Student success not just a measure of hard and soft skills


By Emily Mann | Aspire Wire: Ideas, Conversation, Action | December 4, 2012

In the United States, educational accountability has become almost synonymous with the use of standardized metrics to assess student knowledge. Pushed by both state and federal education policies, this testing-based conception of accountability has elevated math and reading within the school day. The assumption of the testing culture is that a foundation of math and reading should propel students successfully into college and beyond. However, these core academic skills are not the only ones that colleges consider when compiling their freshman classes. Most colleges tell prospective students and parents that they want a student body that is “well rounded,” and active socially, politically, physically and academically. Yet, what we see in most primary and secondary schools, as a function of the test culture (and against the better judgment of passionate and dedicated teachers), is a push for perpetually higher test scores on a few major subjects. This is sending a mixed message to students as they transition from high school to college, and it is a disservice to all students. Read More

Why people hate government


By Barry Bluestone | | October 7, 2012

In 1965, according to a national Gallup Poll, 35 percent of Americans considered “big government” to be the biggest threat to the country in the future. Slightly fewer (29%) named “big business” as the biggest threat while just 17 percent put this onus on “big labor.” This was the era of Lyndon Johnson and the federal government’s massive “War on Poverty.”

By 1983, fully 50 percent of those polled listed big government as the biggest threat with only 20 percent naming either business or labor. This was the era of Ronald Reagan and the mantra “Get the Government off my back.” By 2001, at the beginning of George W. Bush’s presidency and “compassionate conservatism,” the Gallup poll revealed that two-thirds (65%) of Americans were most worried about big government. By contrast, less than a quarter (24%) feared big business and only 8 percent now worried about big labor. Read More

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