School Things in a Text-y Post  

Posted by Wayne Bretski

1. I have my Masters degree - it's done, and official, and everything. Whoo!

2. We are registered to attend the UNI Overseas Placement Fair in February, which is exciting.

3. You are reading the words of the new basketball coach at school. That's right, I volunteered to spend an additional multiple-hours per week after school...well, I expect it to be pretty fun, and an easy way to get some much-needed exercise. Already started planning out my practices - on second thought, only one hour a day three days a week doesn't sound like enough!

4. I read a great article this weekend. As usual from Becker and Posner, smart thoughts on international school performance data. Does it blow anyone else's mind that these two gentlemen deign to contribute to the blobosphere? Not too much to offer, but their comments ring true to me as a practitioner of the public-education arts. Dense with information. Highlight reel from Posner:

The rankings tend to be interpreted as measures of the quality of a nation’s pre-collegiate school system (primary and secondary education, since primary education influences performance in secondary schools). But this may be a mistake. Schooling is only one, though doubtless an important, input into performance on the PISA tests. Another is IQ...[which] is understood to reflect both genetic endowment and environmental factors, particularly factors operative very early in a child’s life, including prenatal care, maternal health, the educational level of the parents, family stability, and poverty (all these are correlated, and could of course reflect low IQs of parents as well as causing low IQs in their children)...The 2009 PISA test scores reveal that in American schools in which only a small percentage (no more than 10 percent) of the students receive free lunches or reduced-cost lunches, which are benefits provided to students from poor families, the PISA reading test scores are the highest in the world. But in the many American schools in which 75 percent or more of the students are from poor families, the scores are the second lowest among the 34 countries of the OECD; and the OECD includes such countries as Mexico, Turkey, Portugal, and Slovakia...


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