Why Private Schools Are Dying Out - Chester E. Finn Jr. - The Atlantic: " . . . Private education as we have known it is on its way out, at both the K-12 and postsecondary levels. At the very least, it's headed for dramatic shrinkage, save for a handful of places and circumstances, to be replaced by a very different set of institutional, governance, financing, and education-delivery mechanisms. . . . Meanwhile, charter school enrollments are booming across the land. The charter share of the primary-secondary population is five percent nationally and north of twenty percent in 25 major cities. "Massive open online courses" (MOOCs) are booming, too, and online degree and certificate options proliferating. Public-sector college and university enrollments remain strong and now educate three students out of four. The "proprietary" (i.e. for-profit) sector of postsecondary education is doing okay, despite its tortured relationship with federal financial aid. What's really happening here are big structural changes across the industry as the traditional model of private education -- at both levels -- becomes unaffordable, unnecessary, or both, and as more viable options for students and families present themselves. . . . Can run-of-the-mill private schools and colleges reboot? Can they change themselves -- including both their delivery systems and their cost structures -- enough to brighten their own futures? I wouldn't bet a year's tuition on it."
49 Chicago Schools Closed in Historical Mass School Shutdown: " . . . the Chicago School Board voted to close 49 elementary schools, "in what is believed to be the biggest single mass shutdown of schools in U.S. history" Fifty-three schools were originally scheduled to be shut down. The closures come as part of Chicago's plan to deal with it's massive $1B deficit. The schools were shut down for "failing to meet academic standards.""
Schooled by Google: How Google Apps is penetrating education (infographic) | VentureBeat: "More than 20 million students currently use Google Apps, and another 10 million are soon to join, thanks to a deal with Malaysia. As students and schools are increasingly storing more of their data and documents in clouds of Google’s servers, Backupify recently announced that it has tripled its education user base, with more than 40,000 new education users since January of this year. Schools are using the cloud-based backup service to ensure critical data is archived and safe, even if it would be accidentally deleted or lost on Google’s servers. Education is a notoriously slow adopter of technology, but Google Apps is growing quickly, if not virally, doubling over the last two years. And the current 20 million users include seven million inside the U.S. alone — led by Oregon that adopted Google Apps in all K-12 classrooms in 2010. . . ."
GT | Newsroom - Georgia Tech Announces Massive Online Master's Degree in Computer Science: "The Georgia Institute of Technology College of Computing announced today that it will offer the first professional Online Master of Science degree in computer science (OMS CS) that can be earned completely through the “massive online” format. The degree will be provided in collaboration with online education leader Udacity Inc. and AT&T. All OMS CS course content will be delivered via the massive open online course (MOOC) format, with enhanced support services for students enrolled in the degree program. Those students also will pay a fraction of the cost of traditional on-campus master’s programs; total tuition for the program is initially expected to be below $7,000. A pilot program, partly supported by a generous gift from AT&T, will begin in the next academic year. Initial enrollment will be limited to a few hundred students recruited from AT&T and Georgia Tech corporate affiliates. Enrollment is expected to expand gradually over the next three years." (read more at link above)
Mexican Teachers Union opposes education reform with violence--
The Economist:" . . . In recent days teachers have gone berserk in the south-western state of Guerrero, setting fires and attacking the offices of political parties with home-made weapons . . . The protests come as Mexico’s new government tries to push through a big education reform. It makes what, in most countries, would be considered fairly modest proposals: that teachers should no longer be allowed to sell their jobs or pass them on to their children, for instance. But Mexico’s teachers have the largest union in Latin America, and one of its most boisterous. Enrique Peña Nieto, who became Mexico's president on December 1st, passed a law opening the way to education reform in February, but until implementing legislation is passed it doesn’t count for much. Even then, making sure the law is obeyed will be difficult. . . .For the new government, the uprising is bad news. For Mexico’s children, already lumbered with the least effective schools in the OECD, it is worse still." (read more at Economist link above)
Law schools: Still hiding the sad truth from students? - Fortune Management: " . . . According to a new analysis from nonprofit research group Law School Transparency, almost 80% of nearly 200 accredited legal institutions offer incomplete, inaccurate, or even misleading job placement information on their school websites. As tuition has climbed but legal jobs have evaporated, American law schools are being taken to task on the grounds that they have not been forthcoming about graduates' financial burdens and employment prospects. Such misrepresentations have led students to believe that substantial loans will be offset by a steady five- or six-figure annual salary. In fact, jobs requiring a law degree are scarce in many parts of the country, compared to the number of law graduates out there, and swaths of students in recent years have plunged into major debt, casting a shadow on the viability of the legal profession. . . ."
