NY Education

News and Notes: Happy Thanksgiving!

News and Notes: Happy Thanksgiving!

Read the latest edition of News and Notes from Commissioner Elia.
Assessments Toolkit

Assessments Toolkit

This toolkit is intended to help superintendents communicate with parents and educators in their districts about the value and importance of the annual Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math Tests.
Funding Opportunity: 2016-2021 Exte...

Funding Opportunity: 2016-2021 Extended School Day/School Violence Prevention Program Competitive Grant Application

The primary purpose of the ESD/SVP Program is to award competitive grants to provide support to students through extended school day activities and/or school safety programs which promote violence prevention. Programs must demonstrate consistency with the school safety plans required by section twenty-eight hundred one-a of the Education Law and should not displace existing school district after-school funding. School districts and not-for-profit organizations working in collaboration with a public school district(s) may submit an application to conduct an ESD program or a SVP program or a combination of both.
AIMHighNY: Take our Common Core Sta...

AIMHighNY: Take our Common Core Standards Survey

In New York State, we are committed to higher standards and to evaluating the standards on a regular basis with input from stakeholders. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is conducting a review of the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. NYSED is conducting a survey in order to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the standards. The results of the survey will directly inform any changes that we make to the standards as a result of the review.
News and Notes: Survey on the Stand...

News and Notes: Survey on the Standards

Read the latest edition of News and Notes from Commissioner Elia, which includes information about our AIMHighNY Common Core Standards survey, a video about the 2016 New York State Teacher of the Year, EngageNY updates, and more!
Application Notice: Persistently St...

Application Notice: Persistently Struggling Schools Grant (PSSG) Application Education Law 211-f and Commissioner’s Regulation 100.19

In New York State, we are committed to higher standards and to evaluating the standards on a regular basis with input from stakeholders. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is conducting a review of the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. NYSED is conducting a survey in order to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the standards. The results of the survey will directly inform any changes that we make to the standards as a result of the review. I look forward to hearing from you and reviewing your feedback on the standards.


How to Survive and Thrive During th...

How to Survive and Thrive During the Dissertation Process (essay)

Having just completed the process, Ramon B. Goings shares what he wished he'd known when he started.

Easy fixes for your CV, résumé, and...

Easy fixes for your CV, résumé, and interview answers (essay)

Joseph Barber provides advice for avoiding them in your CV, résumé or interview answers.

Colleges must renew their vows to f...

Colleges must renew their vows to faculty members, including adjuncts (essay)

Colleges and universities should renew their commitment to faculty members -- including contingent ones, write Jennifer Lundquist and Joya Misra.

How to make the most of an unsolici...

How to make the most of an unsolicited, overly eager mentor (essay)

Kerry Ann Rockquemore provides tips for transforming an awkward, unhelpful relationship into one that helps you meet your career needs.

How grad students can best present ...

How grad students can best present themselves during job searches (essay)

You have to hone your public-speaking and other communications skills to compete for attention in today's job market, writes James M. Van Wyck.

Lessons for administrators who are ...

Lessons for administrators who are starting over (essay)

Administrators who are teachers and learners at heart need new environments to learn and grow, says Jim Hunt.

BBC News Education

Religious education 'needs overhaul...

Religious education 'needs overhaul'

Religious education in England's schools needs a total overhaul to bring the subject into the 21st Century, argues a report.
One in five children obese in Year ...

One in five children obese in Year 6

One in 10 children was obese at the start of primary school in England last year but one in five was obese by the end, according to new figures.
Plans to regulate madrassas publish...

Plans to regulate madrassas published

The government has set out draft plans to regulate madrassas.
Schools 'braced for 16% budget cuts...

Schools 'braced for 16% budget cuts'

Councils across Wales have warned schools to prepare for budget cuts of around 16% over the next three years, a teaching union says.
College merger programme 'a failure...

College merger programme 'a failure'

A college merger programme is called "a failure" by lecturers, who say it "largely failed to deliver what it promised".
School funding to be overhauled

School funding to be overhauled

The funding of schools in England will be overhauled to remove big regional differences in levels of per pupil funding, George Osborne confirms.

US Govt Dept of Education

U.S. Department of Education Approv...

U.S. Department of Education Approves ESEA Flexibility Renewal for Colorado

Building on the significant progress seen in America?s schools over the last six years, the U.S. Department of Education announced today that Colorado has received continued flexibility from provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The state is implementing comprehensive, state-designed plans to ensure student success and a continued commitment to college- and career-readiness for every student. 
How Elementary School Students Taug...

How Elementary School Students Taught Me about Being Globally Competent

Marina in São Paulo, Brazil. She studied abroad in Rio de Janeiro during the spring of 2015. (Photo credit: Marina Kelly)
The Importance of an International ...

The Importance of an International Education for All Students

This week is International Education Week ? a time when educators, administrators, students, and parents recognize and celebrate the importance of world language learning; study abroad; and an appreciation of different countries and cultures. Recent tragedies throughout the world ? including in Paris, Beirut, Yola, Sinai and Baghdad ? serve as a reminder of our common humanity and our shared interest in building bridges of understanding.
Quarterly Student Aid Report: Two-T...

Quarterly Student Aid Report: Two-Thirds of Freshmen FAFSA Applicants List Only One College on Their Applications

A troubling two-thirds of freshmen students filling out an original Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) designate only a single school to send their financial aid application information, indicating that they were only applying for admission to one school.
US. Department of Education Awards ...

