Who graduates and who doesn’t

When you look at the national statistics on college graduation rates, there are two big trends that stand out right away. The first is that there imagesare a whole lot of students who make it to college — who show up on campus and enroll in classes — but never get their degrees. More than 40 percent of American students who start at four-year colleges haven’t earned a degree after six years. If you include community-college students in the tabulation, the dropout rate is more than half, worse than any other country except Hungary.

The second trend is that whether a student graduates or not seems to depend today almost entirely on just one factor — how much money his or her parents make. To put it in blunt terms: Rich kids graduate; poor and working-class kids don’t. Or to put it more statistically: About a quarter of college freshmen born into the bottom half of the income distribution will manage to collect a bachelor’s degree by age 24, while almost 90 percent of freshmen born into families in the top income quartile will go on to finish their degree.

When you read about those gaps, you might assume that they mostly have to do with ability. Rich kids do better on the SAT, so of course they do better in college. But ability turns out to be a relatively minor factor behind this divide. If you compare college students with the same standardized-test scores who come from different family backgrounds, you find that their educational outcomes reflect their parents’ income, not their test scores. Take students like Vanessa Brewer, who do moderately well on standardized tests — scoring between 1,000 and 1,200 out of 1,600 on the SAT. If those students come from families in the top-income quartile, they have a 2 in 3 chance of graduating with a four-year degree. If they come from families in the bottom quartile, they have just a 1 in 6 chance of making it to graduation.

The good news for Vanessa is that she had improved her odds by enrolling in a highly selective college. Many low-income students “undermatch,” meaning that they don’t attend — or even apply to — the most selective college that would accept them. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more selective the college you choose, the higher your likelihood of graduating. But even among the highly educated students of U.T., parental income and education play a huge role in determining who will graduate on time. An internal U.T. report published in 2012 showed that only 39 percent of first-generation students (meaning students whose parents weren’t college graduates) graduated in four years, compared with 60 percent whose parents both graduated from college. So Vanessa was caught in something of a paradox. According to her academic record, she had all the ability she needed to succeed at an elite college; according to the demographic statistics, she was at serious risk of failing. Continue reading “Who graduates and who doesn’t”

College Enrollment bottoming out

imgres-1The decline in overall college enrollment has slowed this spring, according to new data the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released today. And some details are emerging about the groups of students who are less likely to attend college in declining sectors.InsideHigher Ed reports that ‘Overall enrollment this spring is down 0.8 percent compared to a year ago. That slide follows two years of previous declines the clearinghouse identified. The loss of students peaked last spring with a 2.3 percent decrease.

“The clearinghouse data cover 96 percent of all enrollments in the United States. The nonprofit group conducts student verification and research services for colleges, which turn over their data voluntarily. The clearinghouse publishes national enrollment estimates every six months, breaking out numbers by sectors and states, as well as on students’ age groups, gender and part- or full-time status.

“With estimates from the current term, the clearinghouse gives a more timely view of enrollments than the U.S. Department of Education can with its data. However, the clearinghouse does not publicly release figures about individual institutions.
The overall trends in the latest report aren’t surprising. More students attend college during a recession, and an enrollment boom typically tapers off as the economy begins to rebound. Eventually enrollments stabilize and begin to climb again at a steadier rate.
This spring private, nonprofit colleges saw the biggest increase, with a 2 percent gain. At a time when some enrollment-driven private colleges have been struggling and many others fretting, those numbers may come as welcome news. Continue reading “College Enrollment bottoming out”

The internet of things

In the art world’s internal sense of time, the degree show is in many ways the equivalent of New Year’s Eve: a point at which to collectively celebrate the birth of the future, while taking stock of the events of the past year.images

As The Guardian reports: “Reflecting on the 2013/14 academic year, it is clear that one of the most pressing issues is that of value, and the need continually to defend the arts in this respect.

“It is interesting to note the difference between making art for yourself – which holds value for you as an individual – and pursuing a career as an artist by studying for a degree in fine art or a related field. By doing the latter, you are implicitly deciding that your creativity also holds value for others.

“Ten years ago, when it came to discussions of creative processes, the question of value for others was not on the table. Now, as a result of continued pressure on the arts to justify their worth to society, the notion of value is very much becoming part of art school rhetoric.

