Monthly Archives: May 2013

Two Questions For Every Education Reform

Last week I wrote a post for This Week in Education arguing that Bill Gates’ plan for a video camera in every classroom is probably misguided in that it attempts to solve a supply problem with a demand solution. It’s already easy for teachers and administrators to get video cameras, so it looks like the […]

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College Is Worth It For Most Students

In a new working paper – ungated version here – Philip Oreopolous and Uros Petronijevic review the research on returns to college investment. The bottom line is that while there is considerable variation in the returns students may realize by spending money on college, “the investment appears to payoff for both the average and marginal […]

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Rising Graduation Rates Probably Reflect Improved Achievement

Bryan Caplan asks whether increases in the graduation rate are really good news: In the pure human capital model, rising graduation rates are good if they reflect increased learning.  But they are not good if they reflect lower standards.  For all its faults, the human capital model is no rationale for social promotion – handing out diplomas based on age […]

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Musical Interlude – Bob Dylan – It Must Be Santa

Bob Dylan turned 72 this week. Here he is singing about Santa Claus.

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Why Do Teachers Call In Sick?

Choice Media is reporting that teachers in Asbury Park, NJ averaged 18 sick days each in 2011-2012. Their data and report are a little ambiguous – it’s hard to tell whether those numbers also include personal days and they might be conflating “costs of substitutes for sick teachers” with “costs of substitutes overall” – but it’s a big […]

Posted in Teaching & Learning | 20 Responses

Facts Are Interesting

Katharine Beals is 100% right about this problem with the vagueness of the Next Generation Science Standards: Science is one of those fields that should be inherently interesting to nearly everyone. But what is it that makes someone want to study, say, biology or earth science? Is it so they can learn how to construct arguments […]

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What’s The Problem With Serving Breakfast In The Cafeteria?

It looks like Los Angeles Unified is going to continue providing universal free breakfast to students in the classroom despite strong objections from teachers who find distributing breakfast to be a hassle and a time-sink. Having provided breakfast in the classroom before I agree that it’s a big pain but universal breakfast is a great […]

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2012 Best Picture Nominees

At this point I’ve watched all of last year’s best picture nominees except Amour (which is inexplicably unavailable on Netflix) and Les Misérables (which is a musical). My thoughts on each in order, starting with my favorite. 1. Django Unchained – The most entertaining of the nominees as long as you like what Tarantino does. The violence is not as […]

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Musical Interlude – R.E.M. – “11”

R.E.M.’s Green got a re-release this week. Here’s that album’s last, untitled track.  

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Why (Some) Conservatives (Might) Be Right About Education

  Harry Webb thinks that conservative advocacy for expanding ‘school choice’ is misguided because “[a] good education should not be the result of a savvy choice”. After all, if a school of choice is implementing a high-quality educational program, “then all students should have access to it as a default”. I agree! And I don’t have much […]

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