Recently in Education Category

Why Children Are Abandoning Baseball - WSJ

As American grownups continue to find ways to wreck childhood fun....

"Other popular sports, including soccer and basketball, have suffered as youth sports participation in general has declined and become more specialized. A pervasive emphasis on performance over mere fun and exercise has driven many children to focus exclusively on one sport from an early age, making it harder for all sports to attract casual participants. But the decline of baseball as a community sport has been especially precipitous....

"But in poorer cities such as Newburgh, a viable, self-sufficient league is necessary to keep some children from abandoning the game. Many parents lack the means to easily transport them to and from neighboring towns.

"Beth DeGroat, whose 12-year-old son, Joshua, has been a Little Leaguer since tee ball, said she doesn't have a car. 'My son has a passion for the game," she said. "But it would be difficult for him to play anywhere else.'

"Roughly two-thirds of Newburgh's Little Leaguers are minorities. When youth baseball dries up in a place like this, it pushes the sport even further in the direction it has been headed for years: richer, whiter, smaller.

"While neighborhood games become increasingly scarce, year-round travel teams have never been more prevalent. The U.S. Specialty Sports Association, the dominant organizing body for travel baseball, said it has around 1.3 million players spread across 80,000 teams, more than double what it had 10 years ago. The company's website includes national rankings for teams in age groups that begin at '4 and under.'"

RELATED: Tim Keown, ESPN, on "travel ball" and the "youth sports industrial complex":

"The days of simply playing ball with your friends is over. It's a different world out there for the preteen athlete, with "Elite" and "Select" commonly turning up in the names of our youth sports teams and leagues. We're having tryouts for 10-and-under traveling baseball teams, and we've got 10-and-under basketball teams traveling the country playing against other fourth-graders at God knows what cost to the parents' bank accounts and the kids' psyches. All in the name of … what? Trophies? Exposure? A leg up on a college scholarship? The egos of the parents?...

""Travel ball," in this world, is meant as a synonym for "better ball." Parents say, "Oh, he plays travel ball," as a means of separating their kids from the riffraff who don't see fit to spend thousands of dollars to travel all over the place with their 9-year-olds. And if it's "year-round travel ball" -- a red flag across the orthopedic medical community for the dangers of repetitive overuse -- all the better. It's a status symbol, one promoted by parents and justified by the guys who collect tournament fees, and it's the main reason baseball in this country is widely becoming the province of wealthy suburbia...

"We're nearing the point in youth sports where we need to stop the "elite" and "select" madness because we're raising a generation with too much self-esteem. They can't handle failure because they've been conditioned to believe they're too good to fail. They're being placed on teams that identify them as better than their peers on the whim of either a parent/coach or a businessman/coach.

"Parents line up to have their kids try out for under-10 fall baseball teams, where tiny kids compete for the right to have their arms trashed by pitching in four different games over two days of a weekend tournament put on by a for-profit organization that gives teams 10 minutes between games to warm up....

"And then, five years down the line when Little Johnny decides to trade his bat and glove for a skateboard and a piercing, his parents can scream and yell about the travel ball coach who ruined baseball for their son by taking their money and not playing him. It's an overgeneralization, sure, but the whole operation has a way of surgically extracting the fun out of a sport at an age when fun is all it should be."

Tillman County Chronicles: "The Wave" at Pioneer Townsite

A historic Fun-Ful Ocean Wave merry-go-round, a spinning and rocking staple of school playgrounds in the first half of the 20th century, has been reconstructed on the grounds of the Pioneer Townsite museum in Frederick, OK, but it's been frozen in position -- too dangerous in the modern view.

Higher Education Is Not a Mixtape - The Atlantic

It's not the main point of the article, but it's all the more powerful for that: Financial aid and student loans are helping colleges avoid financial pressure to reform and slim down.

"With government chipping in more than three dollars for every dollar a student pays in tuition at public schools, and underwriting private ones as well, the real consumers of higher education aren't students at all. The real consumers are Congress and state legislatures--and so far they have exerted little cost pressure on higher-education institutions.

"Further confusing the education cost-and-demand market is the fact that most students don't actually pay their college costs at the time of purchase. According to the Project on Student Debt, more than seven in 10 U.S. college students take loans to pay for college. If purchase-price considerations significantly affected higher-education consumption, at least some intuitions would be lowering costs to attract students. Instead, costs continue to escalate and the most expensive schools have the most buyers."

The article also indirectly makes the point that students, parents, and guidance counselors are still mired in the traditional way of choosing one's higher education path.

A Better Way to Say Sorry | cuppacocoa

A meaningful apology must be more than a mumbled "Sorry." This four-point pattern leads the apologizer to understand and express specifically what they did that was wrong, how it hurt other people, and what positive action he will take in the future to avoid repeating the wrong, and then it leads the offender to express humility to the person offended and invites a response, opening the door to reconciliation.

I'm sorry for...
This is wrong because...
In the future, I will...
Will you forgive me?

A fourth-grade teacher explains how she taught this pattern to her class (her use of role-play and peer critique is interesting), and the impressive results it produced.

Windows audio patch for Dorling Kindersley DK software

If you're trying to run an old educational CD-ROM game by Dorling Kindersley (DK) on Windows XP, you'll probably see an error message like this:

"Sound Software is not installed properly or has been disabled" or "1058 Sound Decompression Software not installed properly".