US. Department of Education Awards More Than $325,000 to Help School District on Pine Ridge Reservation Recover From Multiple Student Suicides

The U.S. Department of Education?s Office of Safe and Healthy Students awarded Little Wound School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwestern South Dakota a Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant totaling more than $325,000. The grant will be used to assist the Little Wound School with ongoing recovery efforts following 12 suicide deaths on the Pine Ridge reservation, including the deaths of current and former Little Wound School students, and relatives and friends of the students.
U.S. Department of Education Approv...

U.S. Department of Education Approves Nine Additional States' Plans to Provide Equal Access to Excellent Educators

As part of its Excellent Educators for All Initiative?designed to ensure that all students have equal access to a high-quality education?the U.S. Department of Education today announced the approval of nine states' plans to ensure equitable access to excellent educators:  Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah and Wyoming.


President's oldest daughter among t...

President's oldest daughter among those scoping out colleges

In this photo taken Aug. 19, 2014, President Barack Obama walks with his daughter Malia on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington toward Marine One. Malia is among the millions of U.S. high school seniors who are nervously taking standardized tests, completing college admissions applications, filling out financial aid forms and writing personal essays, all on deadline, before spending the coming months anxiously waiting to find out if they got into their dream school. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)WASHINGTON (AP) ? Michelle Obama's message for high school seniors fretting about their college prospects is simple.

Bob Saget Says Mentor Bill Cosby "H...

Bob Saget Says Mentor Bill Cosby "Has Been Tarnished"

"It's an area I don't usually delve into, but you're a very brave woman. And I brought a briefcase of pills to give to you," Saget joked in response to a fan's question.
Washington state girl, 16, found ti...

Washington state girl, 16, found tied up in high school bathroom

A 16-year-old girl in Washington state was physically assaulted on Tuesday and tied up in a bathroom at her Seattle high school, law enforcement and school officials said. The victim said two females assaulted her, tied her up and left her in the bathroom in an early morning incident at Highline Public Schools' Evergreen Campus, King County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cindi West said.
10 Colleges Where Applying Early In...

10 Colleges Where Applying Early Increases the Chances of Getting In

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: College, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matter to you in your college or grad school search.
Teachers save 12-year-old girl who ...

Teachers save 12-year-old girl who collapsed in cardiac arrest at Long Island school

Teachers save 12-year-old girl who collapsed in cardiac arrest at Long Island schoolTwelve-year-old Jessica Lemus was in class at Wisdom Lane Middle School in Levittown when she suddenly collapsed. It took three shocks from an AED to bring her back.

Wolf: Deal to end 5-month budget st...

Wolf: Deal to end 5-month budget stalemate in 'deep peril'

Wolf: Deal to end 5-month budget stalemate in 'deep peril'Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican lawmakers appeared unable to bridge a divide Monday over how to slash school property taxes as part of a broader agreement to end a five-month budget stalemate that has left public schools and social services without billions in state aid.


University of Central Lancashire la...

University of Central Lancashire launches medical degree that is only open to overseas students

Hospitals may be struggling to overcome immigration laws to recruit new nurses, but for the university sector it is a different story.

Leicester University set to offer U...

Leicester University set to offer US-style flexi-degree courses

A leading university is to offer all its students the chance to study new US-style flexi-degree courses from next September.

Refugee crisis: British universitie...

Refugee crisis: British universities should create scholarships and bursaries for students fleeing violence, say academics

Every university in Britain is being urged to play its part in tackling the migrant crisis by helping make it easier for refugees and asylum-seekers to access higher education.

Cambridge University may bring back...

Cambridge University may bring back entry exam as too many acing A-levels

Cambridge University is considering reintroducing an entrance exam because too many applicants get top marks in their A-levels, in a move that has raised concerns that state school pupils would be put at a disadvantage.

Free school meals for infants 'set ...

Free school meals for infants 'set to be scrapped' under Osborne's spending review

Free meals for infant school pupils are likely to be scrapped in George Osborne?s November spending review, it has been reported.

Parents prepared to pay average fin...

Parents prepared to pay average fine of £210 for taking children on holiday during school term, survey finds

Half of parents from across the UK are prepared to face fines over the next year after admitting they will be taking their children out of school to go on holiday, according to an online travel agency?s research.

Education Week

US adds foreign students, but few A...

US adds foreign students, but few Americans study abroad

NY state report says effort to boos...

NY state report says effort to boost art education pays off

Tennessee school boards demand stat...

Tennessee school boards demand state restore funding

US reaches $95.5M settlement in for...

US reaches $95.5M settlement in for-profit education case

School suspends all clubs after par...

School suspends all clubs after parents question LGBT club

Questions continue about Ohio schoo...

Questions continue about Ohio school barricade devices rules


The Role of Campus Leadership in En...

The Role of Campus Leadership in Ensuring IT Accessibility

“Everyone should have an opportunity to participate in higher education.”

With those words, Michael K. Young, President of the University of Washington, opens a new video from his institution’s AccessComputing Project, IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say. Developed with support from the National Science Foundation, this video presents university presidents, chief information officers, and other higher education leaders who stress the importance to higher education of accessibility for persons with disabilities, and of having campus technology environments that support it.

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The Game is Changing. What Will Be ...

The Game is Changing. What Will Be Expected of You?

