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MARSHMALLOWS: Delayed Gratification = 210 SAT Points

090518_r18425_p233"The children who rang the bell quickly seemed more likely to have behavioral problems, both in school and at home," according to this New Yorker article (Don’t!). 

"They got lower S.A.T. scores. They struggled in stressful situations, often had trouble paying attention, and found it difficult to maintain friendships.

"The child who could wait fifteen minutes had an S.A.T. score that was, on average, two hundred and ten points higher than that of the kid who could wait only thirty seconds."

Via Whitney Tilson, who it turns out has a personal connection to this whole thing. (see the rest of his latest fascinating and rambling email below).

Whitney Tilson <WTilson@t2partnersllc.com> Thu, May 14, 2009 at 11:17 PM
Reply-To: WTilson@t2partnersllc.com
To: Whitney Tilson <WTilson@t2partnersllc.com>
1) This New Yorker article is utterly fascinating.  The results of this research are stunning: 210 SAT points!!!  If you are an educator or parent, be sure to read this entire article (at the end of this email):

I was particularly fascinated by this article because I was one of the children they tested -- my dad was doing graduate work at Stanford from 1971-74 and not only was I one of the hundreds of children tested then (I'd love to know if I ate the marshmallow!), but a team of researchers visited me two summers ago and my oldest daughter and me through a battery of tests (I'd love to see those results too!).

In recent years, researchers have begun making house visits to many of the original subjects, including Carolyn Weisz, as they try to better understand the familial contexts that shape self-control. “They turned my kitchen into a lab,” Carolyn told me. “They set up a little tent where they tested my oldest daughter on the delay task with some cookies. I remember thinking, I really hope she can wait.”
Kudos to KIPP for working closely with these researchers to learn more about how to teach kids the skill of delayed gratification, which low-income kids have particular difficulty with:

Angela Lee Duckworth, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, is leading the program. She first grew interested in the subject after working as a high-school math teacher. “For the most part, it was an incredibly frustrating experience,” she says. “I gradually became convinced that trying to teach a teen-ager algebra when they don’t have self-control is a pretty futile exercise.” And so, at the age of thirty-two, Duckworth decided to become a psychologist. One of her main research projects looked at the relationship between self-control and grade-point average. She found that the ability to delay gratification—eighth graders were given a choice between a dollar right away or two dollars the following week—was a far better predictor of academic performance than I.Q. She said that her study shows that “intelligence is really important, but it’s still not as important as self-control.”

Last year, Duckworth and Mischel were approached by David Levin, the co-founder of KIPP, an organization of sixty-six public charter schools across the country. KIPP schools are known for their long workday—students are in class from 7:25 A.M. to 5 P.M.—and for dramatic improvement of inner-city students’ test scores. (More than eighty per cent of eighth graders at the KIPP academy in the South Bronx scored at or above grade level in reading and math, which was nearly twice the New York City average.) “The core feature of the KIPP approach is that character matters for success,” Levin says. “Educators like to talk about character skills when kids are in kindergarten—we send young kids home with a report card about ‘working well with others’ or ‘not talking out of turn.’ But then, just when these skills start to matter, we stop trying to improve them. We just throw up our hands and complain.”

Self-control is one of the fundamental “character strengths” emphasized by KIPP—the KIPP academy in Philadelphia, for instance, gives its students a shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Don’t Eat the Marshmallow.” Levin, however, remained unsure about how well the program was working—“We know how to teach math skills, but it’s harder to measure character strengths,” he says—so he contacted Duckworth and Mischel, promising them unfettered access to KIPP students.

More background on the tests:

According to Mischel, this view of will power also helps explain why the marshmallow task is such a powerfully predictive test. “If you can deal with hot emotions, then you can study for the S.A.T. instead of watching television,” Mischel says. “And you can save more money for retirement. It’s not just about marshmallows.”

Subsequent work by Mischel and his colleagues found that these differences were observable in subjects as young as nineteen months. Looking at how toddlers responded when briefly separated from their mothers, they found that some immediately burst into tears, or clung to the door, but others were able to overcome their anxiety by distracting themselves, often by playing with toys. When the scientists set the same children the marshmallow task at the age of five, they found that the kids who had cried also struggled to resist the tempting treat.

