Monthly Archives: July 2012

Meaning Of A Teacher

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Single-Sex Education

There’s a not so new debate over the benefit of single-sex educational settings and oddly enough, I find myself disagreeing with prominent organizations I usually side with. Full disclosure, I’m a product of a women’s college and I’m better for it. As an eager high school senior, my priority was not a college with academic rigor (though I knew I’d end up somewhere challenging), in fact it was to have a positive social experience with other women. From the time I was in middle school, the mean girls were especially mean and I felt a sense of isolation not having that best girl friend. I don’t know why, but at the time, attending a women’s college seemed to be the answer. In the end, I had an unbelievably fulfilling academic experience and I did in fact develop the most positive friendships with other women that make up for the years of mean girls.

What’s fascinating to me about some of the arguments against single-sex education in the elementary and secondary years are the fact that they are based on gender, not sex (I won’t even get in to that here) and they suggest single sex education perpetuates stereotypes. The fact of the matter is that scientific evidence and experiential data shows girls and boys often learn differently and thrive in different settings. In my mind, this is not a bad thing, it just is, but I find many want to ignore this difference in favor of the ever growing movement to erase difference. Obviously it’s important for girls and boys to socialize and learn to interact – that is another reality – but in a country where our students are performing below practically all of our international peers, it might be smart to consider alternative options and structures. The opportunities for learning are vast, as are the opportunities for socialization so educational experiences don’t have to be exclusively single-sex, but perhaps if it was an option for some classes or components, we might see some interesting trends and changes. In other words, to teach to girls or to boys (aka to the stereotype) may actually better meet the needs of students and create environments where students are not forced to fit molds that inherently may not fit. I’m not suggesting all girls and all boys learn exactly the same way, but I think anything that may strengthen our public school systems is worth a try.

If you’re interested in reading more about this debate, check out Single Sex Classes Popular As More Public Schools Split Up Boys And Girls

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UCLA Does It Again

We recently learned another celebrity’s child was offered a football scholarship to UCLA (Cordell Broadus, Snoop Dogg’s Son, Awarded UCLA Football Scholarship As High School Sophomore) and I continue to wonder what message this sends. I generally agree with the idea of merit based scholarships; it’s true people should be rewarded for their hard work, but when it comes to college, the idea of merit scholarships is a little more confusing.

I know very little about sports, so perhaps I’m not the best person to critique UCLA’s decision, but I suspect in sports, like other extra curricular activities and academic enrichment, it takes money to reach one’s full potential. By money, I mean enrolling in special camps, classes, workshops etc and while there are scholarships to access these opportunities, let’s be real, those are hard to come by.

So, back to people getting athletic scholarships who can clearly afford to pay for college. I can’t say I agree with UCLA. I’m not saying these talented student athletes shouldn’t gain admission. They should. They should also have a spot on the athletic team. But, I’m not sure they should be awarded a scholarship, a form of financial aid. In an era where highly capable students cannot fulfill their college dreams because of money, in my mind, it sends exactly the wrong message that UCLA is choosing to give money to children of millionaires (and then make sure the whole world knows they did). I understand the money comes from a separate pool of money than the regular financial aid pool, but a scholarship is scholarship and I can’t imagine there isn’t another equally talented athlete who needs the money to attend UCLA.

I think if UCLA was a leader in awarding comprehensive financial aid packages, I might have a different opinion, but the UC isn’t affordable for many students. In fact, for some, attending a private institution is more affordable because of financial aid packages.

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There IS Value In Creativity Despite What You Hear

Interesting read by Stephen Beal, President, California College of the Arts: What Is the Value of a College Degree?

An excerpt reads:

Interdisciplinary, collaborative, diverse, project-based, and inclusive — these terms describe the learning environment we strive to create. It also describes the evolving and expanding workplace our new graduates will enter. Despite gloomy news stories about the scarcity of jobs, creative people are in demand, and will continue to be. According to a recent study by the National Endowment for the Arts, jobs in the creative sector will increase overall by 11 percent in the next six years, with some careers projected to grow at a much higher rate, especially curators, interior designers, animators, illustrators, architects, and writers.

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