“As this pressure manifests itself within educational institutions – theremoval of government funding for all but STEM subjects and continual space audits of fine art programmes – the question must be asked: to what extent can these programmes and their degree shows persist in their current form? My consideration of this matter is informed by an awareness of technology – I am not only head of fine art at York St John University, I’m also head of computer science and a member of the Internet of Things Council. The Internet of Things is an umbrella term used to describe a next step in the evolution of the internet: to augmented “smart” objects, accessible to human beings and each other over network connections.

Continue reading “The internet of things”

About letter grading

Letter grades are a tradition in our educational system, and we accept them as fair and objective measures of academic success. Jessica Lahey writes in The Atlantic that: “If the purpose of academic grading is to communicate accurate and specific information about learning, letter, or points-based grades, are a woefully

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blunt and inadequate instrument. Worse, points-based grading undermines learning and creativity,rewards cheating, damages students’ peer relationships and trust in their teachers, encourages students to avoid challenging work, and teaches students to value grades over knowledge.

“Letter grades communicate precious little about the process of learning a given subject. When a child earns a ‘B’ in Algebra I, what does that ‘B’ represent? That ‘B’ may represent hundreds of points-based assignments, arranged and calculated in categories of varying weights and relative significance depending on the a teacher’s training or habit. But that ‘B’ says nothing about the specific skills John has (or has not) learned in a given class, or if he can apply that learning to other contexts. Even when paired with a narrative comment such as, “John is a pleasure to have in class,” parents, students, and even colleges are left to guess at precisely which Algebra I skills John has learned and will be able to apply to Algebra II.  Continue reading “About letter grading”

Those starting college worry about money

The 2013-14 academic year marks a half-decade since the economic recession hit, but concerns about the costs of attending college are influencing incoming freshmen more than ever, a new survey shows as reported by InsideHigherEd.

“While more than three-quarters of this year’s freshmen were admitted to their first-choice institution, an all-time low of 56.9 percent chose to attend it. Nearly 46 and 48 percent — both all-time highs — said price and financial aid, respectively, were “very

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important” in their decision about which institution to attend. Among students who were accepted but did not enroll at their first-choice institution, about a quarter said lack of financial aid from that college was a very

important factor in their decision, and 60 percent said the same of being offered financial aid from the institution they chose to attend.

“The record-setting numbers are not an anomaly. Last year’s survey found that financial concerns increasingly affected students’ decision-making in ways both educational (where to attend college and what to study) and personal (why to attend and whether to live on campus). So it appears the impact of the 2008 economic recession has only gotten stronger from year to yea

“As state economies have recovered, we haven’t really seen all of those dollars come back into higher education, and it’s concerning that they may be gone for good,” said Kevin Eagan, interim director of the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the University of California at Los Angeles, which publishes the report annually. “Institutions cannot be too comfortable resting on their laurels and expecting that academic reputation will carry as much weight, or more weight, than any other factor in whether admitted students choose to enroll.”

“The annual survey is The American Freshman: National Norms. The report is usually released in January, but last fall’s federal government shutdown delayed the results because the U.S. Education Department’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, on which CIRP relies for the report, was blocked for a time. The survey includes 165,743 first-time, full-time students entering 234 four-year American colleges and universities of varying selectivity and type. Continue reading “Those starting college worry about money”

Rise of the administrative class

In the two decades from 1985 to 2005, student enrollment in the US rose by 56 per cent, faculty numbers increased by 50 per cent, imagesdegree-granting institutions expanded by 50 per cent, degrees granted grew by 47 per cent, administrators rocketed by 85 per cent and their attendant staff by a whopping 240 per cent, reports the Times Education Supplement.

“The obvious question is – why? Have students become so needy that a university needs not only a “dean of student life” but several associate deans, assistant deans and a plethora of deanlets – Ginsberg’s coinage of the term “deanlet” is wonderfully offensive – to cater to their whims and shield them from the temptations of booze, drugs and illicit sex? Have we become so trapped by information technology that we need an IT officer apiece in order to function?

“A common explanation of the growth in administrative numbers, both in the US and the UK, is that government demands for information and an increasingly complicated regulatory environment make it impossible to manage with fewer administrative staff than institutions actually employ. Ginsberg doesn’t deny that some growth in numbers could be accounted for in this way, but he argues, I think rightly, that most cannot.

