December 2005 Archives

Some critics argue that higher education in the United States lacks intellectual, and political, diversity. In this San Francisco Chronicle piece, researcher and professor David Davenport worries that, as classrooms become more politicized, "a liberal arts education has become politically liberal." This politically charged atmosphere, which some claim discriminates against students' rights to free speech, may also be creating friction in education programs for prospective teachers, as Robin Wright reports for the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)....


In the recent Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Board case, Judge John E. Jones wrote in an acerbically worded 139-page ruling that intelligent design should not be taught in science classrooms and, furthermore, that the concept is a religious idea, not a scientific one. In the wake of this decision, groups and individuals with many different perspectives have voiced their opinion on the issues involved in the case. The Thomas More Law Center, which represented the Dover School District in the case, called the ruling a troubling decision. Dr. John West, associate director of the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based think ...


In order to counter low expectations of poor and minority children, educators need to believe that students are capable of performing at high-quality levels, despite their socio-economic status. If they do not, they will have a hard time convincing these students that time spent in the classroom is worth their while, according to Robin L. Flanigan in this American School Board Journal article examining educators' efforts to raise student expectations. Part of the ASBJ's special report on improving achievement....


As recent controversies over the teaching of evolution and intelligent design have illustrated, Christian and secular educational standards do not always mesh. This article from The Economist takes a look at how university admissions and curricula are negotiating these clashing cross-currents in American education....


Students want more protection. This week, members of the Boston Student Advisory Council announced they want metal detectors in all area schools, and they want them used daily. As administrators and teachers try to keep schools safe, they also try to maintain a welcoming, nurturing educational environment. But, as Tracy Jan of the Boston Globe reports, now even students are asking for more rigorous security....


Is teen suicide preventable? David Shaffer, a psychiatrist and founder of the mental health questionnaire called TeenScreen, thinks so. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is now the third-leading cause of death in teenagers. In this New York Times Idea Lab feature, Paul Raeburn describes how TeenScreen identifies those who may be likely to commit suicide — and articulates the pitfalls of using such detection and intervention mechanisms in schools....


High school sports can get competitive, and young atheletes' desire to beat out the competition can lead to unhealthy weight-control tactics. Not only are atheletes susceptible to dangerous habits like restricting food-intake, vomiting or taking diuretics, but their coaches might even be encouraging them. The American Academy of Pediatrics' December 2005 policy statement, "Promotion of Healthy Weight-Control Practices in Young Athletes," (download the pdf version) offers tips on how doctors and parents can combat this problem....


Sweeping changes may be coming to the Los Angeles school district as city Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attempts to wrest control of the nation's second largest school district from its elected school board. This Dec. 1, 2005 audio report from National Public Radio looks at the two largest mayoral takeovers to date—in 1995 by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and in 2002 by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg—to see what might lie ahead for both the L.A. Mayor and the city's school district....


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