Archives for : educational issues

US NEWS Top Ranking of Political Science Undergrad Programs

1. Harvard

2. Princeton

3. Stanford

4. University of Michigan Ann Arbor

5. Yale University

6.  University of California Berkeley

7. University of California San Diego

8. Duke

9.  MIT

10. University of California Los Angeles

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Canva is currently in beta. You will have to sign up and wait for an invitation.

Social Media and College Acceptance

via Education Dive

Attention all graduating seniors and parents:  Check out The New York Times: They Loved Your G.P.A. Then They Saw Your Tweets.

  • While less than a third of admissions officers say they check students’ social media, the practice is growing and many colleges do not have firm policies on it.
  • Admissions officials shared anecdotes about sometimes rejecting an applicant because of material found online.
  • A lawyer specializing in social media law says looking at posts online is dangerous because colleges might wrongly identify the account of a person with the same name as a prospective student.


Students have little to gain from having their postings publicly available. It’s hard to find a story of an admissions officer stumbling across something positive and throwing open the gates of the university to a student. The advice for sharing judiciously on social media goes for college faculty, too.  The first amendment rights can be liberally construed or not!

Common Core Needs Tailoring for Gifted Learners, Advocates Say

via Education Week

Common Core Needs Tailoring for Gifted Learners, Advocates Say

Gina Tampio sits for a photograph as her husband, Nick Tampio, plays soccer with their sons, Giuliano, 7, Luca, 5, and Nicola, 2, in their backyard in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Tampio says Giuliano, who is in 2nd grade and an advanced learner, has lost interest in school since common-core standards rolled out at his elementary school last year.

Gina Tampio sits for a photograph as her husband, Nick Tampio, plays soccer with their sons, Giuliano, 7, Luca, 5, and Nicola, 2, in their backyard in Mamaroneck, N.Y. Tampio says Giuliano, who is in 2nd grade and an advanced learner, has lost interest in school since common-core standards rolled out at his elementary school last year.
—Ramin Talaie for The Education Week

Still, educators may have to go deeper to meet the needs of such students

While many educators feel that the common-core standards fall more in line with the pedagogy of gifted education than previous states’ standards, the standards in and of themselves will not be sufficient to challenge a school’s most advanced learners, gifted education advocates say.

“Some students will be able to meet the standards faster than others, and the developers [of the common core] realized that one size does not fit all,” said Jane Clarenbach, the director of public education for the National Association for Gifted Children in Washington. “They specifically [said that] children with disabilities and advanced learners are going to need more.”

The bottom line, said Ms. Clarenbach: Differentiation continues to be necessary for gifted learners under the common core.

But some parents of gifted children as well as gifted education advocates worry that until teachers gain a strong understanding of the standards, advanced learners may not receive the supports and differentiation they need to stay engaged and challenged.

Jared B. Dupree, the secondary mathematics coordinator for the eastern region of the 664,000-student Los Angeles Unified School District, explained.

“In order to differentiate, you have to understand the standards and know what they entail. That’s ground zero,” he said. “I don’t see … a strong outlook for quality differentiation for the gifted population for years … maybe three or four years down the road.”

As part of his job, Mr. Dupree works with educators of gifted and talented students in nearly 180 Los Angeles schools to teach them how to implement the new common-core math standards.

In moving to the common core, Mr. Dupree said, some schools are also relying less on prepackaged textbooks and curricula, which can make the transition even more challenging for educators and curriculum writers.

That is also the case in the Autumn Creek Elementary School in the 5,500-student Yorkville district in Illinois. Ashley E. Badger, the gifted resource teacher there, said her team has been knee-deep in rewriting and aligning the school’s curriculum to the common-core standards for the past three years.

The school rolled out the math standards last year and is rolling out the English/language arts standards for the first time this year. Having teams of teachers, including gifted educators, rewrite the standards, and moving from a textbook to teacher-gathered curricula and resources, was intentional, said Ms. Badger.

“The administration felt that by teachers having to filter through the common-core standards and the new curriculum, they were getting more ownership over what they already had to teach,” she said. “It gave them a deeper understanding of what they needed their children to learn as well.”


Tufts will take the Universal College Ap



via Headcount

Tufts University will soon allow students to apply via the Universal College Application, the institution announced on Friday. The university previously accepted only the Common Application, which has experienced technical difficulties since introducing a new online system, in August.

Tufts is the second institution this month to join the Universal College Application. (Princeton University was the other.)

Problems with Common Ap cause colleges to push back deadlines


via the Washington Post  by Valerie Strauss

Problems with the new version of the online Common Application — which is accepted for college admissions by more than 500 colleges and universities — has prompted some schools to push back early decision deadlines, and others are waiting to see when the problems are resolved before deciding whether to do the same thing.

Panicked students and high school admissions counselors as well as college admissions offices have been complaining for weeks that many students have had problems getting onto the Common App site, including staying on the site, entering information, requesting teacher recommendations  and making payments.

For some time, essays that were entered into the Common App writing section showed no paragraph breaks because, according to a recent e-mail from Common App spokesman Rob Killion, “Paragraph breaks weren’t originally supported in our writing text box (Line breaks yes, paragraph breaks no).”  Students and counselors spent hours trying to find ways to get around it, but there was no way to do so until it was fixed.

