by the sponsoring county, and one-third by the state. While FM strives to remain affordable for all (with a tuition rate of around $3,648 per year), we are far from that formula, with students bearing more than 45 percent of the cost of their education. Indeed, for those institutions that are publicly supported, support has been dwindling. According to a January 23, 2012 Chronicle of Higher Education article, state support for higher education dropped an average of 7.6 percent in 2012. For FM, our state support per full-time equivalent in 2006 was $2,675; in Fall 2010 it was $2,260; and, in Fall 2014 it will be $2,485.

Costs for higher education have increased as well. In addition to salaries, other costs have increased. High technology labs require high tech equipment. Students expect and use technology all across campus; faculty use technology to teach their classes. Software, bandwidth, business systems, servers, fiber optics, telecommunications, etc., all require dollars to keep up, while public investments have gone down.

With increased costs in higher education and lower public investments, tuitions and fees increase; students rely on loans; and debt increases. President Obama and Congress agree that this problem needs to be fixed, but they are in disagreement on how to do so. No matter, I am concerned that a political reaction is not a fix. I recently heard someone at a conference state: "Congress does two things well, 1. Nothing, and 2. Over-react." I am worried about the latter.

What should we do? First, we need to have a discussion about what is a reasonable student debt upon graduation. College is an investment in your future, what is that investment worth? Second, colleges need to be very clear in their financial aid packages on what portion of aid is a "grant" and what portion is a "loan." Students and parents need to see what their monthly payment will be and how long it will take to pay off the loan. Third, we need to decide if college education is worth public investment. All of the research validates that those with a college education earn more in a lifetime, are more resilient in difficult economic times, are healthier, and are more involved in their communities. That seems worth it.
Is Paris Burning?

Is Paris Burning?

If French President Francois Hollande is serious about standing for a laic France, in which men and women of all races and religions feel as comfortable as if they were of one united people, then he must take all necessary steps to ensure we never see a repeat of last weekend's anti-Semitic riots.

Several of my people in Paris -- some 200 Jews -- were trapped inside a synagogue for hours as pro-Palestinian protestors chanted "death to Jews" while hurling rocks and bricks, and wielding bats and even chairs stolen from local cafes. According to one report, it took 30 minutes for police reinforcements to arrive, which seems to be a slow response time given that there were only a handful of overwhelmed private security officers to fend off an angry mob of approximately 160.

The French President's utopian vision notwithstanding, the Jews, confined to their place of worship, were decidedly uncomfortable.

Considering France's dramatic rise in anti-Semitic attacks -- a 58 percent increase in 2012 compared to the previous year -- it's not surprising that Jews are leaving the country in droves. Searing images of violence, such as those captured in photographs and video footage last week, are all-too-vivid reminders of the Nazi occupation of France during World War II, which resulted in some 70,000 French Jews being rounded up and shipped off to death camps.

As the president and CEO of Touro College, which has a branch campus Paris, I have a vested interest in how the authorities choose to stem this growing and terrifying trend of hate crimes, not only out of concern for my Jewish brethren, but for my students, as well. How can I blame them if they decide to continue their studies in America or Israel, where they will not be threatened based on their religious identity?

I am aghast at President Hollande's rather muted and vague response to the attack ("We cannot have intrusion or efforts at intrusions into places of worship, whether they are synagogues, as happened yesterday, but I would say the same thing for mosques, for churches or for temples"). Where are the condemnations, where are the arrests, where are the assurances of protection for France's endangered citizens? President Hollande, as well as his European colleagues, must denounce, in the strongest terms, recent acts of religious hatred taking place in France, Greece, Belgium and Spain.

Instead of straddling the fence and giving legitimacy to all sides, these leaders must speak out in vigorous defense of their Jewish citizens and in defense of one of the core principles of modern democracy -- freedom of religion, and safety from religious persecution.

Events of the last few days have shown the world to be a complicated place in which intentional attacks on civilians are accepted and even applauded. When we condone violence based on prejudice, we risk eroding the very fabric of our society.

It's well past time for President Hollande to issue a strong response to this incident and others like it. If he does not, it will send a clear message that tolerating or even spreading hatred is acceptable in France.


Dr. Alan Kadish is the President and CEO of the Touro College & University System.
For the Love of Classroom Tech

For the Love of Classroom Tech

Who doesn't love a gadget? Touch sensitive glass and voice commands have become commonplace in a world where the mechanical whirl of gears and levers are phasing into relic status. The western world now has the first aging generation of a digital period where vast quantities of information flow at an enormous rate. As this wave of data streams through the channels of the cyber-universe, teachers and students alike are being challenged to better understand these tools while serving their students' in the best direction possible. But how to effectively introduce and maintain this tech in the classroom is a growing concern.

As with great technology there is great marketing and schools are far from exempt. Los Angeles Unified has a $1 billion education technology initiative which last year experienced an assortment of bumps with regard to its iPad experiment. As today's science affects our lifestyles exponentially, many districts now have line items in their budgets that reflect the changing landscape of high-tech learning. Is it justified? Will students continue to learn using yesterday's methods in preparation for a wireless, paperless future? Can they?

