Backing the Wrong Horse: How Private Schools Are Good for the Poor
James Tooley is professor of education policy at the University of Newcastle, director of the E. G.West Centre, and coauthor of “Private Education Is Good for the Poor: A Study of Private Schools Serving the Poor in Low-Income Countries” (Cato Institute). Last fall the High-Level Plenary Meet­ing of the UN General Assembly brought together more than 170 heads of state—“the largest gathering of world leaders in his­tory”—to review progress toward the Millennium Devel­opment Goals. It was, we were told, “a once-in-a-gen­eration opportunity to take bold decisions,” a “defining moment in history” when “we must be ambitious.” One of the internation­ally...
Doctoral degrees: The disposable academic
On the evening before All Saints’ Day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg. In those days a thesis was simply a position one wanted to argue. Luther, an Augustinian friar, asserted that Christians could not buy their way to heaven. Today a doctoral thesis is both an idea and an account of a period of original research. Writing one is the aim of the hundreds of thousands of students who embark on a doctorate of philosophy (PhD) every year. In most countries a PhD is a basic requirement for a career...
Universities Reshaping Education on the Web
Ramin Rahimian for The New York Times Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford are adding 12 universities to Coursera, the online education venture they founded.   As part of a seismic shift in online learning that is reshaping higher education, Coursera, a year-old company founded by two Stanford University computer scientists, will announce on Tuesday that a dozen major research universities are joining the venture. In the fall, Coursera will offer 100 or more free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, that are expected to draw millions of students and adult learners globally.   Even before the expansion, Daphne...
Questioning the Mission of College
THE flagship campus of the University of Texas here has been in the national news often over the last year, mainly because of a legal challenge to its race-conscious, diversity-minded admissions policy.  The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case in October; its decision, not yet rendered, could affect affirmative action nationwide. But there’s another, equally weighty contest being waged at the school, and it concerns nothing less than the future of higher education itself. Do we want our marquee state universities to behave more like job-training centers, judged by the number of students they speed toward degrees, the percentage...
Lessons on education from Singapore
Michael Gove is rightly impressed with Pacific Asia’s education system. But he should remember they’re learning from us too. The teenagers anxiously opening their GCSE results on Thursday will be wondering whether they might be among the last to do so. The future of GCSEs is in doubt, as we wait to see how the government moves forward with exam reform and who prevails in the coalition struggle over education policy. Continue reading The Guardian (22/8/2012)
George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates
It’s long past graduation season, but we recently learned that George Saunders delivered the convocation speech at Syracuse University for the class of 2013, and George was kind enough to send it our way and allow us to reprint it here The speech touches on some of the moments in his life and larger themes (in his life and work) that George spoke about in the profile we ran back in January — the need for kindness and all the things working against our actually achieving it, the risk in focusing too much on “success,” the trouble with swimming in...