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Withering on the Vine

Why it’s hard—and getting harder—for the kids of migrant farm workers to get an education


I leave Los Angeles just before 6 a.m., headed northeast. It rains for most of the drive, but as I come out of the Tehachapi Mountains on Interstate 5, the valley before me is bathed in sun. California’s Central Valley is a flat, quilt-like patchwork of fields that’s known as the food basket of the world. It produces a year-round supply of almonds, asparagus, cotton, kiwis, lettuce, oranges, peaches, pistachios, tangerines, and tomatoes—pretty much every crop you can think of. And, of course, there are the grapes, sold intact or turned into raisins or chardonnay.

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Could the Khan Academy Become a Traditional School?

A summer camp could be the first step toward the Khan Academy becoming a physical school.


Could everyone’s favorite virtual learning space, the Khan Academy, turn into a physical brick and mortar school? The answer is yes, at least for the summer. Founder Salman Khan is planning a Khan Academy summer camp for kids to be held in 2012 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

According to KQED/Mindshift, the camp will be modeled after the We Teach Science camp Khan co-organized two years ago in Silicon Valley. Far from the "flipped classroom" model Khan's popularized, that camp took a hands-on, project-based learning approach to learning science, technology, engineering, and math, and Khan wants his upcoming camp to do the same. "The videos are great for learning things at an academic level," says Khan. "You can learn intuition for what a derivative is and about Newtonian mechanics through the online exercises, but this is another level of learning."

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Six-Year High School Lets Students Earn a College Degree and a Job at IBM

Students can graduate with an associate's degree in computer science.

Last week we hosted a panel discussion on how schools, businesses and government need to work together to educate the STEM workforce of the future. Well, Pathways in Technology Early College High School, a new collaboration between the IBM International Foundation and the New York City Public Schools might just be a model partnership.

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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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Superb Idea: Have Students Role-Play the College Recruiting Process

It's not enough to tell kids to go to college. You have to invest them in the idea, too.

Teachers always tell students to "go to college" but if the kids don't know anybody who's actually gone, it can be pretty tough to sell them on voluntarily heading somewhere that seems unfamiliar and abstract. So Tobie Lynn Tranchina, a fourth-grade English as a Second Language teacher at Terrytown Elementary in suburban New Orleans, came up with a brilliant solution. She solicited college brochures and applications from a slew of schools and created an innovative project to familiarize her kids with college and invest them in continuing their education.

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