“When we were doing our studies for the National Academies, the typical first response of university presidents or CFOs or provosts was to say: ‘I understand things are changing very rapidly, but I'll ask my CIO to take care of it. The CIO usually can.’ We would then ask: ‘Suppose you wake up in the morning and come in to your office and nothing works anymore. You can't access e-mail. All of your course systems have collapsed. Who fixes the problem?’ They begin to scratch their heads, and pretty soon it's like the five phases of grief. They start off with denial and anger, move through bargaining and depression, and finally reach acceptance.” — James J. Duderstadt, Change and the Research University

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The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues, 2012

The EDUCAUSE annual publication of top IT issues has long resonated as a yearly snapshot of the most pressing issues for IT leaders in higher education. At the top of list for 2012:

Updating IT professionals’ skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own device Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy


Below are the EDUCAUSE Review article summarizing the IT Issues Panel's findings for 2012 and accompanying resources.

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Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYO...

Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program

This free hour-long session, “Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program,” will offer ideas, sample policy statements and guidelines, and lessons learned for campuses interested in implementing a BYOD strategy for mobile devices on campus.

Those unable to attend may wish to visit the archives after the event or browse related resources.

Interact on Twitter at #EDULive.

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Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volun...

Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volunteer Submissions Are Due June 1

As someone who has a vested interest in higher education IT, you are part of a dynamic and close-knit community where we share new ideas, network with peers, and work toward the common good of the profession.

EDUCAUSE provides opportunities to be an active member by volunteering in a variety of roles, either short- or long-term, throughout the year. These opportunities include:

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Is Agile the Future of Project Mana...

Is Agile the Future of Project Management?

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, agile development methods will be used on 80 percent of all software development projects. Project Management Institute’s research shows that agile project management tripled from December 2008 to May 2011, and can help decrease product defects, improve team productivity, and increase business value.

Read the latest article release on agile project management from the Project Management Institute.

To help you apply project management processes at your organization, EDUCAUSE members have access to a selection of professional development resources:

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Educating for Democracy: Rememberin...

Educating for Democracy: Remembering

Educating for Democracy: Remembering It's been a while since my last blog but I would like to believe that this was due to a series of fast-moving events nationally and world-wide rather than intellectual torpor that made me postpone what I thought would be timely responses to current events. While I was trying to make a reasoned response to the demonstrations against police brutality in the U.S., the puerile rantings of some of the presidential debaters which, in my opinion, have turned into "mass debaters," and the massacre in Paris, I felt that by the time I put my two cents into the bloggersation, it would be deemed no longer relevant to the major concerns of the moment. And that points to the problem I have as an educator since I have to cope with and compensate for my students' lack of familiarity with what used to be "core knowledge": history, literature, art, music, and other subjects that are too often viewed as "frills" rather than essential elements in young learners' education. This is an age when not only is "history a thing of the past," but "memory is a think of the past."And I lament what seems to me the end of an era after World War Two when a huge influx of highly motivated, focused young men, recently discharged from the army, took to higher education, thanks to the GI Bil,l with the enthusiasm for learning that I assumed was typical when I attended Queens College in the early 1960's. Added to that "knowledge explosion" the "Baby Boomers," both men and women, who attended college in droves from the mid-sixties into the early 80's, I now realize that that was "the Golden Age" of American education. What is happening both in grade school and higher education is a trend in which the purpose of learning is almost solely geared to "getting a job." That doesn't mean that the curricula in today's high schools is completely geared to what used to be known as "vocational training." What bothers and really alarms me is the relatively little knowledge that is being carried over from one grade level to the next at least among the public schools whose graduates I teach at my community college. I also have begun to realize that the required readings and research of most students today who are not in elite schools is considerably diminished in comparison to the requirements of a Dalton or St. Regis where the classics are still studied and a knowledge of history, literature, and the arts is assumed by the time these students graduate. Without a knowledge base that can be used to engage in the critical thinking that is necessary to make reasoned responses to social, economic and political issues, the electorate can be manipulated into accepting simple-minded solutions to complex problems. Therefore, it's vital that students understand many elements in history, literature, philosophy and other areas that are being marginalized because of the irrational emphasis on standardized test scores. I base my concerns on over fifty years of experience as an educator during which time I have noticed that these vital components of public education are shrinking almost to the point of invisibility. But the technological changes that have given access to an encyclopedia of knowledge at one's fingertips give the illusion that instant access to information produces well-informed citizens. Unless young learners make a serious effort from one year to the next to retain and apply this information in an active way, it disappears and cannot be retrieved. As that late, great educator, Yogi Berra actually said: "Repetition is the mother of memory." Young learners must practice the discipline of learning how to learn if they are to engage in critical thinking. And in a world of "instant" everything, there is little likelihood that much of that accessible information would be effectively applied, especially when it comes to knowledge of other cultures. I would consider vital, in this polarized environment, and for any young learners , some knowledge of Black history and culture. Yet when I asked my predominantly minority students how much they had learned about this subject, hardly one even recognized the name "James Baldwin." When I started teaching in the mid-60's most students had read "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "Notes of a Native Son." Is the reason for this serious gap in young learners' education that few schools are teaching these subjects--Black studies are declining in college curricula--or do my students completely forget what they should be able to remember? Perhaps it's a combination of both. But if persistent ignorance of important issues is a sign of a continued decline in Americans' social awareness in other cultures, one doesn't have to look to the past to see the fruits of this ignorance. In a very recent report cited by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ignorance that engenders scapegoating seems to be going mainstream. "The campaign to connect the refugees to fears of Islamic terrorism has been under way in the United States for some time, manifesting itself in rural areas such as Twin Falls, Idaho, and Duncan, S.C. In addition to the involvement of anti-Muslim groups such as Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy and a number of notable "women against Islam," the attempt to tie the refugees to terrorism also aroused the involvement of anti government extremists such as the "III Percent" movement in Idaho. These trends reflect a tide of anti-Muslim hatred that has been rising in the United States in recent weeks, fueled in part by Islamophobic rhetoric used by several GOP presidential candidates. That culminated in candidate Donald Trump announcing that if he were elected, he would tell the Syrian refugees: "They're going back!" https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2015/11/17/anti-refugee-campaign-reaches-full-boil-after-paris-attacks-governors-try-halt-flow Unless we teach our young people the history and culture of immigrant and marginalized groups, the ignorance that comes with a lack of knowledge about the past will return to haunt us, especially in a country where conspiracy theories and institutionalized paranoia are the norm. Ignorance fueled the incarceration of the Japanese Americans during World War Two; the massive deportation of Mexicans during the Eisenhower Administration. Ignorance is very much alive in the scapegoating today of Mexicans, Latinos in general, and now Syrians. We need to examine and understand that the past must be taught, remembered, and that lessons need to be learned--not just texted--if we are going to maintain and refine the positive side of American life. .

