Working class children should act middle class if they want to succeed in higher education and land the best jobs, a government advisor has said. Peter Brant, head of mobility at the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, claimed less well off pupils needed to change appearance and mannerisms. He also said in a blog on the Commission’s website that they needed “shared cultural values” such as choice of clothes, restaurants and having varied hobbies.
Mr Brant wrote: “It seems likely that worries about ‘not fitting in’ will be one reason why highly able children from less well-off backgrounds are less likely to apply to the most selective universities. It probably contributes to a lack of confidence amongst those who are upwardly mobile as they struggle to adapt to their new social environment with detrimental impact on their ability to reach their potential.
“And the lack of effective networks and advice to help navigate this new alien ‘middle class world’ probably make it more difficult to translate high attainment into success in the professional jobs market.” Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, said last year that it was “truly shocking” that a privately-educated elite still ran Britain.
University applicants are adopting the “frantic self-advertisement” of contestants in The Apprentice in an effort to stand out, according to admission tutors.
A growing number of sixth-formers are littering the personal statements of their Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) form with the kind of hyperbole favoured by candidates on the BBC1 show.
But statements designed to impress, such as “My achievements at school were vast” or “I tackle the tasks presented to me with wisdom and sincerity”, are having the opposite effect.
In advice to applicants hoping to study English, Southampton University tells students to avoid “frantic self-advertisement” and says they are “applying to the English department, not The Apprentice”. Linda Ruth Williams, a professor of film studies at Southampton, said: “Some personal statements suffer from hyperbole, it’s media-fuelled… we want to hear their own voice, not a self-aggrandising voice.”
Two years ago Mohamed Aden was a shoe shiner in Mogadishu, walking the streets of the Somali capital in search of clients even as his friends attended school. Now the 12-year-old boy sits proudly among classmates. For Aden, a poor boy whose family lives in a derelict building in a Mogadishu slum, the transition from streets to classroom might never have happened without a new government-run program called Go2School that seeks to give a free elementary school education to at least 1 million children.
Many in Somalia are happy with the new program, but the country’s al-Qaida-linked militant group this week warned that schools are legitimate targets for attack. Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, a senior al-Shabab official, told reporters on Tuesday that the education program seeks to secularize Somali children. Despite a long history of such anti-education threats, the donor-funded program has proved popular with parents as well as children who otherwise would have no opportunity to get even the most basic education in a country with one of the worst literacy rates in the world.
A six-year-old boy suspended for having a packet of Mini Cheddars in his lunchbox has now been expelled from school.
Riley Pearson was suspended for four days last Wednesday from Colnbrook CofE Primary School in Berkshire, after teachers found the packet of snacks in his lunchbox.
He had been due to return to school on Tuesday, but his parents say that both Riley and his four-year-old brother have now been permanently excluded because of the row over what he eats for lunch.
Teachers and social workers have a responsibility to tell some people they are “bad parents”, the chief inspector of schools and social care has insisted.
Sir Michael Wilshaw called for an army of “good citizens” to be given financial incentives to wake problem families up in the morning and make sure the children are fed and sent to school.
The former inner-city headmaster who is now the Ofsted chief, also told MPs that there was “undoubtedly” a link between family breakdown and the neglect and abuse of children.
A Utah school’s child nutrition manager threw out the lunches of about 40 elementary school students this week after the kids’ parents fell behind on payment.
Some parents at Uintah Elementary in Salt Lake City say they didn’t even realize they were indebted to the school. The school apparently made calls Monday and Tuesday telling some parents that there was a balance on their accounts, and the children of those who had missed the call were the ones whose lunches got thrown out.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the child nutrition manager’s original plan was to withhold lunches for kids whose parents hadn’t paid. But cafeteria workers were unable to distinguish who was on that list before serving. Once the food had been dished out, food safety codes say it can’t be given to another student and must be thrown away.
The children were given milk and fruit instead of a full lunch — the meal that the school says it gives any child who isn’t able to pay.
The state Education Department is in the final stages of creating a system to share student data with colleges and a half-dozen other state agencies so that New Yorkers can be tracked from preschool to college to the workforce and, potentially, “throughout their lives.”
As education reformers push the power of data analysis, state officials say the new system will let researchers find the keys to student achievement and failure. What does prekindergarten background say about the likelihood of success in high school Advanced Placement classes? How did college students who fail science do in middle school? What are the links between applying for unemployment benefits as an adult and one’s educational history?
