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Archive for the 'Education' Category

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Book Giveaway: The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

“The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving is a must read for all ‘do-gooders,’ including the donors who give money and the nonprofits that spend it. The authors have a marvelous way of conveying complex concepts in simple English, including one of the best explanations of benefit-cost analysis that I have ever read. This book is a true gem.” — Sheldon Danziger, University of Michigan

This week our featured book is The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving, by Michael M. Weinstein and Ralph M. Bradburd, published by Columbia Business School Publishing, an imprint of Columbia University Press.

Throughout the week, we will be featuring the book and its authors on our blog as well as on our Twitter feed, and on our Facebook page.

We are also offering TWENTY FREE copies of The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving through a book giveaway at Goodreads. To enter our book giveaway, simply click here and follow the instructions for entering. The giveaway runs through May 27th, so enter today for your chance to win!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving by Michael M. Weinstein

The Robin Hood Rules for Smart Giving

by Michael M. Weinstein

Giveaway ends May 27, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

“This is a great book for both non-profit funders and non-profit leaders. The book’s “relentless monetization” concept — if widely deployed — would dramatically boost the impact of the independent sector. Now let’s get right to work and act on this great advice.” — Mark Tercek, President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The Thursday morning panels at the 2012 Charleston Conference, Twitter-style

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

#UPWeek Blog Tour!

“If we are to have a life of the mind, we need carriers of this life. University presses perform that essential function.” — Jay Parini

Next week, November 11-17, 2012, is the first annual University Press Week. From the AAUP announcement:

Taking place November 11-17, 2012, University Press Week highlights the extraordinary work of university presses and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and an informed society. University Press Week promises special events and readings at universities and in communities across the country, as well as online galleries of selected titles and other features.

One of the parts of the UP Week celebration that we are most excited about here is the University Press Week Blog Tour. From Monday through Friday of next week (November 12-16), the blogs of 26 university presses will be coming together to explain the importance of scholarly publishing. Over the course of the week, each blog will post one official UP Week post. When all of these individual posts are read sequentially, they will tell the story of university presses and the value they have added to public and scholarly life in the United States. You can find the schedule of the UP Week posts here. Be sure to check out all the essays, especially the article to be posted here at the CUP Blog on Friday, November 16. Many of the 26 blogs (including the CUP blog) will also be posting additional UP Week content throughout the week.

Be sure to keep up with University Press Week events and articles through Twitter via the #UPWeek hashtag!

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Charles B. Strozier on memorializing 9/11

The Critical Pulse, Jeffrey Williams and Heather SteffenIn an op-ed that appeared today in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Charles B. Strozier, author of Until the Fires Stopped Burning: 9/11 and New York City in the Words and Experiences of Survivors and Witnesses, and Scott Gabriel Knowles wrote about the responsibility of memorials and museums to keep important historical events like those of September 11, 2001 alive in the public memory.

They believe that, while no expense has been spared in the creation of the 9/11 memorial, it’s too abstract to fulfill its intended purpose:

The Manhattan memorial is . . . disturbingly macabre and unnecessarily abstract. It features water falling 30 feet (for no particular symbolic reason) into a pair of giant, ominous, square holes. Its two representations of the building “footprints” are exactly alike, a redundancy that reflects the towers but evokes no real memorial significance. Only the names of the dead, etched in marble, have the kind of meaning likely to touch visitors; the names of Todd Beamer (the Flight 93 passenger who famously called out, “Let’s roll!”) and Father Mychal Judge (the chaplain of the New York City Fire Department) have been rubbed so often that they have already been repaired more than once.

There were missed opportunities to embrace the clash of opinions in a democracy instead of postmodern abstraction and bland patriotism. Why not preserve the piece of the outer wall of one tower that stood majestically on the pile, which former Metropolitan Museum of Art director Philippe de Montebello described as a “relic of destruction” and “in its own way, a masterpiece”? And why not include some of the beautiful and spontaneous personal memorials from Union Square, some of which are preserved in the New York State Museum in Albany and the New York City Archives (of all places)?


Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Patron-Driven Acquisitions: #AAUP12 and Beyond

At the 2012 Annual Meeting of the Association of American University Presses this past week, one of the hottest topics was the issue of patron-driven acquisitions (PDA) at research libraries. In a panel on Tuesday, Rick Anderson from the University of Utah Libraries and Joseph Esposito, a publishing consultant who often writes about the effect of PDA on the publishing industry, discussed the future of the relationship between academic publishers and academic libraries in the light of rapidly evolving PDA models. They’ve discussed the issue before on several occasions at The Scholarly Kitchen blog.

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Mark C. Taylor on the state of modern higher education

Field Notes From ElsewhereIn a series of three articles published last Friday, Monday, and Tuesday, Mark C. Taylor, chair of the Department of Religion at Columbia University and author of Field Notes From Elsewhere, Refiguring the Spiritual, and the forthcoming Rewiring the Real among other works, addresses the negative role of the profit motive and the great opportunities offered by new technologies in American higher education.

