Saturday, July 31, 2010

Getting Into Med School Without Hard Sciences

Getting Into Med School Without Hard Sciences By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS, NYTimes

A program admits students if they study humanities instead of the traditional pre-medical school curriculum.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Importance of Education Reform The Importance of Education Reform (video)

President Obama speaks about the critical need for education reform and discusses what his Administration has done to raise standards and encourage excellence during a speech to the Urban League. July 29, 2010. President Obama on Education: “The Status Quo is Morally Inexcusable”

So, yes, our federal government has responsibilities that it has to meet, and I will keep on making sure the federal government meets those responsibilities. Our governors, our superintendants, our states, our school districts have responsibilities to meet. And parents have responsibilities that they have to meet. And our children have responsibilities that they have to meet. (Applause.)

It’s not just parents. It’s the children, too. Our kids need to understand nobody is going to hand them a future. (Applause.) An education is not something you just tip your head and they pour it in your ear. (Laughter.) You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to reach out and claim that future for yourself. And you can’t make excuses. (Applause.)

I know life is tough for a lot of young people in this country. The places where Urban League is working to make a difference, you see it every day. I’m coming from the Southside of Chicago. (Applause.) So I know -- I see what young people are going through there. And at certain points in our lives, young black men and women may feel the sting of discrimination. Too many of them may feel trapped in a community where drugs and violence and unemployment are pervasive, and they are forced to wrestle with things that no child should have to face.

There are all kinds of reasons for our children to say, “No, I can’t.” But our job is to say to them, “Yes, you can.” (Applause.) Yes, you can overcome. Yes, you can persevere. Yes, you can make what you will out of your lives.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SUNY: The Accidental Giant of Higher Education

SUNY: The Accidental Giant of Higher Education By PETER APPLEBOME, NYTimes

Two things define SUNY: it’s huge, and it’s weird. And now it’s at the heart of a battle over what public higher education should be.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Many States Adopt National Standards for Their Schools

Many States Adopt National Standards for Their Schools By TAMAR LEWIN, NYTimes

States that accept the standards by Aug. 2 win points in the Obama administration’s Race to the Top competition for a share of the $3.4 billion to be awarded in September.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

UC's little-known Pavement Research Center results in smooth, safe and silent rides

UC's little-known Pavement Research Center results in smooth, safe and silent rides by Lisa Krieger, SJ Mercury News

To improve the state's increasingly frail and aging freeways, engineers cook up new recipes in a Richmond lab that resembles the kitchen of a busy restaurant '” but hotter, louder and infused with the bouquet of steaming asphalt. The innovations delivered from this little-known facility in a former 1950s-era munitions factory have a more far-reaching impact on a central part of our daily lives: roads.

Monday, July 26, 2010

MUST READ: Dr Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks - Musicophilia - Amnesia and Music

Oliver Sacks, author of The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and The Island of the Colorblind discusses the story of Clive Wearing, an eminent English musician and musicologist. After contracting a form of encephalitis, Clive was stricken with an acute case of amnesia. His musical ability, however, remained undiminished. The story related in the video comes from Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain, Dr. Sacks's latest book. For more information, visit or

READ: A Neurologist's Notebook: The Abyss : The New Yorker by Oliver Sacks 09/24/07

In addition to this inability to preserve new memories, Clive had a retrograde amnesia, a deletion of virtually his memory.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

On UC's Risky Venture Into Online Education

On UC's Risky Venture Into Online Education

A handful of administrators at the University of California are spearheading an effort to create an ambitious online educational program for undergraduates.

UC regents endorse test of online instruction

The University of California Board of Regents reacted enthusiastically Wednesday to developing a fully online undergraduate degree

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Once a Leader, U.S. Lags in Attaining College Degrees

Once a Leader, U.S. Lags in Attaining College Degrees By TAMAR LEWIN, NYTimes

The College Board warned a growing gap between the United States and other countries is threatening to undermine American economic competitiveness.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Preparing to Land the Hot Jobs of 2018

Preparing to Land the Hot Jobs of 2018 by SUE SHELLENBARGER,

If you're a college student who wants to make sure that you'll be employable upon graduation, how can you figure out what are the hot jobs of the future?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bees Spell Glory for Indian Kids

Bees Spell Glory for Indian Kids by Jean Guerrero,

For thousands of South Asian children in the U.S., spelling has become the game of choice. Competitions catering just to them have sprung up across the country, some with hefty cash prizes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Rules for Student Loans

New Rules for Student Loans by Jonelle Marte,

College students and recent graduates taking out or paying down federal loans are facing a flurry of changes with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.

Monday, July 19, 2010

In California, a University Tries to Enroll Students that Reflect a Diverse State

In California, a University Tries to Enroll Students that Reflect a Diverse State by Rachel Gross, NYTimes, The Choice blog

Which college in the United States gets the most applicants? It’s not Harvard or Yale; it’s the University of California, Los Angeles.