“The only purpose of this work is to get information that can make our education programs better,” said associate education commissioner Ken Wagner, who is leading the initiative. “We want to learn the types of courses that kids do well in that will predict success in college and the workforce.”
But this is a time of growing public anxiety about the use and security of data. Many educators and parents have railed against the state’s separate plans to send identifiable student data to the privately run inBloom cloud service for storage and controlled public use. Critics say the Education Department’s little-known plans to share data with other agencies — known as P-20 — raise all sorts of concerns about how closely government should be following citizens’ lives.
At first glance, Quiet Time – a stress reduction strategy used in several San Francisco middle and high schools, as well as in scattered schools around the Bay Area – looks like something out of the om-chanting 1960s. Twice daily, a gong sounds in the classroom and rowdy adolescents, who normally can’t sit still for 10 seconds, shut their eyes and try to clear their minds. I’ve spent lots of time in urban schools and have never seen anything like it.
This practice – meditation rebranded – deserves serious attention from parents and policymakers. An impressive array of studies shows that integrating meditation into a school’s daily routine can markedly improve the lives of students. If San Francisco schools Superintendent Richard Carranza has his way, Quiet Time could well spread citywide.
Fury at £105,000 pay rise for Sheffield University boss Sir Keith Burnett after he refused to raise employees’ salaries to the living wage
A leading university vice-chancellor secured a £105,000 pay rise last year while his institution was refusing to lift its employees’ salaries to the level of the living wage.
The decision to award the increase to Sir Keith Burnett, vice-chancellor of Sheffield University – one of the elite Russell Group – has infuriated staff at the institution, who have been told their rises must be limited to just 1 per cent. They have joined national strike action over the award which included a two-hour walkout of lessons and lectures earlier this week.
The package awarded to Sir Keith includes £27,000 in lieu of pension payments after he withdrew from the pension scheme. However, according to accounts, that still leaves him with a 29 per cent rise, or £78,000, the largest in the sector in 2012/13.
A couple who took their three children out of school for a week’s holiday could be jailed under a law which came into effect days before they went away.
Stewart and Natasha Sutherland faced an appearance before magistrates in Telford, Shropshire today after they refused to pay fines which may now go up to £2,000 – and they could both be jailed for up to three months.
The family of five went on holiday to the Greek island of Rhodes for seven days in September last year. But under a change to the Education Act of 1996, from 1 September their children’s school was only allowed to grant them leave in “exceptional circumstances”.
Taxpayer-funded academy chains have paid millions of pounds into the private businesses of directors, trustees and their relatives, documents obtained from freedom of information requests show.
The payments have been made for a wide range of services including consultancy fees, curriculums, IT advice and equipment, travel, expenses and legal services by at least nine academy chains.
Critics fear that the Department for Education (DfE) is not closely monitoring the circulation of public money from academies to private firms.
While defending their use of public money, one trustee of an academy chain has called for increased scrutiny of their spending. Another said a director had resigned from the trust because of fears over a conflict of interest.
More than a million pupils have been fingerprinted at their secondary school – thousands without their parents’ consent, according to new research published on Friday.
Figures show that four out of 10 secondary schools now use biometric technology as a means of identifying pupils – with nearly a third failing in their duty to seek parental consent before introducing the system.
The figures are based on Freedom of Information request returns from 1,255 schools to the civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch with the group warning pupils will grow up believing “it is normal to be tracked like this all the time”.
If he was expecting a hero’s welcome from fellow students when he begins a course at Cambridge University next week, the Duke of Cambridge may have to think again.
The news that the Duke will spend a term studying a “bespoke” course in agriculture has prompted a backlash from other students who resent him being given a “free pass” when they had to work so hard to get there.
In its report on the Duke’s imminent arrival, the university student newspaper The Tab pointed out that: “Normally students need A*AA at A-level to gain entry to Cambridge University, whilst the Prince only achieved a mediocre ABC.
“Conveniently though for Will, he is the registered benefactor of the department he will be studying at.”
Vice-chancellors at Britain’s top universities get £22,000 pay rises – as lecturers are stuck on 1 per cent
Vice-chancellors of the UK’s top universities pocketed average pay rises of £22,000 last year – while insisting their employees stuck to just a one per cent increase.
A survey showed the Russell Group universities – which represents 24 of the most selective higher education institutions in the country – awarded pay rises of 8.1 per cent on average to their vice-chancellors while overall benefits packages also soared by 5.2 per cent.
In many cases, argued union leaders, the rises themselves were more than the annual salary of their staff – now locked in a pay dispute after rejecting a one per cent pay offer.