“Because the US has a genuinely private and a genuinely public higher education sphere, it’s possible to compare administrative growth across the sectors; and because public universities and colleges are vastly more tightly regulated than private universities and colleges, it ought to be the case that they have added far more administrators. In the 30 years from 1975 to 2005, the reverse was true. Administrative and managerial staff grew by 66 per cent in the state sector against 135 per cent in the private sector. Continue reading “Rise of the administrative class”

Art grads, good jobs & happiness

Think that art school dooms graduates to a life of unemployment? The numbers paint a very different picture, reports none other than the Wall Street Journal

“Artists can have good careers, earning a middle-class income,” says Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. “And, just as important and maybe more, artists tend to be happy with their choices and lives.”

“A 2011 report from the center found that the unemployment rate in the first two years for those graduating with bachelor of fine arts degree is 7.8%, dropping to 4.5% for those out of school longer. The median income is $42,000.”Artists’ income is comparable to other liberal-arts majors,” he says. “They do a little better than psychology majors, since counseling and social work is a very low-wage occupation.” For artists who go on to graduate degrees, the most common of which is the master’s of fine arts, the unemployment rate for recent graduates drops to just under 5%, and their median yearly income increases to roughly $50,000.

“Other studies have also found relatively high levels of employment and satisfaction. The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at Vanderbilt University conducted a survey of 13,000 graduates of visual and performing college-arts programs between 1990 and 2009; 2,817 were in the fine arts.

“Among the findings: Almost 83% worked the majority of their time in some arts occupation, such as art teaching or in a nonprofit arts organization.

“Arts graduates are resilient and resourceful,” says Curb Center Associate Director Steven J. Tepper. Sixty percent of the fine-arts graduates in the survey work more than one job, he says, “but they are happy with what they put together.” Bruno S. Frey, research director of the Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts at the University of Zurich, echoes that finding. He says he has done “happiness research for some time” and found that “artists generally are happier than the rest of the population.” Of all arts professions, fine artists, writers and composers were found to be the happiest, because “the profession they have chosen gives them autonomy, and that makes them happy,” he says. “Actors and musicians, on the other hand, are less happy, because they are disciplined by various rules and have less autonomy.”

 

More at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304402104579149060054918936

How much do students text in class?

If you are leading a class and imagine that students seem more distracted than ever by their digital devices, it’s not your imagination. And they aren’t just checking their e-mail a single time.

A new study has found that more than 90 percent of students admit to using their devices for non-class activities during class times. Less than 8 percent said that they never do so, reports InsideHigherEd..

“The study is based on a survey of 777 students at six colleges and universities. Barney McCoy, associate professor of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, conducted the study and The Journal of Media Education has just published the results. Most of the students were undergraduates, and graduate students were less likely to use their devices for non-class purposes. Undergraduates reporting using their devices for non-class purposes 11 times a day, on average, compared to 4 times a day for graduate students.

“Asked why they were using their devices in class, the top answer was texting (86 percent), followed by checking the time (79 percent). e-mail (68 percent), social networking (66 percent), web surfing (38 percent) and games (8 percent).While students admitted to being somewhat distracted by their own devices and those of others, they reported advantages to using the devices in class. The top advantages they cited were staying connected (70 percent), avoiding boredom (55 percent) and doing related classwork (49 percent).Texting in class is a source of constant frustration to professors, but about 30 percent of students reported that their instructors did not have a policy on the subject. (Of course there is a chance some of those students didn’t read the syllabus.)

Continue reading “How much do students text in class?”

Why students cheat

Academic dishonesty is not on the rise, James M. Lang argues, despite periodic media flurries suggesting otherwise in the wake of various high-profile cheating scandals. InsideHigher Ed review’s Lang’s newest book, reporting

“Data on cheating are typically self-reported, and may not be fully reliable, but there is no real reason to think that today’s college students are any less honest than their predecessors.imgres

“Still, evidence indicates that most students cheat at least once over the course of their college careers — a fact that may be most concerning, Lang writes, because it means that many classes are failing to help students really learn.