There's a patch to fix the problem. It's available through Global Software Publishing's support website. (GSP bought the DK Interactive Learning back catalog.) Here is a direct link to the DK audio patch file.

Bradley's Arnold: A practical guide to Latin prose composition: openlibrary.org

When in Rome, write as the Romans do. This is George Granville Bradley's original revision of Thomas Kerchever Arnold's earlier work. Newer editions are still used as the standard text for teaching how to write Latin in the style of Cicero. Why would anyone want to do that? You don't really know a language or appreciate the nuances of its literature until you learn to express ideas in that language as a native speaker would. It's also a useful tool for resolving ambiguities in English-to-Latin translation exercises.

Math wars: Rote memorization plays crucial role in teaching students how to solve complex calculations, study says - National Post

"In effect, as young math students memorize the basics, their brains reorganize to accommodate the greater demands of more complex math. It is a gradual process, like 'overlapping waves,' the researchers write, but it clearly shows that, for the growing child's brain, rote memorization is a key step along the way to efficient mathematical reasoning...."

"One critic of the government's adoption of 'discovery-based learning,' Ken Porteous, a retired engineering professor, put it bluntly: "There is nothing to discover. The tried and true methods of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division work just fine as they have for centuries. There is no benefit and in fact a huge downside to students being asked to discover other methods of performing these operations and picking the one which they like. This just leads to confusion which ultimately translates into frustration, a strong dislike for mathematics and a desire to drop out of any form of mathematics course at the earliest opportunity.'"

Via Ace of Spades, who writes: "I think Common Core will fail in teaching kids actual mathematical insight, while simultaneously failing to teach them the memorized facts required to achieve that insight on their own." He also asks, "Why Is It... that everyone recognizes the absurdity of the Music Man's 'think method' of learning how to play instruments, but then decides that such a system ought to work with math and reading?"

Davidson Institute: Existential depression in gifted individuals

"Because gifted children are able to consider the possibilities of how things might be, they tend to be idealists. However, they are simultaneously able to see that the world is falling short of how it might be. Because they are intense, gifted children feel keenly the disappointment and frustration which occurs when ideals are not reached. Similarly, these youngsters quickly spot the inconsistencies, arbitrariness and absurdities in society and in the behaviors of those around them. Traditions are questioned or challenged. For example, why do we put such tight sex-role or age-role restrictions on people? Why do people engage in hypocritical behaviors in which they say one thing and then do another? Why do people say things they really do not mean at all? Why are so many people so unthinking and uncaring in their dealings with others? How much difference in the world can one person's life make?

"When gifted children try to share these concerns with others, they are usually met with reactions ranging from puzzlement to hostility. They discover that others, particularly of their age, clearly do not share these concerns, but instead are focused on more concrete issues and on fitting in with others' expectations. Often by even first grade, these youngsters, particularly the more highly gifted ones, feel isolated from their peers and perhaps from their families as they find that others are not prepared to discuss such weighty concerns.

"When their intensity is combined with multi-potentiality, these youngsters become particularly frustrated with the existential limitations of space and time. There simply aren't enough hours in the day to develop all of the talents that many of these children have. Making choices among the possibilities is indeed arbitrary; there is no "ultimately right" choice. Even choosing a vocation can be difficult if one is trying to make a career decision between essentially equal passion, talents and potential in violin, neurology, theoretical mathematics and international relations.

"The reaction of gifted youngsters (again with intensity) to these frustrations is often one of anger. But they quickly discover that their anger is futile, for it is really directed at "fate" or at other matters which they are not able to control. Anger that is powerless evolves quickly into depression. "

What Characterizes the Modern Totalitarian, Corporatized University?

"In Savannah, Georgia, an ambitious experiment in higher education is under way. Ralston College aims to offer a back-to-basics liberal arts experience , stripped of the amenities and assumptions of the modern university. Though just now getting off the ground--it has yet to accept student applications--its stated mission is clear. Students will experience rigorous coursework year-round and focus on 'reading books, thinking about them, and talking about them,' according to the college's brochure.

"Perhaps more noteworthy is what Ralston College intends not to have: armies of administrators micromanaging student life, cloistered academic departments unwelcoming to interdisciplinary studies, and coddled students whose sentiments and comforts, as supposed 'customers,' are paramount."

Back to School | The Weekly Standard

Yale computer science professor David Gelernter calls on his fellow conservatives to lead the reinvention of higher education: "This is the future: The Internet can be an international gossip machine, or it can be a switchboard for connecting pairs or groups who could never otherwise have come together. The most important aspect of the university of the near future is not the Internet per se; it's the distribution of university functions throughout the educated population. Engineers and industrial scientists, retired schoolteachers, journalists, combat veterans, economists, housewives, MDs, diplomats, businessmen, musicians, and many thousands of others across the globe are potential teachers or (just as important) one-on-one tutors in science, mathematics and engineering, music and the arts, and​--​the university's most important mission​--​in how to read and write like a grown-up. Some humanities fields will continue to require heavy assistance from academia. Some areas in the social sciences will disappear. And easily 90 percent (maybe 95) of existing U.S. colleges and universities could be gone within 15 years. "