Published on Oct 3, 2015 The acclaimed author delved deeply into Magic Realism for his latest book. Here, he describes why this genre continues to thrive. Rushdie's latest novel is "Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights" (http://goo.gl/MCew50).
When the Supreme Court issued its historic rulings this year on same-sex marriage and other issues, the New York Times reporter in the courtroom was a Yale-educated lawyer.
Our reporter who broke a major story about abandoned chemical weapons in Iraq was a former captain in the Marines. The team that covered the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris included eight French-speaking correspondents. A Times journalist who analyzed a definitive study on income inequality once worked at the Federal Reserve.
This week, The Times is celebrating a breakthrough: We recently passed one million digital-only subscribers, giving us far more than any other news organization in the world. We have another 1.1 million print-and-digital subscribers, so that in total, we have more subscribers than at any time in our 164-year history.
Many news organizations, facing competition from digital outlets, have sharply reduced the size of their newsrooms and their investment in news gathering.
"On Friday, the pope stood before the United Nations and declared that the organization has failed. He urged UN members to care for the environment and the humans living in it, and to take on challenges ranging from human and drug trafficking to extreme poverty and government corruption. 'We cannot permit ourselves to postpone certain agendas for the future,' he said."
You probably think you’re pretty smart. Most people believe they’re smarter than the average American, according to a study from YouGov. Yet when it comes to IQ, most of us are indeed average, falling in the 80-119 point range. While this number peaks in our late teens to early 20s and remains relatively stable as we age, that doesn’t mean your potential is fixed.
"The fact is, intelligence can be increased—and quite dramatically,' writes behavior-analytic psychologist Bryan Roche of the National University of Ireland in Psychology Today. 'Those who claim that IQ is fixed for life are in fact referring to our IQ test scores, which are relatively stable—not to our intelligence levels, which are constantly increasing.'"
Anaheim, Calif. • When most people think of this quintessential California suburb, the Angels baseball team or Disneyland probably comes to mind. But a five-minute drive from the “happiest place on earth” takes you to Palm Lane Elementary, ground zero in a fight between teachers unions and parents who are trying to fix California’s broken public schools. The conflict—as so often in American education—boils down to unionized teachers trying to stop minority children from attending charter schools. • Ninety percent of Palm Lane students come from low-income families. About 85% are Latino, and more than half aren’t native English speakers. Palm Lane has been on the California Education Department’s list of underperforming schools since 2003. In 2013 a mere 38% of students scored proficient or better in English on state tests. And Palm Lane is hardly an exception in the area: Four other elementary schools in Anaheim rank even lower on the state’s Academic Performance Index. • But Alfonso Flores is leading a grass-roots insurgency against the union-controlled regime at Palm Lane. The former teacher and father of four kids who attend public schools in Hesperia has used the state’s 'parent trigger' law, passed in 2010, to force changes at a half-dozen schools in California. The law stipulates that if a majority of parents at a struggling school sign a petition, they can compel changes in school management or personnel. Sometimes, the parents contract with a charter-school operator. In one case, they hired a new principal. Parents have also used the law as a negotiating tool to force the district to make improvements like adding more staff."
"What kind of tunes do you think Iago, the villain in William Shakespeare’s “Othello,” would listen to if he had an iPhone? * That is the kind of question that Laura Randazzo, an exuberant English teacher, often dreams up to challenge her students at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, Calif. * So, when Ms. Randazzo heard about TeachersPayTeachers.com, a virtual marketplace where educators can buy and sell lesson plans, she was curious to find out whether the materials she had created for her own students would appeal to other educators. * A couple of years ago, she started posting items, priced at around $1, on the site. Her “Whose Cell Phone Is This?” fictional character work sheet has now sold more than 4,000 copies."
"In this article I will identify 5 pillars of the online teaching business and share 40 smart apps and tools to help strengthen each pillar. Each pillar will then strengthen the others, so that each aspect of the business becomes its own powerful hub of productivity, in and of itself, as well as beyond itself."
While the West Des Moines Community School District Superintendent was beginning her speech to the staff of WDMCS at the district-wide welcome back meeting, the teachers of the district created a flash mob to the enjoyment of their unsuspecting colleagues. With only one more day of preparation left, the teachers shared their talents by performing a parody of the song, “One more day” from Les Miserables.
Many thanks to the teachers and staff members (only 12 are music teachers) who voluntarily came to school to rehearse in June and July to prepare for this performance!
