31 de maio de 2011

Fellowship Pays Students $100,000 To Not Attend College


In an apparent hunt for the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates (both famously college dropouts), Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, will pay 24 college-aged students $100,000 to not attend college for two years. Instead, the students will spend their time developing business ideas in areas such as biotechnology, education and energy.
Of the 400 entrepreneurial-minded applicants, the 24 winners, who are all 20-years-old or younger, will work — where else? — in Silicon Valley with a network of more than 100 mentors who will help develop their ideas. The fellowship program, which plucked students from institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has been quite controversial as Thiel openly admits he is hoping the winners will learn more in those two years working than they would have by being in school (at some of our nation's most prestigious universities, mind you).
And this is not the first time Thiel, who received his bachelor's and law degrees from Stanford, has been outspokenly opposed to higher ed. In April, he told TechCrunch that he sees higher education as the next bubble, comparable to previously overvalued markets like technology and housing.
College has received a lot of negative publicity as of late as a series ofrecent reports have questioned the payoff of higher education. Still, while Gates and Zuckerberg might be stellar examples of achievement without a college degree, these billionaire CEOs are in the (microscopic) minority. Indeed, their success is so noteworthybecause of how unlikely it is. For the rest of us, the 2010 U.S. Census shows adults who graduate from four-year colleges earn, on average, $19,550 more per year than those adults with only a high school diploma.
Nevertheless, for the 24 students, dropping out of college for the fellowship was worth the gamble. The real test for Thiel's ambitious program will come in two years when his prodigies will decide whether to continue pursuing their start-ups dreams without the help of college, or to re-enroll.
Time Magazine

38% of College Students Can’t Go 10 Minutes Without Tech [STATS]


Many college students are dependent on digital technology in the classroom, according to a study released on Tuesday by etextbook seller CourseSmart and Wakefield Research.
The study surveyed 500 American college students. Seventy-three percent of them said they would not be able to study without some form of technology, and 38% said that they could not even go more than 10 minutes without checking their laptop, smartphone, tablet or ereader.
Many of the students said they used technology for learning tasks traditionally completed with paper. In addition to the unsurprisingly large majority of students who used it to research and write papers (81% and 82% respectively), 70% of the students said they use keyboards rather than paper to take notes and 65% said they use digital devices to create presentations. Technology was also a preferred method for getting in touch with teachers — 91% of the students cited email as a method for seeking extra help from their instructors.
Using an ereader for assigned reading hasn’t caught on quite as well. A 2010 study by OnCampus Research found that 74% of college students surveyed still preferred to use a printed textbook. But the CourseSmartsurvey suggests that further etextbook adoption might be on the way.
Nearly half of the 98% of students in the survey who owned a digital device said they regularly readetextbooks. Sixty-three percent had read an etextbook on their device at least once, and the majority of the survey group agreed that etextbooks are easier to carry, simpler to search, cheaper and better than traditional textbooks for reading on-the-go.

Media, Think Tanks, and Educational Research

Advocacy-oriented think-tank studies get a disproportionate amount of media attention.

The Bunkum Awards are a sort of beauty contest for ugly people. Bestowed by the National Education Policy Center housed at the University of Colorado at Boulder, they reward the most “nonsensical, confusing, and disingenuous” studies of education published each year. Categories include “Damned Lies for Statistical Subterfuge,” “Inferential Longjump,” and “Truthiness in Education.” Contestants are drawn from reports critiqued by the Think Tank Review Project, a five-year-old initiative that provides peer reviews of think-tank reports about education. Though any think tank is eligible, the Bunkum Awards are annually dominated by one subsector: advocacy-oriented think tanks that often value ideology over methodology.
They might be tongue-in-cheek, but these awards are also symbolic of a serious concern among many academics who study K–12 and higher education. Education professors worry that think-tank reports are more widely distributed than peer-reviewed research through the mainstream media and, as a result, have an outsized influence on policy and practice.
Yet surprisingly little research exists on the nexus between the news media and schools and universities, despite the fact that education is among our nation’s most significant public interests and expenses. So, in 2009, the National Education Policy Center commissioned me to look into who was actually conducting the educational research mentioned in the news media.