The findings angered university union leaders, who warned of the prospect of more industrial action on campuses once term resumes later this month.
In the United States we are raised to appreciate the accomplishments of inventors and thinkers—creative people whose ideas have transformed our world. We celebrate the famously imaginative, the greatest artists and innovators from Van Gogh to Steve Jobs. Viewing the world creatively is supposed to be an asset, even a virtue. Online job boards burst with ads recruiting “idea people” and “out of the box” thinkers. We are taught that our own creativity will be celebrated as well, and that if we have good ideas, we will succeed.
It’s all a lie. This is the thing about creativity that is rarely acknowledged: Most people don’t actually like it. Studies confirm what many creative people have suspected all along: People are biased against creative thinking, despite all of their insistence otherwise.
“We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,” says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specializes in creativity.
Staw says most people are risk-averse. He refers to them as satisfiers. “As much as we celebrate independence in Western cultures, there is an awful lot of pressure to conform,” he says. Satisfiers avoid stirring things up, even if it means forsaking the truth or rejecting a good idea.
Even people who say they are looking for creativity react negatively to creative ideas, as demonstrated in a 2011 study from the University of Pennsylvania. Uncertainty is an inherent part of new ideas, and it’s also something that most people would do almost anything to avoid. People’s partiality toward certainty biases them against creative ideas and can interfere with their ability to even recognize creative ideas.
Thirty-six student protesters were arrested in London last night, with many more kettled, during a ‘Cops off Campus’ demonstration over police presence on university campuses.
Between 200 and 300 students gathered outside the University of London Union to protest over alleged police brutality on Wednesday, which included video footage appearing to show a policeman punching a student.
Two of those arrested were held on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and 34 people for suspected breach of the peace and affray, all of whom were taken to stations across south London.
Many protesters split up or went home due to bad weather. Others were diverted towards Euston Square station where they were kettled by officers from more than 20 police vans.
Three officers suffered minor injuries during the demonstration which saw protesters travelling from as far as Coventry.
A mom who thought she was properly parenting by sending her two young kids to school with a homemade, whole-food lunch was shocked to find a penalty note from school officials informing her that the lunch of roast beef, potatoes, carrots, oranges and milk she provided was “unbalanced” and therefore had to be supplemented with Ritz crackers.
She was also fined $10.
Just as parents are grappling with how to keep their kids safe on social media, schools are increasingly confronting a controversial question: Should they do more to monitor students’ online interactions off-campus to protect them from dangers such as bullying, drug use, violence and suicide?
This summer, the Glendale school district in suburban Los Angeles captured headlines with its decision to pay a tech firm $40,500 to monitor what middle and high school students post publicly on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
The school district went with the firm Geo Listening after a pilot program with the company last spring helped a student who was talking on social media about “ending his life,” company CEO Chris Frydrych told CNN’s Michael Martinez in September.
“We were able to save a life,” said Richard Sheehan, the Glendale superintendent, adding that two students in the school district had committed suicide the past two years.
“It’s just another avenue to open up a dialogue with parents about safety,” he said.
Technocracy is slowly replacing Democracy in the West. In debt crippled countries, such as Italy, Greece and Spain, no politician dares press the default reset button, so the Anaconda debt is delivering slow inexorable death.
Because our political representatives lack the spine to bite that bullet, elections have become a charade. Financial markets, the shadowy Gnomes of Zurich, have begun choosing our political leaders.
But these Goldman Sachs friendly, loan shark, technocrats are only one arm of an octopus that is emerging as the real power in the Western world. Lesser known are the companies that own valuable patents and, like conjurers, roll out dazzling new scientific gadgets. This is the technology which, in public hands, should now be liberating us all from drudgery and freeing up our leisure time, but in private hands it is doing precisely the opposite.
When our MPs, journalists and lawyers store their phone contact book data using a ‘Synch’ service, or back up documents in ‘The Cloud’ they have no idea where their precious work will end up. They share that data unthinkingly with businesses that can quietly copy it, sell it on, or even corrupt it before they let them have it back.
These technocrats of the ‘digital revolution’ are planning decades ahead. They steal a march on elected governments using ‘commercial confidentiality’ to keep press, politicians and the public in the dark. In the age of mass surveillance and communication trawling, they can buy intelligence on what elected politicians are about to do, or even thinking of doing, and pour vast resources into counter-moves.
[Malala] Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration’s use of drones, saying they are “fueling terrorism.”
