Rabu, 31 Desember 2008

Happy new year 2009


Monsters of the Midway

By Kim Phillips-Fein, an assistant professor teaching American history at New York University's Gallatin School

In the introduction to the 20th anniversary edition of "Capitalism and Freedom," Milton Friedman commented on the intellectual revolution he had witnessed since his book was first published in 1962. Then, few of the nation's newspapers (including the Chicago Tribune) had deemed Friedman's treatise, soon to be a popular classic, worthy of review.
The nation's economic policymakers dismissed its arguments against minimum wages and in favor of school vouchers as impractical and bizarre, which reflected the reigning consensus that deregulating markets would not automatically help to improve people's lives. The aftershocks of the Depression still lingered, a reminder of the last time the nation had listened to people who thought that the business of America was business and that the free market worked in the best interests of all.

But by 1982, the nation had elected a president who believed that cutting tax rates and shrinking the government were the keys to economic growth. No longer did policymakers agree that the market was the problem and the state the solution. No longer did the general public view the market skeptically. In short, few ideas have enjoyed a greater change of fortune in the span of two decades, in the academic and popular realms, than those for which Friedman once had been a lonely champion.

How did this intellectual shift happen? "The Chicago School: How the University of Chicago Assembled the Thinkers Who Revolutionized Economics and Business," by Johan van Overtveldt, director of a Belgium-based think tank and a contributor to The Wall Street Journal Europe, tells the story through the lens of the University of Chicago, Friedman's scholarly home.

During the 1950s, '60s and '70s, the Gothic buildings on the Midway housed the country's most-prominent challengers to Keynesianism. The name of the school became virtually synonymous with the idea that free markets are the most fair and efficient way to distribute wealth, while any government intervention distorts the economic order. And even before the rise of the Chicago School, in the early years of the 20th Century, the University of Chicago was home to many important and influential economic thinkers. Hyde Park has nurtured record numbers of winners of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences -- more than twice the number at either Harvard University or the University of California at Berkeley, the runners-up.

In his history, which is based on extensive interviews with economists as well as archival and secondary research, Overtveldt seeks to understand the secrets of Chicago's success: "Was this triumphant century just an incredibly long-lasting coincidence, or is there more to it?"

For a book about economic ideas, "The Chicago School" is surprisingly concerned with institutional culture. Overtveldt suggests that the University of Chicago, like the city, has always been an upstart institution. Founded with John D. Rockefeller's money to lure professors from the Ivy League, the school was forced from its earliest days to cultivate a ferocious seriousness in order to compete with the old East Coast universities for intellectual talent and prestige.

Overtveldt makes special note of the school's "apparently inspiring isolation." Cut off from the traditional centers of culture and power -- New York City and Washington, D.C. -- and divided from the Loop by a 20-minute drive (Hyde Park lacking even decent elevated train service), the leafy Quads have protected scholars from alluring distractions while providing a haven for intellectual iconoclasts. As Deirdre McCloskey, a former U. of C. professor, notes, " 'Don't you know that the greatness of the University of Chicago has always rested on the fact that the city of Chicago is so boring that the professors have nothing else to do but to work?' "

Overtveldt argues that the Chicago tradition of dedicated work, intellectual seriousness and academic rigor has helped produce a diverse range of economic thinkers. Indeed, the first crew of University of Chicago economists, in the early years of the 20th Century, bore scant resemblance to the scholars who would later become known as the Chicago Shool.

The department chair, James Laughlin, was a true believer in the laws of supply and demand (fittingly, he was persuaded to come to Chicago by a $7,000 salary, "at a time when the senior professors at Harvard and Yale were seldom paid more than $4,000"). But the department also included renegades such as Thorstein Veblen, who argued that the calculating individuals portrayed by Adam Smith and Alfred Marshall were a pleasant fiction, and that people are instead motivated by primitive, atavistic drives to demonstrate their social status by wasting great sums of money in craven acts of "conspicuous consumption" (think Louis Vuitton bags). Even thinkers such as Henry Simons, whose writings in the 1930s influenced Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, feared private monopoly nearly as much as state power. Simons suggested that private ambition and greed, not economies of scale, accounted for the creation of " 'gigantic corporations,' " and he argued for reducing economic inequality through steep progressive taxation.

The modern Chicago School only developed after World War II, when thinkers like Friedman and George Stigler began to advance their critique of Keynesian economics. Through scholarship on a variety of different theoretical issues -- consumption, inflation, economic thought -- they reasserted the centrality of price theory and the primacy of the rational individual as the unit of analysis.