Educational Research in the Media

For those who feared the Bunkumization of news media accounts of educational research, the study’s results contained both good news and bad. While think tanks by no means dominated the educational research mentioned in the three media outlets I studied—Education Week, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, which were chosen because of their influence among academics, philanthropists, journalists, and others knowledgeable about education policy—any given advocacy-oriented think-tank study had a substantially higher probability of being mentioned than any given academic study.
It is, of course, possible that think-tank studies were more likely to be mentioned because they were more likely than academic research to focus on issues of immediate public concern. My dissertation further explores this issue by examining why journalists would choose to cite one type of educational research over another.
When it came to counting raw numbers of citations rather than the probability of citing a particular study, academic research, not think-tank research, was most frequently mentioned in one of the three outlets studied: the trade publication Education Week. Of 946 educational research citations in 399 articles published in the first six months of 2008, 28 percent mentioned academic research. Government research was most frequently mentioned in the two other outlets studied—the New York Times and the Washington Post. Of 465 articles that cited educational research (945 total research citations) in 2007, 29 percent mentioned government studies. Academic research was second most common among these two mainstream media outlets (22 percent). Government research was the second most common in Education Week (22 percent). Given that several mass-media researchers have found that traditional journalism depends upon and revolves around governmental sources and operations, the prominence of government studies was unsurprising.
Think-tank citations were third most common both in Education Week (15 percent) and in the two daily newspapers (11 percent). Other research affiliations mentioned included university-based policy centers such as the National Education Policy Center itself, associations such as the National School Boards Association, and original research sponsored by media outlets (for example, college rankings by U.S. News & World Report). So, for those who believe that academic and government studies are generally more rigorous than advocacy research, the news was good.
Think-tank educational research did not dominate the publications studied. In fact, academics were getting more ink. Yet, for those troubled by Bunkumization, matters for concern remained, especially when think tanks were disaggregated by their orientation toward advocacy. Nonadvocacy think tanks, such as the RAND Corporation and the American Institutes for Research, are often engaged in evaluation or contract-based work outsourced by other organizations and tend to produce work that is higher quality and much more useful for policy making. The National Education Policy Center’s reviews of reports from nonadvocacy think tanks have identified relatively few methodological concerns. Yet my study found that such think tanks produced just 30 percent of the 139 think-tank research studies cited inEducation Week and 17 percent of the 102 think-tank studies cited in the New York Timesand the Washington Post. The remaining think-tank citations were to studies produced by advocacy-oriented organizations such as the Manhattan Institute and the Progressive Policy Institute.
In addition to comparing raw numbers of think-tank and academic citations, I compared the probability that the media would mention university research with the probability that they would mention advocacy-oriented think-tank research by calculating the total amount of research produced by each type of organization and the total number of media citations of each type of organization. For think tanks, I counted the number of publications that appeared on each of 104 organizations’ websites in 2007. For academic studies, I both counted publications in all education-related, English-language peer-reviewed journals in 2007 and compiled presentations at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association.
I found that advocacy-oriented think-tank studies were more likely to be mentioned in the news sources I examined than studies by nonadvocacy think tanks. In 2007, academics produced fourteen to sixteen times more studies than did advocacy-oriented think tanks. Yet academic research was only twice as likely as advocacy-oriented think-tank research to be mentioned in the three outlets studied.
In addition to examining advocacy-oriented think tanks as a group, I broke down the data based upon each organization’s political stance. Here, the research got murkier: it is not always easy to classify think tanks. While an organization such as the Heritage Foundation is clearly conservative and one such as the Economic Policy Institute definitely leans left, other groups are harder to pin down. Particularly difficult to classify are neoliberal organizations such as Education Sector that support many of the same free-market-style educational reforms as libertarians and conservatives yet strongly associate themselves with Democratic Party goals of increasing educational equity. Further, because of the small numbers of think tanks in particular political categories (for example, only four think tanks were classified as “center-left”), a single think tank could have an oversized influence on its category. For this reason, I did not draw any firm conclusions about whether the outlets studied were more likely to represent educational research from left- or right-leaning advocacy-oriented think tanks. However, my findings did suggest one conclusion: all three outlets were more likely to mention reports by think tanks classified as either left or right leaning than they were to mention studies by advocacy organizations without a discernible orientation on the traditional political spectrum. For example, one centrist advocacy-oriented organization included in my study was the Education Trust, which advocates for closing the achievement gap between more and less advantaged students. Such nonclassifiable or centrist organizations produced nearly half of the total advocacy-oriented research. Yet their research comprised just under a third of the mentions of advocacy-oriented think-tank research in the three media outlets I studied.

The Public Profile of Academic Research

Like any other single study, mine is only one piece of the puzzle. Knowing who produces the educational research mentioned in the news media tells us only so much. Studies published in academic forums, such as journals, generally undergo quality control in the form of double-blind peer review. The Think Tank Review Project has repeatedly highlighted troubling flaws in reports by advocacy-oriented think tanks. However, such flaws do not mean that any given example of think-tank research is necessarily shoddy or that academic research is automatically of a high standard. A common response by think tanks to the negative reviews from the National Education Policy Center is to argue that the center’s own research is suspect because the center receives some funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, which is itself supported in part by the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers’ union (other funders include the Ford Foundation).
We do not know why journalists at the outlets studied seem to be more likely to cite any given advocacy-oriented think-tank study over any given academic study. Perhaps it is because advocacy-oriented organizations have the greatest incentive to make and maintain contacts with journalists, since a high media profile may enhance their ability to influence policy and attract funding. Certainly, the tenure structure of academia rewards those who publish in peer-reviewed journals without necessarily encouraging the dissemination of research to the general public. Further, anecdotal evidence suggests that, unlike their science-writer peers, education reporters rarely, if ever, consult peer-reviewed journals.

