The debacle at the University of Virginia

Teresa Sullivan, the president of one of the most prestigious universities in the country, was summarily fired after just two years on the job and despite the fact that there was no hint of scandal or that she had done her job poorly. Kevin Carey argues that part of the problem lies in the fact that rich political contributors to winning candidates get rewarded by being appointed as Trustees to public universities. [Read more...]

How good is the US education system?

The US education system comes in for a lot of trash talk in the media and by politicians and business people. This has seeped into the public consciousness and it is now taken as a given that the US educational system is in dire straits and needs radical changes in order to be rescued from disaster. The 2011 book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa is another such book that pointed the finger at US college education as failing its students. Using a single measure of achievement, it compared a cohort of students from the first semester to the fourth semester and claimed to find negligible gains in learning, hence the title of their book. [Read more...]

The hare and the pineapple

You may have heard about the infamous question on New York State’s test for all eighth graders that gave them a fable about a hare and a pineapple and then asked them two questions. (You can read the fable and the questions here.) This caused a lot of head scratching by students, parents, and educators alike because the story and the questions seemed to make no sense. [Read more...]

Those dangerous dinosaurs

I am a little late to this story about how in the US extreme sensitivity to religious people’s beliefs can result in the most bizarre policies being implemented. For example, the New York City department of education has banned certain words in citywide tests because they may upset students. What words? ‘Dinosaur’ for one. [Read more...]