Category «Uncategorized»

More on Youth Sports

Since my last post on how to restore sanity to youth sports, I’ve found a few more worthwhile reads on the subject. This is a hot issue! A Time magazine cover story by Sean Gregory lays out in vivid detail how kids playing games turned into a multibillion-dollar industry (thanks to the Free Range Kids …

Free Kicks: How to Fix Youth Sports

One sometimes hears it said youth sports have lulled our children into complacency: everyone, we’re told, gets a trophy now. The idea is that abundant rewards teach an acceptance of mediocrity and an unwillingness to strive for excellence, sure signs of national decline. The reality is pretty much the opposite. Youth sports suffer from by …

5 Things to Read About Summer Vacation

It’s summer vacation! Play outside. Drink lemonade. And read these essays for some perspective on why we have summer and what we should do with it. 1) Why Do Students Get Summers Off? First, some history. Summer vacation started so that those hardworking nineteenth-century farm kids could stay home and till the fields, right? Well, …

In Defense of Lunch

Does lunch really need to be defended? Isn’t it just the ordinary intermission of the school day? In fact, lunch’s ordinariness is the reason that it is under attack by education’s denizens of productivity, who would colonize any remaining marginal space to cram in more minutes of formal schooling. “School lunches are too short. And …

“I Think of Myself as a Brand”

The use of social media by young people has brought new worries for parents and educators. Sexting, cyberbullies, identity thieves — the internet, we sometimes fear, is a shadowy place with danger lurking behind every click. What if the most ominous threat of social media is the opposite, not that it seduces children into a cesspool …

Ethics of Code

These days one can hardly throw an iPhone 7 (don’t, actually) without hitting a “learn to code” initiative aimed at young people. The Hour of Code, part of Computer Science Education Week, encourages every student in America to explore programming. Code.org teaches basic concepts using Star Wars, Frozen, and Angry Birds. Scratch, a popular site …

Gardening vs. Carpentry

What are we doing when we care for and educate children? The most common answer from parents and teachers might be “just trying to get through the day!” If we back up a step, though, what do we hope to achieve? Are there particular goals, outcomes, or dreams that we have in mind? In The …

The Caribou and the Classroom

Everywhere in education we hear the language of standardizing. Standardized tests. Common Core. In my home state of Virginia, Standards of Learning (unfortunately abbreviated SOL). Schooling culture today idealizes a universal and uniform regime of knowledge, the culmination of modern enlightenment. What if schools took a different track that emphasized the diversity of knowledge rather …

Human Intelligence in the Age of Robots

Robots are moving once again to the center of our cultural consciousness. A new wave of artificial intelligence devices — Siri, Alexa, Google Home — have us talking to machines like never before. Meanwhile, economic anxiety over the loss of manufacturing jobs has focused increasingly on the automation of labor. In the age of AI, leading …

The Education Business: A Study in Failure

The contentious confirmation hearings for Betsy DeVos highlighted Americans’ fears of mixing education and free enterprise. DeVos’s sympathy toward for-profit charter schools has been criticized as an abandonment of our public obligations to the higgledy-piggledy of the capitalist marketplace. In his new book Class Clowns: How the Smartest Investors Lost Billions in Education, Columbia Business School professor Jonathan …