For example, my dissertation research examines educational research in print and online-only media outlets. Though I have so far sorted through nearly forty thousand articles in hundreds of publications, I have yet to come across a single mention of any of the six peer-reviewed education journals published by the American Educational Research Association, the world’s largest academic organization devoted to the study of education.
Additionally, some academic studies focus on technical subjects of little interest to the general public or even the school officials who read Education Week. Think tanks, by contrast, aim to influence policy by focusing on matters of public concern, such as tuition hikes or teacher evaluation. However, the topics of think-tank reports often become matters of public concern because think tanks are savvy about getting their pet subjects into print. As part of my dissertation research, I am interviewing journalists about their articles to understand better how and why some educational studies get mentioned and others ignored. Unfortunately, little current research explores how journalists perceive educational research in particular or social science research in general.
Previous research does, however, suggest that there may be ways to raise the public profile of peer-reviewed research. Here are some recommendations for professors who are interested in increasing mentions of peer-reviewed research in the news media:
  1. Write an op-ed or a letter to the editor. In his 2008 book on the use of charter school research in public debates, Columbia University professor Jeffrey Henig found that newspaper reporters repeatedly quoted the same small group of “experts,” of whom 46 percent were affiliated with universities and 19 percent were associated with think tanks. Of the twelve most frequently quoted experts, nine had written an op-ed or a letter to the editor prior to being interviewed for an article for the first time. In reaching out to the media, they both publicized their research and signaled that they were willing to be interviewed.
  2. Serve as an educator-expert. Journalists generally lack an educational background in science, social science, or scientific methods. According to the most recent comprehensive survey of US journalists, just 11 percent of respondents majored in the social sciences, with more than half of those majoring in political science or government. An additional 3 percent majored in the physical or biological sciences. Not surprisingly, the most common majors are in the communications field. Offer to comment on the methodological soundness of non-peer-reviewed research reports in your field. Often, such reports are embargoed and sent to journalists in advance, which would give you a small window of time to review the study. If you feel qualified to do so, you can also offer to serve as an “off-the-record” resource or even an occasional personal statistics tutor willing to answer questions about research or statistical reports.
  3. Don’t be afraid of the news media. A 2006 survey of epidemiologists and stem-cell researchers found contact between journalists and researchers was more common than previously believed: 70 percent of respondents had engaged in at least one media contact in the past three years, with 30 percent engaging in five or more contacts. A plurality (46 percent) indicated that the contacts enhanced professional advancement, with American and German scientists rating their interactions more highly than their counterparts in the other countries studied (the UK, Japan, and France). The top reasons for initiating contact? Achieving a more positive public attitude toward research and raising the educational level of the general public. In other words, professors are already working toward de-Bunkuming the idea that there is a disconnect between the media and peer-reviewed research.
Holly Yettick is a former education reporter and a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder. This article is based on her 2009 report, The Research That Reaches the Public: Who Produced the Educational Research Mentioned in the News Media? Her e-mail address is rachel.yettick@colorado.edu.

Think Tank vs Academic Work?

Education Next
By Bill Tucker 05/31/2011

Holly Yettick’s paper, The Research that Reaches the Public: Who Produces the Educational Research Mentioned in the News Media?, is an interesting look at the sources of mentions on educational issues inEducation Week, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. Yet, in her conclusions, she overlooks several important additional considerations as to why think tank work may receive more coverage than academic research.
First, previous explorations into this topic point to an issue that Yettick neglects: In a 2003 survey by the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, a large majority of journalists covering education declared most education research to be “so poorly written or jargon-laden” as to be incomprehensible. I think this is too broad a declaration (have you seen Andrew Ho explain growth models?), but you’d be hard-pressed to find folks to argue that the clarity of academic writing or presentation has dramatically improved over the past eight years.
Second, there are many times different conceptions of quality, goals, and intended audiences for work from these different institutions and authors. As an organization that attempts to draw on strengths from research, policy analysis, and journalism, Education Sector struggles with the tensions that each field brings to the work. For example, Yettick mentions the advantages of the peer review process. But, while in our internal standards, intellectual and methodological rigor top the list, we also include others that can conflict with the peer review process itself: timely, solution-oriented, and clearly communicated.
Third, the three media sources she surveys are all national media. Much academic work, particularly in education and public universities, focuses on local or regional issues.
More importantly, though, are the paper’s assumptions that think tank work is necessarily opposed to academic research. Many academics collaborate with think tanks to publish and promote research. And, much of the best think tank work draws on, synthesizes, and makes academic research accessible to lay audiences. For example,On the Clock: Rethinking the Way Schools Use Time, one of our more cited reports from my colleague Elena Silva, is not original research, but draws on a wide variety of more traditional research sources.
Clearly, any work offers opportunities for bias in the selection and characterization of the underlying research. But, mention of a think tank report in the media may further findings from — not compete with — academic research. Rather than thinking of academic research and think tank work as separate, opposing worlds, it’s better to understand the myriad of connecting pieces. An artificial divide masks the reality that there’s almost certainly more variability — with regards to both quality and bias — within these worlds than between the two. So, let’s use the work itself, rather than a particular label, to make judgments.
-Bill Tucker
PS – Yettick also acknowledges the difficulty of characterizing many organization’s political positions. I take it as a good sign that she specifically mentioned Education Sector as being hard to pin down. (Much to the surprise ofour friends at CATO, she characterized us as “center-libertarian” and classified our citations as on the right to compare the overall political perspective of media mentions.)