The early appearance of the ability to delay suggests that it has a genetic origin, an example of personality at its most predetermined. Mischel resists such an easy conclusion. “In general, trying to separate nature and nurture makes about as much sense as trying to separate personality and situation,” he says. “The two influences are completely interrelated.” For instance, when Mischel gave delay-of-gratification tasks to children from low-income families in the Bronx, he noticed that their ability to delay was below average, at least compared with that of children in Palo Alto. “When you grow up poor, you might not practice delay as much,” he says. “And if you don’t practice then you’ll never figure out how to distract yourself. You won’t develop the best delay strategies, and those strategies won’t become second nature.” In other words, people learn how to use their mind just as they learn how to use a computer: through trial and error.

But Mischel has found a shortcut. When he and his colleagues taught children a simple set of mental tricks—such as pretending that the candy is only a picture, surrounded by an imaginary frame—he dramatically improved their self-control. The kids who hadn’t been able to wait sixty seconds could now wait fifteen minutes. “All I’ve done is given them some tips from their mental user manual,” Mischel says. “Once you realize that will power is just a matter of learning how to control your attention and thoughts, you can really begin to increase it.”...

While Mischel closely follows the steady accumulation of data from the laptops and the brain scans, he’s most excited by what comes next. “I’m not interested in looking at the brain just so we can use a fancy machine,” he says. “The real question is what can we do with this fMRI data that we couldn’t do before?” Mischel is applying for an N.I.H. grant to investigate various mental illnesses, like obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention-deficit disorder, in terms of the ability to control and direct attention. Mischel and his team hope to identify crucial neural circuits that cut across a wide variety of ailments. If there is such a circuit, then the same cognitive tricks that increase delay time in a four-year-old might help adults deal with their symptoms. Mischel is particularly excited by the example of the substantial subset of people who failed the marshmallow task as four-year-olds but ended up becoming high-delaying adults. “This is the group I’m most interested in,” he says. “They have substantially improved their lives.”

Mischel is also preparing a large-scale study involving hundreds of schoolchildren in Philadelphia, Seattle, and New York City to see if self-control skills can be taught. Although he previously showed that children did much better on the marshmallow task after being taught a few simple “mental transformations,” such as pretending the marshmallow was a cloud, it remains unclear if these new skills persist over the long term. In other words, do the tricks work only during the experiment or do the children learn to apply them at home, when deciding between homework and television?

2) Kudos to DFER board member and ed warrior Dianne Piche, who has been tapped to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office for Civil Rights at the DOE.  Here's a blurb from the EdWeed blog:

Personnel File: Dianne Piche to be Ed. Dept. Civil Rights Deputy

dianne%20piche.JPG

Dianne Piche, the executive director of the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights, is headed to the department of education as the deputy assistant secretary in the Office of Civil Rights.

She belongs to the more reform-y wing of the Democratic Party, is a friend of the Democrats for Education Reform, and a supporter of the Education Equality Project. According to her official bio, she's represented students in desegregation case in St. Louis and Fort Wayne, Ind. and has also been an advisor to congressional committees, including the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources.

Piche, an attorney, will be working for Russlynn Ali, who is that office's assistant secretary.

3) Speaking of DFER, we backed Rep. Jared Polis from Colorado and he's already doing great stuff:

POLIS AMENDMENT ENSURES CHARTERS WILL RECEIVE FAIR FUNDING UNDER SCHOOL MODERNIZATION LEGISLATION 

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved H.R. 2187, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act. The legislation authorizes $6.4 billion for school modernization, renovation and repair projects for fiscal year 2010. Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) secured an amendment during committee mark-up on May 6 ensuring that, with respect to funding under the act, all eligible public charter schools are treated on a fair and equal basis with traditional public schools. 

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President and CEO Nelson Smith commended Rep. Polis for his successful amendment:

“All school facilities, including traditional public schools and public charter schools, should be safe and healthy learning environments for students. Thanks to Representative Polis, this legislation guarantees that students in all public schools, including public charter schools, will see their equitable share of modernization, renovation and repair funding. This is a vitally important issue of equity for the 1.4 million students in 4,700 schools in 40 states that have charter schools. Nationally, only 13 states and the District of Columbia provide charter schools with facilities aid, forcing the charters to use operational dollars on facility support.  We greatly appreciate Chairman George Miller (D-CA) for recognizing the importance of this critical issue, and for Rep. Polis’s leadership in ensuring that charters are treated fairly in this piece of legislation.  We hope the Senate follows with this statement of equality for all eligible public schools.”