“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees,” Yousafzai said in a statement published by the Associated Press. “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”
IT’S LONG been known that America’s school kids haven’t measured well compared with international peers. Now, there’s a new twist: Adults don’t either.
In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average on a global test, according to results released Tuesday.
Adults in Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and multiple other countries scored significantly higher than the United States in all three areas on the test. Beyond basic reading and math, respondents were tested on activities such as calculating mileage reimbursement due to a salesman, sorting email and comparing food expiration dates on grocery store tags.
Parents send their children to school with the best of intentions, believing that’s what they need to become productive and happy adults. Many have qualms about how well schools are performing, but the conventional wisdom is that these issues can be resolved with more money, better teachers, more challenging curricula and/or more rigorous tests.
But what if the real problem is school itself? The unfortunate fact is that one of our most cherished institutions is, by its very nature, failing our children and our society.
School is a place where children are compelled to be, and where their freedom is greatly restricted — far more restricted than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades, we have been compelling our children to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there is strong evidence (summarized in my recent book) that this is causing serious psychological damage to many of them. Moreover, the more scientists have learned about how children naturally learn, the more we have come to realize that children learn most deeply and fully, and with greatest enthusiasm, in conditions that are almost opposite to those of school.
Compulsory schooling has been a fixture of our culture now for several generations. It’s hard today for most people to even imagine how children would learn what they must for success in our culture without it. President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are so enamored with schooling that they want even longer school days and school years. Most people assume that the basic design of schools, as we know them today, emerged from scientific evidence about how children learn best. But, in fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
- Children should not start school until age six or seven, say education experts (Daily Mail)
- Ken Robinson: Changing Education Paradigms (RSA)
- Ken Robinson: How schools kill creativity (TED)
- Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley (TED)
- Peter Gray’s Blog: Freedom to Learn (Psychology Today)
- Will Smith’s Son Jaden Smith’s Twitter Rant Calls for Everybody to Drop Out of School (ABC)
12-Year-Old Student Chased Through the Woods and Called the N-Word as Part of “Educational” Slavery Reenactment
A Connecticut couple is filing a human rights complaint against the Hartford school system after their 12-year-old daughter came back from a four-day school field trip to Nature’s Classroom in Charlton, Mass., and alleged that her teachers chased her through the woods and called her racial slurs as part of a slavery reenactment during a field trip.
According to WFSB-TV, James and Sandra Baker’s daughter described students being led into a dark room, where they were lined up and asked to imagine what it would be like to watch their fathers be killed by slave masters before they were all loaded onto slave ships. The instructor then reportedly ordered the students to sit closely together, where they would be forced to relieve themselves on one another and likely get sick. Afterwards, the students were taken to the woods, where they were yelled at and called animals as they pretended to pick cotton. Some where told to dance for the instructors as entertainment; others were told that they would have their a Achilles tendon cut or find themselves hanged if they attempted to run away.
According to the girl’s mother, several of the teachers referred to the students by the N-word for what was described as ‘historical accuracy.”
[...] They average a 48-hour week over a year – and that is taking into account the long holidays.
More than 80% fear the “hidden hours” they spend planning lessons are damaging their health, and 55% worry about the impact on their personal life.
The poll by teaching website tesconnect.com found 55% of teachers regularly spend more than 56 hours a week grafting during term time.
With holidays, they average 48.3 hours, just below managers in mining and energy industries, who average 49.6 hours.
The poll found that 48% of teachers spend more time preparing lessons than they spend teaching, with 78% saying they spent time on Sundays planning work.
Content-industry giants and internet service providers are teaming up to produce multi-grade elementary school curriculum which will denounce copyright infringement.
The likes of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), AT&T, Verizon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Comcast are behind the pilot project which will be tested in California elementary schools later this year.
The curriculum, called “Be a Creator,” is not quite complete, producers say, though Wired was able to obtain the various levels of content – from kindergarten to sixth grade – which aim to communicate that copying is theft.
“This thinly disguised corporate propaganda is inaccurate and inappropriate,” said Mitch Stoltz, an intellectual property attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who reviewed the material.
“It suggests, falsely, that ideas are property and that building on others’ ideas always requires permission,”Stoltz says. “The overriding message of this curriculum is that students’ time should be consumed not in creating but in worrying about their impact on corporate profits.”
The content was made by the California School Library Association and the Internet Keep Safe Coalition. The Center for Copyright Infringement commissioned the material. The center’s board is made up of executives from MPAA, RIAA, Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T.