Testing: Costly, But Worth It

May 30, 2011, 

Marcus Winters is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where he has done several studies on education testing and school report cards.
What percentage of New York City’s teachers are performing at an unsatisfactory level? Did anyone guess 2.3 percent? That’s how many were rated unsatisfactory by the school system in 2009-201 0— and it actually represents an enormous uptick (up from 0.89 percent) in "unsatisfactory" ratings because of the city’s emphasis on improving the system.
Despite their limitations, standardized tests provide important information about teacher quality that can improve our flawed system for evaluating teachers.
How do we square such low rates of teacher failure with the fact that, despite real improvements to the system, students in New York City's public schools perform poorly in large numbers? Simple. The current evaluation system depends very little on answering the one question we care about most: Are students learning in a teacher’s classroom? Incorporating analysis of student test scores helps focus evaluations on answering that essential question.
Test scores are important because they’re objective measures of the schooling outcome. It’s appropriate to emphasize student achievement on math and reading tests because these are the building blocks for success, and far too few students attending public schools today adequately possess these basic skills. Developing new tests and the right methods for analyzing them can be costly. But their potential contribution to improving teacher quality — the single most important school-based factor for fostering student learning — far outweighs the upfront cost.
Of course, test-score analysis can’t tell us everything we want to know about a teacher’s performance. Using it in isolation to evaluate teachers creates bad incentives and can miss a great deal of what makes a teacher effective. But research shows that evaluations of a teacher’s contribution to her student’s test scores this year is a far better predictor of how much her future students will learn than are the factors prioritized by the current system: years of experience and possession of advanced degrees. Failing to utilize such important and accessible information about a teacher’s effectiveness is scandalous.
Standardized tests are imperfect measures of student achievement, and the statistical analyses that utilize such tests are imperfect tools for evaluating teachers. But despite their limitations, standardized tests provide important information about teacher quality that we should use to improve our terribly flawed system for evaluating teachers. New York City’s movement toward increased use of test scores to evaluate teachers is a step in the right direction.
The New York Times

Avoiding the Poverty Issue : testing in the USA

Avoiding the Poverty Issue

 May 30, 2011
Paul Thomas is an associate professor of education at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. He is writing a book on poverty in the United States. You can follow his work at Radical Scholarship and on Twitter at @plthomasEdD.
Since the 1890s, public education has been criticized for its failures and simultaneously heralded as the sole cure for all of society's ills. And for almost a century, the U.S. has been a culture fully committed to measurement while also not completely sure what test scores reveal.
Focusing on tests, schools and teachers allows political discourse to keep our attention distracted from the social failures reflected in our schools, not caused by our schools.
Evidence and basic logic refute the use of test scores to evaluate the quality of teachers. Many examinations of using test scores in teacher evaluation have exposed the complexity and difficulty in identifying teacher quality and measuring it. But beyond that evidence, we should consider the tension created by our faith in accountability and the flaw of holding teachers accountable for the outcomes of their students.
Overwhelming evidence shows that student outcomes in education are connected to out-of-school factors -- from about 60 percent to as much as 86 percent. But admitting and accepting that student achievement and education quality are overwhelmed by cultural and social dynamics speaks against our idealized view of our culture and our enduring faith in rugged individualism.
Continuing to place faith and power in standardized test scores -- despite decades of evidence that test scores reflect more significantly the lives of children than the quality of teachers or schools -- reveals our social refusal to examine our commitments and the undeniable inequity of our society.
Test-based claims of education in Finland being superior to our system help mask our failure to care about childhood poverty as a society. The U.S. has well above 20 percent of children in poverty, while only 3 percent to 4 percent of children in Finland are poor.
In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. proclaimed: "We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished."
Focusing on tests, schools and teachers allows political discourse to keep our attention distracted from the social failures reflected in our schools, not caused by our schools.
Why do we cling to test scores and demonize our teachers and schools? To avoid facing the plight of poverty on our children and our schools.
The New York Times