Overtveldt is at his best in his depiction of the ruthless yet stimulating internal culture of the department during these years. Workshops that might be polite but sleepy seminars at other campuses became "bloodbaths" at Chicago. Graduate classes were exercises in " 'terror.' " Rather than quench debate, Overtveldt argues that for those who could withstand the pressure, the intellectual hazing helped hone their economic analyses. As former faculty member George Neumann observes, " 'Chicago has been accused of being a school that not only believes in survival of the fittest, it practices it.' "

The school of thought that developed in this hothouse sought to stretch price theory to its logical conclusions, ultimately applying market analysis to parts of society frequently not seen as economic. For example, Gary Becker compared racial discrimination to international trade, described education as a process of building "human capital" and analyzed decisions about marriage and child-bearing in economic terms.

To critics, the willingness of the Chicagoans to analyze discrimination economically or children as an investment often seemed shocking. As economist Robert Solow of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says, " 'There are some things that should not be analyzed as if they were subject to being bought and sold.' " But the frisson of the Chicago School was precisely its stance of being ever-willing to discard social norms and vague notions of the common wisdom for the crystalline logic of economic laws.

Yet despite the light it sheds on a fascinating corner of academic life, "The Chicago School" falls short of providing a full picture of the influence of Chicago economics on the discipline, or on American politics more broadly. Overtveldt's writing about economic ideas is at times too dense for the general reader, while for the specialist it fails to provide an effective synthesis of the common strains linking the different Chicago economists, as well as a sense of how their ideas differed from, and helped shape, the mainstream. His description of the successive influence of one generation of prize-winning thinkers on the next lacks the tension that would have come from a more substantive engagement with the intellectual controversies that the Chicago economists have provoked.

Finally, Overtveldt chooses to focus tightly on the academic work of the Chicago economists, to the exclusion of historical context. This makes it hard to get a full sense of the political significance of their ideas.

The atmosphere of the department may have been one of pristine seclusion, but the Chicago School helped inspire a generation of conservative activists who used the ideas developed there to build political momentum for cutting taxes and social-welfare programs and dismantling the New Deal state. Some of the most influential of the Chicago economists -- like Friedman -- vigorously popularized their ideas while also producing academic work; in addition to writing mass-market books, Friedman contributed to Newsweek magazine, created a TV series about free-market principles for PBS and informally advised Barry Goldwater during his 1964 presidential campaign.

Overtveldt suggests that the Chicago School of economics helped create "the Reagan and Thatcher revolutions of the 1980s" because its scholars were the best and the brightest. In the marketplace of ideas, Chicago won out. But this explanation evades the hard realities of politics and of power that shape our choices about economic policy. And ultimately, despite the strengths of Overtveldt's account, his free-market interpretation of the rise of the Chicago School obscures the many ways the fierce debates in those gargoyle-decked buildings on the South Side wound up shaping our world.

Jumat, 26 Desember 2008

Reforming the education of school leaders

Professor of education at HGSE and former dean, has articulated a critique of current ideas about education leadership, and put forward a series of proposals both for reforming the practice and for strengthening schools of education that prepare leaders for the profession. This Usable Knowledge feature synopsizes a string of widely cited articles Murphy has written over the past several years for the Phi Delta Kappan.

In a special section on educating school leaders for the March 2006 Phi Delta Kappan, guest editor Jerome T. Murphy, the Harold Howe II Professor of Education and dean emeritus of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, argues that “schools of education are slow-stepping elephants when it comes to leadership education – sluggishly adjusting to today’s call for new blood, stronger content, more relevance, and higher quality”.

Murphy goes on to identify three trends that may help – or force – schools of education to change: readmore...

First, today’s political climate introduces powerful external pressure for schools to perform and leaders to reform, and schools of education are under pressure to produce principals and superintendents who can ensure results. Second, viable alternatives (for example, the Broad Academy and New Leaders for New Schools) are emerging and competing with university-based programs to prepare administrators. And third, higher education, which has long been spared critical analysis by outsiders, is increasingly considered fair game (Murphy cites a July, 2005 New York Times article titled “Who Needs Education Schools?”).

After laying out the problem – and noting reasonably that education schools are increasingly attacked for irrelevance – Murphy collects and presents thirteen writers’ critiques and proposals for improving the education of school leaders. He concludes this special section on school leadership with a call to action:

"The challenge for Ed Schools is to establish and sustain three things:
1) a carefully balanced dual teaching mission of preparing researchers and practitioners in redesigned programs that reflect the demands of the times;
2) a research agenda that is truly designed to inform and improve practice; and
3) open lines of communication between their discipline-oriented and profession-oriented faculty members – a change that Herbert Simon advocated and likened to the challenge of mixing oil and water."

Murphy imagines a hypothetical model program called Administrative Leaders for Learning – ALL for short – that would be organized to spotlight and connect three overlapping domains of knowledge: instructional practice and learning theory, with a particular focus on high achievement for all students; the education sector, with a particular focus on schooling in context; and matters of leadership and management. In thinking about this third domain, Murphy borrows from Henry Mintzberg, who writes in Managers Not MBA’s: A Hard Look at the Soft Practice of Managing and Management Development, “Managers have to lead and leaders have to manage. Management without leadership is sterile; leadership without management is disconnected and encourages hubris” (2004). Training school administrators to lead and manage would recognize that effective management today demands a focus on improving instruction, which in turn requires a focus on five basic tasks: managing oneself, managing relationships, managing organizations, managing context, and managing change.

Practicing what he preaches, navigating the swamp of leadership

In his own course at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, called Leading and Managing Organizations, Murphy takes a problem- and case-driven approach to helping his students “try on the shoes” of top administrative leaders facing a variety of difficult situations in a wide range of settings. Cases emerge from education, to be sure, but also from business, government, and nonprofit sectors. Students learn the way that people learn to ride mountain bikes – they don’t just read about bicycle mechanics and theories of riding, they get in the saddle, ride into difficult terrain, fall off, stop to make sense of their misadventures, and get back on the bike. How do you improve as a cyclist and as an educational leader? You learn by doing and by systematically reflecting on the resulting experiences.

Following the lead of Herb Kelleher, the famous long-time CEO of Southwest Airlines, Murphy takes the attitude that work is too important to ruin it by taking it too seriously. Murphy is skeptical of the myth of the heroic leader; he’s much more interested in the unheroic nature of leadership. Talking with Murphy about leadership, you are liable to hear about hound dogs and cats when the question is leaders’ temperaments, alligators in swamps when the question is how leaders deal with confusion, giraffes who start life by falling six feet and getting back up when the question is resilience in the face of disappointment, and lions and foxes when the question is whether to stand and roar or retreat and live to fight another day. A discussion of how managers can ensure that messes end up on the right desks is certain to include reference to Murphy’s “goose theory of leadership”: honking and hissing like geese, faculty and staff members will cruise into the boss’ office, ruffle their feathers, poop on the rug, and leave. It then becomes the boss’s job to clean up the mess.

In “The Unheroic Side of Leadership: Notes from the Swamp” (Phi Delta Kappan, May, 1988), Murphy presents a contrast to the heroic ideal of the leader, looking out from the mountaintop and pointing the way toward the horizon. Real-life educational leadership is more like navigating a swamp. He recalls a poster he once saw on the wall of a seasoned administrator:


The objective of all dedicated department employees should be to thoroughly analyze all situations, anticipate all problems prior to their occurrence, have answers for these problems, and move swiftly to solve these problems when called upon…


When you are up to your ass in alligators it is difficult to remind yourself that your initial objective was to drain the swamp.

Murphy summarizes the conventional wisdom about heroic leaders, citing six distinct expectations:

  1. Leaders possess and declare a clear personal vision that defines their organization.
  2. Leaders are knowledgeable and provide answers to the most pressing problems.
  3. Leaders are strong, courageous, and tenacious.
  4. Leaders communicate forcefully, using their knowledge to convey their vision aggressively and persuasively.
  5. Leaders amass power and use it for organizational improvement.
  6. Leaders are take-charge individuals who solve knotty problems along the way as they move toward achieving their personal visions.

Murphy goes on, in an attempt to restore balance, to present the unheroic side of these six dimensions of leadership: developing a shared vision (as well as defining a personal vision), asking questions (as well as having answers), coping with weakness (as well as displaying strength), listening and acknowledging (as well as talking and persuading), depending on others (as well as exercising power), and letting go (as well as taking charge). “These unheroic – and seemingly obvious – activities capture the time, the attention, the intellect, and the emotions of administrative leaders who often work off-stage to make educational organizations succeed.”