4) A pretty lame NYT editorial on mayoral control -- the devil's in the details, yet this editorial is all over the map, offering no details. 
What reasonable critics seem to want is less autocracy at City Hall and more open discussion about important decisions affecting their children and communities. This is not too much to ask, as long as legislators do not tie the mayor’s hands and undercut a system of governance that has raised public confidence in the schools.
And this is a real knee-slapper: "There are undoubtedly some retrograde legislators, nostalgic for the time when local school bureaucracies ran the show and provided rich opportunities for patronage and cronyism. But they are in the minority."
 
5) Could Randi be moving toward renewing strong mayoral control?  I hope so -- but will believe it when I see it...

In the fight over the mayor's control of city schools, teachers union President Randi Weingarten and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein seem to have kissed and made up.

Weingarten Saturday proposed a way to turn around failing schools without shutting them down, offering teachers a reason to line up behind the mayor.

"If somebody wants to look at it as an olive branch, they'll look at it as an olive branch," she said while speaking with reporters at a United Federation of Teachers conference.

"It's about turning around failing schools. What I've done here is, I've talked with my members about what a virtue of mayoral control could be."

Klein pecked Weingarten on the cheek after her speech to teachers and complimented her proposal.

6) Kristof with some interesting stuff in this op ed (and a nice plug for KIPP):

If intelligence were deeply encoded in our genes, that would lead to the depressing conclusion that neither schooling nor antipoverty programs can accomplish much. Yet while this view of I.Q. as overwhelmingly inherited has been widely held, the evidence is growing that it is, at a practical level, profoundly wrong. Richard Nisbett, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, has just demolished this view in a superb new book, “Intelligence and How to Get It,” which also offers terrific advice for addressing poverty and inequality in America.

Professor Nisbett provides suggestions for transforming your own urchins into geniuses — praise effort more than achievement, teach delayed gratification, limit reprimands and use praise to stimulate curiosity — but focuses on how to raise America’s collective I.Q. That’s important, because while I.Q. doesn’t measure pure intellect — we’re not certain exactly what it does measure — differences do matter, and a higher I.Q. correlates to greater success in life.

Intelligence does seem to be highly inherited in middle-class households, and that’s the reason for the findings of the twins studies: very few impoverished kids were included in those studies. But Eric Turkheimer of the University of Virginia has conducted further research demonstrating that in poor and chaotic households, I.Q. is minimally the result of genetics — because everybody is held back.

“Bad environments suppress children’s I.Q.’s,” Professor Turkheimer said.

Good schooling correlates particularly closely to higher I.Q.’s. One indication of the importance of school is that children’s I.Q.’s drop or stagnate over the summer months when they are on vacation (particularly for kids whose parents don’t inflict books or summer programs on them).

...Professor Nisbett suggests putting less money into Head Start, which has a mixed record, and more into these intensive childhood programs. He also notes that schools in the Knowledge Is Power Program (better known as KIPP) have tested exceptionally well and favors experiments to see if they can be scaled up.

7) A great NY Daily News editorial about the incredible success of NYC charter schools on the recent ELA test:

As well as the city's public school kids did on the latest reading exam - and they did very well indeed - they were outpaced by a mile by their peers in charter schools.

The achievement levels reached by the charter schools are stunning, and they clearly explain why parents have placed 40,000 children on waiting lists for admission.

They also demonstrate why New York must meet that demand and then some, leaving behind the ill-founded opposition to the charter school movement.

More than three-quarters of the students - 77% - who were enrolled in grades 3 through 8 performed at or above grade level on the exam, compared with 69% of students in traditional public schools.

At nine charters, more than 90% of the students passed the exam. And at three - KIPP Infinity in Manhattan and the Bronx's Carl C. Icahn Charter School and Carl C. Icahn Bronx North - every single student in at least one grade hit that benchmark.

On the test, KIPP had the top two and 3 of the top 5 8th grade ELA scores among NYC charters -- kudos!
 
