The Plight of Adjunct Faculty

  While reading about the state of the adjunct teaching force on college campuses recently, I began to see some parallels between college adjuncts and early childhood teachers. Just a few weeks ago I discussed the deplorable amount of money that early childhood teachers bring home, leading to a large portion of them to depend …

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Robots Proctor Online Exams

For background on this subject, see How to beat online exam proctoring. It is easy for clever students to beat existing security systems for online exams. Enterprising students could even set up “cheating rooms” that make it easy for test takers to cheat. Judging by the amount of traffic this old post gets, cheating on …

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After-School Programs and the Efficacy of School-Related Nutrition Programs

President Trump’s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, has faced criticism in the media for ostensibly claiming there is no evidence to suggest school-related nutrition programs benefit students’ academic achievement (see here and here). The specific statement that has come under fire is: So, let’s talk about after-school programs generally. They’re supposed to be educational programs, right? …

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Are Teacher Residency Programs an Effective Approach to Improving the Teaching Workforce?

Most teachers are trained through traditional teacher preparation programs in colleges and universities, which typically include a heavy emphasis on coursework and a semester (or less) of student teaching. In 2015, 87% of students training to become teachers were enrolled in traditional programs, while the remaining 13% were enrolled in other alternative certification routes. Some …

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Everything is Heritable

  The figure above comes from the paper below. A quick glance shows that for pairs of individuals: 1. Increasing genetic similarity implies increasing trait similarity (for traits including height, cognitive ability, years of education) 2. Home environments (raised Together vs Apart; Adoptees) have limited impact on the trait (at least in relatively egalitarian Sweden). …

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Bringing Paraprofessionals to the Front of the Classroom

In recent years, the responsibilities of paraprofessionals have expanded beyond basic tasks like monitoring school cafeterias. Paraprofessionals, also referred to as teacher’s aides, classroom assistants, and more colloquially as parapros or paras, have become an indispensible resource in our schools. While these individuals once only performed basic duties like lunchroom monitoring and copying papers for …

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Transgender Rights vs “Restroom Safety” in Education

The Trump administration has reversed transgender protections that allowed individuals in public schools to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity rather than their biological sex. It seems there are several misunderstandings surrounding the issue of transgender experiences. This post will attempt to mediate the disagreement with available evidence.   Misunderstanding 1: The difference …

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Let This Be the Beginning of a Trend

There is reason to be excited in the world of early childhood education. This blog has previously explored topics highlighting the importance and strong support for investing in early childhood education. Soon, the New Mexico Legislature will be voting on a constitutional amendment that would create a new funding source to support the state’s early …

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The Eyes of Texas

 The Eyes of Texas Sorry for the blogging interruption. I’m at the annual AAU (Association of American Universities) meeting of Senior Research Officers in Austin, Texas. UT Austin has a beautiful clock tower just up the street from our hotel. As pretty as it is I couldn’t help but think about the 1966 tower sniper (45 …

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Thawing the Freeze

In the last week there have been several reports of military-base childcare and preschool centers closing due to President Trump’s executive order instituting a federal civilian hiring freeze. Pushback in response to the placement of blame on the order has cited the exemption of “positions providing child care to the children of military personnel.” The …

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When “Legal Technicalities” Matter

“First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” This line from Shakespeare’s Henry VI reflects a popular sentiment toward lawyers who make the simple complex for their own interest. Only lawyers would take such a technically highfalutin’ issue such as this to the highest court in the land: Whether 20 U.S.C. 1415(l) requires petitioners …

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MSU Students Do Microfinance

Several years ago, I found out about Kiva.org, an online “microfinance” site where individuals can make small loans ($25 is the standard increment at Kiva) to entrepreneurs in low income settings. The entrepreneurs actually apply for larger amounts, which they typically receive from third-party “field partners”. The entrepreneurs repay the loans with interest to the …

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Opportunity Investments: The Struggle to Increase Political Will

  As reported in previous articles in this blog, early childhood education and development are worthwhile investments (see here and here). Research has shown positive impacts of early childhood education throughout an individual’s life-span, including, but not limited to, increased lifetime earnings, lower rates of special education needs, higher educational achievement, better health, and benefits …

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A Professor meets the Alt-Right

A Professor meets the Alt-Right Thomas Main, Professor in the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, is working on a book about the Alt-Right, to be published by Brookings. Below you can listen to a conversation between Main and prominent Alt-Right figure Mike Enoch (pseudonym). It’s an interesting encounter between academic political theory and …

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I Stand With Smokers

One of the earliest models of the policymaking process was known as the Rational Planning Model, in which policymakers behave as rational actors and proceed through a series of logical steps to produce public policy. First, policymakers identify a social problem. Then they search for solutions and, after weighing all possible alternatives and available evidence …

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R.I.P. Coalition of Essential Schools

When was the last time you heard anything about the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES)? Have you ever? According to the headline of an Education Week article posted January 20, 2017, “Iconic School-Reform Group Ends 33-Year Run.” The article lead identifies the CES as “a progressively oriented school reform network” that “will cease its national …

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Empty Seats

What might the travel ban mean for university campuses? The last several weeks have been very busy in the world of immigration policy. The anxiety on campus, especially for graduate students making summer research plans, is palpable. The new travel ban, although suspended at the moment, could mean that international graduate students from the seven …

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Asking for a Skeptic Friend

I sometimes get email from people asking, in one way or another, whether our long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) with E. coli provides evidence of evolution writ large – new species, new information, or something of that sort. I try to answer these questions by providing some examples of what we’ve seen change, and by putting …

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Feds and States and Widgets—Oh My!

The Feds For nearly seven years the Obama Department of Education (USDOE), through its Race to the Top (RttT) program and its issuance of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers, pushed states to establish “rigorous” teacher evaluation systems that incorporated student achievement evidence, the results of which would then be used in personnel decisions. The …

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