Exploring the inner life of leaders, dealing with confusion and pain

Murphy’s most recent thinking, writing, and teaching turns to the inner life of leaders. Writing about the pain of leadership (in a chapter for Out-of-the-box Leadership, edited by Paul D. Houston et al., 2006), Murphy writes, “I’ve come to believe that it is common for even the most competent and well-adjusted managers to experience real psychological pain – even suffering – on the job.” Educational leaders “are working at the frontier of social change, where it is easy to make mistakes and where our every move and utterance is scrutinized closely.”

Murphy argues that leaders will inevitably fail to find the right strategies for every situation, make occasional public gaffes, renege on commitments in the face of competing demands, be caught off guard and flummoxed as they struggle in a turbulent world, be misunderstood and unable to respond because of confidential information, and be rejected in their efforts to promote change or adopt new approaches. He argues further that leaders often compound their pain by beating themselves up with “should have, could have” evaluations of their agonizing predicament.

Leaders often muddle through by trying to control their pain privately and hide it publicly. Quoting his collaborator and writing partner Barry Jentz, Murphy notes that “the meaning of pain is failure to most of us.” Given the pervasiveness of the myth of the solitary, heroic leader at the top, Murphy is not surprised that unheroic leaders – that is, most leaders – lapse into negative self-evaluations and conclude that they don’t measure up. “In our hyperactive minds, some of us even create a Measure Up Monster that emerges from its cave waggling a censorious claw in our faces as we struggle to do a good job. In our darkest moments, the Measure Up Monster is always there voicing criticism and abuse, … telling us we have no business feeling pain, and thereby making pain even worse.”

In his teaching and writing, Murphy argues that avoiding pain intensifies it, and that the paradox of accepting pain, even embracing it, makes it bearable. For his students, Murphy provides practice in selectively admitting and revealing the confusion and pain of leadership, acknowledging in doing so that, while it may be futile to control the experience of emotional distress, it is possible to control its expression, and to use its expression to create credibility and trust and the opportunity to learn. Elsewhere, in “Embracing Confusion: What Leaders Do When They Don’t Know What to Do,” Murphy and Jentz argue that confusion – they identify it as the “Oh No!” moment – is a frequent and familiar state for leaders of complex organizations, and that leaders who accept their confusion can turn a perceived weakness into a resource for learning and effective action (Phi Delta Kappan, January 2005).

Jerry Murphy would argue that school leaders today are under tremendous pressure as they work for social justice and navigate the uncharted swamp of high and conflicting expectations, limited resources, and unprecedented social problems . Confusion and pain are normal. After all, if the work isn’t hard, if leaders aren’t pushing toward the edge of what they know, they aren’t leading.

By Hugh Silbaugh, HGSE doctoral student in Education Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Improvement.

Rabu, 24 Desember 2008

Developing flexibility in mathematical problem solving

To solve math problems accurately and efficiently, students need to develop flexibility—they need to learn multiple strategies, and how to choose among them in tackling a particular problem. But what is the best way to help students acquire this knowledge and skill? HGSE Assistant Professor Jon Star has found that comparing and contrasting alternative solution methods side by side—as opposed to studying multiple methods sequentially—leads to greater gains in procedural knowledge and flexibility.

A central claim of the current reform movement in mathematics education is that students benefit from comparing and contrasting multiple solution methods. Cognitive science research supports the value of using comparison and contrast to promote general learning: identifying similarities and differences in multiple examples has proven to be a critical and fundamental pathway to flexible, transferable knowledge.
However, few experimental studies have been conducted to demonstrate the value of this approach in math classrooms. Research in mathematics education shows the benefits of a variety of practices advocated by reformers, but we don’t know which of these practices are the most effective for student learning.

In his current research, HGSE Assistant Professor Jon Star, who is also a former middle and high school math teacher, is examining the value of comparing, reflecting on, and discussing multiple solution methods. In a series of experimental studies in middle school classrooms, Star has found that comparing and contrasting solution methods—as opposed to studying one method at a time—does in fact promote greater learning.

Star and his team of researchers traveled to a private, urban school in Tennessee, where they spent four days in seventh-grade mathematics classrooms, specifically to evaluate the effectiveness of comparing multiple solution methods on learning to solve linear equations. A total of 70 students (36 girls, 34 boys) participated in the study, in two regular and two advanced classes.

Star hypothesized that this approach would promote three critical components of mathematical competence: procedural knowledge; procedural flexibility, the abilities to generate, recognize, and evaluate multiple solution methods for the same problem; and conceptual knowledge, students' verbal and nonverbal knowledge of algebra concepts, such as maintaining equivalence, and the meaning of variables.

