Friday, June 28, 2013

NAEP shows students learning more, race gaps narrowing

The nation’s 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds are posting better scores in math and reading tests than their counterparts did 40 years ago, and the achievement gap between white students and those of color still persists but is narrowing, according to new federal government data released Thursday.
The scores, collected regularly since the 1970s from federal tests administered to public and private school students age 9, 13, and 17, paint a picture of steady student achievement that contradicts the popular notion that U.S. educational progress has stalled.

...  the younger test-takers made significant progress, test scores of 17-year-olds remained relatively flat. But the 17-year-olds who struggle the most — those in the bottom percentiles — did show gains in 2012 compared with 40 years ago.
[they'd better - 40 years ago, algebra was a college topic, now every jr high school student is supposed to at least take some form of algebra]

WSJ: What's Really 'Immoral' About Student Loans

WSJ: What's Really 'Immoral' About Student Loans

Student debt, which recently surpassed the trillion-dollar level in the U.S., is now a major burden on graduates, a burden that is often not offset by increased earnings from a college degree in say, race and gender issues, rather than engineering.
According to an extensive 2012 analysis by the Associated Press of college graduates 25 and younger, 50% are either unemployed or in jobs that don't require a college degree. Then there are the large numbers who don't graduate at all. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than 40% of full-time students at four-year institutions fail to graduate within six years. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that almost 75% of community-college students fail to graduate within three years. Those students don't have degrees, but they often still have debt.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Monsters University Inspiration: Berkeley, MIT, Harvard

Pixar’s “Monsters University” Inspired by Cal

Concept art for Pixar’s film “Monsters University,” scheduled for release in June 2013, recently surfaced on the web, and hints of Berkeley seep throughout the drawings.  As The Daily Cal reported last September, Pixar visited Cal and other universities, such as Harvard and MIT, for inspiration and research.
Traveling to different places for inspiration and to help build the world in its films is nothing new for Pixar.  For “Brave,” the research team visited Scotland; for “Up,” they journeyed to Venezuela; and for “Ratatouille,” they made a voyage to Paris.  A quite adventurous job, don’t you think?
See if you can spot the similarities between Monsters University and Berkeley below!
Sather Gate?
See the resemblance?
The Campanile?
The Pixar team has also explored close to home, as

UC BerkeleyAs Pixar is located in Emeryville less than 20 min from the UC Berkeley campus, it's only natural that Cal would get a lot of screen time.


Law library

Harvard University Law Library

Memorial Hall

Harvard Yard and Freshman Dorms
Seen at 0:25, 0:31, 0:40-0:42, 0:52-0:53, 0:59

MIT Dome 7 or 10

MIT Mass Ave Steps to Dome 7

Calder sail from MIT

Harvard Bridge
Seen at 1:12


Arches at the Quad
Seen at 0:56


Stratton Student Center
Seen at 1:03

Princeton (this one is a bit of a long shot)

Seen at 0:14-16

Monsters University Stills

The green suitcase (no wheels) and simple backpack are identical to what I took to MIT in the fall of 1976. A new student woudn't have an MU logo backpack though.

Harvard Frat House

CommentInsert a dynamic date here
Brittany Cheng
I think that the main building of the scaring school is based off o...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Stop Common Core Action Alert

ACTION ALERT: Stop Common Core in Your State #stopcommoncore

John Birch Society -
Ask your state legislators and U.S. congressmen to stop the implementation of Common Core.
Common Core is a K-12 set of national education standards for English language arts and mathematics classes that was developed by Achieve Inc., and promoted through the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officials, both of which are private Washington, DC based trade organizations.
A majority of states have already signed on to Common Core when they signed up for the Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” program in 2009 and 2010. Common Core’s English and math standards were not yet written at the time, thus these states never saw the standards when they agreed to them. These standards are copyrighted and thus cannot be changed.
Common Core’s subpar English Language Arts (ELA) standards intend to remove the great British and American literary works of William Shakespeare, John Bunyan, Herman Melville, Mark Twain, T.S. Eliot, and C.S. Lewis from school curricula. These literary classics will be replaced with simple brochures, restaurant menus, technical manuals, and government pamphlets about the environment and sustainability from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The purpose of literature will no longer be to expand children’s creative thinking and vocabulary skills but rather to make them practical components of a managed world economy and labor market. As a result of the poor quality of Common Core’s ELA standards, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, of the University of Arkansas, who served on the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to sign off on them.
Current state math standards will likewise be dumbed down by the new Common Core standards. Dr. James Milgram of Stanford University, the only mathematician on the Common Core Validation Committee, refused to sign off on Common Core’s math standards, stating, “It’s almost a joke to think students [who master the Common Core standards] would be ready for math at a university.” Among the states that have agreed to implement Common Core, Minnesota has refused to sign on to the math portion.
Homeschoolers and private school students would not be able escape the clutches of Common Core. David Coleman, who developed the English Language Arts portion of Common Core, was recently promoted to president of the College Board, which administers the SAT exams. Coleman has already promised to align the SAT exams to Common Core standards. The same would be true of the ACT exams. Four-year colleges and universities place a great deal of importance on prospective student’s SAT and/or ACT scores during their enrollment process. Unless homeschoolers and private school students are taught by Common Core standards they will be unprepared and hindered. If implemented as expected, this would also greatly diminish the benefits of school choice. Moreover, homeschoolers all across the country are at risk of having to eventually conform their curricula to adopt Common Core standards.
You now have the opportunity to help stop Common Core. Please contact your state senator and state representative(s) and urge him or her to take action to stop the implementation of Common Core in your state.
You should also contact your U.S. senators and representative and ask them to introduce and/or support legislation to stop any federal funding for the implementation of Common Core standards.
Phone calls can also be very effective, and of course, the most effective way to educate your state legislators and U.S. congressmen is by making personal visits to their offices. Click here for contact information.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

College Level Common Core Setting Up Students For Failure

College Level Common Core Setting Up Students For Failure

 Setting students up for failure?
Sample questions for the 8th-grade writing assessment aren’t available on the PARCC website, but a look at the sample 10th-grade questions is sobering. The text that serves as the basis for the questions is a lengthy and high-flown translation of the Daedalus and Icarus story, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, that would probably challenge many college students. It may well be, as two professors argue in Sunday’s New York Times, that some of the standards are pitched at so sophisticated a level that they’re setting many students up for failure.
 A recent series in Education Week, focusing on an 8th-grade class at Stuart-Hobson Middle School on Capitol Hill, is a vivid illustration of the difficulties facing DCPS teachers trying to adapt to the Common Core. “Sometimes,” says an assistant principal at Stuart-Hobson reflecting on the challenges of guiding teachers through the new standards, “I feel like the blind leading the blind.” (Stuart-Hobson is not one of the DCPS schools participating in the PARCC tryout.)
 It’s clear that students and teachers are trying hard, but bringing a largely disadvantaged student population up to the ambitious standards set by the Common Core is a gargantuan task. Test scores will probably drop significantly once PARCC replaces local tests, as they didlast year in Kentucky, the first state to completely align its tests to the Common Core.
We should be prepared for that, and prepared as well for the missteps that will undoubtedly occur in DC and other districts as they feel their way through a system that demands so much of both teachers and students.