Independent Schools Association of the Southwest

Education News


Universities Are Failing at Inclusion

By David Brooks, The New York Times (from November 16, 2023)
Over the past five weeks, Jewish students on America’s campuses have found themselves confronted with those who celebrate a terrorist operation that featured the mass murder and reportedly the rape of fellow Jews. They see images of people tearing down posters of kidnapped Jewish children. At M.I.T., Jewish students report that they were told by some faculty members to avoid the university’s main lobby — which had been the site of a pro-Palestinian protest — for their own safety. At Cooper Union, Jewish students were barricaded in the library by a protest that started out as a pro-Palestinian demonstration and quickly became, one student reported, “pure anti-Jew.”
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Children in Mental-Health Crisis Surge Into Hospital E.R.s

By Dan Frosch & Melanie Evans, The Wall Street Journal
(from November 8, 2023)
Dr. Christopher Lucas shuttled from room to room, checking on the children with mental-health troubles who had streamed into his emergency department over the past 12 hours because they had nowhere else to go.
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10 Ways Parents Can Keep Kids Safe Online and Resources for Educators

By Amy Rock, Campus Safety (from November 3, 2023)
In May 2023, U.S. Surgeon General  Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory about the mental health impacts of social media on young people. He urged policymakers, tech companies, researchers, and caregivers to make a concerted effort to better understand the potential consequences.
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Listen: No Mercy/No Malice

By Scott Galloway, ProfGalloway (from October 20, 2023)
Listening is underrated. Unlike vision, hearing works in the dark and around corners. We hear 20 to 100 times faster than we see, and what we hear stays in our heads longer, often evoking strong emotions — just listen to your favorite band from college. However, for many of us, we don’t begin to harness this superpower until the age we begin to lose it. Hearing, like youth, is wasted on the young. We all hear things; there’s no corner of the globe that’s free from the vibrations that manifest in sound. So we must decide what to listen to. But many of us aren’t listening, and that dampens our abilities and undermines our relationships.
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Admissions Offices Need More Students and Less ‘Drudgery.’ Is AI the Answer?

By Taylor Swaak, The Chronicle of Higher Education (from November 1, 2023)
This time of year is especially hectic for admissions staff. They’re visiting high schools and frequenting college fairs. They’re fielding questions from prospective students and beginning to sift through mountains of applications.
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Personalized A.I. Agents Are Here. Is the World Ready for Them?

By Kevin Roose, The New York Times (from November 10, 2023)
You could think of the recent history of A.I. chatbots as having two distinct phases.  The first, which kicked off last year with the release of ChatGPT and continues to this day, consists mainly of chatbots capable of talking about things. Greek mythology, vegan recipes, Python scripts — you name the topic and ChatGPT and its ilk can generate some convincing (if occasionally generic or inaccurate) text about it.
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Forget ChatGPT — Extractive AI Is the Real Game-Changer for Teachers, Students

By Jason Dougal, The 74 (from November 8, 2023)
The way schools are organized, staff are deployed and time is allocated have a powerful impact on the way teachers do their work. As a result, these structures have significant influence on how students learn and experience school.
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Suicide Rates Are up for Gen Z Across the Anglosphere, Especially for Girls

By Zach Rausch & Jon Haidt, After Babel (from October 30, 2023)
In early 2021, Jon told me that we needed to figure out “just how international” the youth mental health crisis is. After examining data from the Anglosphere (U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) and Nordic nations (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland), I’ve found that one trend stands out above all others: the spike in anxiety, depression, and self-harm among adolescent girls that began in the early 2010s.
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Speak Out on Israel-Hamas War or Stay Quiet? Both Are Risky, Colleges Find

Leaders of some of the nation’s most high-profile colleges and universities are re-evaluating their roles as moral arbiters and public commentators in response to the bloody conflict now unfolding in Israel and Gaza.
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Lead by Listening

By Thomas C. Hudnut, RG 175 (from September 11, 2023)
The pandemic left behind many casualties in its wake, but among the most concerning is also the most basic: leadership. Assailed by forces beyond their ken, and buffeted by competing (and usually unsolicited) advice from many different directions, school leaders found themselves out of their element. Heads were in the position of making snap decisions where parents and teachers did not agree on what was in the best interests of the school. Used to knowing the answer, or at least being able to point the way, heads were at the mercy of the know-how of others, and in many schools and boards the result was a vacuum of leadership. Stakeholders with varying degrees of legitimacy felt free to weigh in on topics beyond both their expertise and their good manners. “Meddling,” in other words.
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Naming the Collective Purpose of Independent Schools

By Ross Peters, Independent School Magazine (from Fall 2023)
For me, the best endings often have hints of beginnings baked in. 
In his Fall 2021 Independent School article, “Why Do Independent Schools Exist?” John Gulla ends his piece this way: Nature provides beautiful metaphors for our world of education, and one I’ve found especially valuable at this moment is that of “punctuated equilibrium,” where evolutionary biology teaches us that once a species appears in the fossil record, it is remarkably stable until extraordinary external events cause rapid evolutionary change. Such, I think, is the case with schools (basically the same organizational structure and curriculum for a century and a half), but the extraordinary external events (technological advances, globalism, climate crises) call for rapid evolution for survival, and I believe independent schools—nimble, pedagogically creative, differentiated, covenantal, and responsive—can best show us the way.
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In Practice: Building a Program to Improve the Parent-School Partnership

By Elaine Griffin, Independent School Magazine (from Fall 2023)
The past few years have undeniably changed the dynamic of the parent-school relationship. From increasing questions about pedagogy, curriculum, and grading to more recent challenges involving books in schools, it’s clear that parents feel excluded.
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Sophisticated New Tuition Phishing Scams: What Schools Need to Know

