Wednesday, December 31, 2008

SAT Changes Policy, Opening Rift With Colleges

SAT Changes Policy, Opening Rift With Colleges By SARA RIMER, NYTimes 12/30/08
This March, high school juniors taking the SAT will have the option of choosing which scores to send to colleges while hiding those they do not want admissions officials to see. The new policy is called Score Choice, and the College Board hopes it will reduce student stress around the SAT and college admissions.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Early Applications

Colleges report increase in early applications By Lisa M. Krieger Mercury News 12/21/08
In a recession, expensive private colleges like Stanford University lose students to cheaper public universities. That's the conventional thinking. And it's wrong.

San Jose State receives fewer applications for next fall, overcrowding unlikely By Lisa M. Krieger, Mercury News 12/22/2008
A preliminary tally of applications to San Jose State University shows that overcrowding is unlikely to be a problem during the upcoming school year. The school has received a total of 27,799 applications for next fall, down from 34,263 this year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Corruption in schools a big problem in Vietnam

Corruption in schools a big problem in Vietnam by Ben Stocking, Associated Press 12/28/08
The thugs came after dark, as Do Viet Khoa and his family were getting ready for bed...Khoa, a high school math and geography teacher, says the message was clear: Stop blowing the whistle on school corruption - or else.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Lit 122808

The Best American Series® 2008
Best—selling authors handpick the year's finest writing in short stories, comics, mysteries, essays, travel, science and nature, sports, spirituality, and nonrequired reading. Available at your local bookstore or library.

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008 By Dave Eggers (Edited by); Judy Blume (Introduction by)

The Best American Short Stories 2008 By Salman Rushdie (Edited by); Heidi Pitlor (Series edited by)

The Best American Essays 2008 By Robert Atwan (Edited by); Adam Gopnik (Edited by)

The Best American Comics 2008 by: Lynda Barry (Guest Editor); Jessica Abel (Series edited by); Matt Madden (Series edited by)

The Best American Mystery Stories 2008 By George Pelecanos (Edited by); Otto Penzler (Series edited by)

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008 by Jerome Groopman (Edited by); Tim Folger (Series edited by)

The Best American Sports Writing 2008 by William Nack (Edited by); Glenn Stout (Series edited by)

The Best American Spiritual Writing 2008 by Jimmy Carter (Introduction by); Philip Zaleski (Series edited by)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Saturday Arts 122708

Staten Island School Chorus Finds Fame on YouTube By AZADEH ENSHA, NYtimes

The children, students at Public School 22 in Graniteville on Staten Island, listened to Mr. Breinberg carefully before starting again. As well they might — he helped make the chorus popular on YouTube.

Science Friday 122608

Click graphic to see the full sequence. Source: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

The Chaos Inside a Cancer Cell, By NICHOLAS WADE, NYTimes
Researchers have made some sense of the jumble of chromosomes inside a cancer cell.

Hobbyists Are Trying Genetic Engineering at Home
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Apple computer was invented in a garage. Same with the Google search engine. Now, tinkerers are working at home with the basic building blocks of life itself...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

this i believe: Religion and the Holidays

this i believe: Special Feature: Religion and the Holidays

Our world comprises much religious diversity. Yet regardless of our faith and its rituals, we all have the opportunity to care for one another, especially at this time of year. Click the links below to read how these essayists have embraced and been embraced by spiritual differences.

The Spaces Between Us
Expressing True Faith
In the Spirit of Peace and Joy
The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday Lit 122108

Big Think: "That was my only dream, to be a novelist"

Egyptian novelist Alaa Al Aswany talks about his creative process and why he is still a dentist. Join the conversation at Big Think.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

VOANews: Foreign Student Series: The SAT and the ACT

Foreign Student Series: The SAT and the ACT

In part 14, we talk about the two competing college-admissions tests in the U.S., and about schools that require neither. Transcript of radio broadcast: 10 December 2008
MP3 - Download (MP3)
MP3 - Listen to (MP3)

More audio clips from VOANews: Foreign Student Series

Friday, December 19, 2008

Science Friday 121908

VOANews: Scientists Find Previously Unknown Sea Creatures

For more info, go to Census of Marine Life Making Ocean Life Count
A global network of researchers engaged in a ten-year initiative to assess and explain the past, present, and future diversity, distribution, and abundance.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