"Ah, back-to-school season in America: That means it's time for the annoyingly aggressive marketing of clothes, and for the annual warnings of a national teacher shortage. But this year the cyclical problem is more real and less of a media creation. There are serious shortages of teachers in California, Oklahoma, Kentucky and places in between. A big factor: Far fewer college students are enrolling in teacher training programs, as we reported this spring, exacerbating a long-standing shortage of instructors in special education, science and English as a second language. In California, enrollment in teaching programs is down more than 50 percent over the past five years. Enrollment is down sharply in Texas, North Carolina, New York and elsewhere. Add to those enrollment numbers the stagnant pay, attrition, retirements, an improving economy and politicized fights over tenure, and you've got the makings of a genuine problem in some regions. 'All of those things together are creating a serious challenge for us,' Troy Flint, spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District in California, tells NPR Ed. 'The teacher shortage we're facing in Oakland is significantly more dire than in previous years. We just don't have as many teachers in the pipeline.""
"In The Wall Street Journal, John Agresto writes about the suicide of the liberal arts." • "I was a few minutes early for class. Father Alexander, my high-school sophomore-homeroom teacher, was standing outside the room, cigarette in his mouth, leaning on the doorjamb. 'Morning, Father.' • His response was to put his arm across the door. 'Agresto,' he said, 'I have a question I’ve been thinking about and maybe you can help me.' • 'Sure, what’s up?' • 'Do you think a person in this day and age can be called well educated who’s never read the ‘Iliad’?' I hadn’t read the 'Iliad,' and am not even sure I had heard of it. 'Hmmm. Maybe, I don’t see why not. Maybe if he knows other really good stuff . . .' His response was swift. 'OK, Agresto, that proves it. You’re even a bigger damn fool than I thought you were.”"
"Dan Rothstein, Luz Santana, and colleagues created the Right Question Institute over 20 years ago as they began to develop a strategy for helping people in low-income communities learn to advocate for themselves. We interviewed him in April 2015 to ask about how necessary it is for lifelong learners to be able to develop and ask the 'right questions.' (Interview posted: April 21, 2015) • Dan and Luz's work was inspired by an insight from parents in one community who identified the importance of 'knowing what to ask' as a key skill for being able to help oneself, one’s family, and one's community."
This year, 75.3 million millennials, born 1981 to 1997, will inch out boomers as the largest generation, according to Pew Research Center calculations. In five years, they’ll be nearly half the work force.
There’s no shortage of stereotypes (narcissistic, entitled) for Gen Y.
But Jean M. Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, prefers to show generational differences statistically, merging survey data in her newly updated 2006 book, “Generation Me.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates returned to his native Baltimore on July 15, 2015, to discuss and sign his newly-released book on race, Between the World and Me. The book, presented as a letter written to his adolescent son, engages with a wide range of topics relating to the black experience in America. Coates reads a passage from the book and later fields questions from the audience.
Three years ago, after the massacre of 20 children at a school in Newtown, Conn., Room for Debate asked whether the power of the gun lobby would prevent any gun control legislation, like stronger background checks for gun purchases or restriction on the capacity of gun clips. With the murder of nine people by a gunman at an Oregon college on Thursday, we are asking the question again.
"Have the claims made for early education been overblown? Not necessarily. Consider what’s happening in Boston. A randomized study showed that prekindergartners there gained between four and seven months’ progress in reading and math, and those gains persisted: 27 percent more of Boston’s preschool children scored 'proficient' or better on the state’s rigorous third-grade exams. • What’s the difference between Boston and Tennessee? In a word, quality. 'Tennessee doesn’t have a coherent vision,' Dale Farran, a Vanderbilt professor and the Tennessee study’s co-author, told me. 'Left to their own devices, each teacher is inventing pre-K on her own.' • Boston’s teachers are taught to understand the complexities of child development, and receive abundant coaching from knowledgeable veterans. The curriculum is calculated to get children’s minds in gear. 'Too often, children sit in a circle and the adult does all the talking,' says Jason Sachs, who runs Boston’s public preschools. 'Here, children take much more of an active role. They learn about the concept of length by comparing the shadows they cast when lying on the ground. They learn about measurement by producing a guide to making light blue. They collaborate in figuring out how to make their city a better place — an assignment merging reading, math, art and science — and get to present their work at City Hall.'"