By Sarah Goldsmith-Schwartz, NetAssets (from October 4, 2023)
In the last few months, independent schools have seen an uptick in online “phishing” scams that target parents by offering tuition discounts. These scams are sophisticated enough to have ensnared parents, who then pay tuition to the scammer instead of the school. We encourage schools to be increasingly vigilant and to assist families in avoiding such scams.
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Cybercriminals come for schools — and schools aren’t ready

By Javeria Salman, The Hechinger Report (from September 14, 2023)
In March, the Minneapolis Public Schools district was the target of a large ransomware attack that resulted in thousands of confidential documents — student mental health records, sexual assault incidents, suspensions and truancy reports, child abuse allegations, special education plans — dumped online.
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AI in Education: 10 Months On

By Michael Gaskell, Tech & Learning (from October 3, 2023)
In November 2022, ChatGPT unveiled the incredible world of generative AI, and now, a mere ten months later, we're taking a closer look at the strides made since and the hurdles that still lie ahead for schools. What have we learned?
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Banning Smartphones at Schools: Research Points to Higher Test Scores, Less Anxiety, More Exercise

By Kevin Mahnken, The 74 (from October 11, 2023)

The international debate over technology and youth was jolted last week by a surprising announcement: Schools in the United Kingdom will soon ban the use of cell phones

Issued by the U.K.’s secretary of state for education, the new guidance builds on controls already in place in many schools across the country, most of which take explicit aim at both online bullying and student inattention during lessons. But it may have the further effect of encouraging advocates, both at home and abroad, to pursue further-reaching policies limiting children’s access to tech and social media.
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The SATs Will Be Different Next Year, and That Could Be a Game-Changer

By Adam Grant, The New York Times (from September 20, 2023)
A few years ago, I started asking lecture halls filled with students to raise their hands if they had run out of time on the SAT. In each room, nearly every hand went up. I was surprised, but I shouldn’t have been.
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Credit Hours Are a Relic of the Past. How States Must Disrupt High School — Now

By Russlynn Ali & Timothy F. C. Knowles, The 74 (from September 11, 2023)
In 1906, the Carnegie Unit, or credit hour, was introduced to standardize U.S. public education. It defined the precise number of minutes students needed to learn a particular subject and the number of “credit hours” required to earn a high school or college degree. To be sure, at the dawn of the 20th century, this served an important purpose — standardizing an entirely unstandardized education system.
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How America’s Largest School Choice Program Is Empowering Entrepreneurial Parents and Teachers Across Florida

By Kerry McDonald, The 74 (from August 23, 2023)
Last month, the nation’s largest school choice initiative went into effect in Florida. A week before the program’s launch, 650 parents and children gathered in Fort Lauderdale to explore their new education options.
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Grade inflation is not a victimless crime

By Frederick M. Hess, Fordham Institute (from September 7, 2023)
America’s high schools have just endured a decade of dramatic grade inflation, according to a new study from ACT. This coincided with a decade of declining academic achievement, raising hard questions for those concerned about instructional rigor, inflated graduation rates, and the integrity of selective college admissions.
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The Science of Belonging and Connection

By Daniel Leonard, Edutopia (from September 8, 2023)
When social psychologist Geoffrey Cohen took up his first assistant professorship, he couldn’t shake the feeling that he didn’t really fit in. “After I agreed to let a student journalist take a picture of me for an article about teachers in the campus newspaper, I started to think he was planning to pillory me on the front page, envisioning a headline about the worst professor on campus,” Cohen writes in his new book Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides. “I asked him to delete the picture.”
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Getting to the bottom of the teen mental health crisis

By Erica Coe, McKinsey Health Institute (from September 7, 2023)
The stakes are high when it comes to tackling the unprecedented mental health issues facing today’s teens. In this episode of The McKinsey Podcast, global editorial director Lucia Rahilly speaks with McKinsey partner and coleader of the McKinsey Health Institute Erica Coe and the founding president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute, Harold Koplewicz, about what the struggle means for society at large.
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People Don’t Want to Be Teachers Anymore. Can You Blame Them?

By Jessica Gross, The New York Times (from September 13, 2023)

Every week, it seems as if there’s another disturbing story about how difficult it is to be a teacher in 21st-century America. I’m not talking about the typical day-to-day work of teaching core subjects to children with varied academic and emotional needs — which is already a demanding job, made more so in the challenging aftermath of 2020.
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Switching off: Sweden says back-to-basics schooling works on paper

By Betsy Reed, The Guardian (from September 10, 2023)
Since young children went back to school across Sweden recently, many of their teachers have been putting a new emphasis on printed books, quiet reading time and handwriting practice, and devoting less time to tablets, independent online research and keyboarding skills.
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‘There Was Definitely a Thumb on the Scale to Get Boys’

By Susan Dominus, The New York Times (from September 8, 2023)
In the spring of 2021, about 2,000 students on the campus of Tulane University in New Orleans received an email they were expecting. They had filled out an elaborate survey provided by Marriage Pact, a matchmaking service popular on many campuses, and the day had come for each of them to be given the name of a fellow student who might be a long-term romantic partner. When the results came in, however, about 900 straight women who participated were surprised by what the email offered: a friend match instead of a love interest. The survey was a lark, something most Tulane students saw as an icebreaker more than an important service. But the results pointed to a phenomenon at the school — and at many other schools — that has only grown more pronounced since then, one that affects much more than just students’ social lives: Women now outnumber men on campus, by a wide margin.
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