Not that I grew up that many decades ago but I do remember attending an elementary school where a calculator suddenly became the mandatory tech along with lined paper and a Number 2 pencil. That year my father and I went out shopping and, one by one, we tried many different models pushing all of the buttons in order to determine the exact touch needed to acquire the optimum amount of knowledge and wisdom without overexerting our digits (if I remember correctly it was a Texas Instruments Ti1000). In 2014 that device had been abandoned. In turn, each and every one of our smart phones prove that they are exactly that, borderline genius. Gone are the simple days. Contemporary logic now dictates that students must become familiar with the latest wizardry otherwise run the risk of being left behind.

Of the many classrooms that I have worked in as an adjunct educator and mentor, all have benefitted from employing a certain degree of modern convenience as a teaching companion. Some facilities have designed their curriculum around the functional wiring of their classrooms. More often than not Smart Boards and laptops have replaced chalkboards and the composition notebook. I remain amazed by the age at which young kids have learned how to "code," create programming that brings adamant objects to life. As a child, my seven-hour school day was similar to today's national curriculum: science, math and english. Yet, I also recall hours spent conjuring shapes and figures out of paint and clay which turned out to be just as vital to my growth. I cannot imagine a future without the years invested with percussive and brass musical instruments; and lastly, my vision was forever altered by my love affair with a steel Nikon which soon became my closest ally.

It seems that technology, regardless of the era, surrounds us, shapes our creativity and drives our inventiveness. The concern these days is not simply the instruments by which we learn but the rate at which we dispose of the old and welcome the new. Of course any type of classroom inspirational wonder can be a godsend, but what occurs when the rate at which that inspiration gets replaced with another? Does the "wow" factor dissipate? At what point does the novelty end and the practicality begin?

The speed at which we replace and renew is becoming less about functionality and more about consumerism. If the goal behind equipping our learning institutions with the latest computers and iDevices is to educate our youth in expression, communication and being the best they possibly can be, fantastic. My concern surrounds the less obvious conditioning behind the latest former models as they are phased out shortly after distribution only to encourage students to stand in line for the next new and improved device. What I fear we are educating is less about fostering creative and marketable skills and more about creative marketing.

The trumpet has yet to undergo significant upgrades yet, in the right hands, it can muster the magic of the universe. I think what is important is that we, as educators, harness the inspiration necessary in ourselves for students to imagine infinite possibilities instead of concentrating so much on the tools necessary to physically breach the universe. Everyone has a favorite teacher that they will remember for their lifetime; my Texas Instruments calculator went missing sometime in the eighth grade.


Average GPA?s for Admissions to Cal...

Average GPA?s for Admissions to California Colleges

Last week I mentioned that the required GPA for the UC San Diego Medical Scholars Program was a 4.0 or higher. If you are interested in any public college in California you will note that the average accepted GPA is very high. Most of the UC’s have an average accepted GPA over 4.0. But what...Continue Reading >

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Average GPA’s for Admissions to California Colleges

The post Average GPA’s for Admissions to California Colleges appeared first on College Admissions Counseling.

Why I Don?t Understand What Your We...

Why I Don?t Understand What Your Weighted GPA Means

One of the most common, and most important, questions I ask prospective students is “what is your GPA.” But I’ll let you in on a secret. When you tell me what your weighted GPA is, I don’t know what it means. Here’s the problem. Last time I discussed weighted vs unweighted grades and what those...Continue Reading >

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Why I Don’t Understand What Your Weighted GPA Means

The post Why I Don’t Understand What Your Weighted GPA Means appeared first on College Admissions Counseling.

Weighted GPA?s vs. Unweighted GPA?s...

Weighted GPA?s vs. Unweighted GPA?s.

Everyone knows how important the high school grade point average, or GPA, is in determining admissions to college. The problem is that GPA’s can be calculated two different ways. The traditional way to calculate a GPA was to give 4.0 points for an A, 3.0 points for a B, 2.0 points for a C and...Continue Reading >

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Weighted GPA’s vs. Unweighted GPA’s.

The post Weighted GPA’s vs. Unweighted GPA’s. appeared first on College Admissions Counseling.

UC San Diego?s Invitation to BS/MD ...

UC San Diego?s Invitation to BS/MD Program

I was talking the other day to one of my students from California who has an interest in the UC San Diego Medical Scholars Program. †The program says that only those students that are invited to apply may apply for the program. †The student was concerned that he might not get an invitation to apply....Continue Reading >

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UC San Diego’s Invitation to BS/MD Program

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BS/MD Programs with High GPA or MCA...

BS/MD Programs with High GPA or MCAT Scores Required

In the last two posts I have mentioned that there are some BS/MD programs that have higher than typical required grades or higher than typical MCAT scores to advance to the medical school. Today I want to identify those programs. The University of Alabama has a 3.5 GPA requirement for math and sciences courses but...Continue Reading >

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BS/MD Programs with High GPA or MCAT Scores Required

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Minimum College GPA to Advance to M...

Minimum College GPA to Advance to Medical School from BS/MD Program

Last time I talked about the minimum MCAT score required by many BS/MD programs. But you also need to be aware that many programs have a minimum college GPA that a student also must earn to advance to the medical school. Most commonly, this is a 3.5 GPA. Many programs are also specific about the...Continue Reading >

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Minimum College GPA to Advance to Medical School from BS/MD Program

The post Minimum College GPA to Advance to Medical School from BS/MD Program appeared first on College Admissions Counseling.


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