8) DFER board member Andy Rotherham with some good points in this US News & World Report op ed:

This is why some of what the Obama administration is proposing on education is disconcerting to school reformers. The recent economic stimulus bill contains more than $100 billon in education spending, a historic investment equal to about 16 percent of the nation's annual expenditures on public elementary and secondary schools. In exchange, states are required to report more information about student performance and make "assurances" that they will work to improve schools. However, the law requires little in the way of actual changes. "States have made these assurances over and over again, the question is whether they're going to have to meet the promises they keep making," argues Charlie Barone, formerly a top aide on the House of Representatives education committee and now policy director for Democrats for Education Reform, an advocacy group.

Describing the information states are required to report, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote recently that, "When parents recognize which schools are failing to educate their children, they will demand more effective options for their kids." Perhaps. But there are good reasons for skepticism.

9) It's great to see Obama supporting charter schools:

President Obama Proposes $52 Million Increase for Public Charter Schools

Washington, D.C. – National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President and CEO Nelson Smith made the following statement today concerning the President’s budget proposal for education and public charter schools in FY 2010:

“President Obama has taken a strong first step toward fulfilling his campaign promise to double federal funding for public charter schools.  His budget calls $52 million in new funds for the Charter Schools Program, the State Facilities Incentive Grants, and the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program.  

“This increased funding, a 25% increase over Fiscal 2009, will provide new resources to start up high-quality public charter schools and help them deal with the difficulties of accessing capital support at the state level. We appreciate the strong statement the President is making here with a large increase in charter school funding at a time when resources are tight.  We understand that President Obama expects great things from high-quality charter schools – and we look forward to surpassing those expectations.

“In the Office on Innovation and Improvement, the charter programs received the second largest increase of all programs, a signal of their importance to the President.  The Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) received a substantial increase as well, increasing funding from $97 million to $717 million. Of that, $517 million will be competitively granted out to eligible entities, including charter school LEAs.  In a time when so many of our schools are seeking to create innovative pay systems to reward excellent teachers, this new investment will help solidify existing programs, seed new ones, and research the effects of performance-based compensation.

“Additionally, we are very pleased that $10 million was added this year for the President’s Promise Neighborhoods Initiative, based on the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) and the public charter schools operating there. Grants will be made to non-profit community-based organizations to develop programs that address the needs of children in poverty, from birth to college. We expect that many charter school operators will be able to replicate the success of HCZ around the country as a result of this funding.”

10) Here's the White House proclamation for National Charter Schools Week:
THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secrectary
_________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                       May 4, 2009

NATIONAL CHARTER SCHOOLS WEEK, 2009
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Improving our schools is the collective responsibility of all Americans—business owners and workers, educators and parents, students and their communities. We must ensure that all students receive a high-quality education that delivers the knowledge and skills needed to succeed, and that young men and women stay on the path to graduation and a life-long commitment to learning.

Many successful public charter schools across the Nation are working to meet these goals. Founded by parents, teachers, and civic or community organizations, our Nation's public charter schools enjoy broad leeway to innovate.

The best public charter schools and their students are thriving in States that have adopted a rigorous selection and review process to ensure that autonomy is coupled with greater accountability. The growth of effective public charter schools benefits our children, and States have an important role to play in their expansion.

During National Charter Schools Week, we recognize these public charter schools for their dedication and commitment to achievement in education. They are models of excellence and are promoting the interests of our children, our economy, and our Nation as a whole.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 3 through May 9, 2009, as National Charter Schools Week. I commend our Nation's successful public charter schools, teachers, and administrators, and I call on States and communities to support public charter schools and the students they serve.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

BARACK OBAMA

11It's also great to see such strong public support for lifting charter school caps:
THREE-QUARTERS OF VOTERS SUPPORT OBAMA’S CALL TO LIFT CHARTER SCHOOL CAPS

Survey Also Finds Very Strong Support for President’s Education Plan and Public Charter School Reforms

Washington DC – President Barack Obama’s call on states to lift the limits restricting the growth of public charter schools is supported by nearly three out of four voters (74%), according to a national opinion poll recently conducted for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and released today. 

The poll also found strong support for the President’s overall plan to reform education (81%) and specific elements of that plan, such as rewarding good teachers with more money for improved student performance (87%), funding programs to replicate successful charter schools (82%) and creating “Promise Neighborhoods” that use charter schools as the centerpiece of integrated services ensuring safe and healthy student development (83%).

