Tag Archives | Education

Psychologist: Schools Treat Boys Like ‘Defective Girls’

Our Gang-School's OutChristina Hoff Sommers investigates whether schools aren’t doing enough to help their young male students.

Being a boy can be a serious liability in today’s classroom. As a group, boys are noisy, rowdy and hard to manage. Many are messy, disorganized and won’t sit still. Young male rambunctiousness, according to a recent study, leads teachers to underestimate their intellectual and academic abilities. “Girl behavior is the gold standard in schools,” says psychologist Michael Thompson. “Boys are treated like defective girls.”

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America Comes Out With Student Debt

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Picture by flickr user Jagz Mario (CC)

Student debt activist Kyle McCarthy details some of the latest news  and personal stories in the ongoing battle against usurious corporations like Sallie Mae.

via Kyle McCarthy at Armchair Advocates:

For many today, higher education is being pushed further out of reach due to skyrocketing tuition and overwhelming student debt. In fact, from 1978 to 2011, tuition increased more than 900%, 650 points above US inflation.

And as tuition has climbed, so has student debt. Over the past eight years, total educational debt has nearly tripled in size and the average monthly student loan payment is $500. Today, nearly 40 million Americans hold more than $1 Trillion in student loan debt, which is having drastic effects on individual student-borrowers, families, and the American economy. With the increase in borrowing, people have delayed major purchases such as houses and cars. In 2011, first-time home purchases decreased for the first time since 2006, and One Wisconsin Now estimates that the student debt crisis translates into over $6 billion in lost automotive sales each year.

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“Unschooling:” Less Factory, More Garden

schoolsucksUnschooling takes to heart the old maxim that one should never let one’s schooling interfere with one’s education. This article from CNN describes unschooling in a formal setting, but it is more commonly practiced as a form of home-school:

Six-year-old Karina Ricci doesn’t ever have a typical day. She has no schedule to follow, no lessons to complete.

She spends her time watching TV, doing arts and crafts or practicing the piano. She learned to spell by e-mailing with friends; she uses math concepts while cooking dinner.

Everything she knows has been absorbed “organically,” according to her dad, Dr. Carlo Ricci. She’s not just on summer break — this is her life year round as an at-home unschooler.

“It’s incredible how capable she is,” Ricci said in a phone interview from his home in Toronto, Ontario. “And I think that all young people are that capable … if you don’t tell them they can’t or they’re not allowed, they surprise us in a lot of ways.”

Ricci is professor of alternative learning at Nipissing University and an advocate of unschooling, a concept that’s gaining popularity in both Canada and the United States thanks to frustration with the current public education system.… Read the rest

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Educating the Potential Human – Skepticism, Psychical Research and a New Age of Reason

Seeking HarmonyAfter a recent investigation into the public presentation of anomalistic science, it’s fairly clear to me (as if it wasn’t already) that much of the information being fed into the popular consciousness is nothing more than hyped up fantasy fixed and formatted for mass mediated consumption. With Dean Radin’s new book, Supernormal, reaching the top if it’s sales categories on Amazon, and ranking high in the Nielsen ratings, there is an obvious desire for more detailed investigations of these areas that go beyond the paranormalist freak show and the skeptical sub-culture’s deflated debunking.

The binary argument of real vs. fake, of truth vs. fraud, or any such division, is merely a set up to market to one side or the other, and both proponents and defamers alike rely on each other to stoke the fires of contention so that an audience lulled by the rhythms of the work place will feel called to seek some solace in the untenable possibilities of the unknown, or the thin empowerment of a pseudo-scientific righteousness found in the knowledge that all their dreams and fears from childhood have been firmly put to bed by the cold light of rational, technological progress.… Read the rest

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Two Lectures and One Interview: Eric R. Kandel on learning, memory, and individuality; Elon Musk on the Future of Energy and Transport; and Ladar Levison on Lavabit

via chycho

Two lectures and one interview well worth the watch:


I. Eric R. Kandel: The Molecular Biology of Memory Storage and the Biological Basis of Individuality
In my opinion and those of many others, the root cause of our society’s ills is how we deal with education, and the following lecture by Eric Kandel emphasizes this point. The argument is made that evolving, learning, memory; our humanity should be looked upon in a holistic manner. That our genes do not necessarily decide who we become; our culture, our methods of learning and teaching, our setting is what decides our individuality, and we, in large part, are in control of our future.