History Thursday 121808

Big Think: On desegregation and Thomas Jefferson

Annette Gordon-Reed discusses being the first African-American student at an all-white school, and her work as a historian. Join the conversation at Big Think.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Princeton Settles Money Battle Over Gift

Princeton Settles Money Battle Over Gift By TAMAR LEWIN< NYTimes
The legal battle over how closely Princeton had to adhere to the terms of a gift had been closely watched by many universities and college that manage donations with strings attached.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The College Board Settles Loan Inquiry

The College Board Settles Loan Inquiry By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
New York officials said that the College Board had resolved a two-state investigation into deceptive marketing of student loans.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Scarsdale Adjusts to Life Without Advanced Placement Courses

Scarsdale Adjusts to Life Without Advanced Placement Courses By WINNIE HU, NYTimes
Most praise the decision to make A.P. exams optional for replacing mountains of memorization with more creative curriculums, but more objective measurements have been mixed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Arts 121308

Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style
A former gang member from Long Beach, California, teaches break dancing to at-risk youths in Cambodia. Video

Friday, December 12, 2008

Science Friday 121208

Winners of Prestigious Student Science Awards Are Named By AMANDA M. FAIRBANKS NYTimes
Among the winners of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology was Wen Chyan, a 17-year-old high school senior who received a $100,000 scholarship.

Science Students Get a Real-Life Lesson, in Science Fiction By FELICITY BARRINGER , NYTimes
A group of budding scientists attended a forum that examined whether a remake of the classic science-fiction film “The Day the Earth Stood Still” got the science right.

18 and Under

What to Do When the Patient Says, ‘Please Don’t Tell Mom’ By PERRI KLASS, M.D NYTimes
For doctors with patients who are middle-schoolers, it can sometimes be unclear what information should stay confidential.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Student Loans and Microbanks

Turning Around the Idea of Student Loans By STEVE FRIESS, NYTimes
In raising money and investing it with a nonprofit lending institution, the Meadows School in Las Vegas is by all accounts one of the first high schools to operate a microbank.

College May Become Unaffordable for Most in U.S. By TAMAR LEWIN, NYTimes
Tuition and fees increased 439 percent from 1982 to 2007, while median family income rose 147 percent.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Going Off to College for Less (Passport Required)

Going Off to College for Less (Passport Required) By TAMAR LEWIN, NYTimes
More American students are heading overseas not just for a semester abroad, but for their full degree program.
Previous Articles in the Series »

Monday, December 8, 2008

Good Deeds: The Backlash

Good Deeds: The Backlash By DOUGLAS QUENQUA, NYTimes
Schools have trimmed community service hours for high school students, hoping they will aim for quality, not quantity

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday Lit 120708

Big Think: The evolution of Indian culture
The consul general of India, Neelam Deo, discusses her country's culture and environmental resources. Learn more at Big Think.

For more info about India, check out:

Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest Democracy and the Future of Our World by Mira Kamdar

The Elephant and the Dragon: The Rise of India and China and What It Means for All of Us by Robyn Meredith

Saturday, December 6, 2008

SAT December 2008


Week (0r Two) Before the Test

  • Gather all your completed SAT Practice Tests into ONE pile.
  • Review a completed test every evening before the Night Before the SAT Test.
  • Look-up any difficult vocabulary.
  • Note how you used POE (Process of Elimination) to get the right answers.
  • Analyze your wrong answers, and adjust your POE.
The Night Before the Test
  • Don't cram for the SAT!
  • Follow you normal Friday Night Homework routine.
  • Go to bed early.

Day of the Test:
  • Wake up fifteen minutes early to focus your thoughts.
  • Eat breakfast
  • Bring Student ID
  • Bring pencils, calculators, ear plugs, water, energy bar, etc.
  • Arrive early--use the spare time to encourage yourself and your friends to do your best.

During the Test

  • Stand up and stretch!


  • Read the Prompt
  • Read the Quote
  • Read the Prompt again.
  • Think for 1 minute (don't write).
  • Brainstorm. Focus, focus, focus your examples. Organize. (2 minutes)
  • Write (20 min)
  • Intro Paragraph:
  • Thesis plus preview of your examples
  • 3 body paragraphs. Topic sentence plus 3-4 sentences of concrete detail.
  • Transition between paragraphs.
  • Conclusion.
  • Fix errors and upgrade vocabulary (2 min).