“There are an estimated 365,000 students on waiting lists for public charter schools around the country, many of whom would be in a charter school today if their state did not arbitrarily set a cap on the number of schools allowed to operate,” said Nelson Smith, President and CEO of the Alliance. “The President’s call to lift restrictions on charter school growth and the strong public support for this action ought to motivate each of the 26 states with caps to re-evaluate their restrictions.”

The full poll is available at www.publiccharters.org/Poll+2009.

11) The Gates and Broad Foundations have published a report on how to best use the federal stimulus money:

With the unprecedented amount of federal funding being invested in public K-12 education, states and school districts can seize this opportunity to put in place improvements that will student achievement in the short- and long-term.

Since the U.S. Department of Education issued its guidelines for states and districts to use the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, we have been contacted by a number of our grantees about how to best invest this massive influx of funds.  Our partners at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation received the same inquiries, so our two foundations convened a “brain trust” of more than 30 national education policy leaders and practitioners to come up with recommendations for using the ARRA dollars.  What resulted were five recommendations generated from the practices and policies that will most likely dramatically raise student achievement in America, based on the group's decades of experience in education reform.

The resulting recommendations suggest state and district-level actions across five key areas for reform:

  1. Standards
  2. Data and information
  3. Teacher evaluations
  4. School turnarounds
  5. Student support

The full report is available online at http://www.coalitionforstudentachievement.org/economic_rec.asp.  These recommendations are intended to build on the federal guidance by providing detailed, specific, bold steps that state and local leaders can take to use the one-time ARRA investment to yield powerful, long-term student achievement results.  If implemented in conjunction with efforts to save jobs, these recommendations can provide an appropriate balance between short- and long-term gains in the American public education system.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education issued a new resource, “Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement,” at http://www.ed.gov/policy/gen/leg/recovery/guidance/uses.doc.  This document provides additional guidance, including key questions to ask when making decisions and examples of potential uses of funds to improve student achievement.

We hope these resources are helpful as you make critical decisions about how to best invest these federal dollars.  Please feel free to share these resources with others, as well.  If you have questions about the white paper, please contact us at smartoptions@broadfoundation.org.

---------------------
May 14, 2009
Editorial

The Mayor and the Schools

In 2002, the New York State Legislature sought to end decades of chaotic management in the New York City school system — and create accountability at the top — by giving Mayor Michael Bloomberg direct control of the city’s schools. Mayoral control has done much good. But some fine-tuning aimed at giving parents and communities more access is in order.

The Legislature is scheduled to reauthorize the law this summer. It would do well to leave the heart of the statute — mayoral control — intact. But some legislators are rightly seeking more parental input, greater transparency and at least some checks on the mayor’s considerable powers.

In most cities with mayoral control, the mayors appoint all or a portion of a school board. They often do so in consultation with other branches of government. The board then chooses the top school official. In New York City, the mayor chooses both the schools’ chancellor and a supermajority of a board that serves at his pleasure.

Mr. Bloomberg has accomplished a great deal under this arrangement.

He has created clear lines of authority and brought stability to a system where chancellors were constantly being replaced. He has swept away a bureaucracy that thwarted his predecessors. He ended the forced-transfer policy, under which senior teachers could change schools and bump younger teachers, regardless of whether the receiving school wanted them. He has shown admirable determination, closing and reconstituting failing schools that might have been kept open under the old regime.

Even so, the mayor has angered crucial constituencies with his occasionally imperious approach. He made a terrible misstep in 2004 when he fired board members who disagreed with a policy decision rather than trying to persuade them in open debate.

When challenged about his style, Mr. Bloomberg argues that people who don’t like his school policies can hold him accountable by not voting for him at election time. But that approach finds little sympathy with parents who say they’ve been shut out and caught off guard by decisions that affect their children’s lives right now.

Some lawmakers are seeking ways to guarantee greater access for parents and communities. In addition, other critics want a neutral agency like the Independent Budget Office to audit the city’s reporting on test scores, dropout rates and other important indicators of the system’s health. Such an agency would have to have adequate financing.

There are undoubtedly some retrograde legislators, nostalgic for the time when local school bureaucracies ran the show and provided rich opportunities for patronage and cronyism. But they are in the minority.

What reasonable critics seem to want is less autocracy at City Hall and more open discussion about important decisions affecting their children and communities. This is not too much to ask, as long as legislators do not tie the mayor’s hands and undercut a system of governance that has raised public confidence in the schools.

--------------------

Teacher's union president Randi Weingarten's boost to Bloomberg earns a kiss from Joel Klein

BY Rachel Monahan
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Sunday, May 10th 2009, 4:00 AM

www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/education/2009/05/10/2009-05-10_randis_boost_to_mike_earns_a_kiss_from_joel.html

 

Randi Weingarten, President of the UFT, speaks at UFT (United Federation of Teachers) Spring Conference at Hilton Hotel.

In the fight over the mayor's control of city schools, teachers union President Randi Weingarten and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein seem to have kissed and made up.

Weingarten Saturday proposed a way to turn around failing schools without shutting them down, offering teachers a reason to line up behind the mayor.

"If somebody wants to look at it as an olive branch, they'll look at it as an olive branch," she said while speaking with reporters at a United Federation of Teachers conference.

"It's about turning around failing schools. What I've done here is, I've talked with my members about what a virtue of mayoral control could be."

Klein pecked Weingarten on the cheek after her speech to teachers and complimented her proposal.

Weingarten called for addressing the "conditions in children's lives that make it harder for them to learn" by bringing health clinics and other services to students and families at low-performing schools.

"Good speech," Klein said to her.

"Getting kids started earlier, getting the social and health supports they need is something we all support, and so it's [something] we can work together on," he said, noting city agencies would have to work closely together for such a proposal to get off the ground.

"It's another reason in my view why mayoral control is indispensable."

The mayoral control law - which gave Bloomberg the power to appoint the chancellor and abolished the school board - will expire at the end of June if Albany doesn't renew it.

The teachers union has proposed boosting the independence of the Panel for Educational Policy, the powerless replacement to the school board. Weingarten did not make any changes to that proposal yesterday.

Mayor Bloomberg and Klein have bristled at the idea of any changes in the law.

Weingarten's idea for helping troubled schools would be funded with Race to the Top grants, stimulus money from Washington specifically set aside for school reform.

Weingarten cited three supposedly failing schools originally slated for closure this year - including Middle School 399 in the Bronx - where reading tests scores skyrocketed as proof that some schools need to be given a second chance.

She called for setting up a new chancellor's district - as was done under Mayor Giuliani - to help turn around the schools.

"Because we were trying to turn schools around rather than close them down - in some ways what the government and the UAW are doing with Chrysler today - we were able to build on the strong parental community support in our city's toughest neighborhoods," she said to cheers from teachers.

--------------------
April 16, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist

How to Raise Our I.Q.

Poor people have I.Q.’s significantly lower than those of rich people, and the awkward conventional wisdom has been that this is in large part a function of genetics.

After all, a series of studies seemed to indicate that I.Q. is largely inherited. Identical twins raised apart, for example, have I.Q.’s that are remarkably similar. They are even closer on average than those of fraternal twins who grow up together.

If intelligence were deeply encoded in our genes, that would lead to the depressing conclusion that neither schooling nor antipoverty programs can accomplish much. Yet while this view of I.Q. as overwhelmingly inherited has been widely held, the evidence is growing that it is, at a practical level, profoundly wrong. Richard Nisbett, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, has just demolished this view in a superb new book, “Intelligence and How to Get It,” which also offers terrific advice for addressing poverty and inequality in America.

Professor Nisbett provides suggestions for transforming your own urchins into geniuses — praise effort more than achievement, teach delayed gratification, limit reprimands and use praise to stimulate curiosity — but focuses on how to raise America’s collective I.Q. That’s important, because while I.Q. doesn’t measure pure intellect — we’re not certain exactly what it does measure — differences do matter, and a higher I.Q. correlates to greater success in life.

Intelligence does seem to be highly inherited in middle-class households, and that’s the reason for the findings of the twins studies: very few impoverished kids were included in those studies. But Eric Turkheimer of the University of Virginia has conducted further research demonstrating that in poor and chaotic households, I.Q. is minimally the result of genetics — because everybody is held back.

“Bad environments suppress children’s I.Q.’s,” Professor Turkheimer said.

One gauge of that is that when poor children are adopted into upper-middle-class households, their I.Q.’s rise by 12 to 18 points, depending on the study. For example, a French study showed that children from poor households adopted into upper-middle-class homes averaged an I.Q. of 107 by one test and 111 by another. Their siblings who were not adopted averaged 95 on both tests.

