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Austin Block

Common Core: An imperfect improvement over the status quo

The evidence that does exist suggests that the Common Core represents a small, if shaky, step in the right direction. Critics would be better off recognizing the Common Core for what it is – an imperfect improvement over the status quo – and supporting its successful implementation than fighting a losing battle to repeal what has become a new national norm.

A clarification of Common Core misconceptions

In recent years, polemical critics on both sides have obscured the legitimate issues surrounding the Common Core. Rather than promote rational dialogue, they have caricaturized the issue, depicting the standards as confusing, developmentally inappropriate, and tyrannical on one hand and as near-flawless, research-based brilliance on the other.

Why I worry about ed tech

Before we push technology into every domain of children’s educational lives, we must develop a more robust research base on the effects such technology might have on student learning. Moreover, we must also consider the opportunity cost of education technology.

Obama’s community college proposal: Too early to judge

At first glance, it sounds misanthropic to criticize President Obama’s new community college plan. How could one possibly criticize a program whose goal is to make community college – a gateway to secure, middle class jobs – free for everyone? However, the implications of Obama’s proposal aren’t as clear as they initially seem. Although the plan is undoubtedly good politics, it is too early to tell if it is also good policy.

Why newspapers should not have columnists

The world might be a better place if newspaper columns didn’t exist. Same with news channel and talk radio punditry. The problem with each of these media is the same: they distract from genuine factual reporting while making overblown claims to legitimacy and credibility. In the process, they misinform more than they inform.

Why we should be skeptical of “corporate” education reform

Before jumping to conclusions and experimenting on schools with the highest-need students, we must proceed with caution, think carefully, and look at the available research. The scientific method – not the unproven theories of the private sector – provides the safest ground for the development of sustainable solutions to problems in public education.

College students: Force Teach for America to narrow its scope

Until that day comes, though, say no to TFA, or apply only on the condition that you are placed in a school truly desperate for staff. Only by standing their ground can college students force the organization to change for the better. Low-income school districts don’t need under-qualified graduates to serve and then leave. They need well-trained teachers who are in the profession to stay.

Stanford’s Engaging Diversity requirement needs to be strengthened

Once the Class of 2016 graduates, Stanford’s transition to Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing general education requirements will be complete. This change is welcome, because the old system badly needed fixing: The Disciplinary Breadth obligation was superficial and unsatisfying, and the Education for Citizenship (EC) requirement was well-meaning but flawed (more on this later). Unfortunately,…

M. Golf: Home cooking

Hosting the U.S. Intercollegiate at the Stanford Golf Course last weekend, the Stanford men’s golf team–ranked No. 8 in Golfweek’s national rankings–was unable to recover from an early deficit, ultimately taking third at the tournament with a score of 849.

From Stanford to Stockton

Stockton faces looming bankruptcy, an unemployment rate of 16.6 percent, a failing education system and a high homicide rate. According to ABC News , 56 people were murdered in Stockton last year alone. To help fix these problems and reinvigorate Stockton, Tubbs decided to run for City Council, declaring his candidacy on Feb. 20 of this year. The election will take place on June 15.

Freshman fights for education reform

Larson, a freshman who intends to major in political science and pursue a coterminal degree in policy, organization and leadership studies at Stanford’s School of Education, was one of seven candidates who ran this week for three open positions on the Mequon-Thiensville Board of Education in Wisconsin.

M. Golf: Up and down

In its first tournament of the spring season, the Stanford men’s golf team took third place at the Amer Ari Invitational on the strength of freshman Patrick Rodgers’ third-place finish and junior Andrew Yun’s final round 65.

M. Golf: Swinging into spring

Four years removed from a national championship, and three years after finishing as the nation’s runner-up, the Cardinal finished sixth in the NCAA Central Regionals last year... But if the fall season is any indication, the Cardinal will not falter again this spring.
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