The College Major Dilemma

A new study by Yale economists shows in numbers what we’ve always intuitively known: “Practical” majors like Finance, Engineering, and Nursing have a huge wage advantage over “impractical” ones like Art History, Drama, and Philosophy: During a recession, a Finance major, for example, earns 32% more than the average college graduate one year after … Continue reading The College Major Dilemma

Grit, Policy, and Politics

I was affected and inspired by Paul Tough’s recent book, “How Children Succeed.”  In this book, Tough combines neuroscience, educational research, and striking stories to explain how both sides of the political spectrum are both right and wrong about how to fix America. Conservatives are correct that character is the keystone of success.  Over, and … Continue reading Grit, Policy, and Politics

Searching for Equality in a Winner-take-Most World

I preface this post with the admission that I have always been a child of privilege.  I come from a family of well-educated Chinese immigrants; my mother is the only member of her generation on either her or my father’s side of the family that didn’t earn a Ph.D. (she only has a measly Masters, … Continue reading Searching for Equality in a Winner-take-Most World

3 Theories of College (That Explain Why It’s Broken)

The New Yorker published an essay from Professor Louis Menand of Harvard, where he outlined the three implicit (and conflicting) theories of college in America. Theory 1, which Menand labels “meritocratic,” believes that college is means of testing intelligence: College is, essentially, a four-year intelligence test. Students have to demonstrate intellectual ability over time and … Continue reading 3 Theories of College (That Explain Why It’s Broken)

Failure = Improvement

Charter schools are about as good on average as public schools. But because they can fail, they provide opportunity for improvement that public schools don’t. Without failure, it’s much harder to generate improvement. The Freakonomics podcast recently featured this telling analogy: What if restaurants were run like public schools? Imagine if you were required to … Continue reading Failure = Improvement

Education Reform At Last?

“An Inconvenient Truth” represented a major shift in this country’s thinking about global warming. That documentary took climate change from a niche concern to one of the pillars of the green movement (which, incidentally, has subsumed the environmentalist movement–when’s the last time you heard anyone talk about environmentalism?–yet another example of the power of re-branding). … Continue reading Education Reform At Last?

The Heart of Education: Wanting To Learn

Here’s an excerpt from a great talk by Sir Ken Robinson of TED fame. It’s from the Union Square Ventures “Hacking Education” event. Besides his take on education (which I completely agree with), note the clever technique he steals from Peter Brooke (who, in fairness, stole it from Plato, who used it in The Republic). … Continue reading The Heart of Education: Wanting To Learn

Nixon : China as Obama : Education?

It was largely forgotten amongst the sturm and drang of the economy, but President Obama made an important speech about education policy this week. While every president in recent memory loudly proclaims his desire to be “the education President,” very little usually changes. The Democrats are the tools of the diabolical teachers’ unions, and the … Continue reading Nixon : China as Obama : Education?

“What do you most want for your children?”

Image courtesy of lepiaf.geo That’s the question that Positive Psychology pioneer Martin Seligman asks his audiences. Usually, the answers are things like happiness, health, fulfillment, and love. Here’s the punchline: Then he asks them, “What do schools teach?” So the real question is, when are we going to create an educational system that teaches our … Continue reading “What do you most want for your children?”

Wisdom = Asking Good Questions

Why is it so much easier to comment on other people’s blogs, rather than posting to our own? I think it comes down to this: It’s much easier to come up with great answers than it is to ask great questions. Good blog posts implicitly or explicitly ask the reader good questions. They make us … Continue reading Wisdom = Asking Good Questions