Recently in Education Category

Latin should be taught in every state primary school, says leading academic | The Independent

"Professor Dennis Hayes, an expert from the University of Derby and Chair of the College of Education Research Committee, has warned that Latin and ancient Greek along with modern languages are in danger of becoming 'the preserve of public [non-state] schools'.

"The revival of classic subjects within state schools would 'transform education', he has claimed, and urges state schools to do more in offering children a classical education...

"'As a minimum, Latin and classics should be taught in every primary school and continued into secondary school with the addition of ancient Greek,' he said, adding that the subjects could be offered by state schools through the Classics for All programme or the use of retired Latin teachers...

"However, the problem lies in teachers' attitudes, he said, adding that the teachers in his own training sessions would 'hate' the idea of teaching classics in all schools, because 'they think the only thing you need is Google'.

"'They confuse information with knowledge,' he said."

More here from Cambridge classical scholar Mary Beard:

"'There are all kinds of subjects that raise children's aspirations. That said, Latin, Greek and classical civilisation can be an eye-opener.

"'They offer all kinds of new ways of understanding the modern world as well as the ancient, and they are a wonderful way of exploring foundational literature and ideas, without having to ask the way to the train station in them.'"

An Update on Gender Imbalance in MIT Admissions Maker Portfolios

This is a disappointing bit of obsessing by MIT's administration about an insignificant difference in behavior among students seeking admission. Applicants can submit various kinds of portfolios -- research papers, video/audio of music or theater performances, art or architecture, and "maker" portfolios -- something you've built. Female applicants are more likely than male applicants to submit portfolios in every category except maker portfolios -- three times more likely than men to submit an art or architecture portfolio -- but MIT isn't worried about that. They're worried that men are about 2.5 times more likely than women to submit maker portfolios:

"We solicited advice from readers and took additional steps to increase the representation of women and the diversity of projects featured in public presentations and portfolio materials. After another admissions cycle, we regret to report that the patterns have not changed much.... As we approach the next admissions cycle, the Admissions Office is continuing to work on improving representation and recruitment, including an initiative, in partnership with Maker Media, that will leverage their intellectual property and community of Maker Faires with admissions' database of prospective students to help encourage more women to take up 'making' and identify as makers."

The researchers write: "However, the persistence of this pattern, despite several years of prior work to improve representation and reach targeted populations, leaves us questioning what other dynamics may be in play." Maybe reading Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus would help.

Here's the stat that jumps out at me: Men make up almost 70% of the applicant pool, but are only 51% of the admitted students, and only 53% of the entering freshman class. (By comparison, in 1984, women made up 29% of the incoming class.)

Afraid to speak up: In the era of trigger warnings, a tenured professor stays silent - The Washington Post

Prof. Rajshree Agarwal, director of the Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, and a Cato adjunct scholar, says that self-censorship in the face of social pressure can be as deadly as government censorship to innovation and inquiry.

"German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann first wrote about the 'spiral of silence' in 1974. She recognized the human fear of isolation and people's willingness to keep unpopular opinions to themselves to avoid backlash. Even majority opinions can be stifled when the media amplify minority voices and makes them seem dominant.

"People often discuss academic freedom in the context of the First Amendment, which prohibits prior restraint imposed by heavy-handed governments. The spiral of silence is something different, and perhaps an even greater threat to the human spirit that drives innovation....

"Most people recognize the financial risk involved in starting an enterprise. But fearless leaders also take reputational risks. They must overcome the fears of retaliation, ostracism and derision that feed the spiral of silence....

"...I have been frontally attacked as a Koch 'stooge' by a professor in philosophy who did not even know me, when I chose to become the founding director at the Ed Snider Center. Such comments can take a toll on anyone, including tenured professors. Students and assistant professors who 'think different' are even more vulnerable because of the imbalance of power in academia....

"Greg Lukianoff, president and chief executive officer of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, highlighted the dangers of shutting people up under the guise of political correctness during a Snider Center free speech forum last week. 'It's really hard to innovate if you're afraid to open your mouth,' he said.

"People need filters. Self-regulation is part of emotional intelligence and necessary for reasoned and respectful discourse. But the distinction between self-regulation and self-censorship becomes blurry when a culture of fear silences opposing viewpoints in higher education.

"Rather than looking to others to fix the problem, though, it is imperative to remember that we are intellectual entrepreneurs, who must muster the courage to speak up. Because ideas matter, and academia is their marketplace."

The Intellectual Yet Idiot - Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Medium

"What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking "clerks" and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think... and 5) who to vote for....

"Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats who feel entitled to run our lives aren't even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They cant tell science from scientism -- in fact in their eyes scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types -- those who want to "nudge" us into some behavior -- much of what they would classify as "rational" or "irrational" (or some such categories indicating deviation from a desired or prescribed protocol) comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are also prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components as we saw in the chapter extending the minority rule....

"The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn't understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are "red necks" or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term "uneducated". What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: "democracy" when it fits the IYI, and "populism" when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools and PhDs as these are needed in the club."

David Gelernter Transcript - Conversations with Bill Kristol

"Let's look at the generation after the Second World War. This is a cultural revolution, it seems to me to extend roughly from 1945 to 1970. So in 1970 everything is different. Things are radically different. And what happened during those 25 years? Colleges and universities became vastly, vastly more influential on American culture....

"Well, I think you saw these two processes just during the generation in which the Yale's and Harvard's and Stanford's became vastly more important than every before, because now everybody has got to get a BA. And journalists have to go to journalist school, and businessmen and teachers and all these guys. Law's a bigger profession than ever before. Medicine, suddenly doctors are making much more than anybody else - there was a period during which going to medical school was a frenzy.

"And during this same period, universities were being taken over by intellectuals and moving hard to the Left. Intellectuals have also been Leftist, have always been hard to the Left. So the dramatic steer to the Left coincides with a huge jump in the influence of American universities. We have a cultural revolution. And the cultural revolution is that we no longer love this country. We no longer have a high regard for this country or for the culture that produced it. We no longer have any particular feelings for Western Civilization....

"And we have a generational shift so that when we start in the 1970s and 80s, suddenly public schools' and college teaching went way down. ...

"So the schools were failing to teach but at least the parents had been educated before the cultural revolution. You know, they'd been educated in the 60s and the 50s, some by the 40s or the 30s. So they - When their children were taught garbage, when their children were taught nonsense, when their children were taught outright lies, at least the parents could say, "Hold on, not so fast, are you really sure about that?" Or "You know, there are Republicans in this country, too." Or, "You know, we've tried those policies, and they created catastrophes. Are you sure we should do this all again?"

"But what happened in - as we move out of the 90s and into the new century - the children educated in the first generation of the cultural revolution in the 70s, in the 80s, in the 90s, those children are now the young teachers. And then the not-so-young teachers. And they're the parents.

"And so the children who were being taught nonsense and garbage and lies in school, instead of going home and having the parents say, "Well, wait a minute, this is really idiotic, by the way." The parents say, "Yeah, that's what I was taught, too." You know, the same....

"So we have second-generation ignorance is much more potent than first-generation ignorance. It's not just a matter of one generation, of incremental change. It's more like multiplicative change. A curve going up very fast. And swamping us. Taking us by surprise."

The Yale Problem Begins in High School |

"The Yale problem refers to an unfortunate feedback loop: Once you allow victimhood culture to spread on your campus, you can expect ever more anger from students representing victim groups, coupled with demands for a deeper institutional commitment to victimhood culture, which leads inexorably to more anger, more demands, and more commitment. But the Yale problem didn't start at Yale. It started in high school. As long as many of our elite prep schools are turning out students who have only known eggshells and anger, whose social cognition is limited to a single dimension of victims and victimizers, and who demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, it's hard to imagine how any university can open students' minds and prepare them to converse respectfully with people who don't share their values. Especially when there are no adults around who don't share their values."

How Marcuse made today's students less tolerant than their parents |

"Second, I argue that youthful intolerance is driven by different factors than old fashioned intolerance, and that this change reflects the ideology of the New Left.  Herbert Marcuse, considered 'The Father of the New Left,' articulates a philosophy that denies political expression to those who would oppose a progressive social agenda.  In his 1965 essay 'Repressive Tolerance,' Marcuse (1965) writes,

"'Tolerance is extended to policies, conditions, and modes of behavior which should not be tolerated because they are impeding, if not destroying, the chances of creating an existence without fear and misery. This sort of tolerance strengthens the tyranny of the majority against which authentic liberals protested...   Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.'

"The idea of 'liberating tolerance' then is one in which ideas that the left deems to be intolerant are suppressed. It is an Orwellian argument for an 'intolerance of intolerance' and it appears to be gaining traction in recent years, reshaping our commitments to free speech, academic freedom, and basic democratic norms.  If we look only at people under the age of 40, intolerance is correlated with a 'social justice' orientation.  That is, I find that people who believe that the government has a responsibility to help poor people and blacks get ahead are also less tolerant.  Importantly, this is true even when we look at tolerance towards groups other than blacks.  For people over 40, there is no relationship between social justice attitudes and tolerance.  I argue that this difference reflects a shift from values of classical liberalism to the New Left.  For older generations, support for social justice does not require a rejection of free speech.  Thus, this tension between leftist social views and political tolerance is something new."

Who's Afraid of Campbell Brown? | The Weekly Standard

The former news anchor talks about her new website devoted to education reform news and the frustrations involved in getting education's entrenched special interests engaged in an honest debate.

Zuckerberg's $100 Million Lesson - WSJ

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's immense donation to the Newark, New Jersey, school system has not accomplished much. "The bulk of the funds supported consultants and the salaries and pensions of teachers and administrators, so the donation only reinforced the bureaucratic and political ills that have long plagued public education in the Garden State." Similar top-down efforts by the Ford and Annenberg foundations were also failures.

What kind of philanthropy has worked? "In 1998, John Walton and Ted Forstmann each gave $50 million to fund scholarships for low-income children to attend private schools. More than 140,000 students have attended schools with graduation and college matriculation rates that exceed 90% instead of going to the failing schools in their neighborhoods.

"Earlier this summer, hedge-fund manager John Paulson pledged $8.5 million to the Success Academy charter-school network, where 93% of students are proficient in math, compared with 35% of their traditional public-school peers. His gift will allow more such schools to open. The financier Stephen Schwarzman and his wife, Christine, a former attorney, donated $40 million to help endow the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, which provides financial aid to needy children attending Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York.

"Philanthropists will not be able to change education and improve student outcomes unless they can circumvent the bureaucracies and interest groups that are responsible for the problems they hope to solve. If they act independently, though, their money has the potential to alter the lives not only of individual students, but entire communities."

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."