II. Elon Musk: the Future of Energy & Transport
Tesla Motors and Elon Musk have been all the rage lately, and rightfully so considering Tesla just blew away their quarterly earnings and Musk just revealed details of Hyperloop (pdf), a “hypothetical mode of high-speed transportation” which he has proposed.… Read the rest

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What If You Could Learn Everything?

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Can software save education, or will it give those in power more control? Knewton, an education technology startup appears to be selling the moon. What if they are not, and this is the beginning of bright future in public education?

via The Daily Beast

Imagine every student has a tireless personal tutor, an artificially intelligent and inexhaustible companion that magically knows everything, knows the student, and helps her learn what she needs to know. “‘You guys sound like you’re from the future,’” Jose Ferreira, the CEO of the education technology startup Knewton, says. “That’s the most common reaction we get from others in the industry.”

When I first met Ferreira four years ago, this kind of talk sounded like typical Silicon Valley bluster from another scruffy, boyish founder of a technology startup. Today, he can back up the kinds of breakthroughs he says his company can deliver: several million data points generated daily by each of 1 million students from elementary school through college, using Knewton’s “adaptive learning” technology to study math, reading, and other fundamentals.

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Gates Foundation Testing Biosensors To Monitor Students’ Moods

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Because kids have no right to hide their thoughts from adults, the Chicago Tribune reports:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has poured more than $4 billion into efforts to transform public education in the U.S., is pushing to develop an “engagement pedometer.” Biometric devices wrapped around the wrists of students would identify which classroom moments excite and interest them — and which fall flat.

The foundation has given $1.4 million in grants to several university researchers to begin testing the devices in middle-school classrooms this fall.

The biometric bracelets, produced by Affectiva Inc, send a small current across the skin and then measure subtle changes in electrical charges as the sympathetic nervous system responds to stimuli. The wireless devices have been used in pilot tests to gauge consumers’ emotional response to advertising.

Gates officials hope the devices, known as Q Sensors, can become a common classroom tool, enabling teachers to see, in real time, which kids are tuned in and which are zoned out.

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Summer Vacation In Mind Control Camp

mind controlVia Salon, Suzanne Clores reminisces:

In a Greek Orthodox Church annex in suburban New Jersey, I’m about to start my first morning of a four-week mind control summer camp. It is 1980. I am 9 years old. The classroom resembles an industrial park conference room.

The Silva Mind Control Method was founded in the 1950s, but taught in the 1960s around the same time as the Human Potential Movement. The HPM was an American subculture that yielded “The Inner Peace Movement,” thinkers like Alan Watts and Jean Houston, and the Esalen Institute.

The self-educated American parapsychologist Jose Silva trained his own children in deep relaxation, visualization and ESP techniques in effort to help them in school, and noticed remarkable improvement. Thirteen years later, the Silva Mind Control Method was founded.

The instructor, a woman named Mimi, scurried from desk to desk to introduce herself to the reluctant kids. I followed her strange directions without hesitation.

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Booz Allen Hamilton’s Push Into Online Education

boozallenBooz Allen Hamilton… partnering with your school? Occupy Education Press writes:

In the wake of former Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden’s revelation about the NSA’s massive surveillance scheme, I’ve started to wonder what else this strange company has been up to. A lot, it turns out.

Partnering with institutions like Farleigh Dickinson University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton @ Work program, Booz Allen has apparently been a major force in the shove towards internet-based education. This is particularly significant when we take into account that they’ve also worked alongside the NSA to monitor and record virtually all communications and exchanges over the net and our phones.

I’ll leave you with this quote from a Booz Allen position paper on “Effectiveness and Efficiency: Reimagining Government,” which makes clear how Booz Allen sees online education as a strategic surveillance tool and the current climate of budget cuts as the perfect time to prey:

The aging workforce and record budget deficits require an end to business as usual…a window of opportunity to enact transformative change.

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