Another indication of malleability is that I.Q. has risen sharply over time. Indeed, the average I.Q. of a person in 1917 would amount to only 73 on today’s I.Q. test. Half the population of 1917 would be considered mentally retarded by today’s measurements, Professor Nisbett says.

Good schooling correlates particularly closely to higher I.Q.’s. One indication of the importance of school is that children’s I.Q.’s drop or stagnate over the summer months when they are on vacation (particularly for kids whose parents don’t inflict books or summer programs on them).

Professor Nisbett strongly advocates intensive early childhood education because of its proven ability to raise I.Q. and improve long-term outcomes. The Milwaukee Project, for example, took African-American children considered at risk for mental retardation and assigned them randomly either to a control group that received no help or to a group that enjoyed intensive day care and education from 6 months of age until they left to enter first grade.

By age 5, the children in the program averaged an I.Q. of 110, compared with 83 for children in the control group. Even years later in adolescence, those children were still 10 points ahead in I.Q.

Professor Nisbett suggests putting less money into Head Start, which has a mixed record, and more into these intensive childhood programs. He also notes that schools in the Knowledge Is Power Program (better known as KIPP) have tested exceptionally well and favors experiments to see if they can be scaled up.

Another proven intervention is to tell junior-high-school students that I.Q. is expandable, and that their intelligence is something they can help shape. Students exposed to that idea work harder and get better grades. That’s particularly true of girls and math, apparently because some girls assume that they are genetically disadvantaged at numbers; deprived of an excuse for failure, they excel.

“Some of the things that work are very cheap,” Professor Nisbett noted. “Convincing junior-high kids that intelligence is under their control — you could argue that that should be in the junior-high curriculum right now.”

The implication of this new research on intelligence is that the economic-stimulus package should also be an intellectual-stimulus program. By my calculation, if we were to push early childhood education and bolster schools in poor neighborhoods, we just might be able to raise the United States collective I.Q. by as much as one billion points.

That should be a no-brainer.

------------------

Let the kids succeed: Stunning test results show why N.Y. needs more charter schools

NY Daily News; Sunday, May 10th 2009, 4:00 AM

www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2009/05/10/2009-05-10_let_the_kids_succeed_stunning_test_results_show_why_ny_needs_more_charter_school.html

As well as the city's public school kids did on the latest reading exam - and they did very well indeed - they were outpaced by a mile by their peers in charter schools.

The achievement levels reached by the charter schools are stunning, and they clearly explain why parents have placed 40,000 children on waiting lists for admission.

They also demonstrate why New York must meet that demand and then some, leaving behind the ill-founded opposition to the charter school movement.

More than three-quarters of the students - 77% - who were enrolled in grades 3 through 8 performed at or above grade level on the exam, compared with 69% of students in traditional public schools.

At nine charters, more than 90% of the students passed the exam. And at three - KIPP Infinity in Manhattan and the Bronx's Carl C. Icahn Charter School and Carl C. Icahn Bronx North - every single student in at least one grade hit that benchmark.

New York City has 78 charter schools. Publicly funded but privately run, they are located primarily in poor neighborhoods and admit students by lottery. Most have longer school days and academic years.

Clearly, the formula is working. The results are real and not illusory, as many charter opponents would have you believe.

The standard critique is that charter schools attract children who have the most involved parents, along with slightly lower proportions of kids from the poorest families. Thus, the thinking goes, charter schools have an easier time lifting achievement.

A new Harvard study puts the lie to that contention. Economists Ronald Fryer and Will Dobbie compared the performance of two groups of sixth-through-eighth-grade pupils who applied to the Promise Academy Middle School in Harlem.

The kids in one group attended the school after their names were chosen by lottery. The children in the other group lost out in the lottery and went to traditional public schools.

The math scores of both groups were practically identical in grades 4 and 5. But the charter kids' scores moved higher in sixth grade and then skyrocketed. In English, the scores tracked each other until seventh grade. Then the charter kids pulled noticeably ahead.

The conclusion is inescapable: Charter schools are providing parents with valuable choices in education. Many of these schools are working miracles.

In doing so, they represent a challenge to the status quo of failing public schools. They have also drawn resistance from the United Federation of Teachers because most operate outside union jurisdiction.