“In his new book, Cheating Lessons: Learning From Academic Dishonesty (Harvard University Press), Lang reviews research on both academic dishonesty and human learning to build a case that the most effective instructional strategies to minimize cheating are the same ones that will best help students to understand and retain the course material. When students are able to grasp the subject matter, Lang believes, they have little motivation to cheat.

“Lang — who is associate professor of English and director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Assumption College, as well as a longtime columnist for The Chronicle of Higher Education — answered e-mailed questions about his new book, offering advice for both faculty members and administrators on how they can reduce cheating and, better yet, help students get the most out of their classes.

“Q: How would you summarize the relationship between student learning and academic honesty (or dishonesty)? What do you think might explain this relationship?

“A: Cheating is an inappropriate response to a learning environment that’s not working for the student.  Both sides of that sentence are important. It’s inappropriate, which means that we have to hold the student accountable for the dishonest action, and ensure that we maintain high standards of academic integrity.  But it’s equally true that something in that learning environment doesn’t seem to be working for that student. He might see the course as a curricular requirement that means nothing to him; he might be confused by the assignment or see it as busywork; he might see himself as not having the knowledge or skills he needs to complete the assignment.  Continue reading “Why students cheat”

Univ of Calif affirms speech rights

The right of faculty members to speak out on matters affecting their colleges and universities has long been viewed as central to the way academic freedom and shared governance are supposed to work in American higher education, reports Inside Higher Edimages

“The University of California Board of Regents affirmed that right this month with an amendment to the system’s “Statement on the Professional Rights of Faculty.” In so doing, the board sought to undercut the impact of a 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has been used in some cases to question the faculty right to speak out on institutional governance.

“The new language states that faculty members have the “freedom to address any matter of institutional policy or action when acting as a member of the faculty whether or not as a member of an agency of institutional governance.”

“While many faculty members might just assume that they have that right, the 2006 decision (which was not about higher education) led some courts to question such rights. That ruling, Garcetti v. Ceballos, was about a suit by a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles who was demoted after he criticized a local sheriff’s conduct to his supervisors. The Supreme Court ruled that First Amendment protections do not necessarily extend to public employees when they speak in capacities related to their jobs. Continue reading “Univ of Calif affirms speech rights”

U.S. grad programs depend on foreign students

A new report confirms the reliance of certain grad programs on high fees paid by foreign students.

According to InsideHigherEd, “International students play a critical role in sustaining quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduate programs at U.S. universities, a new report from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) argues.imgres-1

“It will come as no surprise to observers of graduate education that the report documents the fact that foreign students make up the majority of enrollments in U.S. graduate programs in many STEM fields, accounting for 70.3 percent of all full-time graduate students in electrical engineering, 63.2 percent in computer science, 60.4 percent in industrial engineering, and more than 50 percent in chemical, materials and mechanical engineering, as well as in economics (a non-STEM field). However, the report, which analyzes National Science Foundation enrollment data from 2010 by field and institution, also shows that these striking averages mask even higher proportions at many individual universities. For example, there are 36 graduate programs in electrical engineering where the proportion of international students exceeds 80 percent, including seven where it exceeds 90. (The analysis is limited to those programs with at least 30 full-time students.)

“International students help many universities have enough graduate students to support research programs that help attract top faculty and that also thereby help U.S. students by having a higher-quality program than they otherwise would have,” said Stuart Anderson, NFAP’s executive director and author of the report. Without them, he said, “you’d see a shrinking across the board where you’d have just certain schools that are able to support good programs. That would lead to a shrinking of U.S. leadership in education and technology if you have many fewer programs with high-quality research and top-level professors.”

“To some extent this reflects some of what’s going on in our society within the U.S. in terms of trying to push for more interest in STEM fields,” said Jonathan Bredow, professor and chair of the electrical engineering department at the University of Texas at Arlington, a program with more than 90 percent international enrollment.  “Domestic students tend to be more interested in going out and getting a job right after a bachelor’s degree. Some see a value of getting a master’s degree but in terms of the Ph.D., I think it’s largely seen as unnecessary.”

