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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in college readiness

Posted by on in General

Cheaters. Varsity Blues, greed, mega drama of poor choices and lost voices. 

It makes me sick reading about parents who gamed college admissions. Not like we didn't already know about some stuff, but this took it way over the top. I'm sure you agree. In fact, by now probably we are all saturated with the obnoxious stories, only details remaining. Or maybe not, I'm not sure anymore.

I still can't believe when I read the Moms in question are freaked out by the reasonable response to their poor behavior. I still can't believe the Moms in question are making excuses. I still can't believe they all did it, anyway. Good grief, Bad Parenting 101. Are you kidding me? 

Is cheating so common to rich and not so rich, maybe less monied too, that we take it for granted? is this becoming the rule, not the exception? Are we to believe we are now a nation of cheaters? And it's ok? Why bother applying for college anyway. Just pay someone else to write the application and essays, for sure, fake any videos probably, testing, no problem, why bother to study with tutors, just pay off the proctors. Or better yet have a 'body double' sit in and take the test. Easy A. Awful.

 I'm all about forgiveness, but on my freak out scale, this scandal ranks off the chart. Claiming disabilities, faking athletic status, cheating on exams by inflating scores, changing answers, etc. A lot of cheaters in this food chain. Follow the money trail, or maybe not yet, too many characters in this bad movie.

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Posted by on in General



I was so caught up with becoming part of the crowd that I wasn't becoming a leader, I was becoming a follower.


Cameron McCoy

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Posted by on in School Culture


If your students need opportunities to build their resumes to become viable college applicants but your school doesn't have multiple clubs and societies, all hope may not be lost. Here are a few things that all teachers can do to create privilege for their students:

  1. Learn how to write a really good letter of recommendation.
  2. Create opportunities for students to showcase their leadership skills that will pique the interest of college admissions officers, and that can be specifically referenced in letters of recommendation. For example, my English department created short-term, peer-tutoring positions last year when we realized that some of our middle school students needed help with discussion skills; we're also hoping to put students in charge of literacy initiative efforts so that students have the chance to collaborate with librarians and community members. This kind of student involvement benefits everyone.
  3. Implement a rigorous, and well-rounded curriculum so that students can develop strong research, writing, reading, and critical thinking skills. 
  4. Advocate to keep or build music and drama programs.
  5. Invite college representatives and alums into your classroom. Students may need to hear about prestigious universities from multiple voices. We also need to find a way to make university recruiters aware that they should be visiting talent in your school.

Why This Matters

Students enrolled in prestigious (and costly) prep schools have a distinct advantage in college admissions because, as Shamus Khan writes in Privilege: The Making of an Adolescent Elite at St. Paul’s School, prep schools are particularly good at creating opportunities for students. Schools that have multiple clubs, organizations, and socieites will have multiple students who can boast about their leadership skillls, community involvement, and personal initiative. Not surprisingly, it's easier for students to gain access to an elite university when they have a team of adults working on their behalf helping them to earn a number of achievements that impress university recruiters.

This discrepancy between wealthier schools that can easily fund a number of programs that serve students and other schools that are struggling in the midst of budget cuts contributes to the end result of prestigious universities tending to serve those who already have advantageous backgrounds.In 2013, for example, only 15 percent of Yale’s student body came from families earning less than $65,000 ($12,000 more than the median income in the US). If students living in underserved communities aren't able to get their foot in the ivy door, they will be missing out on access to important connections and opportunities that may be their best tickets to upward social mobility.

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Posted by on in General



This is just one in a series of ongoing posts on the educational innovations in Israel. You can see additional coverage here. 

In the United States, youth have become what school critics like John Taylor Gatto refer to as infantilized. Their days and activities are structured by what adults tell them to do. They view their work as disconnected from them, having little relevance or meaning in their lives.

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Posted by on in Student Engagement


Seniors need to grow independence. It takes scaffolding and trust. Creating both allows them to better prepare for what comes next
Seniors need to grow independence. It takes scaffolding and trust. Creating both allows them to better prepare for what comes next. This column originally ran the UFT's NY Teacher in the fall 2012.

Four years of high school is coming to a close and soon 12th grade students will be taking the first of many steps into adulthood. Upon acceptance into college, they will leave home and become independent.

Preparing students for this next step is more than just academic readiness; it’s maturity, necessary for future success beyond their completion of college. So how can senior teachers motivate those afflicted with senioritis to understand and accomplish the goals needed to achieve graduation and transition into college?

It starts with a plan. Teachers are role models and his/her organizational skills and preparedness will say a lot about a student’s willingness to comply. So make sure all learning is connected to what happens next and be transparent about it. If a project is given, tell them how it will help them in their future. Elaborate on the skills and ways it will help them be successful in college.http://starrsackstein.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/skins/wordpress/images/more.png); background-attachment: scroll; background-color: transparent; background-position: 50% 50%; background-repeat: no-repeat repeat;">

As the teacher, you need to know what college level work looks like, to best prepare students to avoid remediation. Visit local colleges with students; ask if you could audit a class. Allow students to see what comes next for themselves.

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