To understand what’s happening with student loans you need to keep two things in mind at once: There is a problem, yes, but there is also a lot of hysteria. And increasingly lost in the hysteria are the students we should worry about most – those making poor choices based on bad information or attending for-profit colleges that are ripping them off. But the focus on overall debt is obscuring much of what’s really happening – median debt for students who borrow is less than $13K, for instance. That’s what I look at in this week’s TIME column.
Student debt is completely out of control, right? The more than $1 trillion in outstanding college loans is front-page news and is pretty much the only educational issue the presidential candidates are talking about. Yes, ballooning student debt is causing real hardship for some Americans. But as with many educational flare-ups, the public debate is giving us more noise than signal. So before you decide to skip college based on the hysteria, here are a few things to keep in mind.
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Bellwether helped the National Chamber of Commerce take a look at school boards around the country and discuss some key takeaways and ideas for how business can play a constructive role in school board issues. You can read about the cities – including some off-the-beaten path in ND and WY and some that are more well known here (pdf). It was released at an event in DC this morning, you can watch here. And if you’re a parent, editorial board member, voter, etc…you can see a set of questions to ask prospective board members and candidates here (pdf). We chose the cities by geography and diversity so the stories ended up as mix of successful and struggling boards.
Not surprisingly the key inference here is that there is not a single best governance model but rather best habits for boards across various governance structures. There are also a number of constructive ways for business groups to get more involved than is often the case today.
If you want to see the conversation in 140 characters on Twitter you can at #icswschoolboard
We’re going to close the Bellwether feedback survey on Wednesday evening. Many thanks to all those who have responded, if you’re not among them you can learn more and respond via this link. Will just take a few minutes.
This week’s TIME column is about science teaching. If you’re not happy with our science achievement there is something we can all do – get kids outside more.
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, so let’s start this column with a nod to my 9th-grade science teacher, Bruce Butler, who lit a spark in me by making geology and environmental science fun, interesting – and rigorous. I still think of him whenever I’m out hiking or fishing and come across some geological curiosity. He went on to a successful career as a principal and is retiring this summer, but would no doubt be happy to know that today’s science teachers seem to be having an impact on kids, too, according to science achievement-test data released yesterday…
…Ideas such as using innovative technology to simulate environmental experiences were touted, but perhaps the most promising way to improve science teaching and environmental education is also the simplest: get kids outside more. Children will learn more about the natural world by spending a few hours in it than days in front of a computer – and it’s healthier for them too…
…science can be a hat trick: It’s a great way to get kids outside and moving, teach them about the natural world, and make science come alive for them. The benefits of that extend far beyond better test scores. So rather than bemoan our performance on the NAEP, do something about it – even if it’s just taking your child fishing for a day.
Next Tuesday the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is hosting a 1/2 day meeting on school boards and the role of business groups with them. Speakers include:
Kelly Brough, President and CEO, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Anne Bryant, Executive Director, National School Board Association, Sandy Kress, Senior Counsel, Adkin Gump; Fellow, Education Policy, George W. Bush Institute, Don McAdams, Chairman and Founder, Center for Reform of School Systems, Cheryl Oldham, Vice President, Institute for a Competitive Workforce, Andrew Rotherham, Co-Founder, Bellwether Education Partners, Margaret Spellings, President, Institute for a Competitive Workforce; Senior Advisor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Juan Williams, Journalist and Political Analyst, Fox News Channel.
Registration if free and is via this link.