New York Takes the Lead

  At the end of last week the New York state legislature passed a state budget, which will include tuition-free college at the state’s public colleges and universities. The plan is to phase in the program by first waiving tuition for students from families with incomes up to $100,000 during the initial year, up to …

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Implications of the Next Generation Science Standards for Students, Teachers, and Teacher Education

The recent rollout of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) has paved the way for revised K-12 curricula, the redesign of course sequences, and the piloting of assessments tied to more challenging academic goals. While the notion of using standards to cohere elements of the science-learning infrastructure together seems promising, the document cannot fix the …

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Saying ‘YES’ to Teaching

Relative to other college graduates, teachers prefer to work close to their hometowns. One study found that teachers typically work about 13 miles away from where they attended high school as opposed to college graduates in other fields, who move about 54 miles away from where they grew up. These geographical preferences can create problems …

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And with that I’ll take both good and bad questions…

When scientists give talks/seminars/colloquia/presentations/speeches/lectures/lessons/defenses/instructions, questions are welcomed, and (probably to give themselves time to think), they often start by stating that that is a good question. What they don’t do is designate a question as dumb or stupid, because that’s offensive, and scientists are frail like quails when it comes to their intellects. “Good” questions: …

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Dialog 2017

Too busy to take many photos, but here are a few. First one is of a conversation between Tyler Cowen and Peter Thiel. Dialog is an biannual 2-day thought retreat, gathering 150 global leaders to discuss how to change the world. Dialog was created in 2006 to bring together global leaders across industries to discuss …

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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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