"First, it must be stated that a true 'right of the environment' does exist, for two reasons. First, because we human beings are part of the environment. We live in communion with it, since the environment itself entails ethical limits which human activity must acknowledge and respect. Man, for all his remarkable gifts, which “are signs of a uniqueness which transcends the spheres of physics and biology” (Laudato Si’, 81), is at the same time a part of these spheres. He possesses a body shaped by physical, chemical and biological elements, and can only survive and develop if the ecological environment is favourable. Any harm done to the environment, therefore, is harm done to humanity. Second, because every creature, particularly a living creature, has an intrinsic value, in its existence, its life, its beauty and its interdependence with other creatures. We Christians, together with the other monotheistic religions, believe that the universe is the fruit of a loving decision by the Creator, who permits man respectfully to use creation for the good of his fellow men and for the glory of the Creator; he is not authorized to abuse it, much less to destroy it. In all religions, the environment is a fundamental good (cf. ibid.).
The misuse and destruction of the environment are also accompanied by a relentless process of exclusion. In effect, a selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged, either because they are differently abled (handicapped), or because they lack adequate information and technical expertise, or are incapable of decisive political action. Economic and social exclusion is a complete denial of human fraternity and a grave offense against human rights and the environment. The poorest are those who suffer most from such offenses, for three serious reasons: they are cast off by society, forced to live off what is discarded and suffer unjustly from the abuse of the environment. They are part of today’s widespread and quietly growing 'culture of waste'.
The dramatic reality this whole situation of exclusion and inequality, with its evident effects, has led me, in union with the entire Christian people and many others, to take stock of my grave responsibility in this regard and to speak out, together with all those who are seeking urgently-needed and effective solutions. The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope. I am similarly confident that the Paris Conference on Climatic Change will secure fundamental and effective agreements.
Solemn commitments, however, are not enough, although they are certainly a necessary step toward solutions. The classic definition of justice which I mentioned earlier contains as one of its essential elements a constant and perpetual will: Iustitia est constans et perpetua voluntas ius sum cuique tribuendi. Our world demands of all government leaders a will which is effective, practical and constant, concrete steps and immediate measures for preserving and improving the natural environment and thus putting an end as quickly as possible to the phenomenon of social and economic exclusion, with its baneful consequences: human trafficking, the marketing of human organs and tissues, the sexual exploitation of boys and girls, slave labour, including prostitution, the drug and weapons trade, terrorism and international organized crime. Such is the magnitude of these situations and their toll in innocent lives, that we must avoid every temptation to fall into a declarationist nominalism which would assuage our consciences. We need to ensure that our institutions are truly effective in the struggle against all these scourges."
"The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy may be the most interesting website on the internet. Not because of the content—which includes fascinating entries on everything from ambiguity to zombies—but because of the site itself.
Its creators have solved one of the internet’s fundamental problems: How to provide authoritative, rigorously accurate knowledge, at no cost to readers. It’s something the encyclopedia, or SEP, has managed to do for two decades.
The internet is an information landfill. Somewhere in it—buried under piles of opinion, speculation, and misinformation—is virtually all of human knowledge. But sorting through the trash is difficult work. Even when you have something you think is valuable, it often turns out to be a cheap knock-off.
The story of how the SEP is run, and how it came to be, shows that it is possible to create a less trashy internet—or at least a less trashy corner of it. A place where actual knowledge is sorted into a neat, separate pile instead of being thrown into the landfill. Where the world can go to learn everything that we know to be true. Something that would make humans a lot smarter than the internet we have today."
"Scientists have discovered a new human-like species in a burial chamber deep in a cave system in South Africa. • The discovery of 15 partial skeletons is the largest single discovery of its type in Africa. • The researchers claim that the discovery will change ideas about our human ancestors. • The studies which have been published in the journal Elife also indicate that these individuals were capable of ritual behaviour. • The species, which has been named naledi, has been classified in the grouping, or genus, Homo, to which modern humans belong."
"Out-of-school children of primary school age • 58 million primary school-age children (9%) are denied the right to education. Of these, 25 million will probably never enter school if current trends continue. • Sub-Saharan Africa: About 33 million children (18 million girls) are out of school, down from 44 million (24 million girls) in 2000. One-third of the global number of out-of-school children live in West and Central Africa. Here more than 1 in 4 children (31% of all girls and 23% of all boys) are excluded from education."
Because although I didn’t go to Iceland this summer, I did take care of a friend. The time my ex-editor and I spent as invalid and manservant was kind of like going on a cross-country road trip or to sleep-away camp together. We ended up with a hundred in-jokes and nicknames. We’re now less like friends than siblings, meaning that we may hate each other briefly but we’re doomed to love each other forever. Once you’ve carried someone in your arms while she’s weeping and bleeding, you’re never going to be indifferent to her again.
