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Is Education Reform Effective? Depends on the Definition.

Too many education solutions fall apart when you step back and ask some tough questions.


Here’s the dilemma for people who write about education: Certain critical principles need to be mentioned again and again because policymakers persist in ignoring them, yet faithful readers eventually tire of the repetition.

Consider, for example, the reminder that schooling isn’t necessarily better just because it’s more “rigorous.” Or that standardized test results are such a misleading indicator of teaching or learning that raising scores can actually lower the quality of students’ education. Or that using rewards or punishments to control students inevitably backfires in multiple ways.

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Are Schools on the Verge of a Mobile-Phone Revolution?

Over 75 percent of teens own cell phones, making them the perfect tool for learning—if teachers are on board with using them.

These days its pretty impossible to find a teen without a cell phone—over 75 percent of them own one—which means that schools should be seriously looking at how to harness the technology in the classroom. In fact, given the possibilities for learning through games, simulations, virtual environments and interfaces, we could be on the verge of a mobile education revolution. But, while isolated schools or school districts have experimental pilot projects, many educators are still pretty wary of mobile-based learning, and some even ban mobile phones from being on campus.

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A More Diverse Class of 2015: Harvard Accepts Record Numbers of Black and Latino Students

Of course, the overall admission rate was lower than ever: 6.2 percent.


It's a record breaking admissions season at Harvard University. The Ivy League school received the largest number of applications for admission this year—almost 35,000 students. Then the school admitted a record low 6.2 percent of applicants. But—and this is the really good news—despite the stiff competition, the number of black and Latino students accepted into the class of 2015 might just be the highest in school history.

The class of 2015 is 11.8 percent black and 12.1 percent Latino. That's up slightly from 11.3 percent black and 10.6 percent Latino for the previous year. What made the difference? The school prides itself on its Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program, an effort staffed by current minority students at the school. They help coordinate recruitment efforts and reach out to prospective minority applicants to answer questions and address concerns about attending the university. It's a smart idea because current students best know what it feels like to wonder if you're going to fit into the academic and social life at a school.

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