How MOOCs Could Meet the Challenge of Providing a Global Education | MIT Technology Review: " . . . Many are now already looking to the next phases of these online courses in the developing world, a future that may look more like a blending of online and traditional college work than one existing entirely on the Internet. In India, for example, Microsoft Research, which has offices in Bangalore, is working with universities on “massively empowered classrooms” that provide online lectures, forums, and quizzes to engineering undergraduates at many different schools taking the same computer science course. Another idea of interest in India is a Microsoft research project that scans the content of e-textbooks and pulls out the most important concepts that could be paired with online instructional videos. So an Indian professor, for example, could talk about electromagnetic fields next to a diagram from a physics text. Another project, called VidWiki, allows anyone to annotate a video with comments and text in their own language. For the MOOCs themselves, there are more immediate practicalities, such as how to provide real-world certifications, regardless of location. To help with this, Coursera is experimenting with ways to verify student identities. Udacity, on the other hand, is simply working with physical testing centers around the world run by the company Pearson. . . . "
edX MOOC Software Goes Open Source
Getting open-source developers to work on software that uses the XBlock code is important to edX'sstrategy for expanding the types of learning that can occur on its platform, because a module developed for physics won't necessarily be usable for a ...
The New Normal | Parent Revolution: "This week – on Tuesday, February 12 – the parents of 24th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles achieved an unprecedented victory. The Los Angeles Unified School District Board voted unanimously to accept the parent’s petition to put into action a “restart model” for their children’s chronically failing school. The LAUSD Board vote was not only unanimous, it was so uncontroversial that they put it on their "consent calendar" – one giant list of uncontroversial items the Board approves as a group with one easy vote. It was unprecedented – and it was historic. And this week was the week Parent Trigger became normal. In four years, Parent Revolution has invented an idea the critics said would never work…managed to pass it into law for every parent in California…battled powerful and entrenched and special interests…trained hundreds of parents in organizing… won a series of must-win court cases…and spread this movement across the nation. . . . "
Simple Justice: The New Normal at St. Louis University Law: " . . . Pretty much everyone agrees that changes are needed, that the good years of tons of applicants filling as many seats as schools could jam into a classroom, while scholars spend their many free hours thinking deep thoughts about important theories that no judge will ever read. Faced with declining enrollment, a moribund job market, the realization that their scholarly works are neither read nor appreciated by anyone other than their tenure committee and the potential that they too will see the business end of the door if they don't make school work better, academics are coming to grips with the monster they've built on the backs of law students. You can always tell the law students from the faculty, as they're the ones in debt. . . . That's the New Normal. . . ." (read more at link above)
Accelerated Learning Would Add Trillions of Dollars in Wealth — The American Magazine: " . . . Sixty-three percent of employers said that recent college graduates don’t have the skills they need to succeed, the Association of American Colleges and Universities found in 2010. A separate survey showed that 25 percent of employers say that entry-level writing skills are deficient. What went wrong? . . . Public schools worked well in the United States, France, and other countries until about the 1970s. In fact, until that time, French public schools provided far better education than private ones. It was the underperforming students who were thrown out of public schools and went to private ones. . . .around that time, regulations, government, and unions came to mandate pay, prevent adjustments, and introduce bureaucratic criterion for advancement. Large education bureaucracies and unions came to dominate the landscape, confusing activity with achievement. Bureaucrats regularly rewrite curriculums, reshuffle "innovative" papers about theories of education, and require ever more administrators. The end result has been that, after all the spending, students in Western countries (including the United States) have worse math and reading skills than both their foreign peers and earlier generations spending far less on education. . . . smarter students can quickly see the mediocrity of most teachers and textbooks, and become bored to death. . . .Since education bureaucracies are measured by how many students graduate and what grades students get, no wonder that students graduate with top grades and little knowledge. As a result, whether students graduate has long stopped signaling selection of smarter, harder working, more ambitious kids. As Arum and Roksa put it, gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing skills have either been “exceedingly small or nonexistent for a larger proportion of students,” with 36 percent of them experiencing no significant improvement in learning whatsoever over their four years of “learning.”. . . .