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Category Archives: Education

World’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors

Washington Post: “A great migration is happening on U.S. college campuses. Ever since the fall of 2008, a lot of students have walked out of English and humanities lectures and into STEM classes, especially computer science and engineering. English majors are down more than a quarter (25.5 percent) since the Great Recession, according to data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics. It’s the biggest drop for any major tracked by the center in its annual data and is quite startling, given that college enrollment has jumped in the past decade. Ask any college student or professor why this big shift from studying Chaucer to studying coding is happening and they will probably tell you it’s about jobs. As students feared for their job prospects, they — and their parents — wanted a degree that would lead to a steady paycheck after graduation. The perception is that STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is the path to employment. Majors in computer science and health fields have nearly doubled from 2009 to 2017. Engineering and math have also seen big jumps. As humanities majors slump to the lowest level in decades, calls are coming from surprising places for a revival. Some prominent economists are making the case for why it still makes a lot of sense to major (or at least take classes) in humanities alongside more technical fields. Nobel Prize winner Robert Shiller’s new book “Narrative Economics” opens with him reminiscing about an enlightening history class he took as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan. He wrote that what he learned about the Great Depression was far more useful in understanding the period of economic and financial turmoil than anything he learned in his economic courses…”

Under digital surveillance: how American schools spy on millions of kids

UK Guardian: “Bark and similar tech companies are now monitoring the emails and documents of millions of American students, across thousands of school districts, looking for signs of suicidal thoughts, bullying or plans for a school shooting. The new school surveillance technology doesn’t turn off when the school day is over: anything students type in… Continue Reading

BYU Law creates language database to help interpret Constitution

The Daily Universe: “The Constitution is America’s central legal document. However, it was written a long time ago, and language has since evolved. Changing language can make the law difficult for lawyers and judges to interpret.  What does it really mean to “bear arms?” How should readers understand the phrase “high crimes and misdemeanors?” BYU… Continue Reading

Americans and Digital Knowledge

“A majority of U.S. adults can answer fewer than half the questions correctly on a digital knowledge quiz, and many struggle with certain cybersecurity and privacy questions. A new Pew Research Center survey finds that Americans’ understanding of technology-related issues varies greatly depending on the topic, term or concept. While a majority of U.S. adults… Continue Reading

Curriculum Connection: Facebook, satire and fact-checking

News Literacy Project – “The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Facebook plans to exempt satire and opinion content from its fact-checking program. This would mean that posts that contain demonstrably false claims, but which the platform deems to be either satire or opinion, would not be referred to its network of third-party fact-checkers.… Continue Reading

Martha Minow On Forgiveness In The Criminal Justice System

Berkman Klein Center – Harvard University – ““When Brandt Jean hugged the white police officer who had just been convicted of murdering his unarmed brother while he was in his own home, the act sparked a wider conversation about forgiveness, the law, and race in America. And while some saw officer Amber Guyger’s 10-year prison… Continue Reading

The Next Word – Where will predictive text take us?

The New Yorker – [“At the end of every section in this article, you can read the text that an artificial intelligence predicted would come next.”] “…But Smart Compose goes well beyond spell-checking. It isn’t correcting words I’ve already formed in my head; it’s coming up with them for me, by harnessing the predictive power… Continue Reading

College Students Just Want Normal Libraries

The Atlantic – Schools have been on a mission to reinvent campus libraries—even though students just want the basics – “So far, the internet has not killed libraries either. But the percentage of higher-education budgets dedicated to libraries has been dwindling since the 1980s, and at many institutions there’s been a corresponding drop in reported… Continue Reading

The Authoritarian’s Worst Fear? A Book

The New York Times – “Governments are spending a remarkable amount of resources attacking books — because their supposed limitations are beginning to look like ageless strengths. Around the world, many authoritarian regimes — having largely corralled the internet — now have declared war on the written word, their oldest enemy. The received wisdom after… Continue Reading

Public Expresses Favorable Views of a Number of Federal Agencies

“FBI viewed more positively; deep partisan divide over ICE – Despite historically low levels of public trust in the federal government, Americans across the political spectrum continue to overwhelmingly express favorable opinions of a number of individual federal agencies, including the Postal Service, the National Park Service, NASA and the Centers for Disease Control and… Continue Reading