Sunday, November 23, 2008

Teens getting dumber?

It's official - Teens are getting dumber - ParentDish
The study reviewed test scores of 800 thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds and compared them with similar tests of teens from 1976, a generation ago. The results? In one test, only one in ten of the current teens tested with top scores, down from one in four twenty years ago. In another, only one in twenty reached the top score compared to one in five from the 1976 batch. Professor Michael Shayer, who lead the study, believes the educational focus on testing (rather than learning) is at least partially to blame. Focusing on testing leaves little time for teaching development skills such as those required in the tests that were part of the study.

Primarily, however, Shayer believes that television and video games are responsible for the decline. Participating in these "non" activities leads to a lack of being involved in other things such as playing with gadgets and tools which develop higher level thinking. The UK education system has responded that measures were being taken to "ease the burden" of testing. According to the article in the Mail Online, the UK government had also scrapped the SATs for fourteen-year-olds.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still need a majority to win...

Forget Red vs. Blue -- It's the Educated vs. People Easily Fooled by Propaganda | Media and Technology | AlterNet
Millions of Americans live in a non-reality-based belief system informed by childish clich├ęs - they can barely differentiate between lies and truth.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rhee on unions

New York Times: A School Chief Takes On Tenure, Stirring a Fight
Tenure is the holy grail of teacher unions,” she said, “but has no educational value for kids; it only benefits adults. If we can put veteran teachers who have tenure in a position where they don’t have it, that would help us to radically increase our teacher quality. And maybe other districts would try it, too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Time for the U.S. to wage a unilateral war on world hunger

ecosalon :: the green gathering :: Could Just 4 of the Wall Street Bailout End World Hunger
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stated that it would only take $30 billion a year to launch the necessary agricultural programs to completely solve global food insecurity. (Severe hunger afflicts 862 million people annually.)

$30 billion sounds like a lot of money, but considering we've just bailed out Wall Street to the tune of nearly a trillion, it's trifling. After I did a little digging, all I could think was...really? $30 billion is all we need to end world hunger? That's it? I thought such a major goal would require some unreachable, vast sum. Here are six things I learned we're doing with that money instead.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pregant? Put down the coffee and soda pop.

Even a little caffeine may harm fetus, study finds | Reuters
Women who drank one to two cups of coffee daily, or between 100-199 milligrams, had a 20 percent increased risk of having a baby of low birth weight, the study found. This was compared to women who consumed less than 100 milligrams daily.