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

When Children Don't Attend School, ...

When Children Don't Attend School, Tragedy Compounds Tragedy

2015-11-26-1448563499-7415937-POSTER.png By Ben Hewitt, Director of Campaigns and Communications, Theirworld. What would you do first in the days after a huge earthquake has decimated your community? Or in the weeks after violence has forced you to run from your home? Or when pupils in your child's school have been killed, simply for being in a classroom? For teachers, pupils and their families, the surprising answer is often the same: start planning how to get back into school. The endless stream of disaster headlines over the past year convey what seems to be a lifetime of crisis, be it the earthquakes in Nepal, conflict in Syria and northern Iraq and the associated exodus of refugees, or the massacre of innocent school children in Pakistan. Not to mention the violence in South Sudan and countless other conflicts, too "small" to secure the attention of the international media. Where disaster has happened, however, the better side of human nature has been fast to follow.  There is another raft of resilient heroes who are too often overlooked in the face of catastrophe. In every one of these crises and many others, teachers, pupils and their families continue to battle to get an education, despite confronting ever more improbable odds. From the teachers running classes outdoors in Nepal after their school was destroyed in the earthquake, to the Lebanese government setting up a new 'double-shift' school system for 200,000 refugee children fleeing conflict in Syria, or the teacher forced to flee Afghanistan who immediately started a school for 12 girls in a temporary tent, there are moments where these very worst times seem to remind us of something of the best of human nature. The United Nations Secretary-General has travelled the world and reports that in 'areas ravaged by war and disaster, the plea of survivors is the same -- education first.' When children don't attend school - whether through poverty, disaster or conflict - tragedy compounds tragedy. Instead of one generation affected by disaster, losing out on education increases the risk that the impact could continue to be felt for decades, or longer. Education turns children into adults who will rebuild their own future, restore peace and establish the essentials of healthcare and infrastructure for the children they will bear. Without it, the prospects ahead look far bleaker. Despite this, in 2014 only 1.1% of overall global humanitarian funding was allocated to education -- representing less than $0.02 spent per child per day -- unacceptable by any standard. The only sectors to receive less assistance are mine action and safety and security of staff. The impact of the lack of investment and action felt by those must vulnerable, the children themselves, for years after the actual emergency itself. The teacher who fled Afghanistan and started a girls school under a tent is named Aqeela Asifi. Aqeela went on to put more than 1000 girls through their education. Some of them have gone on to become teachers themselves. Aqeela said: "Whatever you spend on the first few priorities - like food, shelter and security - is not sustainable.  Education is not a one-time investment. It is the only sector where you invest and it never finishes because it goes from one generation to another." 2015-11-26-1448561924-7821784-Aqeela.png Aqeela Asifi with students Nadia, 12, and Haseena, 9 Photo: UNHCR/Sebastian Rich But the message isn't yet getting through. It is over six months since a series of earthquakes hit Nepal and damaged or destroyed more than 90% of the schools in some districts across the country. Today less than half of the funding appeal for education has been met by international donors and so far only 50% of the targeted temporary classrooms have been set up - resulting in an additional 190,000 children still without access to a safe place to learn. The new school term started in Lebanon on September 28th and the Lebanese Government has offered to welcome 200,000 Syrian refugees into their schools - but yet again we are passing round the hat to donor governments asking them to support this crucial investment. This summer Yemen was declared a 'Level 3' emergency response due to the escalation of violence - this is the global humanitarian systems classification for the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises - but the education appeal for Yemen is already facing serious funding and capacity challenges. UNICEF executive Director, Anthony Lake, highlighted the problem in a recent article, saying that the challenge is that the international community makes a distinction between humanitarian aid and longer-term development aid. Children living through crises, he says, "see no distinction between humanitarian and development action - they only see whether they are getting what they need to survive, whether they are able to go to school, and whether they can dream about a better future." We need to make sure that education is a priority in every emergency and not an afterthought, and education campaigners and experts are calling on world leaders move quickly to set up a much-needed new funding track for education in emergencies. Already over 10 million people have signed the #UpForSchool petition, from all over the world, demanding action to get every child into school, no matter what situation they find themselves. It's not just numbers that give A World At School its power, however. Our strength comes from the diversity of our supporters. They include thousands of children, mobilised through schools and youth groups through our programme for engaging young people in campaigns. Our Global Youth Ambassadors and partners around the world have maintained a steady drumbeat of support for our cause - many of whom while sustaining studies themselves. Many of these young people in Gaza, Central African Republic, Pakistan, the Philippines have contributed to a new film released today. Their demand is clear. School is a lifeline for them. Perhaps that's no surprise. Research shows that education makes early pregnancy and marriage less likely, and keeps children from being forced to work before they're old enough. It can help them to keep them away from conflict and violence, giving them the chance to forge their own opinions in the relative safety of a classroom. Of course, it helps them find work when the time comes. At its best, education opens up the world to children: a world where they can learn about people thousands of miles away, or code their own inventions on a laptop in a temporary classroom, or finally crack the mystery of a quadratic equation. Chances are, they'll pass the joy of their learning on to the people they love, too. Every child should have the opportunity to be in school. To struggle with skills or ideas that seem elusive, only to wonder how they ever misunderstood a few hours later. To read something that makes them laugh, or cry, or rage. To see numbers and symbols as a pathway to innovating our way out of trouble, not a labyrinth with no route out. Increasing conflicts and natural disasters mean the number of children out of school is going up, at the same time the money to education is going down. We cannot continue to let heroes like Aqueela shoulder the burden themselves. It is time for this to change. Join the movement. Sign the #UpForSchool petition. -- 2015-11-26-1448563447-2977902-BenHewitt.jpg Ben Hewitt is Director of Campaigns and Communications for Theirworld and works on A World at School and #UpForSchool mentioned in his blog.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