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/07/12/new-report-shows-dependence-us-graduate-programs-foreign-students#ixzz2Z5G3NCoB
Inside Higher Ed

Wealthy humanities & arts students

Ok, so the humanities and art draw from wealthier student cohorts. How will this shape what knowledge matters in the future?imgres

Money has always given people better options, but for humanities and arts graduate students, money’s now necessary just to get acceptable ones, reports Inside Higher Ed. “Just now becoming noticeable, this “re-gilded ivory tower” looms over a landscape that everyone should consider.

“As one fellow graduate student recently observed, “You have to have a spouse nowadays; that’s how more and more people seem to be doing it.” As is well-known, the economic crash hastened the decline of tenure-track jobs and increased competition for them. Once standard, these stable jobs with adequate salary and benefits have become rarer, displaced by short-term, one- to two-year positions at best, and by piecemeal adjuncting at worst. In turn, entry-level qualifications also rose at some institutions to include a secondary research specialization, at least one article, and attention to pedagogy resulting in the creation of one or more substantive classes, ideally taught at outside institutions. Continue reading “Wealthy humanities & arts students”

Academic forgiveness

Virtually all universities now allow some form of “academic forgiveness,” allowing students to tinker with their grade point averages. While nearly everyone is familiar withimages-1

grade inflation, fewer know about grade-point-average distortion. This happens when institutions allow students to selectively omit poor grades from their GPAs, thus offering a new, manipulative path to greater retention and graduation rates, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education.  “We recently investigated academic policies in eight public institutions across a Southern state, and used this sample to explore how institutional rules play a role in inflating students’ GPAs by creating incentives that undermine students’ work ethic, weaken the comparative value of the GPA, and waste human capital.

“Common academic practices give students opportunities to withdraw from classes without grades, use simple pass/fail grades that don’t count in their GPAs, or repeat courses to replace old grades. What’s new is transferring control over these strategies to students, without much oversight. By selectively employing these registration policies, students are now empowered to overuse academic forgiveness and “manage” their recorded grade-point averages.

“Five percent of the seniors in the study used academic forgiveness policies for 25 to 50 percent of their entire college coursework. Predictably, as GPAs go down, more and more students use these strategies. Over two-thirds of seniors who were in that 5 percent had C-range grades. But overusing second chances is not limited to struggling students. We found that even a few graduating seniors with A-range GPAs used forgiveness policies to keep 20 to 35 percent of their coursework out of their GPAs. Continue reading “Academic forgiveness”

Hurry up and graduate

images-2The graduation rates of UC students came under more scrutiny Wednesday as Gov. Jerry Brown urged administrators and faculty to prod more undergraduates to earn a degree in four years, not six, reports today’s Los Angeles Times

“Brown recently proposed giving UC and Cal State more funds if they increase their graduation rates by 10% by 2017. UC leaders have said that is an admirable but unreasonable goal and that such issues as students’ outside employment and their desire to take double majors slow them down.

“The rates have improved in recent years, partly due to higher tuition pressuring students to finish on time, officials said at a UC regents meeting in Sacramento. About 60% of UC students who enter as freshmen now graduate in four years and about 83% in six years, according to a report from UC system Provost Aimee Dorr. Those are significantly better numbers than other public research universities but worse than top private campuses, she said.

“Brown, who attended part of the regents’ meeting, expressed exasperation with Dorr’s many statistics, what he implied was her lack of solid solutions and her lecture-like presentation. “This was a good first semester,” Brown said, with a touch of anti-academic humor. “But I want to get to the second semester” for answers.

“He urged UC to stop citing the six-year rate, which is widely used by the federal government and other schools. “For me the four year is the norm,” he said. And he asked UC to examine why various UC campuses have better rates than others and why a number show improvements in some years and not in others. He said he wanted to know if that might be caused by factors within UC or “in the outside world.”

 

More at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-uc-regents-20130516,0,33245.story

Teaching to the test…and failing

It’s a terrible time for advocates of market-driven reform in public education. images-1For more than a decade, their strategy—which makes teachers’ careers turn on student gains in reading and math tests, and promotes competition through charter schools and vouchers—has been the dominant policy mantra. But now the cracks are showing. That’s a good thing because this isn’t a proven—or even a promising—way to make schools better.

