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Teacher tenure: Yes!

Robin Lakoff, professor emerita of linguistics | August 22, 2014

In his New York Times op-ed of August 19, Frank Bruni has become only the latest in a long line of authoritative people to denounce teacher tenure. By so doing, Bruni enters the race to become my least favorite Times columnist, against the stiff competition of Maureen Dowd and David Brooks. If you have been … Continue reading »

What ‘Ivory Tower’ gets wrong

Nicholas Dirks, professor of history and anthropology | July 23, 2014

The documentary film Ivory Tower takes on national debates about higher education and renders them as compelling dramas, stories, and scenes. Andrew Rossi, the film’s talented director, previously used similar techniques to raise probing questions about the future of print journalism in an age of digitalization in his film Page One. Now Rossi asks whether “college is … Continue reading »

A new model of school reform

Vicki Zakrzewski, education director, Greater Good Science Center | May 22, 2014

Last week, The New Yorker reported that Mark Zuckerberg’s 2010 gift of $100 million to the Newark School District hadn’t really improved the schools — with most of the money having been spent on labor contracts and consulting fees. Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), an urban district with demographics and challenges … Continue reading »

What’s wrong with grit?

Vicki Zakrzewski, education director, Greater Good Science Center | March 21, 2014

Grit is all over the news these days — the “latest fad in schools, ” according to author Alfie Kohn. With research suggesting that grit is linked to academic success, many policy makers, school leaders, and educators are crossing their fingers that this might be the silver bullet needed to give a boost to struggling students.  … Continue reading »

Five ways to encourage giving to disadvantaged public schools

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | February 7, 2014

As governments have slashed funding for public education, more and more school districts have turned to parents for help—and parents have responded to the call. Case in point: In San Francisco, PTA budgets have increased by 800 percent over the past 10 years, according to an investigation I conducted with colleagues at the San Francisco … Continue reading »

How to integrate social-emotional learning into Common Core

Vicki Zakrzewski, education director, Greater Good Science Center | January 22, 2014

Do the Common Core State Standards undermine social-emotional learning? Many educators think so. In a recent Ed Week op-ed, an elementary principal argued that teachers were too busy teaching Common Core to address the social-emotional development of their students. I’ve heard the same argument from many teachers. This is troubling given that researchers strongly suggest that the learning … Continue reading »

Transportation policy is housing policy

Stephen Menendian, assistant director, Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley | September 6, 2013

Many years ago Haas Institute Executive Director john powell warned education advocates that “housing is education policy” — a refrain now regarded as common wisdom. The insight behind this assertion is a recognition that patterns of racial and economic isolation that manifest in schools and other educational environments are chiefly a function of residential housing … Continue reading »

How to reduce violence after school closures

Vicki Zakrzewski, education director, Greater Good Science Center | May 24, 2013

Chicago is moving ahead with plans to close 50 schools in the city’s school district, the third largest in the nation; similar closings are currently on the table in other major U.S. cities, including Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. These plans have been met with angry protests from teachers and parents who argue that the closures … Continue reading »

Better to work with the schools we have

David Kirp, professor emeritus of public policy | March 26, 2013

School board elections are usually placid affairs, but that wasn’t the case in the recent Los Angeles election. Would-be kingmakers, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and media magnate Rupert Murdoch, spent nearly $4 million to defeat incumbent Steve Zimmer. Zimmer’s sin was to question the untrammeled growth of charter schools and the over-reliance … Continue reading »

Wealth and motivations for saving

Carola Conces Binder, Ph.D. candidate, economics | March 24, 2013

In a recent column in the Atlantic called “Building the Wealth of the Poor and Middle Class,” Noah Smith suggests a few ways to improve the unequal distribution of wealth in America. He notes that “one obvious thing we could do to make wealth more equal is – surprise! -redistribution…Giving the poor and middle-class more income will … Continue reading »

Geography of inequality

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | June 11, 2012

One vision of the digital electronic future is that it would “erase” place and space. One can Skype over a cell phone with people half a globe away. A law firm can send audio to India and get back transcriptions in the morning. A firm in California can order goods from Korea and have them … Continue reading »

School desegregation and the fear years

Jonathan Simon, professor of law | May 30, 2012

UC Berkeley Professor David Kirp’s powerful op-ed in the May 20th Sunday Review section of The New York Times (read it here) restating the overwhelming social-science case in favor of school desegregation drew a bevy of weighty and thoughtful letters in the  New York Times (read them here). That evidence shows that the educational gap … Continue reading »

Best not to label kids as being good or bad at math

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, professor of psychology | August 17, 2011

This week, the media picked up on a recently published article in Developmental Science by researchers at Johns Hopkins (Libertus, Fiegneson, and Halbreda, 2011) suggesting that children as young as three with the ability to quickly differentiate smaller vs. bigger amounts– a “math sense” of sorts– also performed better in a more formal math task. … Continue reading »

Blind spot: How reactionary colorblindness has infected our courts and our politics

Ian Haney López, Earl Warren Professor of Public Law | June 9, 2011

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne knows racism when he sees it, and he isn’t afraid to publicly castigate the most recent agents of race hate. Horne is an outspoken opponent of racism in a state roiling with tensions about “illegal aliens” and “anchor babies.” The bigotry Horne especially rebukes? Courses like “Latino literature.” If Horne … Continue reading »

Women graduating

Claude Fischer, professor of sociology | May 26, 2011

It’s the season of graduation in America and, increasingly, that means it’s the season of women, too. This year, about 3 women will get their B.A. degrees for every 2 men who do. About 50 years ago, the ratio was about 2 men to every 1 woman. In a society that treats a college degree … Continue reading »

High GPAs, low happiness?

Christine Carter, director, Greater Good Parents | May 12, 2011

With the stress of finals upon many high school (and middle school!) students, I’m hoping we can pause for a moment to put it into perspective. Because the statistics on teen stress, my friends, are scary. Like most parents, I want my children to succeed in school, and I’d like them to go to college. More … Continue reading »

Why do we undercapitalize white-collar workers?

Michael O'Hare, professor of public policy | May 10, 2011

The  paper SF Chronicle has a front-page story about the crisis of deferred maintenance at California’s state universities.  I’ll put up a link when it’s available online; meanwhile, things are as bad as you think. Dangerous things like leaks into electrical cabinets, power outages, a blackboard that fell off the wall and injured a grad student … Continue reading »