The Case for Philosophy in America'...

The Case for Philosophy in America's High Schools -- Conclusion: Promoting the Course

If you're the type of person who gives a quiet chuckle every time someone tells you that he or she has "the answers"; if you feel a sense of irreverence toward ideas which give themselves out as "truths"; if you're somewhat skeptical about "isms," "ologies," or beliefs that presume to tell you the way things "really are"; then you might want to consider taking the new Philosophy course being offered next September. But be forewarned! If you come looking for other "answers," you won't find them here. You see, the course reeks of the following bias - that any education worth its salt consists not in possessing "the answers," but in understanding the questions, fully, in all their complexity! But that's not the only bias of the course. There's another - that you don't have to have a final, definitive, infallible position about anything while you're still young; you need only consider the possibilities that exist, because you'll never fully understand the answer you choose until you understand all the others, and are thereby certain why yours is the best. Which answer is true, or better, or more desirable? That's your affair! Ours is simply to outline the options; talk you through them and the different ways of viewing the world; point out how each arose historically; present their strengths and weaknesses; and help you determine whether there are fallacies present. That way, before you do make up your mind on which answer is right, you'll have first heard all the options and have an intelligent basis on which to decide. We deal with questions: Does life have a meaning? If it does, who put it there? Or do we create our own meaning? Or is there only one meaning, and it's up to us to find what it is, and if we don't, we'll be unhappy for the rest of our lives? Or does life need a meaning, or is a deeply-lived life all the meaning we need? How do we know we're right about anything, and not deluding ourselves? What should we trust in finding the truth: reason, emotions, intuition, authority, revelation, society? What makes us so sure that any of these can be trusted? Why do people have different beliefs about the same thing? Can they all be true? Or are there many truths, or only one, and everyone's wrong except those who possess it? Or does truth change over time, with one age thinking one thing and the next age another? Or does truth stay the same no matter what an age thinks? Or does truth even matter as long as we're happy? Why is there suffering in the world? Is the universe fair? Does it have to be fair? Is something moral because society says it's moral, or does society say it's moral because it is moral? Who decides, and on what basis? What's the best way to be a good person? How do we find out? Are we responsible for anyone except ourselves? Do we have a duty toward future generations? Does government have a moral obligation to help the poor? Can we know anything beyond this world? And hundreds of more questions like this. We do lots of discussing. In fact, that's all we do, so if you like talking about ideas, and don't feel uncomfortable about hearing different beliefs and values, you'll be right at home. There's no heresy in the course. You can say whatever you want as long as you're willing to support what you say. You'll learn how to think critically, so that no one can trick you later in life. We explore philosophies, several philosophies - even the one that says it's wrong to question or to think for yourself, but simply to accept whatever you're told. There are reaction papers in which you'll role-play different persons who look at life differently and believe that they're right. There are those who think that viewing the world through different eyes is dangerous, and we'll discuss that view as well. So, if you're a person who likes doing these things and likes thinking outside the box rather than feeling claustrophobic within it, then you might want to join us next year. If interested, check the school website about this new course, and if you have further questions, just stop by my classroom or send me an email. *** An article like the above in your school newspaper about a month before scheduling time would stimulate course interest. It could also be posted on your school website, along with the course description, outline, and the following two items. The Art of Critical Listening There are several ways to listen. We can listen to be informed, to be entertained, to be reconfirmed, to be inspired, to lie in wait, or to listen critically. In this course, we'll be concerning ourselves with this last way - the art of critical listening. We are all critical listeners. We are always judging what people say. At times, however, we let our critical faculties slumber and blindly accept whatever we hear. The following are some suggestions to keep in mind when someone is trying to convince us of the truth of what he is saying. Are there any inconsistencies in what he is saying? Do any of his statements contradict known facts? Could another theory explain the facts equally well? If so, why does he prefer his theory? Is his theory certain, probable, or only possible? Is he claiming that his theory is certain or probable when it is only possible? Is he overstating his case by claiming more than the evidence will allow? Are his arguments persuasive? What other arguments support his case? Why doesn't he mention them? If his case