“We decided to pull out this one practice in math and subject it to more rigorous testing,” says Star. “Is there a benefit to contrasting and comparing multiple examples? We wanted to demonstrate that this is a better method.”
Study procedures

On the first day of the study, students were given 30 minutes to complete a pretest. Then, for the next two days, Star's experimental curriculum replaced the normal materials on solving linear equations. A member of the team or the teacher began the class each day by conducting a ten-minute lesson, and then students worked with a partner on a packet of algebra problems for the remainder of the period.

Students were randomly assigned to a partner, and then partners were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The “compare” group was given a packet of 12 equations, each solved in two different ways, with the solutions side by side on the same page. These worked examples typically illustrated a conventional method for solving an equation, and then a shortcut method that reduced the number of computations and steps needed to solve the equation.

The other group studied sequentially presented solutions. In their packets, the same solution methods were presented as in the compare condition, but each worked example was shown on a separate sheet—one per page. (View a sample of the worked examples (pdf file) in the “compare” and “sequential” packets.)

When studying the worked examples, students had to describe each solution to their partner and answer accompanying questions, first verbally and then in writing. Tape recorders were placed on the desks to record the students' discussions. “We were interested in the process by which they were making sense of it all,” says Star, “and comparing what they were saying to how these methods work.”

To assess the effectiveness of the compare presentation as opposed to the sequential, Star gave the students a posttest on the fourth day. The teacher first provided a brief summary lesson, and then students were given 30 minutes to complete the posttest, which was identical to the pretest.

The team found that comparing and contrasting alternative solution methods led to greater gains in procedural knowledge and flexibility, and comparable gains in conceptual knowledge, as opposed to studying multiple methods sequentially.

Procedural knowledge: Comparison helped students become better at solving linear equations. This effect was found on problems similar to those in the study packets, and on transfer problems which differed from those the students had already seen.

Flexibility: The students in the compare group were able to generate multiple solutions to the same problem. These students were also more likely to use the demonstrated shortcuts during the posttest.

Conceptual knowledge: The compare and sequential groups did not differ in their knowledge of the big ideas of equation solving—such as the concept of equivalence—but students in both groups showed improvements from pretest to posttest.

Further evidence of the benefits of comparison emerged from the process data Star collected. In their written explanations, students in the compare group almost always referenced multiple methods, focused on the solution method, and judged the efficiency or accuracy of the methods. In contrast, those in the sequential groups were much less likely to do so.

“We found that the two examples per page format, combined with questions that asked the student to look at similarities and differences between the two, had a big impact on students' ability to solve math problems correctly, and on their ability to use multiple strategies,” says Star. “Both groups saw the same strategies, but the student who saw them side by side remembered how to use them, and then used them more later on.”

Star and his team have replicated and extended these findings in several additional studies, conducted in public and private schools in Michigan, Tennessee, and Massachusetts. However, this research has also raised a number of interesting questions that Star continues to explore. For example, in a math classroom there are many different things that can be compared: teachers could compare the same problem, solved in two different ways (as was done in Tennessee study); two different problems, each solved the same way; or two very similar problems, each solved the same way (as is typically seen in math texts).

Is one of these types of comparison optimal for student learning? Star's investigation into the role of comparison in students' learning of math continues—with the goal of discovering how teachers can learn to harness the power of comparison most effectively in their math classrooms.

By Amy Magin Wong - Stanford Univ - USA

Minggu, 21 Desember 2008

Through Understanding Biotechnology BIOFEVER


BANDUNG, itb.ac.id-development of information technology and computing time is also encouraging progress in biotechnology. Merging between these technologies with biotechnology birth to a new field called Bioinformatics. Through the workshop on 29-30 November 2008, entitled 'Bioinformatics for the isolation genes' which included a series of events Biofever (Biotechnology Fair in November), SITH ITB Students Association (Nymphaea) introduce to the public from how a search for data in a molecular Sequence the database provided by the INSDC (International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration), to build tree filogenetik.
The program used in the workshop, this is BioEdit, TreeView and Primary 3 is a free software that is used online. Participants were led by who controls the Nymphaea members of the software is third. Workshop held in the basic laboratory informatics, 4 floor, Labtek V.

This workshop is one of three Biofever series of events that have been held since November 2008 and planned to end in February 2009. In November, the development has been carried out alternative sources of biomass energy in Sumedang. This activity is intended for the public welfare by introducing them to potential sources of alternative energy around them.

Problems were found in the community are among the economic problems and limitations of science. Their day-to-day use kerosene as fuel, but the high price of oil make them switch to using wood. But backup firewood in the forest every day because they believed Cutting forests will continue to bare when the time is cut in the long term. Therefore, they introduced the biogas which can be used from cow dung, which owned almost every family in there.

Nymphaea, in cooperation with the Foundation for the Development of BioSciences and Biotechnology (YPBB) reactor to develop simple processing cow dung into biogas. Community taught from introduction to how the use of biogas reactor. To oversee the smooth working reactor, the committee in cooperation with the local village to establish a comptroller who will report on the activities of the committee that will be visited once every 2 weeks. New installed four of the thirty targets reactor that will be paired on the head of each family. Expected in the near period, the lack of these can be met.

In addition, in February 2009 will be held back a biotechnology exhibition in cooperation with YPBB. One that will be exhibited is a biogas reactor has been successfully used previously. Adrito Pranandria (BI'05) as the chairman said that the event is expected to be more people to recognize and biotechnology can consume in their daily lives, making it easier for people to manage resources in the energy potential in nearly

Jumat, 19 Desember 2008

Electronic Arts Forecasts Weaker Profit in 2009

The company said it had lowered its projections because of changes in the behavior of consumers and retailers.
Click here for readmore.......

Electronic Arts said consumers appeared to be buying a few hit games, rather than spreading out their spending. That has hurt Electronic Arts, which had only one game — the space epic Dead Space — among the 10 best sellers in October, according to NPD, a market research firm.

At the same time, some retailers are cutting back on video game inventory and also focusing on the hits, according to John Riccitiello, chief executive of Electronic Arts, which is based in Redwood City, Calif.

Mr. Riccitiello argued that the quality of games at Electronic Arts had been on the rise, but that the market was not buying them.

“Our lead titles are not selling through as much as we’d hoped,” he said, adding that the narrowed appetite from some major retailers was aggravating the problem: “Retailers are trying to expend less cash and end up with less inventory.”

This is the second time Electronic Arts has lowered its forecast in the last six weeks. On Oct. 30, it estimated that for its 2009 fiscal year, which ends in March, it would have sales of $5 billion to $5.3 billion and earnings of $1 to $1.40 a share.

That profit estimate was down from an earlier projection of $1.30 to $1.70 a share.

On Tuesday, Electronic Arts declined to provide investors with new figures, other than to say they would fall below the earlier forecast. That would give Electronic Arts lower profit than in fiscal 2008, when it earned $1.06 a share, said Evan Wilson, an industry analyst with Pacific Crest Securities.

That would be considered a sharp blow in an industry that, over all, has been in the middle of a growth cycle.

While Electronic Arts continues to have strong sports titles, like Madden football, it has struggled to develop new hit games.

Shares of Electronic Arts closed Tuesday at $19.35, down 11.5 percent, and fell another 9.9 percent after hours.

Electronic Arts said Tuesday that it planned to reduce the number of games it makes and sells, and would focus on those with the biggest hit potential as well as games with an online component.

Rabu, 17 Desember 2008

Cheating on the Rise Among High School Students

A new survey of American teenagers finds that academic dishonesty is rampant and getting worse at high schools.

A whopping 64 percent of high school students surveyed by the Center for Youth Ethics at the Josephson Institute in Los Angeles said they had cheated on a test at least once in the past year, up from 60 percent in 2004. Thirty-eight percent said they had cheated two or more times, while another 36 percent said they had used the Internet to plagiarize an assignment, up from 33 percent two years ago. Cheating on homework is also widespread; 82 percent said they had copied another student's work at least once in the past year.

The underscore the pervasiveness of academic dishonesty even as schools employ more sophisticated means to catch cheaters and take a tougher stance to discourage unethical behavior.

(U.S. News recently explored the.The students' responses raise questions about why cheating is on the rise and whether high schools should emphasize character education. Nearly 30,000 students at 100 randomly selected high schools participated in the survey; all respondents were guaranteed anonymity.

Besides cheating, 30 percent of students said they have stolen from stores. More than 8 in 10 students said they have lied to a parent about something significant. The survey finds that unethical behavior is prevalent at both public and private schools, but in some instances it happens less frequently at private schools and among honor students. Boys are more likely than girls to behave dishonestly, although there is virtually no difference when it comes to cheating.

Among the most troubling findings is that students who engage in dishonest acts still hold a positive view of themselves. For example, 93 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77 percent said that "when it comes to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know." It's not clear how the behavior of public figures, including company executives involved in the financial crisis, has shaped students' cavalier attitudes. Asked if they agreed with the statement that "In the real world, successful people do what they have to do to win, even if others consider it cheating," 59 percent answered in the affirmative.

Minggu, 14 Desember 2008

Trails Asian Countries in Math and Science

Despite notable progress in mathematics, the United States has failed to raise student achievement in science over the past decade while Singapore and several other Asian countries continue to score higher in both subjects, according to a study released this week that compares math and science test scores of students from dozens of countries.Click here for readmore.......
America's uneven performance in the latest Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) immediately drew responses from policymakers and educators who are worried about how well the United States is preparing students for a global economy. Rep. George Miller, a California Democrat and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, linked the nation's current economic troubles with the need to retool the U.S. education system. "It's increasingly clear that building a world-class education system that provides students with a strong foundation in math and science must be part of any meaningful long-term economic recovery strategy," he said in a statement. (U.S. News explores this debate in an article that accompanies the 2009 America's Best High Schools rankings.)

TIMSS is the largest international assessment of student achievement and is conducted every four years. Scores come from math and science tests that were given to some 25,000 randomly selected fourth and eighth graders in more than four dozen countries last year. The scores are on a 1,000-point scale.

In math, the study shows that the United States has made improvement, especially at the eighth-grade level. Between 1995 and 2007, the average fourth-grade score jumped 11 points, to 529, while the average eighth-grade score increased 16 points, to 508. But American scores remain well behind those of Asian countries. Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Japan posted eighth-grade math scores ranging from 570 to 598. Hong Kong fourth graders came in first place with an average score of 607.

In science, the results suggest that the United States is not doing enough to train the next generation of scientists. Fourth graders had an average score of 539, a slight improvement from four years ago but still lower than the average score of 542 in 1995. Eighth graders have improved from a decade ago, but their average score of 520 was down seven points from 2003. Students in Singapore and Taiwan were the top performers. Their eighth-grade scores were at least 40 points higher than those of American eighth graders. One bright spot was the performance of Massachusetts in the fourth-grade science exam. Massachusetts came just behind Singapore and ahead of Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Japan.

Mike Petrilli, vice president for national programs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute in Washington, says the focus on math and reading in U.S. classrooms might explain the country's low science scores. "The lesson is that what gets tested gets taught," he says. "Under the No Child Left Behind Act, and state accountability systems before that, elementary schools have been held accountable for boosting performance in math and reading. There is evidence that American elementary schools are spending less time teaching science, and this is showing up in the international testing data," Petrilli says.

Outgoing U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings expressed disappointment about the science scores but said the accountability measures of the No Child Left Behind Act have been good for education. "I am encouraged that U.S. students are improving, and particularly that many children who were once left behind are now making some of the greatest gains in math," she said in a statement. "But flat science scores and increasing international competition remind us that we can't afford to be complacent."

Since the last TIMSS report in 2003, schools have adopted several reforms intended to boost achievement. A growing number of them, for example, are switching to Singapore textbooks. But such changes have yet to produce results. President-elect Barack Obama said during the campaign that he would make math and science education a priority. Before his administration considers ordering more Singapore textbooks, he might want to encourage the hiring of teachers who are better prepared in math and science, most experts say.

Rabu, 10 Desember 2008

Your Preschooler to Listen Up.....

As kids move from toddlers to ?little people? their sense of freedom and yearning for independence increases. Many children this age attend pre-school or regularly participate in playgroups.

Their first social interactions are important and learning to listen is imperative for many reasons. First and foremost is their safety. Learning to listen to you (or any adult) tell them not to run across the street or jump into the pool until you are with them will avoid a tragic accident. Second, being able to listen to their peers is an important part of social acceptance. No kid wants to play with someone who consistently is not listening to them or anyone else. Finally, when they enter kindergarten, if your child knows to respect and listen to authority figures, they will have a much more pleasant school experience and and easier time following directions and enjoying themselves.

When my girls were pre-school age, their ability to listen seemed to disappear. I would tell them to do one thing and they would do the complete opposite. I would be in the middle of a sentence and they would walk away from me. I quickly had to regroup and develop some strategies to get their attention and keep them focused. Here are some tips that worked for me (and still do!)

It is tempting to ?tune out? your blabbering pre-schooler. After all, how many times can you listen to them sing their ABC?s or count to fifty before it really grates on your nerves? If you set the example that everything they say is important, they are more likely to listen to you. If you ignore them or give them lip service, they will know and think they don?t need to listen to you when you are speaking to them. Pre-schoolers are extremely observant and perceptive. They will know when you are just ?pretending? to listen to their nursery rhyme or silly story. Let them know you are interested in what they are saying and do it convincingly!

