An Engineer Explains Why You Should Always Order the Larger Pizza
Most of us tend to order a pizza based on the amount we plan to eat—and there’s nothing wrong with that—but if you’re trying to make your dollar stretch as far as it can, your best bet is to just order the biggest one you can buy. Why? The increase in size to cost always comes out in your favor.
When May I Shoot a Student?
In light of the bill permitting guns on our state’s college and university campuses, which is likely to be approved by the state House of Representatives in the coming days, I have a matter of practical concern that I hope you can help with: When may I shoot a student?
One of the most important things that keeps me glued to Apple’s hardware and software ecosystem is the fact that, the vast majority of the time, things just work.
Yep. In fact, I was recently reminded of this too.
I had a client this week who bought her first Mac after years of using a Windows PC. I told her what I tell a lot of people who are making the switch. On Windows, you get used to things being as unintuitive and hard as possible. You run into something you want to do or some setting you would like to change and your first instinct becomes looking for it through some obscure, poorly-labeled, dialog, filled with tabs that change position when you click on them, that is only accessible through a right click. One of the things you have to do, when switching to Mac, is to force yourself to think differently in such situations. You should stop, take a step back, and ask, “In an ideal world, where would this setting be? How would this work? What would it be called?”. On a Mac, nine times out of ten, it is exactly where you think it should be. Things work exactly the way you think they should.
I have given this advice countless times over the twenty years of my consulting business. And, from those I have given it to, almost everyone has told me it was the thing that made the transition to Mac the easiest. That they never cease being amazed by the “magic” of things just working.
I think those of us who have long used Macs forget how special that is.
Thank you for the reminder… indeed, special.
State of States’ Early Childhood Data Systems
Are young children (birth to age five) on track to succeed when they enter school? How many children have access to high-quality early care and education (ECE) programs? Is the early childhood workforce adequately trained to meet the needs of young children? Most states cannot answer these basic questions because data on young children are housed in multiple, uncoordinated systems, managed by different state and federal agencies.
The comedian hones into a Stanford study that suggests that race is socially constructed VIDEO
Why is it only Colbert and NPR with this story?
Lessons from Singapore: Creativity and Collaboration are back!
On a recent visit to Singapore in search of lessons from its high-performing public education system, Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report found no big secret the U.S. could copy tomorrow. But some of Singapore’s strategies challenge the most popular ideas for improving American schools, she found. Singapore is looking to revamp its standards, for instance, but is focused on introducing skills like collaboration and creativity into the curriculum. Butrymowicz noted many Singaporean students are stressed, and the country is therefore seeking to decrease its emphasis on grades and test scores. And the country’s small size, plus the fact that schools are run by a centralized authority, allows the Ministry of Education, the National Institute of Education (which trains every teacher in the country), and schools to closely communicate around research and strategies. Programs are implemented quickly, and outcomes are readily tracked and tweaked when needed. Half a million students attend the island’s schools, but most school populations are more than a thousand, even at the primary level; classes of 35 to 40 are typical. So a great deal of what Singapore does wouldn’t apply to our much larger, decentralized system. But we should try, as they do, to get more high-performing students to become teachers, and be more explicit in the character qualities we want students to develop (without obsessing over how to measure them).
Tackling teacher distribution
The U.S. Department of Education is developing a 50-state strategy that could finally address inequitable distribution of the nation’s best teachers, reports Michele McNeil for Education Week. Under NCLB, states were required to ensure all teachers were “highly qualified” by 2005-06, using as proof a teacher’s years of experience, certification, and education. But another NCLB provision, largely ignored, required that poor and minority students not be taught by unqualified teachers at higher rates than their peers. Fewer than half of states have equity plans for teacher-distribution issues, with most plans several years old. Just five states have updated teacher-quality plans since President Obama took office in 2009. The Department of Education has tried to modernize NCLB teacher-quality language by shifting emphasis from qualifications to effectiveness, and linking efforts to NCLB waiver renewal, but many states have balked at these provisions. For a new strategy, federal officials will use a mix of enforcement and bureaucratic levers that include investigation of districts and schools by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR); new state teacher-equity plans; and new rules for waiver renewals. A logistical challenge is that inequitable distribution can occur between districts, between schools within the same district, within an individual school, or within a single grade level.
Hope and anxiety: What do teachers think about the Common Core standards?
The feedback from teachers and districts also uncovers anxiety about how classrooms and students will be affected by the tougher standards. Teachers are still worried about how to help struggling students keep up, while districts that adopted the standards early have resorted to coming up with their own curricula to meet the standards because they’ve found few off-the-shelf materials that do a good job of matching Common Core. And training teachers to be able to handle the Common Core remains a major concern.
Adults who want to avoid passing on pessimistic attitudes about learning can do more than simply watch their language (no more “I’m hopeless at math” when the dinner check arrives at the table). They can jump into the subject they once feared with both feet, using their children’s education as an opportunity to brush up on their own basic skills. Learn along with your kids, and you may find that math and science, or writing and spelling, are not so scary. And let kids know that it’s always possible to change and improve our abilities—you being a prime example.