were true, what conclusions would follow? Does he deal with them? If he doesn't, why doesn't he? Does he have a hidden agenda? Are fallacies present? Which ones? Are his "facts" really opinions, or even prejudice, self-interest, greed, or fear-mongering dressed up as facts? Can his proofs themselves be proven, or do they already assume what he's trying to prove? Are his proofs even relevant to his theory? Or are they simply his theory in different words? What is he saying between the lines? What objections could be leveled against his theory? Does he rebut them convincingly? Or does he dispose of only the easy objections but ignore the hard ones? Does he misrepresent these objections? Does he answer the questions put to him or evade them by creating the impression that he is answering them? Does he flit from point to point without offering any proof for what he is saying? Is he making groundless claims? Is his presentation rushed, confused, or disorganized? Is he appealing to evidence or to emotion? Is he trying to win listeners over by flattering them or trying to get them to like him so he won't have to prove his case? Is he trying to frighten listeners so that they can't think calmly? Is his choice of words manipulative by describing the issue in emotional terms? Is he using words in presenting his theory that already assume that his theory is true when that's the very question at issue? Is he appealing to authority figures to prove his case, or letting the evidence speak for itself? Would you be able to refute his case? Suggestions for Writing an Argumentative Essay Pretend that you're a lawyer trying to convince the reader of the truth of his case. Always keep your thesis in mind in writing your essay. Don't get side-tracked from the main issue and wander aimlessly from point to point. Use an outline to keep yourself focused. Let it guide you, but revise it if needed. Develop your ideas; don't simply repeat them. Explore their underlying assumptions and implications. Don't lecture the reader about your thesis in abstract terms, but discuss how your thesis is embodied in the topic you've chosen. Don't stay on the surface, but explore things in depth. Struggle for insight. Live with your ideas to give them time to mature. Make your case with five strong arguments, and then give five strong objections, which you then rebut. This is the sign of a superior paper, because it shows that you also understand the other side of the argument and why it is weak. Justify each word you write. Ask yourself continually whether what you're writing advances your argument. Don't be emotional. Step back from your essay to maintain perspective. Use formal English, and avoid colloquialisms. Always go to the heart of the matter. Board Approval All the foregoing, of course, assumes that the course has been approved by your board of education. Some districts actively encourage new courses; others are open to them on a case-by-case basis; and still others might find a philosophy course inconceivable. It's important, therefore, to know your district. Be sure to consult your district's procedures and deadline for submitting proposals. However, before doing anything, inform your chairperson and principal of your intention and ask for their help. Assuming board approval, districts may vary about how to offer the course. They could offer it as a social studies senior elective, possibly even as an Honors course, or a pilot course within an already established Gifted & Talented program. There are other possibilities as well. Whatever format is chosen, I might suggest that the course be open to any member of the senior class who feels equal to the academic challenge the course would entail. Junior Class Visits Junior class visits a few weeks before scheduling time are highly advisable. These visits are often the decisive factor in creating a "buzz" of interest, since students take a new course more seriously if the teacher visits their class. These 10-minute presentations will give students what they want before choosing a course -- a sense of the teacher as a person, and of his or her teaching style in conducting a class. School TV Interview If your school has closed-circuit TV, you could arrange to be interviewed about your new course. Simply provide the teacher in charge with the course information, and the student interviewer will do the rest. The interview could then be posted on TV monitors throughout the school and on your school website. PA announcements during homeroom could also alert interested students about after-school informational meetings. Guidance Counselors It goes without saying that the school's guidance counselors are the indispensable recruiting agents for any new course. Counselors know their students and have a sense of which students would profit from taking a course. Send them the course information you'll be posting and visit each of them to discuss the course. It will be time well invested. *** Teaching philosophy is an act of faith. It is like being a parent, who never quite knows what effect one is having on students. Yet one hopes to have opened young minds to reason calmly and courageously amidst the confusions of life; to have awakened a love for the life of the mind in a world that pays it scant notice; and to have instilled a confidence in what, with effort, can be discovered, and a sense of humility before what must remain life's eternal enigmas.

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Bringing 'The Refugee' into our Cla...