But now, based on mounting, indisputable evidence of success, the tide may be turning. No less a force than President Obama has called on states to eliminate limits on the number of charter schools that can open.

New York is a state with such a cap. Let's get rid of it. Let's do the right thing by the kids.

--------------------

In Politics of School Reform, Transparency Doesn't Equal Accountability

Posted May 14, 2009

Andrew J. Rotherham is co founder and publisher of Education Sector. He writes the blog Eduwonk.com.

Transparency is powerful and President Obama has rightly made it a pillar of his administration's approach to policymaking. But transparency also offers the seductive promise of an easy way out for policymakers. It can trap proponents of various policy proposals in an intellectual cul de sac because it becomes easy to see information as sufficient to drive reform rather than just as a predicate for change.  The risk is especially potent when proponents are convinced of the obviousness of the changes they seek.

We've seen this repeatedly with federal education policy. The Bush administration assumed the federal No Child Left Behind law would produce a tidal wave of student and school performance data that would swamp opposition to school improvement efforts. Seven years later the political resistance to education reform is as potent as ever and former Bush aides now acknowledge placing too much faith in the power of information.

In 1997, Congress tried unsuccessfully to increase accountability for colleges of education and teacher training programs by requiring them to report more data about outcomes. "Congress asked colleges of education to take stock of quality issues, but instead the colleges mostly whitewashed the problem," says Ross Weiner, a senior adviser at The Education Trust. No Child Left Behind also required states and school districts to issue better report cards about educational performance. There, too, evasion rather than aggressive efforts are the norm.

Problematic examples abound. In fact, over more than a half century, federal education policy has succeeded only when coupled with civil rights laws or linked to clear conditions and enforcement.

This is why some of what the Obama administration is proposing on education is disconcerting to school reformers. The recent economic stimulus bill contains more than $100 billon in education spending, a historic investment equal to about 16 percent of the nation's annual expenditures on public elementary and secondary schools. In exchange, states are required to report more information about student performance and make "assurances" that they will work to improve schools. However, the law requires little in the way of actual changes. "States have made these assurances over and over again, the question is whether they're going to have to meet the promises they keep making," argues Charlie Barone, formerly a top aide on the House of Representatives education committee and now policy director for Democrats for Education Reform, an advocacy group.

Describing the information states are required to report, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote recently that, "When parents recognize which schools are failing to educate their children, they will demand more effective options for their kids." Perhaps. But there are good reasons for skepticism.

Although schools are notoriously opaque institutions, parents are not completely in the dark now. Urban parents and minority parents, for instance, generally rate their schools lower than other parents. Data on school performance support their judgment. Still, parents and students lose in the policy battles more often than they win because that information alone does not force change on powerful stakeholders or the formidable array of special-interest groups resisting reforms with costs for the groups they represent. In that way, education reform is an old story in a representative democracy like ours: The unorganized general interest is often trumped by organized special interests.

Consider our cluttered tax code, inefficient or harmful agriculture subsides, gun control, environmental policy, or unsustainable energy and healthcare policies. Does the lack of progress on any of these issues really stem from insufficient awareness of the problems? Or is the status quo a function of interests and politics, basically the exact forces that the nation's founders sought to both cultivate and mitigate?

Yet because there is a pervasive sense that education is unique (everyone just wants what's best for the kids!), basic political tendencies are too frequently wished away. Actually, in education these trends are often more acute because of the highly politically controlled nature of public schools and the decentralization of education decision-making.

Data, transparency, and public availability of educational information are all highly desirable elements of education reform. It's ridiculous that today a parent can find more information about choosing a new washing machine or automobile than about choosing a school, and it's a travesty how frequently ideology trumps evidence in education policymaking. But given how the politics of education work, transparency will drive change only in concert with policies actually requiring change. Information alone is not enough.

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Why are they calling me daddy
Am i the daddy in education .
Is the two daddy better then one
If i am the edudaddy ,
pls check in my launch on 1 st june .
online admissions.
connecting colleges to students .
if i am the edudaddy , i have lot of responsibilities

Angie Duckworth visited GreatSchools HQ a couple weeks ago to talk about her latest research studies with KIPP and Teach for America. You can read about it here: http://blogs.greatschools.net/greatschoolsblog/2009/05/sweets-or-success-what-marshmallows-teach-us.html

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