we test students in the United States more than any other nation

A Dangerous Obsession

The New York Times May 30, 2011, 

Linda Darling-Hammond is the Charles E. Ducommon Professor of Education at Stanford University, where she is co-director of the Stanford Center on Opportunity Policy in Education. She was founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, and she led President Obama’s education policy transition team.
There is a saying that U.S. students are the most tested, and the least examined, of any in the world. American policymakers are quick to turn to testing to cure whatever problems they think exist in schools. Because teachers’ judgment is mistrusted, we test students in the United States more than any other nation, in the mistaken belief that testing produces greater learning.
Top-scoring countries in student achievement, like Finland and Korea, have eliminated crowded testing schedules and improved their scores by doing so.
However, nations like Finland and Korea -- top scorers on the Programme for International Student Assessment -- formally test students only in the 12th grade, to inform college admissions, having eliminated the crowded testing schedules used decades ago when these nations were much lower-achieving. Other high-achievers typically test students but once in elementary and/or middle school to see how they are progressing. Those that add essay examinations in high school, like Hong Kong, Singapore and the U.K., increasingly include school-based assessments of project-based activities like science investigations and research papers. None of these nations use the kind of multiple-choice tests common in the United States.
Meanwhile American students, who now spend weeks of every school year from 3rd grade to 11th grade bubbling in answers on high-stakes tests, currently perform well below those of other industrialized countries in math and science, and have more trouble writing, analyzing and defending their views, because they have much less practice in doing so.
Expect teaching and curriculum to be narrowed further as teachers focus more intensely on these tests.
The current desire to attach scores from a burgeoning battery of tests to teacher evaluation could make matters worse. Recent research shows that test score gains are highly unstable and error-prone for measuring individual teachers, and that making high-stakes decisions based on these tests causes schools to reduce their teaching of important content and skills not measured by the tests. As a group of leading researchers warned last week before the New York Regents voted on such a scheme, we can expect teaching and curriculum to be narrowed further as teachers focus more intensely on these tests, and we can expect teachers to seek to avoid serving special education students, new English learners and others whose learning is poorly measured by the tests.
At the end of the day, stronger learning will result from better teaching, not more testing, as leading nations have long understood.

Tests for Pupils, but the Grades Go to Teachers


Elementary school students would most likely take at least one or two additional tests every year, beginning in the third grade. High school students could take up to eight additional tests a year, and middle school students would also have extra tests. These would be in addition to the state English, math and Regents exams that students already take.

The exams, which would begin rolling out as early as next academic year, are being created as part of a statewide overhaul of how teachers are evaluated. Under a law passed last year that helped the state win $700 million in a federal grant competition, known as Race to the Top, each school district must find a way to evaluate teachers on a scale from “ineffective” to “highly effective,” with teachers facing potential firing if they are rated ineffective for two years in a row.

Under the law, 40 percent of a teacher’s grade will be based on standardized tests or other “rigorous, comparable” measures of student performance. Half of that should be based on state tests, and half on measures selected by local districts. The remaining 60 percent is to be based on more subjective measures, including principal observations.

Most districts will not create their own standardized tests, an expensive process that requires considerable expertise. The state does not require them to do so, instead permitting districts to set academic goals for teachers, broadly defined.

But New York City, which has made standardized tests a centerpiece of its school reform efforts, is pushing ahead. The city schools system is planning to use up to one-tenth of its $256 million share of the federal grant money for as many as 16 new standardized exams to cover science, math, social studies and English in the 3rd through 12th grades.

City officials want their tests to be different from the mostly multiple choice tests the state uses. A proposal given to testing companies for bids in April asks that the exams be based around tasks, like asking students to progress through a multistep math problem, modify a science experiment to get a different result, or write a persuasive essay. They should also reflect the more rigorous Common Core academic standards that New York and other states have adopted.

“How do you create an additional assessment that is actually going to strengthen instructional practice, rather than divert time away from instruction?” said Shael Polakow-Suransky, the city’s chief academic officer. “That is what we set out to solve.”

Despite the city’s optimism, the prospect of more tests, particularly ones that will have a direct influence on teachers, is causing dismay among those who believe that students already spend too much time preparing for exams and not enough on the broader goals of education, like social and emotional development.

“We are not focusing on teaching and learning anymore; we are focusing on collecting data,” said Lisa B. Donlan, a parent in Manhattan who has advocated against standardized testing.

Many tests, according to the latest thinking of the department, would be given in two parts — a pre-test early in the year, and a post-test at the end, to gauge how much the student learned from a teacher. Proposals from companies were due May 9.

Daniel Koretz, a professor of education and a testing expert at Harvard University, expressed concern with the proposed design of the new tests. “When you give kids complicated tasks to do, performance tends to be quite inconsistent from one task to the next,” Dr. Koretz said. That makes it hard to use the test to draw broader conclusions about how much a student is learning, unless the test is long enough to include many tasks, he said.

Other states, including Kentucky, tried similar tests, Dr. Koretz said, but abandoned them, partly because they could not compare results from year to year. Teachers were also having their students practice the particular skills they knew would be tested, meaning the exam was measuring test preparation, not necessarily broader learning, which became an issue in New York’s state standardized tests.

“The evidence is strong that you can inflate scores on performance tasks,” he said, urging that the city at least try out the tests for a year or two before they count for teachers.