Bringing 'The Refugee' into our Classrooms

Two weeks ago we witnessed the aftermath of the horrific massacres in Paris and Beirut. We also watched and participated in the heartfelt thoughts and gestures of kindness that wrapped those cities even from an ocean away. But along with the solidarity of many we watch retaliatory air strikes against Isis, and at the same time we watch anger against muslims with no affiliation to terrorism build around our world. In the classroom we begin to observe the trickle down affect of how quickly these prejudices and stereotypes against 'the other' develop among our students. What if we, as educators, could prevent these intolerances by bringing 'the refugee' directly into our classrooms? As educators, we can bring important teachable moments of the world into our learning spaces, through multimedia such as video, photography, and audio narratives. When we create a platform that enables youth refugees to be seen and heard we enable our students to make not only a tangible connection to the crisis but also to the commonalities they share with their peers. Generation Human Rights recently created a video which focuses on youth refugees arriving to Lesbos, Greece. A teenager from Iraq, got out of the raft, and shared that he would like to be an engineer. He had only a few items with him, and one was a selfie-stick. When I shared this with students they felt like they knew him, they understood him, and that given the chance they would like to hang out with him. They felt they too, having to choose only a few items to pack, would have brought their selfie-sticks to document their voyage. Many of my students then asked how they could help him study to be an engineer and get settled in a new country. A discussion about activism organically began in our classroom. My personal mission to develop curriculum and education programs that center around the core of personal stories of youth experiencing crisis began in 2003. At the time American troops were in Iraq and the airwaves were filled with gruesome details of war and battles. Sitting in a classroom chair, with my NYC second graders grouped cross-legged around me on the rug, many of which had parents deployed in Iraq, I asked: "What country have you been hearing about that begins with the letter 'I'?" "IRAQ!!" they all shouted immediately and become very animated. Then my class of sweet second graders basically went rogue: "They are terrible!" "They kill people!" "They want to murder us!! We have to kill them first!!!" "We can't let them get here!" "I see," I said: "-and what about the children in Iraq?" In matter-of-fact unison, they simultaneously affirmed: "There ARE NO CHILDREN IN IRAQ." "Oh?" I queried, "-and why do you think there are no children in Iraq?" "BECAUSE WE DON'T SEE THEM," they answered. As educators, let's fill our classrooms with stories of refugees in the current crisis using articles, photographs, and videos. Let's make sure our students can SEE the refugees and HEAR their stories. We can create a space where their stories can be heard, solutions can be debated, and fears can be shared. Let's guide our students in navigating difficult information, and identifying fact from fiction. Perhaps one of our students will one day become a great advocate or diplomat for refugees. Perhaps the seed was planted when this student heard about the selfie-stick coming off the raft in Lesbos in the hands of an optimistic teenage boy from Iraq.

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On Gender, Violence, and the Right ...

On Gender, Violence, and the Right to Education

2015-11-23-1448297610-980824-Ijeoma_Idika_Chima2.jpg Children and youth of all genders have a right to inclusive, quality education--the foundation to improving people's lives. Yet an estimated 62 million girls are out of school. And with 1 in 3 women experiencing physical and/or sexual assault in her lifetime, we're beginning to understand that the interplay of violence, gender, and education is powerful and complex and demands more of our attention. In some communities around the world, a girl is more likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to become literate. Violent, coordinated attacks are targeting schoolgirls. And while overall enrollment rates for girls in primary school have improved globally, in many places gender gaps remain, especially in secondary education. Adolescence is a time of particular vulnerability. And harmful practices such as early and forced marriage affect 15 million girls a year and can be both "a cause and consequence of school dropout." The threat and reality of violence hinders girls' access to education and undermines their ability to learn. Girls who are survivors of violence may leave school, most notably if that's where their assault occurred, or face difficulty concentrating due to the effects of trauma. And girls who become pregnant can be pressured to quit school by their communities or may be outright banned by official school or government policy. Families' desire to protect their daughters, while understandable, can itself serve as a barrier to girls receiving or completing their education. In places where a girl may have to travel great distances to attend school, for example, her parents' concern for her safety may cause them to curtail her education. Girls themselves may abandon their schooling because they feel threatened by abuse or because they experience harassment from classmates or from teachers. Joyce Warner, Senior Vice President of IREX, who recently testified to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on the value of technology and education for girls, says, "Girls everywhere have the right to receive a safe and quality education. It is also one of the smartest investments society can make." "Gender," of course, doesn't just refer to girls. Violence can manifest differently for boys in the realm of education, such as a greater likelihood that they will receive corporal punishment, pressures to abandon their education in order to work, and sexual violence as well. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth or children who don't conform to gender norms can experience distressingly high levels of violence from peers, family, and their communities. Transphobic and homophobic bullying may force youth to flee school in order to escape violence and harassment. As critical as it is to acknowledge the global phenomenon of gender, violence, and education, it is equally important to cite where progress is being made. Around the world, youth, men, teachers, and elders are raising their voices to join the long-standing work of women's organizations in speaking out against the ways violence violates girls' rights to their agency and education. New initiatives are adding much-needed resources to the growing body of evidence of what works to improve girls' education, such as: Implementing longer, comprehensive approaches that involve not only schools and teachers, but surrounding communities; Creating or strengthening codes of conduct and well-promoted monitoring and reporting systems; Establishing appropriate services and referral systems for survivors of violence; Bolstering girls' agency and resiliency, from digital literacy skills that help them amplify their voices online to non-formal education opportunities to build leadership skills and engage with strong women mentors; and Promoting lifelong learning and training teachers and school administrators on the dynamics of gender and education--critical components of Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5. It is vital that all of us--parents, teachers, students, governments, and international development groups--act in conjunction to amplify the headway we've made and advance evidence-based interventions so that children of all genders can claim their right to education and achieve their fullest potential.

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Princeton Students Protest Proteste...

Princeton Students Protest Protesters

A group of Princeton University students sent a letter this week to Christopher L. Eisgruber, the school's president, asking to meet with him so they can argue in favor of keeping Woodrow Wilson's name on various campus features -- pushing back against recent protests at Princeton that argue Wilson, a former U.S. president who advanced and supported white supremacist policies, ought not to receive the kind of adulation he does.

