Help Wanted: Smartphone and Grit Required, Knowledge Optional

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never seen a position description for a good job that didn’t have a long list of knowledge, skill, and character requirements. It makes me wonder why those focused on “21st century” careers seem to place skills and character—or problem solving, team work, and perseverance—far above knowledge. David Brooks provides…

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The Triumph of Training over Education

Not all that long ago, college followed a predictable pattern: two years of general education requirements followed by two years of courses in the chosen major. No longer. As this review of course requirements shows, even some of the liberal arts colleges have minimized requirements outside the major. Of all the potential causes for the…

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Is Your School Increasing the Achievement Gap?

I have a very simple proposition: The more we teach, the more students learn—but some students get taught more than others. There’s plenty of evidence to back me up, so I’ll just go with the most recent study I’ve seen that make this point. Bill Schmidt and his research team found that all around the…

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With “The Science of Learning,” These Deans Will Have an Impact

Twenty years ago, as a psychology major focused on learning and memory, I took a history of psychology course that included phrenology, Freud, Skinner, Piaget, and Vygotsky, among other ideas and theorists. A few years later, as a doctoral student in education policy, I took a child development class that claimed to be current and…

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Penguins, Pythons, and Text Sets

Pop quiz: What do the following texts have to do with each other? “What Happens When it Rains” “Shasta Dam” “Water Main Break in Downtown New York City” “Penguins: Up Close and Personal” “Pythons Invade the Florida Everglades” “Who Wants a Spiny Snack?” If you answered that they all have some connection to water, you’re…

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Kids Love Knowing Stuff

By Karin Chenoweth Karin Chenoweth, writer-in-residence at The Education Trust, is the author of numerous articles and three books on schools that are succeeding with significant populations of children of color and children living in poverty. This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post, to which she is a regular contributor. A commonplace idea floating…

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Stop Reforming, Start Improving

This post first appeared on The Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog. “Programmatic series of studies”—that’s how one of my psychology professors described research on learning and memory around twenty years ago. Do a study, tweak it, try again. Persist. I was reminded of that while reading Learning to Improve: How America’s Schools Can Get…

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“Putting Real Food on the Plate”

“I am in the medical field and while I ‘hated’ learning anatomy, I am not sure you would want me to treat you unless I had it memorized,” writes LSC from Seattle. That’s just one of the hundreds of comments in response to a terrific op-ed by Natalie Wexler in the New York Times. Wexler…

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Joy Hakim’s Science Stories: Proof that Informative Can Be Engaging

Kiana Hernandez is a young woman who opted out of a standardized test last spring. She had her reasons, as the Mother Jones article about her details, but that’s not what interests me about her story. What grabbed me is the reading instruction she received—or endured: She’d failed the Florida reading test every year since…

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Dear Alliance: You Almost Nailed It

The Alliance for Excellent Education has a new report: The Next Chapter: Supporting Literacy Within ESEA. It’s definitely worth reading, making many crucial points about supporting literacy from kindergarten through twelfth grade in a few pages. There’s just one problem: it does not discuss building broad academic knowledge. Like almost all discussions of literacy, the…

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