The city has not worked out how it will measure student progress in subjects like art or physical education, a challenge the state is also facing. It has not yet asked the teachers’ union to weigh in on what the tests will be, surprising union officials, because their consent is needed under the teacher evaluation law before the exams can be used.

“Before you start spending all this money on this, if you don’t want to waste it, you have to come to an agreement with us,” said Michael Mulgrew, the president of the United Federation of Teachers.

Mr. Polakow-Suransky said each test would most likely last a class period or two, and ideally be similar to a regular classroom assignment. Teachers, knowing that up to 20 percent of their annual rating would depend on how well their students do, might teach to these tests, but because they test higher-order thinking skills, that could actually strengthen instruction, he said.

If the union approves, and testing companies can act quickly, the city wants to introduce the tests in 100 schools next academic year, 500 the following year and almost all of city’s nearly 1,700 schools by 2013-14. It has begun a pilot at 11 struggling schools already receiving federal assistance.

At Chelsea Career and Technical High School in Manhattan, where teachers tried out an algebra exam, Margaret Glendis, the math assistant principal, said she liked what she saw — an hour-and-a-half test with only five multipart problems, each of which got harder in gradual steps.

Rather than testing content alone, Ms. Glendis said, “it’s about the kid being brave enough to tackle something when they don’t know where they are going to end up.”

She did not tell students that the main reason for these tests was to grade the teachers, nor did teachers at Flushing High School in Queens, which tested four sample exams.

Mr. Polakow-Suransky encouraged transparency between teachers and students when they are administered for real. “I don’t think that it should be a secret that part of how teachers are evaluated is how kids’ learning goes in their class,” he said.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 27, 2011

An article on Tuesday about the move by New York City for new tests to grade teacher performance misstated the percentage of its $256 million in Race to the Top money the city would spend on developing the tests. After the article was published, the Department of Education said it is 10 percent, not up to a quarter. (It will spend up to a quarter to develop the overall teacher and principal evaluation system.)

España: La inversión pública en I+D cae por primera vez en 14 años

Los recortes impuestos para reconducir el déficit reducen el gasto total en investigación en España en 2010 por segundo ejercicio consecutivo

EL PAÍS | Madrid 31/05/2011
La necesidad de reducir el gasto para reconducir el elevado déficit público y devolver la sostenibilidad fiscal a las cuentas del Estado ha podido con una de las apuestas del Gobierno para reconducir el modelo económico español. Según ha publicado hoy elInstituto Nacional de Estadística, la inversión total realizada en España en investigación y desarollo (I+D) ha vuelto a caer en 2010 por segundo año consecutivo. Además, por primera vez desde 1997, baja el dinero que las Administraciones Públicas han dedicado a este apartado.

Los datos adelantados hoy por la oficina de estadística, que no ofrecen cifras absolutas sino porcentajes, revelan que la inversión total en I+D ha aumentado en 2010 su ritmo de caída desde el 0,8% registrado en 2009 hasta el 1,7%. Se trata de un recorte sin precedentes en los archivos del INE, que recoge estos datos desde 1964.

En cuanto al sector empresarial, responsable de más de la mitad del gasto en investigación, su partida también cae en 2010 con un recorte del 2,4%. En su caso, el descenso es inferior al registrado en 2009, cuando se contrajo un 6,2% por culpa de la recesión que sufrió la economía española en aquel ejercicio. Con anterioridad a la crisis, hay que retrotraerse a 1994 para encontrar descensos en la inversión en I+D en las empresas.

La apuesta por potenciar la I+D es uno de los pilares en los que se basa la Ley de Economía Sostenible con la que el Gobierno quiere sentar las bases para el cambio de modelo productivo. No obstante, de momento, medidas como la ampliación de la deducción del impuesto de sociedades del 8% al 12% para este tipo de inversiones no han sido suficientes para que el sector privado enjugue el recorte registrado en las Administraciones Públicas.

Domenico de Masi: 'Gates, não. Niemeyer'