The students, calling themselves the Princeton Open Campus Coalition, primarily object to the calls from other student activists to remove Wilson's name from various buildings and facilities at the school. The POCC also opposes the idea of required cultural sensitivity training and campus safe spaces. The group reported on its Facebook page that Eisgruber agreed to meet with the POCC after the Thanksgiving break.

The students wrote in their letter:

This dialogue is necessary because many students have shared with us that they are afraid to state publicly their opinions on recent events for fear of being vilified, slandered, and subjected to hatred, either by fellow students or faculty. Many who questioned the protest were labeled racist, and black students who expressed disagreement with the protesters were called “white sympathizers” and were told they were “not black.” We, the Princeton Open Campus Coalition, refuse to let our peers be intimidated or bullied into silence on these -- or any -- important matters.

Reached by email, Solveig Gold, a Princeton junior involved in the POCC, told HuffPost that some classmates aren't comfortable even "liking" the group's Facebooks posts out of fear of backlash.

"We have, however, been archiving messages of support from our classmates," Gold said, "and a petition started last week by two of our signatories has garnered 1,559 signatures (although not all are students')." 

About 1,000 people have signed a dueling petition calling on Princeton to "publicly acknowledge the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson and how he impacted campus policy and culture," and to "rename Wilson residential college, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs, and any other building named after him."

Wilson, who was president of the United States from 1913 to 1921, spent most of his early career as an academic teaching at several East Coast universities before he was chosen to be president of Princeton in 1902. As head of Princeton, he appointed the first Jew and the first Roman Catholic to the faculty and unsuccessfully tried to abolish the elite eating clubs, which today are essentially fraternities the school doesn't have control over

As U.S. president, Wilson led the country through its involvement in World War I and later won the Nobel Peace Prize for sponsoring the League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations. He was a leader of the progressive movement at the time, and placed Louis Brandeis as the first Jewish member of the U.S. Supreme Court.

But Wilson, having been raised in Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina, was also vehemently and publicly anti-black. He instituted segregation in the federal civil service, and looked favorably on the Ku Klux Klan. That's why students have recently demanded the university remove Wilson's name from a residential college and from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

The POCC insists such a move would be unwise.

"It is not for his contemptible racism, but for his contributions as president of both Princeton and the United States that we honor Wilson," the group wrote. "Moreover, if we cease honoring flawed individuals, there will be no names adorning our buildings, no statues decorating our courtyards, and no biographies capable of inspiring future generations."

You can read their full letter below:

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The Legislative Committee of the Princeton Open Campus Coalition has sent the following letter to President...

Posted by Princeton Open Campus Coalition on Sunday, November 22, 2015


Tyler Kingkade covers higher education and is based in New York. You can contact him at tyler.kingkade@huffingtonpost.com, or follow him on Twitter: @tylerkingkade.

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Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali!

We wanted to take a minute to wish all of our friends, clients, and readers who celebrate a happy, healthy, and prosperous Diwali season!  We hope you find time to celebrate with family amidst the demands of this application season.  

RSS Feed Content © Todd Johnson, Kelley Johnson and College Admissions Partners

Happy Diwali!

Boston University BS/MD Program and...

Boston University BS/MD Program and the Foreign Language Requirement

Over the years we have had many students apply to, and get accepted to,  Boston University’s Seven-Year Liberal Arts/Medical Education Program.  For the most part their application is fairly straightforward but one thing always confused me. The recommendation of a SAT Subject Test in a foreign language. Every year we would have students tell us...Continue Reading >

RSS Feed Content © Todd Johnson, Kelley Johnson and College Admissions Partners

Boston University BS/MD Program and the Foreign Language Requirement

University of Kentucky Eliminates T...

University of Kentucky Eliminates Their Early Assurance Program

We have been notified that the University of Kentucky has eliminated their B.S./M.D. Accelerated Course of Study Program effective immediately. They are not taking applications at this time. This was technically an early assurance program where students applied in high school but weren’t formally accepted into the medical school until after sophomore year. There are...Continue Reading >

RSS Feed Content © Todd Johnson, Kelley Johnson and College Admissions Partners

University of Kentucky Eliminates Their Early Assurance Program

Brown PLME Eliminates Early Decisio...

Brown PLME Eliminates Early Decision Option

In the past, Brown University and the Program in Liberal Medical Education, PLME, has had an early decision (ED) option for students applying. Students liked the option because they thought that applying ED to PLME gave them a higher chance of acceptance into the program. This option also provided that if you were not accepted...Continue Reading >

RSS Feed Content © Todd Johnson, Kelley Johnson and College Admissions Partners

Brown PLME Eliminates Early Decision Option

Order of Colleges Will No Longer be...

Order of Colleges Will No Longer be Listed on the FAFSA

If you want to receive need based aid from a college you need to file a FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid each year. As part of that form you have to list each of the colleges you are applying to for aid. Most students put their first choice college down first, then their...Continue Reading >

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Order of Colleges Will No Longer be Listed on the FAFSA

Is the Asian Bias Real? Does it Mat...

Is the Asian Bias Real? Does it Matter?

We work with a large number of Asian students that are interested in BS/MD programs and medical school admissions. And we constantly hear about the Asian bias in college admissions. But what does that mean in practical terms? No college wants to see a bunch of kids that all look alike. Yes, colleges want smart students...Continue Reading >

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Is the Asian Bias Real? Does it Matter?


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