Anya Kamenetz

A Future-Forward Look At Higher Ed

“What would it mean to redesign higher education for the intellectual space travel students need to thrive in the world we live in now?”
That’s one of the provocative questions that opens Cathy Davidson’s latest book, The New Education. And unlike some of the journalists and business figures who have taken previous swings at that pinata, Davidson has a full career of research and practice to inform her abundance of answers.

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What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Social And Emotional Skills’?

More and more, people in education agree on the importance of schools’ paying attention to stuff other than academics.
But still, no one agrees on what to call that “stuff.”
I originally published a story on this topic two years ago.
As I reported back then, there were a bunch of overlapping terms in play, from “character” to “grit” to “noncognitive skills.”

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AP Computer Science Principles Attract Diverse Students With Real-World Problems

U.S. high schools got a high-tech update this past school year. Not by federal fiat or by state law, but largely at the hand of independent nonprofits, including one founded by twin brothers less than five years ago.

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Are Helicopter Parents Ruining Summer Camp?

“It beeped in the envelope. That’s how we knew.”
Leslie Conrad is the director of Clemson Outdoor Lab in Pendleton, S.C., which runs several different camps during the summer. Clemson bans cellphones and other electronic devices for campers.
That makes sense. We traditionally think of summer camp as a place to swim in the lake and weave friendship bracelets, not text and play video games.

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Study: Holding Kids Back A Grade Doesn’t Necessarily Hold Them Back

Our education system has this funny quirk of grouping kids by birth date — rather than, say, intellectual ability or achievement or interest.
But developmental pathways are as individual as kids themselves.
And so there’s a perpetual back-and-forth about whether to put certain kids in school a grade behind or ahead of their actual age.

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How Schools Use Brain Science To Help Traumatized Kids Heal and Learn

Neuroscience isn’t on many elementary school lesson plans. But this spring, a second grade class at Fairmont Neighborhood School in the South Bronx is plunging in.
Sarah Wechsler, an instructional coach with wide eyes and a marathoner’s energy, asks the students to think about the development and progress that they’ve made already in their lives.

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The Role Of Yoga In Healing Trauma

Missy Hart grew up in Redwood City, Calif. — in gangs, on the street, in the foster care system and in institutions.
“Where I’m from,” the 26-year-old says, “you’re constantly in alert mode, like fight or flight.”
But at age 13, when she was incarcerated in juvenile hall for using marijuana, she found herself closing her eyes and letting her guard down in a room full of rival gang members.

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School Bullying Is Down. Why Don’t Students Believe It?

Read this article if you’re having a rough day. This is a rare story about positive social change.

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Why Having One Black Teacher Could Help Keep Black Students In School

How important is it to have a role model?
A new working paper puts some numbers to that question.
Having just one black teacher in third, fourth or fifth grade reduced low-income black boys’ probability of dropping out of high school by 39 percent, the study found.
And by high school, African-American students, both boys and girls, who had one African-American teacher had much stronger expectations of going to college. Keep in mind, this effect was observed seven to ten years after the experience of having just one black teacher.

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A Surprising Explanation For Why Some Immigrants Excel In Science

Seventeen-year-old Indrani Das just won the top high school science prize in the country. Das, who lives in Oradell, N.J., took home $250,000 from the former Intel Science Talent Search, now the Regeneron Science Talent Search, for her study of brain injuries and neuron damage. In her spare time, she’s already working with patients as a certified EMT.

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