31 de maio de 2011
Educação no Brasil | O Estado de S. Paulo 

Italiano Domenico de Masi diz que arquiteto é exemplo prático do seu conceito de ócio criativo
O sociólogo italiano Domenico de Masi virou celebridade com o livro O Ócio Criativo, de 1995, um elogio à criatividade como valor fundamental no mundo do trabalho pós-industrial. Presidente da S3 Studium, escola voltada às ciências organizativas , e professor universitário, ele foi um dos destaques da 18.ª Educar/Educador, misto de feira e congresso educacional realizado este mês em São Paulo. Um dos temas que o senhor foi convidado a abordar em São Paulo é o desafio de estimular a criatividade nas empresas. Como é possível fazer isso?
Todas as organizações, pela sua natureza, tendem a se burocratizar e a perder competitividade. Para evitar essa entropia natural é preciso motivar as pessoas que trabalham na organização e ajudá-las a gerenciar a mudança de modo criativo. Ora o que é a criatividade? É uma síntese de fantasia e concretude, que pode ser feita por meio de grupos criativos nos quais coexistam personalidades com essas duas características e uma liderança do tipo carismático.
A maioria das empresas não é a antítese da criatividade?
As grandes organizações são o cemitério da criatividade. As empresas que produziam as máquinas de escrever mecânicas não são as que inventaram as máquinas de escrever elétricas. As que produziam as máquinas elétricas não são as que inventaram as máquinas de escrever eletrônicas. As empresas que fabricavam válvulas não foram as que inventaram o transistor. As grandes empresas não são criativas.
Para não ficar só no mundo empresarial, até porque entre os temas do seminário está a gestão da educação. Uma das maiores máquinas burocráticas de São Paulo é a da Secretaria Estadual de Educação. Como eliminar as barreiras e estimular a criatividade dentro do ambiente escolar, da rede pública?
O ambiente escolar, afortunadamente, tem maior independência. Porque cada professor é livre para escolher o próprio programa, a própria técnica pedagógica, muito mais que um manager para escolher sua equipe e seu método. A escola é um pouco mais livre, também porque lá estão os jovens.
O caminho, então, é cada professor ser visto e ver a si mesmo se como um líder.
Sim, as classes são pequenas, cada professor tem 20, 30 alunos.
Nem tanto. Muitas vezes chegam a 40...
São 40, não são 40 mil. No comércio os números são enormes. Os bancos têm dezenas de milhares de pessoas. Há menor possibilidade de ser criativo. Nas escolas a possibilidade de ser criativo é maior e a de ser burocrático, menor.
O sr. é otimista, então, quanto à possibilidade de a escola ser um lugar de estímulo à criatividade.
O que eu vejo é que nos últimos cem anos todas as revoluções nasceram nas escola e depois foram transferidas para as fábricas. E todas as revoluções foram iniciadas por intelectuais: 68 nasceu em Berkeley, na Sorbonne, em Paris.
O sr. é diretor de faculdade. Acha que o tipo de estrutura e de pensamento que se tem hoje no ensino superior é adequado à formação de pessoas realmente inovadoras, empreendedoras, que façam a diferença na sociedade?
Por sorte ainda existe uma diferença entre escola e empresa. Empresa é muito ligada ao modelo industrial. Vivemos numa sociedade pós-industrial. E as empresas são sempre do tipo taylorista, fordista. As empresas estão baseadas na produção de bens materiais. Mas hoje elas precisam produzir ideias. E não se pode produzir ideias com os métodos pelos quais se produz bens materiais. Não se pode produzir ideias como se produziam antes automóveis ou porcas. É preciso encontrar métodos novos de organização, baseados na coexistência de estudo, trabalho e jogo, que é o que eu chamo de ócio criativo. O ócio criativo não é a preguiça. Não é não fazer nada. É fazer três coisas simultaneamente: estudo, trabalho e jogo.
Então, de alguma forma, essa é uma vantagem da nova geração, a Geração Y como é chamada, que tem essa capacidade de fazer coisas simultaneamente, além de ser familiarizada com o jogo, porque parte da formação dela é com os games.
Mas eu sou contra a multitarefa. É uma loucura.
Bom, existe a crítica de que é uma geração que não tem foco, que é dispersiva.
Sim, dispersiva. Faz muitas coisas que não se somam, se subtraem. O ócio criativo não é uma soma de várias coisas, é uma síntese de estudo, trabalho e jogo. Significa trabalhar jogando. Jogar aprendendo. É um híbrido, que é algo diferente de uma soma.
O sr. buscou inspiração para a tese do ócio criativo em algum personagem específico da história? Quem põe isso em prática hoje?
Acho que, quando trabalha, meu amigo Oscar Niemeyer simultaneamente estuda e se diverte. Ou Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso. Quando trabalham, eles ao mesmo tempo se divertem e estudam. Acho que qualquer pessoa criativa faz isso.
E quanto ao outros ícones: o sr. admira mais Niemeyer do que um Bill Gates, por exemplo.
Niemeyer mais do que Bill Gates. Porque o Bill Gates tem a doença do industrialismo. Niemeyer não tem essa doença. É filho de uma cultura brasileira, enquanto Bill Gates é filho de uma cultura californiana, americana. O Brasil é mais propenso ao ócio criativo.
A Itália também, não?
Também. Um pouco menos do que o Brasil.
Menos? Com toda essa herança cultural que vocês têm?
Porque a Itália teve um período industrial que o Brasil nunca teve.
Então é melhor para um país ter pulado essa etapa do fordismo?
Sim, sim. O que mata o ócio criativo é o fordismo. O Brasil nunca foi totalmente fordista. São Paulo o é, um pouco. Os Estados Unidos são todos fordistas.
O sr. está na academia. Tem contato com empresas? O que elas acham de suas ideias?
Faço palestras e consultoria para todas as grandes empresas italianas. Também para a Rede Globo e para o Sebrae no Brasil.
E qual a reação delas às suas ideias?
Se a agenda é de inovação, a reação é positiva. Se a agenda é reacionária, a reação é negativa.
Com base na experiência na faculdade, como o senhor vê a nova geração?
A situação geracional é de forte diferença entre aqueles que eu chamo de analógicos e os que chamo de digitais. Os digitais são prevalentemente jovens, que têm muita intimidade com a informática, não distinguem muito entre dia e noite, entre dias de feriado e de trabalho. Não têm medo da inovação tecnológica, não têm medo da sexualidade, não sofrem de jet lag, têm confiança no futuro. Acreditam na igualdade entre os sexos. São tolerantes com a homossexualidade. Os analógicos têm pouca familiaridade com a informática, têm medo da tecnologia, do progresso. Têm medo da multirracialidade, distinguem o dia da noite, viajam pouco, não estão no Facebook e assim por diante. São pessoa que olham para o passado, enquanto os digitais olham para o futuro.
Sua análise é muito favorável ao digital e crítica do analógico. Mas quais são os problemas do digital, o que o senhor vê de ruim neles? Além da incapacidade de foco já mencionada, eles são criticados por terem uma expectativa muito grande de conseguir as coisas rápido, sem a disposição de se esforçar, de dar algo em troca.
Acho que essa é uma descrição conservadora (risos). Vivo continuamente com os jovens e entre eles existem todos tipos. Há jovens analógicos, nem todos são digitais. Mas os jovens, de um modo geral, conseguem ser muito entusiasmados, inovadores, se há uma ideologia do progresso e uma liderança carismática.
O sr. é mais digital ou analógico?
Tenho 70 anos, mas sou digital.
Por quê?
Eu não sofro de jet lag.
O sr. está no Facebook?
Não estou. Mas tenho três grupos de fãs. Não estou no Facebook porque não teria tempo de responder.
Para encerrar, que conselho o sr. daria a um jovem?
Um dos aspectos mais importantes da sociedade pós-industrial é a flexibilidade. Eu contraponho dois arquitetos. Um é Le Corbusier. Racionalista, ele dizia Eu amo a linha reta, a mais breve entre dois pontos, criada pelo homem . Eu não amo esse pensamento de Le Corbusier. Amo o pensamento de Niemeyer. Ele disse: Amo a linha curva, livre e sensual. A linha que encontro nos rios e montes de meu país, nas nuvens do céu, nas ondas do mar, no corpo da mulher amada . E depois conclui: Das curvas é feito todo o universo, o universo curvo de Einstein . Diria ainda uma frase de Gilberto Freyre: Se depender de mim, nunca ficarei plenamente maduro nem nas ideias nem no estilo, mas sempre verde, incompleto, experimental . Acho que um jovem não deve ser nunca maduro, mas sempre verde, incompleto e experimental e deve amar a linha curva, livre e sensual, como diz Oscar Niemeyer.

