Duly noted: Dec 14 – Dec 20, 2009

  • In response to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling that prohibited school districts from using racial data to assign students, the Chicago public school system is using socio-economic profiles rather than race to increase diversity, raising fears that gains in racial diversity might be erased.
  • The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved a “doomsday budget” for 2010.  The budget, if implemented, would end the free metro cards program for students.  417,243 students currently receive free Metrocards; another 167,912 receive half-fare cards.  Families of students would need to spend an extra $810 per year to cover currently free subway rides.  Some fear that the cut would increase student dropout rates.
  • Who owns students notes to a university lecture, students or professors?  Finalsclub.org, a website started by a Harvard graduate that allows students to trade class notes and outlines online, has generated controversy over intellectual property issues.  Some professors, such as Steven Pinker, has agreed to have notes from his class posted on the website.  Other professors have adamantly refused.
  • Enraged Detroit parents demand jail time for school officials after the release of NAEP test scores showing that Detroit’s fourth and eighth graders have the worst scores in the nation.
  • New studies on the developing brain in cognitive neuroscience are changing the way educators teach math.  It turns out that children can understand many more mathematical concepts than previously thought.  (I have the feeling that educators in China and India already know this.)

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