I didn’t go to Iceland, but I watched “Zapped!” and ate Taco Bell in a hospital bed, played cornhole at a pleasure club (not what it sounds like), spent indolent afternoons drinking wine on a back porch in Baltimore and opened a humane mousetrap only to have the captive mouse leap straight into my face while a friend was trying to leave an “out-of-office” voice mail message, which suddenly erupted into a chaos of little-girl screams and berserk cursing. I swam naked in the Chesapeake Bay, made martinis at 5 every day, watched fireflies after dark. I saw a Perseid meteor streak across the night sky and vanish so fast it was hard to tell whether its incandescent trail was in the atmosphere, on my retina, or only in memory.
"If there is one health myth that will not die, it is this: You should drink eight glasses of water a day. * It’s just not true. There is no science behind it. * And yet every summer we are inundated with news media reports warning that dehydration is dangerous and also ubiquitous. * These reports work up a fear that otherwise healthy adults and children are walking around dehydrated, even that dehydration has reached epidemic proportions. * Let’s put these claims under scrutiny. * I was a co-author of a paper back in 2007 in the BMJ on medical myths. The first myth was that people should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. This paper got more media attention (even in The Times) than pretty much any other research I’ve ever done. * It made no difference. When, two years later, we published a book on medical myths that once again debunked the idea that we need eight glasses of water a day, I thought it would persuade people to stop worrying. I was wrong again."
"An effort by the local technology community to have computer science taught in more Massachusetts public schools will move forward this year after the Legislature provided $1.5 million in matching funds. • An advocacy group representing technology interests, the Massachusetts Computing Attainment Network, or MassCAN, will use the money to train teachers in computer science instruction and to lobby more school districts to introduce the lessons. • MassCAN has also drafted a proposal for a curriculum that school districts can adopt. It will be reviewed by the Massachusetts Board of Education this fall. • The curriculum proposal will include lesson plans that schools could adopt for elementary and high school classes. Schools would not be required to teach computer science. On its own, the industry group said it has already trained 300 public school teachers to teach computer science."
"To prepare for an unpredictable future, look beyond educations' familiar rhythms to encourage staff and student voice and agency, rule challengers, design thinkers, and leaders." "As I begin my tenth year as superintendent, I take stock of the significant changes that have occurred in my school district. As Pascal Finette says, social media have turned the world into a participation culture linked by a global communication network. And mobile devices, with 500 times the computing power that put astronauts on the moon, rest in the hands, pockets, and backpacks of children, not just top executives. Smart technologies have moved onto some college campuses, and students now receive texts telling them when washers are open for laundry. No longer science fiction, driverless vehicles represent real stories in our daily newsfeeds. • Yet even with all our knowledge about global changes, many U.S. schools have changed little while the world participates in the rising Age of Smart Machines. Who doubts that young people must be ready for a future in which they will be challenged by radical workforce evolution, global problems from environmental degradation to geopolitical instabilities, and demographic shifts redefining family, community, and culture? How do we prepare learners for that? Considering how to proactively respond inside the walls of schools to the exponential changes occurring outside those walls keeps me up at night."
With some 13,000 graduate schools of business across the globe, the M.B.A. degree has clearly become a commodity.
Even among elite schools, courses and case studies are pretty much water from the same well (i.e., finance, operations, marketing, accounting). So how do you choose? By using the rankings? Which ones? The Economist’s? Businessweek’s? The Financial Times’s? And if you do, how do you tell the difference between a school ranked No. 6 and a school ranked No. 7?
Don’t ask us. Don’t ask the schools, either. Their slick brochures try to be everything to everybody, and in the process they obscure rather than illuminate.
Conventional wisdom will tell you that Harvard is for Fortune 500 jobs, Wharton for Wall Street, Kellogg for marketing and Insead for multinational entities. There’s truth to some of it, but times change, and so do employers’ recruiting preferences. The smartest move might be to choose your business school by focusing on a very specific outcome and, assuming a good fit personally, going to the one with an impressive record of helping students achieve the same. Period.
For the first time in 14 years, the Senate on Thursday approved a revised version of No Child Left Behind, the signature Bush-era education law that ushered in an era of broadly reviled, high-stakes standardized testing.
But the passage of the bill on a vote of 81 to 17, coming just a week after the House narrowly passed its own version, sets up a showdown between the two chambers, and leaves the fate of a final measure in doubt.
Both bills return some key power to local governments but differ over the role of the federal government and funding allocations.
Congress has repeatedly failed in its efforts to rewrite the law over the last several years.
At the heart of the debate between Democrats and Republicans is the appropriate role for the federal government in education programs, which are largely a function of state and local governments.
Leaders from both sides insist they can come to an agreement that can make it to President Obama’s desk.
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