How Powerful Is P-TECH?

Roundup: President Obama can’t get enough of a Brooklyn public school that has partnered with IBM. But the technology-focused school may have its downsides.

President Obama traveled on Friday to Pathways in Technology Early College High School, in Brooklyn, New York. He argued that the educational model prepares students for the 21st Century job market.
National Journal
Sophie Quinton
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Sophie Quinton
Oct. 28, 2013, 2 a.m.

Every week, The Next Amer­ica pro­duces a col­lec­tion of edu­ca­tion art­icles that catch our eye. These date from Oct. 21 to Oct. 28.

Is P-Tech Really The An­swer? Pres­id­ent Obama can’t get enough of the Path­ways in Tech­no­logy Early Col­lege High School, a Brook­lyn pub­lic school op­er­ated in part­ner­ship with IBM and the New York City Col­lege of Tech­no­logy. There’s a lot to like about the school, which trains low-in­come stu­dents for tech­no­logy ca­reers, provides them with no-cost as­so­ci­ates de­grees, and prom­ises to con­nect them with entry-level jobs at IBM. But earli­er this year, Next City poin­ted out some less-likable as­pects of the cor­por­ate part­ner­ship: IBM is cut­ting the very po­s­i­tions the stu­dents are train­ing for, and it’s look­ing to use the in­form­a­tion it col­lects on stu­dent learn­ing at P-TECH to de­vel­op and sell data-driv­en edu­ca­tion­al products to oth­er schools. Next City

The Right Way to Bring iPads In­to Schools. The Los Angeles Uni­fied School Dis­trict has hal­ted its plan to put a laptop in the hands of every child after high school stu­dents hacked the locked devices and star­ted us­ing Face­book and stream­ing mu­sic. iPad pro­grams have been less prob­lem­at­ic in dis­tricts where the devices aren’t locked in the first place. The best strategy may be to use an iPad as, well, an iPad and not try to turn a tab­let in­to a text­book. Bloomberg Busi­nes­s­week

Col­leges Are Mi­cro-Tar­get­ing Stu­dents. It’s now easi­er than ever for col­leges to tar­get spe­cif­ic demo­graph­ics. Thanks largely to data col­lec­ted and sold by the Col­lege Board, ACT and Na­tion­al Re­search Cen­ter for Col­lege and Uni­versity Ad­mis­sions, col­leges can search among mil­lions of stu­dents to find stu­dents with de­sired test scores or from de­sired ZIP codes. Right­Stu­dent, a con­sult­ing firm that sells stu­dent data, says a big need on col­lege cam­puses is find­ing fam­il­ies who can pay full tu­ition. In­side­HigherEd

Charter Schools Really Are Hurt­ing School Dis­tricts. The rise of charter schools is caus­ing some pub­lic school dis­tricts fin­an­cial stress, ana­lysts at Moody’s re­port. In­creased charter en­roll­ment isn’t a big deal in the South and West, where over­all en­roll­ment is rising, but it can have a dev­ast­at­ing im­pact on shrink­ing dis­tricts in the Mid­w­est and North­east, such as in Phil­adelphia and De­troit. Lost fund­ing thanks to lower en­roll­ment can lead to de­cisions to close pub­lic schools and cut aca­dem­ic pro­grams, spur­ring more stu­dents to leave for charters. “It’s sort of a neg­at­ive feed­back loop,” Moody’s ana­lyst Mi­chael D’Arcy says. Quartz

Good News on STEM Scores. Eighth-graders in 36 states are out­per­form­ing the in­ter­na­tion­al av­er­age in math, while eighth-graders in 47 states are out­per­form­ing the in­ter­na­tion­al av­er­age in sci­ence, ac­cord­ing to a Na­tion­al Cen­ter for Edu­ca­tion Stat­ist­ics re­port. Ex­ams were giv­en to pub­lic school stu­dents in 2011 by the Trends in In­ter­na­tion­al Math­em­at­ics and Sci­ence Study. That said, even the highest-per­form­ing states don’t have as many top test takers as do South Korea, Singa­pore, and Taiwan. New York Times

Iowa Re­gent Uni­versit­ies See Most Di­verse En­roll­ment Ever. Al­most 12 per­cent of stu­dents en­rolling in Iowa’s pub­lic uni­versit­ies this fall are from ra­cial or eth­nic minor­it­ies. It’s not a high per­cent­age, but the com­bined 8.2 per­cent rise in minor­ity stu­dents this year means that the Uni­versity of Iowa, Iowa State Uni­versity, and the Uni­versity of North­ern Iowa are edu­cat­ing their most di­verse stu­dent body ever. More than half of the new minor­ity stu­dents were Iowa res­id­ents. The Gaz­ette

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