Smorgasbord: It’s Really Fall, Folks


This weekly roundup will be a true mishmash. But hey, consider it your seasonal style stew. And by the way, be a voter this Tuesday. If you care about education, check out the one candidate who has voiced any views about education policy in this election.

The latest diversity report shows NYC schools have made some progress, but still have a long way to go to make increasing school diversity systemic.

Public advocate Letitia James and CSA President Ernest Logan have proposed a great idea for doing just that: the NYCDOE should appoint a Chief Diversity Officer and actually commit to it.

A Brooklyn teenager interviews other teens around NYC about segregation:
… since integration doesn’t seem to be happening, more than anything I just wish me and my friends could go to a school without the burden of worrying about what we don’t have.
Imagine that.

Our group affiliations color our perceptions. Even the sensory ones.

Which makes sense, considering that our perceptions could be considered controlled hallucinations, anyway, in which our brain updates its working hypotheses via sensory signals.

And our working hypotheses trend towards negative stereotypes. Which will surprise exactly no one who has ever listened to gossip.

Here’s some further support for the idea that the human brain operates best when it is balanced between the hinterlands of chaos and order — just like schools.

The New Yorker visits Townsend Harris High School in Flushing, Queens, for a mock election that the teachers worry might be teaching the wrong lessons to kids who have no previous elections to compare it to.

Researchers at Stanford realize that kids don’t know anything and Google ain’t helping:

At every level, we were taken aback by students’ lack of preparation: middle school students unable to tell the difference between an advertisement and a news story; high school students taking at face value a cooked-up chart from the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee; college students credulously accepting a .org top-level domain name as if it were a Good Housekeeping seal.

Robert Pondiscio argues that charter proponents need to shift their pitches away from social justice in the inner city towards the promotion of programs appealing to middle school parents.

Richard Whitmire argues that districts and charters need to partner more and create a win-win for both sides.

Individuals who exhibit greater self-control are able to do so because they can appraise when and where a specific self-control strategy should be used. Sadly, it is this very ability to ascertain what is contextually-appropriate that those who struggle with self-control may lack.

Giving ex-cons psychiatric drugs reduces reoffending rates. Which is great–except this study comes from Sweden, where they most likely have the healthcare coverage that would actually provide that medication. Good luck getting this going in the US.

An often overlooked intervention that can improve students’ academic performance is fitness training.


Doug Lemov on the importance of utilizing read alouds to bring the sophisticated vocabulary and knowledge locked up in complex texts to our kids.


A student with disabilities challenges the lazy thinking of adults:

Sometimes it seems like people think that I have consciously chosen to have a brain that is physically different from others. Nope — I do not have a designer brain!

When it takes me longer to finish a test or when I need to get up and pace, believe me that’s not what I would have designed. Would you? A lot of the time I feel like I am on trial — that I have to prove that I need help. That’s how it is with hidden disabilities, which by the way, 70 percent of all disabilities are.


What if classes were as long (or short) as they needed to be instead of a fixed amount of time? What if instead of taking tests, the students created them? That would be so much more interesting and useful.

As in national parks, so in schools: we need to reduce noise and glaring light.

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