July 10, 2012
The New York Times
The opportunity gap
An op-ed by David Brooks
Equal opportunity, once core to the nation’s identity, is now a tertiary concern. According to a study by Harvard’s Robert Putnam, a generation ago, working-class parents spent slightly more time with their kids than college-educated parents. Now college-educated parents spend an hour more every day. This attention gap is largest in the first three years of life when it is most important.
U.S. drops in global innovation rankings
After ranking 7th in 2011, the U.S. is ranked 10th in this year’s Global Innovation Index, a massive report published by Insead, an international business school, and the World Intellectual Property Organization, an agency of the United Nations. The report ranks 141 nations on nearly 100 factors related to innovation, in areas like “Business sophistication,” “Human capital & research,” and “Knowledge & technology outputs.” Switzerland and Sweden are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, for the second straight year. Rounding out the top five are Singapore, Finland, and the United Kingdom.
Alarms sounded as federal ed. cuts loom
Released reports by the American Association of School Administrators and the National Education Association raise dire warnings about the impact on school districts and federal education programs from the sweeping, across-the-board spending cuts set to hit all federal agencies in early January if Congress doesn’t act to head them off. As a result of the federal debt ceiling deal, every area of federal spending will see about a 8% cut, and the vast majority of districts surveyed say their states are in no position to help them absorb or offset the cuts.
Prominent charter networks eye fresh territory
In recent months, charter management organizations such as Rocketship Education and BASIS Schools have announced plans for incremental growth, the success of which could determine whether they venture into other cities and states in the years to follow. CMOs like Aspire are being recruited by many states, but they are being selective to ensure a successful expansion.
School is too easy, students report
A new report by the Center for American Progress analyzed three years of questionnaires by NAEP and found that students largely think that school isn’t challenging and aren’t very engaged in their schoolwork. Additionally, the data suggests that students aren’t pushed academically. CAP suggests that the implementation of Common Core will do much to improve the academic rigor, raising national standards.