In his first article, “How Competition is Killing Higher Education,” Taylor addresses the ways that competition in higher education “discourages risk taking, leads to overly cautious short-term decisions, produces a mediocre product for the price, and promotes excessive spending on physical plants and bureaucracies.” Drawing on examples from his own experiences with the tutoring program at Williams College, Taylor shows how much weight the various rankings systems can have for institutions of higher learning:

I’ll give an example from Williams College, where I taught for 37 years. A decade ago, the new president conducted a review of the school’s tutorial program, which was modeled on one at the University of Oxford. The tutorials consisted of eight to 10 students who met with a professor weekly in groups of two to three to discuss papers they had written. The new administration opted to expand the tutorials — a choice based on more than academics.

Williams had dropped from first to third in the U.S. News rankings, a matter of concern on campus and among alumni. One way the school could reclaim its top position was by reducing overall class size and decreasing the faculty-student ratio. When the faculty voted to increase the number of tutorials, the administration changed its accounting system without announcing it. A tutorial consisting of 10 students, for example, that met three times in groups of three or four counted as three classes. Maybe it was a coincidence, but within a couple of years Williams was again No. 1 on the U.S. News list.

Taylor also addresses the exponential rise in university construction projects:

The construction arms race on campus is the most visible example of competition run amok. To become more attractive to potential consumers, many colleges and universities undertake overly ambitious expansions. In some cases, new facilities contribute to educational programs, but too often they are tangential and trap institutions in a costly cycle: The new athletic center, dorm or student center starts to look faded when competing schools open theirs, and it never ends.


Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Caryl Rivers on The False Promises of Single-Sex Education

Caryl Rivers, The Truth About Girls and Boys

As the dubious assertions regarding differences between girls and boys begins to take hold, there has bee a push for single-sex education. In an article in the Huffington Post from earlier this month, Caryl Rivers coauthor of The Truth About Boys and Girls: Challenging Toxic Stereotypes About Our Children, describes the growth of the single-sex movement and the rise of “self-appointed gurus” spearheading it:

Leonard Sax, head of the National Association for Single Sex Public Education and best-selling author of Why Gender Matters and Michael Gurian (The Wonder of Boys) have been pushing the single-sex agenda. They speak before huge audiences of teachers, parents and school administrators and are the darlings of the media, drawing extensive coverage in which their statements about “science” are generally accepted as fact.

The single-sex movement in public schools has been growing fast. According to the New York Times, there were only two single-sex public schools in the mid-1990s; today, there are more than 500 public schools in 40 states that offer some single-sex academic classes.

The problem as Rivers points out is that the “science” supporters of single-sex education use to back up their claims has been refuted by many scientists and researchers. These findings were published and discusses in a recent issue of Science. Moreover the schools Rivers and her coauthor Rosalind Barnett have visited seem to suggest that single-sex education does not match up to the claims made by its supporters:

We’ve looked at the claims for single-sex schools and find that many are just plain wrong. For example, both Sax and Gurian argue that the brains of boys and girls are so different that they should be parented and educated in very different ways. But research does not support such assumptions. After an exhaustive review of the scientific literature on human brains from childhood to adolescence, neuroscientist Lise Eliot found “surprisingly little evidence of sex differences in children’s brains.” Eliot is an associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School and one of the authors of the Science article. In her book Pink Brain, Blue Brain, Eliot accuses Sax and Gurian of pushing shoddy science.

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Rosalind Barnett: Taking Gender Out of the Classroom

Truth About Boys and Girls, Rosalind Barnett“Claims of large gender differences are so pervasive and oft-repeated that they are assumed to be true. However, scores of peer-reviewed studies suggest that these claims are invalid. The fact that they are repeated over and over doesn’t make them true.”—Rosalind Barnett

The quote above is from a recent interview with Rosalind Barnett, coauthor of the forthcoming The Truth About Girls and Boys: Challenging Toxic Stereotypes About Our Children, published in The Mark.

In the interview Barnett challenges those who argue that there are innate differences in the cognitive abilities of boys and girls and in the way they learn. She suggests that the differences that do emerge are a result of learned behavior and that the disparities between boys and girls in the classroom can be minimized by teachers being aware of their own gender stereotypes. Barnett says:

To date, there is scant evidence for innate gender differences of any magnitude on a range of cognitive and other abilities. Moreover, when gender differences are reported, they are due largely to differential and therefore modifiable (e.g., learning, encouragement, specific training). Thus, evidence of a gender difference is not necessarily evidence that the difference in question is innate.

Finally, teachers need to look beyond stereotypes and view each child as an individual. Some boys gravitate toward math, and so do some girls. Some girls excel in English, as do some boys. Some boys are athletic and so are some girls. Some girls prefer quiet activities and so do some boys.

