The Elite College Admissions Scandal

The elite college admissions scandal has not only shocked the nation, but has resulted in a loss of faith among many students in the American belief that hard work lies at the core of success in this country.

This scandal has revealed to many that great opportunities are bought for the children of the rich and are not necessarily based on merit. When such a travesty becomes a systemic problem, how can this be addressed by the institutions themselves?

Yale, you’ll recall, spent $500 million to house 800 students in its two new residential colleges, which adds up to $625,000 per student.  USC spent a whopping $700 million on its residential village, which houses 2,500 students.  That’s inexpensive by Yale standards, at just $280,000 per student, in a neighborhood where the average annual income is just one-tenth that amount.

Of course, the champion was Harvard, which budgeted $1.4 billion to renovate its undergraduate residences.

Expenditures like those require lots and lots of money, and, as we have been reminded in recent days, some of the money that elite institutions raise arrives in unsavory ways, for example, in return for special treatment in admissions.  This, in turn, has encouraged other wealthy people to seek their own side doors into elite colleges and universities.

What, we might ask, will be the response to this scandal?

via Responding to the Elite College Admissions Scandal – Steven Mintz |

Explicit Phonics Instruction: It’s Not Just for Students With Dyslexia

“When we know better, we do better.” There is something forgiving and medicinal about that teaching mantra.

I am regularly realizing that I could have taught something more effectively or that I should have been more culturally responsive in my language or practices. Content becomes outdated or is later revealed to be incomplete or inaccurate. Some teaching memories haunt me so much that I have had fantasies about finding ways to apologize to former students for the cringe-worthy lessons they’ve endured.

I recently had a wake-up call around reading instruction, and determined I need to intellectually embrace something that I have long suspected: While dyslexics clearly need robust reading instruction (often more specialized and intensive than their peers), their needs are not as distinct from non-dyslexics as I have previously advocated.

Via Explicit Phonics Instruction: It’s Not Just for Students With Dyslexia – Kyle Redford |

Teach Less, Influence More

Many of us like to set a goal, intention or focus for a new school year. The chance to do so is a wonderful aspect of the annual teaching cycle. I want to offer a possible goal that could make a big difference in the quality of this school year for you and your students: teach less!

Yes, I’m being purposely provocative, but hear me out. I’ve been thinking lately about what we consider teaching to be. Our definitions of teaching are still so rooted in an old factory model of education, in which the teacher delivers a fixed body of knowledge directly to students, who listen passively and learn.

via Why We Might Consider Teaching Less This Year Ariel Sacks |