Monday, July 12, 2010

MUST READ: Kim Stanley Robinson

UCSD Guestbook: Kim Stanley Robinson UCtelevision February 29, 2008

Dr. Robinson, who received both his B.A. and Ph.D. from UCSD, is a highly acclaimed writer of science fiction and science fiction criticism; the recipient of numerous major literary awards; and the author of 14 books (novels, short stories, criticism), including his multiple prize-winning "Mars" trilogy. Series: "UCSD Guestbook" [7/2000] [Humanities] [Show ID: 5001]

Bonus Kim Stanley Robinson Video: ‘We Are Living in a Science Fiction Novel That We All Collaborate On’

KSR describes life in the present as a science fiction novel we all collaborate on. This is an excerpt from a pair of talks he gave at the Duke in January; the entirety of the other talk is available here. Here's an exerpt:

KSR: I think it's very true that we are living in a science fiction novel that we all collaborate on, and it's because everything that science fiction was about through its historical named period, the twentieth century, has kind of come true. And also we live in a world that is so intensely structured by science and technology that we can't get out of it. If we were to get out of it would still be a science fiction move, the retreat to the farm. So it's hegemonic, you can't escape it, we're in that world created by science and technology is a website dedicated to the American author and thinker Kim Stanley Robinson, and to the discussion of his works.

Major Works:

The Mars trilogy: Red Mars (1992), Green Mars (1993), and Blue Mars (1996) deal with the first settlement and terraforming of the planet Mars by a group of scientists and engineers.

The Science in the Capital series: Forty Signs of Rain (2004), Fifty Degrees Below (2005), and Sixty Days and Counting (2007). This series explores the consequences of global warming, both on a global level and as it affects the main characters.

The Years of Rice and Salt (2002) is an alternate history in which the Black Plague wiped out 99 percent of the European population, leaving the world free for Asian expansion. It covers ten generations of history, focusing on the successive reincarnations of the same few characters as they pass through varying genders, social classes, and, in one notable example, species. (study guide)

Galileo's Dream (2009) describes the life of 17th century scientist and astronomer Galileo Galilei, and the far-future society living on the Galilean moons he discovered.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Computers and Education (2 articles)

Students, Meet Your New Teacher, Mr. Robot By BENEDICT CAREY and JOHN MARKOFF, NYTimes
Computer scientists are developing machines that can teach people simple skills, like household tasks and vocabulary.

Computers at Home: Educational Hope vs. Teenage Reality By RANDALL STROSS, NYTimes

Researchers measuring a home computer’s educational value to a schoolchild in a low-income household are finding that test scores tend to go down, not up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Colleges Spend More on Recreation Than Class

Colleges Spend More on Recreation Than Class By SAM DILLON, NYTimes

A new study documents a growing stratification of wealth across America’s system of higher education.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

MUST READ: Malcolm Gladwell

Teacher Jennifer's comment: Although I don't agree with every word he writes, Malcolm Gladwell is one of my favorite essayists. My SAT CR/Wr prep and American Literature classes are currently studying Gladwell's article Examined LifeWhat Stanley H. Kaplan taught us about the SAT. Here are some more links for further reading.

Malcolm Gladwell "Outliers" on Jimmy Kimmel Live 1-13-09

MUST READ: Examined LifeWhat Stanley H. Kaplan taught us about the SAT
  • Note: Gladwell's article was published 2001. March 2005, CollegeBoard addressed some of the UC system's concerns by re-organizing the test, deleting the analogy section and incorporating the Essay section. But Gladwell's conclusion that dilligent study and parental participation makes the "difference' remains valid.

An exerpt from Chapter Two of The Tipping Point: Are you a connector?

  • The central role that three personality types--that I call Connectors, Mavens, and Salesmen-- play in social epidemics. In this excerpt, Gladwell describes a simple test that anyone can take to tell whether they fall into the first of those categories, the Connector.

An exerpt from the Intro of Blink: The Second Mind

  • Description of the part of the brain that runs our rapid decision-making system.

An excerpt from Chapter Eight of Outliers: Rice Paddies and Math Tests

  • "No one who can rise before dawn three hundred and sixty days a year fails to make his family rich."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style

NYTimes: Break Dancing, Phnom Penh-Style

A former gang member from Long Beach, California, teaches break dancing to at-risk youths in Cambodia.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Coveted but Elusive Summer Internship

The Coveted but Elusive Summer Internship By HILARY STOUT, NYTimes Magazine

Between the sputtering economy and a crackdown on federal guidelines on unpaid internships, students are having trouble building their résumés this summer.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Frederick Douglass's "Fourth of July Speech, 1852"

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?

Danny Glover Reads Frederick Douglass

Actor Danny Glover reads abolitionist Frederick Douglass's "Fourth of July Speech, 1852" on October 5, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. Part of a reading from Voices of a People's History of the United States (Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove.)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

thisibelieve: Independence Day

thisibelieve: Independence Day Published: June 29, 2009

When the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Many essayists for This I Believe share that dedication to the principles on which our country was created. Click the links below to see how a former President, a renowned comic book artist, and others explore their beliefs in freedom, democracy, and government.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

International Program Catches On in U.S. Schools

International Program Catches On in U.S. Schools By TAMAR LEWIN, NYTimes

The International Baccalaureate, an alternative to the Advanced Placement program, is offered in 700 schools.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Postcards From the ‘Tour d’Admission’

Postcards From the ‘Tour d’Admission’ ByKIRK BLACKARD AND BRUCE HUNTER, NYTimes, The Choice blog

"For seven summers, a group of college counselors from across the country have climbed on bicycles to travel from college to college on an informal, saddle-bound fact-finding mission that I like to think of as the Tour d’Admission...This summer, the group has set its tour in California, and the participants will be filing regular dispatches to The Choice from the road, beginning around July 6. This is the inaugural post in their travelogue." – Jacques Steinberg

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Obama Administration's Agenda for Higher Education

usedgov: Obama Administration's Agenda for Higher Education

U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary Martha Kanter discusses how the Department can help America reach President Obama's goal of having the "best educated, most competitive workforce in the world" by 2020?