Developing Scientific Literacy in a Primary School International Journal of Science Education


The science education literature demonstrates that scientific literacy is generally valued and acknowledged among educators as a desirable student learning outcome. However, what scientific literacy really means in terms of classroom practice and student learning is debatable due to the inherent complexity of the term and varying expectations of what it means for learning outcomes. To date the teacher voice has been noticeably absent from this debate even though the very nature of teacher expertise lies at the heart of the processes which shape students' scientific literacy. The research reported in this paper taps into the expertise of (participating) primary teachers by analyzing the insights and thinking that emerged as they attempted to unravel some of the pedagogical complexities associated with constructing an understanding of scientific literacy in their own classrooms. The research examines the processes and structures within one primary school that were created to provide conditions to allow teachers to explore and build on the range of ideas that presently inform the scientific literacy debate. The research reports these teachers' views and practices that shaped their actions in teaching for scientific literacy.

Los 53 goles de Messi ya son furor en la web :Genio!!!!

La gran temporada 2010/11 de la Pulga no quedó sólo en el campo de juego: la recopilación de todos sus gritos ya es un éxito en Youtube; elegí el que más te gustó 

31 de Mayo de 2011 - 00:21
Los 53 goles de Messi

Nunca había marcado un tanto en Inglaterra. Fue la frutilla del postre que le faltaba a tamaña temporada. Con un gol en el triunfo de Barcelona por 3 a 1 ante Manchester United, en la final de la Liga de Campeones, Lionel Messi quebró su última maldición y firmó su grito número 53 en la temporada 2010/11. Máximo goleador de la Champions por tercer año consecutivo, sus festejos no quedaron sólo en el campo de juego: la recopilación de todos sus gritos ya es un éxito en Youtube, blogs y redes sociales.

"Encarga otro Balón de Oro", dicen en España, donde ya lo consideran como el mejor jugador del año, como ya sucedió en las últimas dos premiaciones anuales de FIFA. Leo fue goleador de la Champions, mientras que quedó atrás de Cristiano Ronaldo en la tabla de goleadores de la Liga, aunque lo igualó en la sumatoria final de la temporada que acaba de finalizar.