Here’s a litany of recent setbacks: In the latest Los Angeles school board election, a candidate who dared to question the overreliance on test results in evaluating teachers and the unseemly rush to approve charter schools won despite $4 million amassed to defeat him, including $1 million from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and $250,000 from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Former Atlanta superintendent Beverly Hall, feted for boosting her students’ test scores at all costs, has been indicted in a massive cheating scandal. Michelle Rhee, the former Washington D.C. school chief who is the darling of the accountability crowd,faces accusations, based on a memo released by veteran PBS correspondent John Merrow, that she knew about, and did nothing to stop, widespread cheating. In a Washington Post op-ed, Bill Gates, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars promoting high-stakes, test-driven teacher evaluation, did an about-face and urged a kinder, gentler approach that teachers could embrace. And parents in New York State staged a rebellion, telling their kids not to take a new and untested achievement exam. Continue reading “Teaching to the test…and failing”

College students worry … and think

Today’s college age generation has been disillusioned by a decade of recession, the decline of the U.S. in the world, and a general loss of confidence in democratic capitalism as a promise for their futures.images

Hence they are less likely to buy into the idealism and work ethic of 90s kids. But who knows, maybe they have better critical instincts. David Brooks is worried about all of this, as he writes in today’s New York Times:

“Twelve years ago, I wrote a piece for The Atlantic, called “The Organization Kid,” about the smart, hard-working, pleasant-but-cautious achievatrons who thrive in elite universities. Occasionally, somebody asks me how students have changed since then. I haven’t been perceptive enough to give a good answer.

“But, this year, I’m teaching at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale, and one terrifically observant senior, Victoria Buhler, wrote a paper trying to capture how it feels to be in at least a segment of her age cohort. She’s given me permission to quote from it. Buhler points out that the college students of 12 years ago grew up with 1990s prosperity at home, and the democratic triumph in the cold war abroad. They naturally had a tendency to believe deeply “in the American model of democratic capitalism, which created all men equal but allowed some to rise above others through competition.” Continue reading “College students worry … and think”

Those online courses really do count

Legislation will be introduced in the California Senate on Wednesday that could reshape higher education by requiring the state’s public colleges and universities to give credit for faculty-approved online courses taken by students unable to register for oversubscribed classes on campus, reports today’s New York Times.

“If it passes, as seems likely, it would be the first time that state legislators have instructed public universities to grant credit for courses that were not their own — including those taught by a private vendor, not by a college or university.

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“We want to be the first state in the nation to make this promise: No college student in California will be denied the right to move through their education because they couldn’t get a seat in the course they needed,” said Darrell Steinberg, the president pro tem of the Senate, who will introduce the bill. “That’s the motivation for this.” Continue reading “Those online courses really do count”

California schools & gender non-conformity

A California lawmaker has introduced legislation aimed at guaranteeing transgender students the right to use public school restrooms and participate on the sports teams that correspond with their expressed genders, reports USA Today.imgres-1

“The bill reflects the accommodations that a number of U.S. schools are being asked to make as Americans start identifying as transgender at younger ages. Continue reading “California schools & gender non-conformity”

On hating gym class

When it comes to bullying, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students are prime targets in gym class. imgresRecent research conducted by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) revealed that a majority of LGBT youth are bullied in gym classes across the nation and that many feel unsafe or uncomfortable in the athletic environments.GLSEN analyzed the responses of more than 8,584 students between the ages of 13 and 20 in high schools and middle schools across the country, reports today’s Huffington Post “The research, which found “critical gaps in safety and support,” revealed that LGBT youth not only feel unsafe, but that they’re also underrepresented on athletic teams and aren’t fully backed by school staff and policies. Continue reading “On hating gym class”

Most school chairs fail the grade

Blaming teachers has been a favorite blood-sport of republicans in America for decades, dating to the famous Reagan-administration “A Nation at Risk” report. Then liberals like Jonathan Kozol entered the fray by pointing out the “savage inequalities” in school funding.

Now education has a new problem: the chairs. Cheapskate school districts and money-hungry corporations have been keeping the kids in crummy seats.

“‘And then there is the classroom chair,’the New York Times reports. ”In New York City public schools, a top chair of choice since the mid-1990s

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has been the Model 114, also known as the ‘super stacker,’15 pounds of steel, sawdust and resin that comes in 22 colors and has a basic, unyielding design little changed from its wooden forebears.

Continue reading “Most school chairs fail the grade”