Jason McCoy

Jason McCoy
Jason McCoy is the owner and president of Jason McCoy Inc., a gallery of contemporary art in NYC.

Education News: November 7, 2008

Following are some of the top headlines from the world of education for the week ending November 7, 2008.

Research will be Key in Fixing America’s Schools
(Boston Globe, November 1st, 2008)  As Bush’s tenure comes to a close, examination of No Child Left Behind is ever present due to its increasing unpopularity.  The problem could be that the law has developed a national standard for vastly different statewide education programs.  As it is focuses on improvement, the more successful a school was at the law’s inception, the harder it is to improve.  Currently, the national education spends only 1% of its $575 million budget on research, which is often poorly done and insufficient.  If schools are to improve, this must be remedied.

Several Studies Suggest Professors Ideologies Have No Effect on Students’ Views
(New York Times, November 2, 2008)  While it has long been taken as fact that professors indoctrinate their students with liberal beliefs, several studies suggest that professors have almost no impact on their students’ beliefs.  One study shows that it is very difficult to change someone’s political beliefs after the age of fifteen.  The most influential in developing one’s beliefs are the parents and family.  This is not to say that American academia doesn’t have liberal tendencies, but rather that those beliefs do not cause a change in the students’ ideology.  The opposition claims that the words liberal and conservative are too vague, and the real worry is that students are taught to favor a large government.

Online Grading Systems Keep Students and Parents Informed in Washington D.C.
(Washington Post, November 3, 2008)  Online grading systems, such as SchoolMAX or Edulink, are changing the way students, parents and teachers interact throughout the school year.  The programs have many abilities such as reviewing grades, downloading homework assignments, and chatting with the teacher.  The constant feedback, without the student to go through, helps the parents and students be completely informed.  While keeping the parent informed may be beneficial, these programs have the negative effect of increasing the spurring on an over controlling parent.  The programs also cater to the schools interest in data collection.

Schools in Districts that Voted Against Tax Raise Face Budget Woes in Cleveland
(Plain Dealer, November 5th, 2008)  Schools in the districts that voted against raising taxes throughout Cleveland are pouring over their budgets trying to figure out which programs to cut.  Even the schools that did receive extra funding from additional tax revenues know that they could be next and maintain a sense of foreboding.  All schools recognize that a system must be devised not so dependant on property tax revenue.  Only 7 of 22 school tax increases passed in northeastern Ohio, as voters are growing weary of the tax increases.  The schools do not blame the voters, but a mixture of forces that they can’t control including rising costs, culture clashes, and flat state aid.

In Towson, Students Question Importance of Race in Election
(USA Today, November 5th, 2008)  With this years election being such a monumental event in the nation’s history, teachers and professors did not miss the opportunity to use it as a teaching opportunity.  One teacher at a Towson High School asked his students, who, thanks to blogs, The Daily Show and Facebook, comprise a generation far more informed than previous generations, discussed with his students what the outcome could have been if the roles were reversed and it was instead Barack Obama was from the same party as the current president.  The tendency of today’s youth to learn from the internet, not the television, helps them to avoid the media frenzy over the election.  Many students took a much more mild approach to the results and attributed Obama’s victory to the disapproval of Bush.

Students of Every Age and Background React to Election
(Washington Post, November 6th, 2008)  Barack Obama’s election to be the 44th president of the US was met with many different reactions throughout Washington schools.  Some celebrated, some cried tears of joy, while others discussed what this means for the country policies or what would have been different if McCain had won.  Many McCain supporters didn’t just hang their heads and sulk, but remained adamant in their support by reminding students that what Obama said was great, but could he deliver?  Some teachers attribute the immense interest in the election to parents’ attention, but many students had personal interest in the outcome as well.

Best Way to Improve Schools is Through Teacher Quality
(Boston Globe, November 7th, 2008)  This Op-Ed piece points out teacher quality has twice as much impact on class size and is therefore the key to improving the nation’s schools.  To do this, more talented teachers must be recruited and schools must be more selective in promotions.  Obama’s education platform and popularity amongst younger voters combined with the down economy, which makes teaching a relatively attractive profession, point to an influx in teachers.  To ensure that the new wave of teachers is full of talented individuals, teachers’ salaries will have to be raised and the bureaucratic barriers to talented outsiders will have to be done away with.  To retain the best teachers, promotions and tenure will need to be based on performance, more specifically test scores.