Writing Section

  • The Fist of No Error (see sidebar)

Critical Reading

  • POE (process of elimination)
  • Avoid answers that are too extreme (narrow, general, always/never, etc)

Long Passage

  • Read the blurb (who? what? where? when?)
  • Skim & underline for information (Proper Nouns, Unusual Punctuation, Lists)
  • Mark-up the passage as per the Questions (Beware of stealth EXCEPT and Inference Questions)
  • Read the passage critically (why? how?)
  • Answer the questions via POE

After the Test

  • Don't just go home--celebrate!
  • You spent a lot of time (and money) preparing for the SAT.
  • Go out to a good lunch with your friends/family to debrief.
  • Go on to your next task!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Science Friday 120508

A New Picture of the Early Earth, By KENNETH CHANG, NYTimes
Geologists now think the planet soon became a cool place of land, seas and perhaps even life.

How to Increase Your I.Q. by Nicholas D. Kristof
A simple, effective way to improve the health of impoverished people is to add iodine to the salt supply. Video

The Micronutrient Initiative
We are dedicated to ensuring that the world's most vulnerable - especially women and children - in developing countries get the vitamins and minerals they need to survive and thrive.

Gene Test Shows Spain’s Jewish and Muslim Mix By NICHOLAS WADE, NYTimes
A study of genetic signatures has provided new evidence of the mass conversions of Sephardic Jews and Muslims to Catholicism in the 14th and 15th centuries.

2009 World Science Festival By John Tierney, NYTimes
Science-festival fans, mark your calendars for June in New York. After its sold-out debut in New York this year, the World Science Festival promised an encore, and now we know the dates: June 11th to 14th, 2009.

Observatory: Turtle on the Half Shell: Fossils in China Show an Evolutionary Step, NYTimes

Observatory: A New Understanding of Iceberg Formation May Aid Climate Studies, NYTimes

Observatory: A Ball on the Seafloor Casts Doubt on Views of How Life Diversified, NYTimes

Mental disorders seen in 20% of young adults, SFGate
Almost 20 percent of young American adults have a personality disorder that interferes with everyday life, and even more abuse alcohol...

Internet searching stimulates brain, study says, SFGate
Can Googling delay the onset of dementia? A new UCLA study, part of the growing research into the effects of technology on the brain...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

NYTimes: Colleges during the Financial Crisis

Colleges Are Not Going Hungry, but Are in Need
Against the real likelihood of financial doom for so many people, what precisely do we owe our alma maters at a time like this?

Private Schools Say They’re Thriving in Downturn
In letters and meetings, elite schools in New York say applications and donations remain strong.

Beyond the Ivied Halls, Endowments Suffer
Some of the nation’s universities are trying to sell chunks of their portfolios privately as their endowments swoon with the markets.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Test Passes, Colleges Fail

The Test Passes, Colleges Fail, By PETER D. SALINS, NYTimes editorial 11/17/08

While some institutions justify this move primarily as a way to enroll a more diverse group of students, an increasing number claim that the SAT is a poor predictor of academic success in college, especially compared with high school grade-point averages. Are they correct?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

NYTimes: Gen Y and Non-profits

Training to Lead Nonprofits By CATE DOTY
Members of “Gen Y” have sparked a surge in nonprofit management and leadership courses at colleges and universities around the country.

Groups ‘Party for a Cause’ to Help Charities By PAUL SULLIVAN
An annual event that has raised more than $40,000 for Heal the Bay, a nonprofit organization devoted to cleaning up the beaches of Southern California.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Term Paper Artist

The Term Paper Artist: The lucrative industry behind higher ed's failings.
By Nick Mamatas, The Smart Set from Drexel University, 10/10/08

One great way to briefly turn the conversation toward myself at a party is to answer the question, "So, what do you do?" with, "I'm a writer." ... If I want attention for an hour or so, however, I'll tell them my horrible secret — for several years I made much of my freelance income writing term papers.

On the Media: The Paper Market
Term papers don't write themselves. Most college students pour hours of work into finding sources, crafting thesis statements and writing drafts. But some don't – they pay people to write papers for them. Author Nick Mamatas was a paper-writer-for-hire, and has few regrets about taking money from cheaters. Listen to the interview: