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How not to teach hacking

Audrey Watters talks about the gap between her desire to learn coding and xMOOCs‘ pitiful exploitation of code-learning desires in My Code Year. Over the year, she has described her various efforts at coding-related MOOCs and the ways in which the various courses have failed to meet her needs as a working adult with her level […]

Social class, higher education, and random thoughts from a parent

Jason DeParle’s New York Times December 22 profile of three young women from Galveston has created a great deal of online discussion despite the holidays and semester breaks, when you’d expect most faculty and higher ed journalists are ignoring these things. But the attention is deserved, both because DeParle’s piece is beautifully detailed and because he raises important […]

Gun debates need a harm-reduction approach

Among the various discussions about guns and schools in the past half-week, there is one concept that is missing: a harm-reduction framework. The current Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment includes an individual right to own weapons, and it is unclear what sort of regulations might pass court review. The promises by legislators […]

Schools, safety, childhood, and public policy

I think most parents in the U.S. shook with rage and a visceral fear on hearing of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting. Our children are 20 and 17, and I have an almost-empty-nester’s version of that fear. Yesterday afternoon, our son came home from school, wished his mother a happy birthday, and gave her a long […]

Baumol, Goldin, and benchmark choices

A bit of an extension on Saturday’s entry: As an historian of education, I find Claudia Goldin to be a much more interesting economist than William Baumol, because she does not rely on arbitrary choices of starting points for her economic stories. Like many economists (and historians), Baumol tells a story that depends on a […]