Should we stop “reflexively” sending our kids to college?
First, look internally. Why do you want to go? Is it just because everyone else is going? That’s not a good enough reason. Is it because that’s where the good parties are? That’s not a good enough reason. To get away from the folks? That’s not a good enough reason. What’s your academic interest? How well does the school address that? What will you owe when you finish? What will your job prospects be?— Why a College Degree May Not Be Worth It
New economic data is raising fresh questions about the wisdom of taking on debt to pay for education.
The amount of student debt has exploded during the last few years. The percentage of 25-year-olds carrying student loans rose from 25 percent in 2003 to 43 percent in 2012, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Of those with debt, the average balance rose from $10,649 to $20,326, a 91 percent jump. Overall, there’s nearly $1 trillion of student loans outstanding, more than any other type of debt except mortgages. High student-debt loads wouldn’t be a problem if grads were getting good jobs and earning decent money. Problem is, they’re not. A recent study by the Economic Policy Institute documented many of the trends young workers have been reporting anecdotally for several years. Recent grads face much higher unemployment and underemployment rates than the workforce as a whole. Good jobs, such as those that offer healthcare benefits, are increasingly hard to find. And it’s much worse for young workers who only have a high school education. Getting a slow start on a career can have long-lasting effects.— When College Prevents You From Buying a Home
The elimination of the high-wage, middle-skilled job and what it means for education
Now there is only a high-wage, high-skilled job. Every middle-class job today is being pulled up, out or down faster than ever. That is, it either requires more skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being buried — made obsolete — faster than ever. Which is why the goal of education today, argues Wagner, should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” — ready to add value to whatever they do. That is a tall task. I tracked Wagner down and asked him to elaborate. “Today,” he said via e-mail, “because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know. The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge. As one executive told me, ‘We can teach new hires the content, and we will have to because it continues to change, but we can’t teach them how to think — to ask the right questions — and to take initiative.’”— Need a Job? Invent It
How traumatizing experiences in a child’s first two years can cause longterm damages to the brain
The researchers found that telomeres, which are protective caps that sit on the ends of chromosomes, were shorter in children who had spent more time in the Romanian orphanages. In theory, damage to the telomeres could change the timing of how some cells develop, including those in the brain—making the shorter telomeres a harbinger of future mental difficulties. It was the clearest signal yet that neglect of very young children does not merely stunt their emotional development. It changes the architecture of their brains. Drury, Nelson, and their collaborators are still learning about the orphans. But one upshot of their work is already clear. Childhood adversity can damage the brain as surely as inhaling toxic substances or absorbing a blow to the head can. And after the age of two, much of that damage can be difficult to repair, even for children who go on to receive the nurturing they were denied in their early years. This is a revelation with profound implication—and not just for the Romanian orphans.— The Two Year Window
How Obama could use the sequester negotiations to push his early education plan through
Obama’s early childhood education plan is not necessarily a poison bill but a way around the impasse. Republicans want to stop the sequester, they want to replace it with cuts to retirement programs, and they want Democrats to give them cover on it because it’s incredibly unpopular. Democrats want to reduce the deficit but only in a way that doesn’t reduce inequality. A solution here may be for Obama to offer to pull a large chunk of the revenue he is demanding off the table and replace it with his early childhood education plan. The burden of the deficit reduction would fall disproportionately on the non-rich, but it would also establish a powerful new tool to help poor kids get ahead.— How Obama’s New Early Learning Plan Could Happen
The public should have access to what it paid for. Free access and legal access to what it bought. The tagline is ‘buy one get one.’ If you buy something, you should get access to it. The Growing Adoption of Creative Commons Textbooks
A study by behavioral economists found that paying students for good test scores actually works
In the paper, “The Behavioralist Goes to School: Leveraging Behavioral Economics to Improve Educational Performance,” the authors looked at the test results of more than 7,000 elementary and high school students in the Chicago area. They offered a mix of financial ($10 or $20) and non-financial incentives (a trophy) for improved test performance, and told the students about the rewards right before they took the exam. One of the most powerful findings from the study is that framing a reward as a loss—giving students $20 before an exam, and informing them that they will only get to keep the money if their performance improves—had a more powerful effect than simply handing out the reward after the exam.
From 1987 to 2007 the inflation-adjusted value of a college degree rose by $345,000. But of that $345,000, only $37,000 was due to the college degree becoming more valuable. The remaining $308,000 was due to the high school diploma becoming less valuable Public High Schools Are Not Doing Their Jobs
By 2030, China will have 200 million college graduates—more than the entire U.S. workforce U.S. Education Must Keep up With China’s, India’s Bold Programs
If you look at why [Americans] are here or why their parents are here or their grandparents are here, someone believed that in the United States of America, if you worked hard, you could have a better life. That’s what set us apart. It’s fragile, and we have to make sure that’s [still] true. If it ever becomes not true because the education system can’t deliver it, then there’s no hope of rebuilding it. Condoleezza Rice on Education: American Dream on Verge of Collapse — If America doesn’t reform education, security and upward mobility will suffer, she warns
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