Education May 2019 –

Written by  //  October 2, 2019  //  Education  //  No comments

Higher Education to 2030
The OECD Higher Education to 2030 series takes a forward-looking approach to analyzing the impact of various contemporary trends on tertiary (or postsecondary) education systems.

The Cult of Rich-Kid Sports
A new paper provides stark evidence that Harvard gives preferential treatment to affluent white applicants through legacy preferences and sports recruitment.
(The Atlantic) The researchers found that between 2009 and 2014, more than 40 percent of accepted white students were ALDC—athletes, legacies, “dean’s list” (meaning related to donors), or the children of faculty. Without such preferences, they said, three-quarters of those white students would have been rejected.
The study’s lead author, the Duke economist Peter Arcidiacono, was an expert witness against Harvard in a lawsuit accusing the university of discriminating against Asian applicants. The paper is based on data obtained during the trial.
The findings offer a grab bag for public indignation. You could get angry about the pernicious effect of legacy programs, which reproduce privilege at schools that publicly advertise themselves as crusaders for the poor. Or you could get angry about the dean’s list, which allows some of the richest people in the world to punch a ticket for their undeserving children with an eight-figure donation. …
At a time when youth sport participation is stratifying by income, one could argue that even soccer fields have become the domain of the upper-middle class and above. But true rich-kid sports include water polo, squash, crew, lacrosse, and skiing. One does not simply fall into the river and come out a water-polo star, and no downhill-slalom champions casually roam the halls of low-income high schools. These sports often require formal training, expensive equipment, and upscale facilities. No wonder they are dominated by affluent young players

26 September
AI is coming to schools, and if we’re not careful, so will its biases
Editor’s Note: This story about AI was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.
(Brookings) The automation of a school or university’s administrative tasks and customization of student curricula is not only possible, but imminent. The goal is for our computers to make human-like judgments and perform tasks to make educators’ lives easier, but if we’re not careful, these machines will replicate our racism, too.
Kids from Black and Latino or Hispanic communities—who are often already on the wrong side of the digital divide—will face greater inequalities if we go too far toward digitizing education without considering how to check the inherent biases of the (mostly white) developers who create AI systems. AI is only as good as the information and values of the programmers who design it, and their biases can ultimately lead to both flaws in the technology and amplified biases in the real world.

13 September
Her Only Crime Was Helping Her Kids
Kelley Williams-Bolar, like Felicity Huffman, was punished for trying to get her children a better education.
Both Felicity Huffman and Kelley Williams-Bolar, from their very different vantage points, tried to take advantage of a system they knew to be unfair. In both cases, the real scandal is what is legal, and the real victims the kids deprived of opportunity by dint of their family’s bank account and address.

31 July
Singapore No Longer Ranks Children Based on Exams Because “Learning Is Not a Competition”
Lately, governments around the world have been taking extra steps to ensure the well-being of younger generations. In Oregon, students are encouraged to take mental health days. In Italy, 18-year-olds are given a “culture bonus” to boost their engagement with the arts. And, effective next year, students in Singapore will no longer be ranked by exams. For years, Singaporean primary and secondary school students have been ranked according to their standardized test scores. This, however, fostered an unhealthy environment fueled by competition—a system that Education Minister Ong Ye Kung views as an inherent threat to education.
“I know that ‘coming in first or second,’ in class or level, has traditionally been a proud recognition of a student’s achievement,” he said in a statement. “But removing these indicators is for a good reason, so that the child understands from young that learning is not a competition, but a self-discipline they need to master for life.”

25 July
The global education challenge: Scaling up to tackle the learning crisis
(Brookings) In an era when youth are the fastest-growing segment of the population in many parts of the world, new data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) reveals that an estimated 263 million children and young people are out of school, overwhelmingly in LDCs and LMICs.[1] On current trends, the International Commission on Financing Education Opportunity reported in 2016 that, a far larger number—825 million young people—will not have the basic literacy, numeracy, and digital skills to compete for the jobs of 2030.[2] Absent a significant political and financial investment in their education, beginning with basic education, there is a serious risk that this youth “bulge” will drive instability and constrain economic growth.
Despite progress in gender parity, it will take about 100 years to reach true gender equality at secondary school level in LDCs and LMICs. Lack of education and related employment opportunities in these countries presents national, regional, and global security risks.
Among global education’s most urgent challenges is a severe lack of trained teachers, particularly female teachers. An additional 9 million trained teachers are needed in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.
Refugees and internally displaced people, now numbering over 70 million, constitute a global crisis. Two-thirds of the people in this group are women and children; host countries, many fragile themselves, struggle to provide access to education to such people.

31 May
Paulo Coelho wants to give his books free to schools and libraries in Africa
(Quartz) The novelist said in a tweet today that he was looking to distribute his books in both African cities and rural areas. “I’m going to buy the titles from my publishers [and] give them for free to schools & libraries,” he said, asking his followers to send their requests to an email address.
If one is to credit the hypothetical, then the success of the Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho began very much in Africa.
This came after the translation of his 1988 bestseller The Alchemist, an allegorical novel about a shepherd boy who journeys to the pyramids in Egypt in search of a fortune. When the book was translated into English in 1993, it sold tens of millions of copies and launched the international career of Coelho. The novel, whose manuscript Coelho wrote in just two weeks, became a global phenomenon devoured by youngsters, celebrities and leaders like Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin.

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