This note was on the Common App Web site Tuesday morning:

We are aware that some users are experiencing problems with the PDF previews. We are investigating the cause and will report as soon as we have information to share. As frustrating as this problem is for those who encounter it, please know that it is not systemic and does not impact all users.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgia Tech are among the schools that have announced that the original Oct. 15 deadlines have been pushed back to Oct. 21 after weeks of troubles with the Common App Web site.  Other schools, such as Princeton University, gave students a different method of applying, such as using the Universal College Application, which is different than the Common App. The Universal College Application is accepted at about three dozen schools, but more may sign on now.

American Parents lag behind their Global Peers too!

Via Education Week Teacher


On Tuesday, results of a study called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies were released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), bringing to light not altogether surprising information: American adults–not just kids–lag behind their global peers in math, reading, and problem-skills. The study findings “reinforced just how large the gap is between the nation’s high- and low-skilled workers and how hard it is to move ahead when your parents haven’t.” Adults with college-educated parents were far more likely to have gone to college themselves, and to have higher skills and better wages as a result. Unfortunately, these results belie the prevalence of the iconic first-generation college student, who defeats all odds and lifts him or herself to a better station than that of the previous generation.

Americans Strongly Support Experiential Learning

from a Northeastern University study released 10-8-2013


Amer­i­cans strongly sup­port expe­ri­en­tial learning in which a student’s class­room edu­ca­tion is inte­grated with pro­fes­sional work expe­ri­ence. Nearly nine in 10 Amer­i­cans (89 per­cent) believe that stu­dents with work expe­ri­ence related to their field of study are more suc­cessful employees—and nearly three in four hiring decision-​​makers (74 per­cent) agree. Among those that gained work expe­ri­ence during col­lege, a large majority (82 per­cent) says it was valu­able for their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional development.

No Federal Mandate for Gifted Education since 2011

via Education Week

Currently, there is no federal requirement that schools offer gifted services for students and no dollars allocated to states to provide them. The Jacob K. Javits federal grant program, which provided $7.4 million annually in grants for gifted education research and for efforts to serve under-represented populations, was cancelled in 2011.

Sixth grader Raymond Dai works on a robotics computer program at the Challenge School in Denver.
—Nathan W. Armes for Education Week

Program support also varies greatly from state to state and district to district. According to research from the Washington-based National Association for Gifted Children, 14 of the 43 states it surveyed provided no funding for gifted education in 2012-13, and six states cut funding for gifted education between the 2009-10 and 2012-13 school years. While 32 states mandated some level of gifted services, only four fully funded the mandate, while eight were unfunded.

The situation gets even more complicated at the district level, said Nancy Green, the association’s executive director. Most localities decide independently how to determine giftedness and what services to provide for students deemed gifted. Parents often must press education leaders to test their children for giftedness, provide enrichment opportunities and pull-out programs for gifted students, and offer professional development for teachers in gifted education, she added.

“Parents too often find that many schools are not willing to make even the most basic changes in a child’s curriculum that could make a major difference for a gifted and talented student,” Ms. Green said. “Parents can [then] find themselves advocating at many levels—in their child’s school, at the district level, and sometimes even with state legislators, as they make the cases for services.”

‘The Black Eye’

Low-income and minority parents have been pushed to advocacy because of their children’s underrepresentation in gifted education programs, as shown in national enrollment figures.

As of 2012, white and Asian students made up nearly three-fourths of students enrolled in gifted and talented programs in the U.S., disproportionate to their total student enrollment percentage, according to the U.S Department of Education. Latino and black students, by contrast, made up 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively, of those enrolled in gifted programs nationally, while they in turn represented 25 percent and 19 percent of the student population, respectively.

What do you think?  Do you have a gifted child that is currently receiving services?  Not receiving services?  Does the outlook look better or worse for gifted education in your district?

Read more here

Los Angeles Unified Puts IPADS in Hands of All Students


via Educational Dive

This year marks the start of Los Angeles Unified School District’s massive $1-billion iPad deployment. Putting one of the Apple devices in the hands of all 640,000 of its students is an ambitious move by the nation’s second-largest school district—perhaps even too ambitious for the seemingly short time frame in which it was launched.

There have been some bumps in the road and we can all learn from their struggles so that when we roll out these tablet adoptions, we can minimize the mistakes.  Here are some of them:

  • Take your time.  Their plan was to roll out all 640,000 ipads by the end of 2014.  They are going to struggle to meet that deadline.
  • Make sure the Wi-Fi is upgraded at each school and plan for those expenses in your budget. An Ipad with insufficient wifi is frustrating to use.
  • Make sure that your students have access to the bluetooth keyboards for various parts of the curriculum.
  • Make sure your teachers know at least as much as their students.  Kids are very adept right from the start at using their ipad.
  • Find out who is going to be responsible for breakage and losses.

If your school is considering a tablet adoption consider pairing the hardware with the available software.  Los Angeles Unified paired Apple with software from Pearson Education.  Per their contract Apple is responsible for replacing equipment that is broken up to 5% of the contract price.