Even if we admit that there are innate differences it should not lead to separating boys and girls in the classroom. Barnett responds:

Let’s say there are such differences. Is the argument then that homogeneity is better than heterogeneity? We’ve fought lots of battles to have heterogeneous classes, with respect to race and socioeconomic status and so forth – so why would you now introduce the notion that we should have homogeneity with respect to gender in learning environments? Why would this form of segregation be deemed beneficial when other forms of segregation are not? What’s the rationale? Wouldn’t learning be enhanced if children who learned one way were interacting with children who learned a different way?

If homogeneity is good, then is the argument that we should then re-segregate classes by race?

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Richard Kahlenberg on Cathie Black

Cathie Black

“The qualities needed to run the New York City public school system — not only a knowledge of education, but also some understanding of the circumstances of regular New York City students and their families — are not easily learned in the penthouse suite.”—Richard Kahlenberg on the resignation New York City school chancellor Cathie Black

Richard Kahlenberg author of Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy, has been participating in an ongoing debate on the New York Times site on education. Not surprisingly today’s subject was the resignation of school chancellor Cathie Black after a controversial three-month tenure.

In his post Putting a Theory to Rest, Kahlenberg argues that Black’s resignation should force us to reconsider a in education reform that experts from the private sector should be called in to fix up the “mess” of public education. Black, who had no experience in education spent much of her time being prepped on the issues rather which “prevented her from effectively leading the nation’s largest school district.”

Ultimately, as Kahlenberg writes:

“[Black's] tenure also exposed the shortcomings of the cult of the private sector. Behind Ms. Black’s appointment seemed to lie the assumption that surely, if someone had succeeded in the rough and tumble of the private market, doing well in the softer, less-well compensated public sector would, by comparison, be a piece of cake. Hedge fund managers, who have played a dominant role in pushing market-oriented school reforms, like nonunionized charter schools, have had their comeuppance as improving achievement has proven far more difficult than they anticipated. And yet the worship of the market is so complete that even a Democratic president’s signature initiative relies on a competitive Race to the Top. In fact, the qualities needed to run the New York City public school system — not only a knowledge of education, but also some understanding of the circumstances of regular New York City students and their families — are not easily learned in the penthouse suite.”

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Richard Kahlenberg on Education Reform

Richard Kahlenberg“How did the budget crisis — brought on by a recession caused by Wall Street — end up in the laps of America’s schoolteachers? How did teachers, most of whom work very hard every day to educate schoolchildren, become the scapegoats in education reforms circles?”—Richard Kahlenberg

One of the most interesting and thoughtful commentators on education issues is Richard Kahlenberg, author of Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy. With recent attacks against teachers and discussions surrounding education “reform,” his correctives regarding unions and school performance are increasingly important.

He was recently a participant in a New York Times Room for Debate discussion which asked the question Why Blame Teachers? (see quote above.) Kahlenberg writes about how the development of the teacher’s union has unfairly led to the demonization of teachers:

As teacher power grew, unions sometimes overreached, by protecting incompetent members and fighting efforts to pay excellent teachers more. The American Federation of Teachers, led by Shanker, and today by Randi Weingarten, responded by supporting innovative ways of weeding out bad teachers, through peer review, and fair methods of rewarding excellent ones.

Nevertheless, a new brand of self-styled education reformers, many of them Democrats, has vilified teachers and their unions, suggesting that they only care about themselves, not the students they teach every day. Even President Obama favored the firing of every single unionized teacher in Rhode Island’s Central Falls High School. Union officials say they feel like Obama’s Sister Souljah.


Monday, November 29th, 2010

Caryl Rivers, Rosalind Chait Barnett: Single-Sex Ed Based on Baloney Science

The Truth About Boys and GirlsIn a recent op-ed Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Chait Barnett, authors of the forthcoming The Truth About Girls and Boys: Challenging Toxic Stereotypes About Our Children, applaud the recent decision by Boston school superintendent Carol Johnson to back away from an earlier decision to set up single-sex academies in the city’s schools.

Rivers and Barnett argue that arguments for single-sex education are based on false scientific assumptions. They point to recent studies that debunk the notion that there are biological or neurological differences between the brains of boys and girls. Moreover, large-scale studies of single-sex and co-ed classrooms indicate that neither type of classroom is superior in terms of academic achievement. The drive for single-sex education is often led by people with political motivations who draw on pseudo-science to back up their claims.

Rivers and Barnett conclude by citing the neuroscientist Lise Elliot:

Lise Eliot argues that the danger of exaggerating the biological differences between the sexes is enormous: “Kids rise or fall according to what we believe about them, and the more we dwell on the differences between boys and girls, the likelier such stereotypes are to crystallize into children’s self-perceptions and self-fulfilling prophecies.”

But we continue to believe that girls can’t do math and that boys’ verbal abilities are innately deficient–neither of which is true.

So kudos to Boston Superintendent Johnson for resisting the easy temptation to go with popular–but very unscientific–school policies. Maybe she’s started a parade for that many educators will join.