This technique assures you that they were listening to what you just told them. For example, if you asked them to put the soup cans away in the pantry and they say OK and then wander off to do something else, they probably heard you, but weren?t really listening (or just didn?t want to do it!). Ask them to repeat it back. This reinforces it in their little brain and they will probably do what you asked. If they still say OK and walk away, ask them to come back to you and repeat it again. You might have to do this exercise more than once for it to sink in that when mom tells them to do something, she is serious!

Some kids can?t process the sentence, ?Go to your room, get all of your dirty socks, put them in your laundry basket and bring them downstairs to the laundry room.? There is simply too much information being thrown their way. Break down your request into sections and wait until they complete step one before going on to step two. Their brains are still developing and most 4-5 year olds need time to digest one set of directions before being expected to do a four-step process correctly.

Insist that your child look you in the eye when you are talking to them and vice versa. They are more apt to listen if they have to focus on one thing - you. If what you are telling them to do is extremely important, be sure there are no distractions. A loud television, many other people walking in and out of the room, etc. can distract a little one very easily. If they refuse to look at you, stop talking until they do. Silence will get their attention. Finish your sentence only when they are looking at you. Get in their line of vision if they have a habit of looking away and get down to their level, literally. A three foot little person will have a hard time looking in the eyes of a five foot mom!

Compliment your child for listening to you, especially when you know they are tired, bored or really don?t care about what you are telling them. If they showed they were actively listening, tell them enthusiastically, ?Good Job!? Kids love praise and by praising them you are reinforcing two things ? one, they followed your directions accurately and two, you are the boss and make the rules and they are the child and follow the rules.

The key to the above five strategies is consistency. It takes a lot of effort to be patient and to repeat yourself over and over again. It?s worth it to develop good listening skills early on in your child?s life. If your child is stubborn and oppositional, it is even more important to not cave in and give up. These are the children who will get into trouble. So many times a bad situation could have been avoided if they had just listened and followed your rules.

Sometimes interjecting humor is an effective method for teaching this important skill of listening. When one my kids is not paying attention when they should, I give them a taste of their own medicine. When they ask me to do something for them, I pretend like I don?t hear them, I leave the room or I do the exact opposite of what they want. They, of course, immediately call me on it. I take this opportunity to remind them what it is like for me when they don?t listen. We all have a good laugh and it reinforces all of the time I have spent over the last several years teaching them an imperative skill.

Minggu, 07 Desember 2008

Articles For Free Blog

When this article content is a mainstay of the blog owner to get visitors as much as possible. However, to routinely write to your blog, certainly not easy to be maintained for consistency.

Fortunately there is technology to the blog mail from mail or blogging. Which has been known to have this facility is blogger.com and multiply.com. See the demo in the URL address http://berita-berita-berita.blogspot.com, http://berita-b log.blogspot.com and http://ber itanet.multiply.com / journaling. These sites are sites that are updated through the mechanism mail to blogs that blog service providers in each of these. Perhaps in another blog service providers are also provided, but with different terms.
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At the second site, each will be updated when there is contentnya post a new message in the mailing list / newsletter beritanet.com automatically (auto-publishing option in the second set on the blog). Each message will be mailing diforward and updated to both the blog. To get news from the beritanet.com, simply by subscribing to the newsletter www.beritanet.com, free. The register is used when the mail to the address given by the blog service providers your blog. Example: usernameku. kodeku@blogger.com, or kodeku @ rnameku.multiply.com use. Please find your site or newsletter subscription mailing list for free and use the email address mail to your blog. Do not forget to match the theme of your blog with the theme of the newsletter that you want to subscribe. By using the mail facility to our blog, the blog will be updated every pitch-time automatically and free

Rabu, 03 Desember 2008

higher education is only a dream?

This story was heard from families that are in the rural areas, family farmers who live sober.
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viewing them on television, want to see their families once seemingly reached a high education, they live happy, working in the office, take down the car, eating in restaurants ... but it is not easy, because the current education expensive and can only be located by the middle class and above ...
a day the farmers talked to the children's father "father, can I schools such as those living in urban areas? said his father, James I do dream, it's the village also would later return to the rice fields and as a father do to become farmers ... , So the education can only be felt by people in the high economic and only to the middle class.

through my writing this concern to children residing in rural areas who can not climb education ..., how a nation can move forward tanpan consider education ... education is the main capital for the advancement of a nation

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