- Higher Education
- K-12 Education
In my last blog, I examined the alarming statistics on school-based violence and asked whether turning schools into armed camps was the solution. While access to weapons, gang activity, and bullying present real threats that need to be realistically addressed, I am convinced that much of school-based violence and acting-out lies in dysfunctional and alienating school cultures. This blog is abouContinue Reading »
Schools can be tough places for our kids. Middle and high schools, in particular, are susceptible to instability and an ambient student culture of intimidation ranging from casual bullying to bona fide violence. The horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December put school safety in the headlines, but schools have been struggling with safety issues for many more years.
We live in paradoxical times.
On the one hand, we are getting smarter. Since the 1980s political scientist James Flynn has tracked the rise in IQs globally. For instance, between 1953 and 2006 IQs have gone up a whopping 17.4 points. Rising IQs are now known as the “Flynn Effect.”
On the other hand, only 23 percent of fourth-graders can identify George Washington as thContinue Reading »
In 1997, Jonathan Levin, the son of former Time Warner Chair Jerry Levin and a dedicated high school teacher in the South Bronx, was murdered in his home by one of his students. The apparent motivation was robbery.
Levin’s murder sent shock waves throughout New York City and its public schools. In honor of Levin’s memory, a new high school was founded five years later; the Jonathan LevinContinue Reading »
What will it take to create a system of schools that prepare all children to thrive and succeed in this century? This question is at the heart of the U.S. Department of Education’s very recent report, For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence. Directed by Congress in 2010, the department called together a distinguished 27- member commission to recommend polices toContinue Reading »
In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night President Obama laid out a wide array of programs and initiatives including many in education. Most of them laudable and important, but I must confess one really got my attention. Roughly mid-way through his speech he proposed a Fix-it-First program, “to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs.” To get this done he is Continue Reading »
Two years ago my good friend and colleague Jill Iscol and I embarked on a project that would celebrate the amazing achievements of today’s young social visionaries. We interviewed some of the world’s most innovative and daring young idealists, and told their stories in Hearts on Fire: Stories of Today’s Visionaries Igniting Idealism into Action, which was released this past week. (The title comContinue Reading »
Last spring I completed a study of American high schools; I looked at five schools serving very different economic and social communities. Here is the headline: If a student is not lucky enough to attend a high school located in an upper-middle or middle-class neighborhood, he or she is likely to get a watered-down, uninspiring, and inadequate set of academic choices—often taught in a hit-or-miContinue Reading »
In the Sunday Washington Post reporter Anne Hull tells the moving, heart-breaking story of Tabitha Rouzzo, a hardworking, earnest, working class young woman, desperately trying to make a better life for herself in New Castle, Pa. The odds against Tabitha are steep. The Rust Belt is in a deep depression and finding well-paying work is nearly impossible; going to college is a dream. “This town isContinue Reading »
Election night is over and most pundits agree that federal educational policy is unlikely to change dramatically in the next four years. In Washington, DC, this week at the Excellence in Action National Summit, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan promised to “stay the course,” emphasizing early childhood education, holding teachers to higher standards, recruiting more qualified teachers, improviContinue Reading »