At Last Chance U, it’s football first | Joanne

At Last Chance U, aka East Mississippi Community College in tiny Scooba, young football players who’ve failed elsewhere try to qualify for Division I colleges or the pros.

The Netflix documentary, which recalls Hoop Dreams, shows “the difficulty of getting cocky, athletically gifted kids to dedicate themselves to school work,” reports the Daily Beast.

Ronald Ollie is a big, gregarious defensive lineman who was raised by various relatives, and whose lack of educational discipline is epitomized by his purchase of new headphones (which he constantly wears in meetings with Brittany) instead…

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Pro loves football, math | Joanne

Baltimore Ravens lineman John Urschel, who’s working on his PhD in math at MIT, taught a lesson to summer-school students at a Maryland high school.

It’s not unusual for star athletes to try to motivate students, but John Urschel, an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens, is different. The Penn State graduate is working on a doctorate in math at MIT. He loves math.

At a Maryland high school, Urschel told summer school students that he uses quantitative thinking to guard against pass rushes, reports the Baltimore Sun.

He asked incoming ninth graders to figure out the best angle for…

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Has the influence of genes on education diminished over time? | Pedro

It was in our news that the Belgians became the second tallest group of men, only the Dutch are taller. One of the explanations was the interaction between of genes and the environment. Both elements – call it nature and nurture – have an influence, but to what amount and does this change over time? Well, new research suggests it does. Over the course of the 20th century, genes began to play a greater role in the height and body mass index (BMI) of Americans, while their significance decreased in educational outcomes and occurrence of heart disease.

I’m a bit baffled because the decrease of…

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Most U.S. students can recognize math | Joanne

In a dramatic breakthrough, the majority of U.S. students can recognize math, the U.S. Education Department announced proudly yesterday, reports The Onion. “When presented with a series of numbers, mathematical symbols, or even fairly complex equations, more than half of our young people were able to correctly identify math as the academic subject before them,” said Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell.

In another encouraging study, adds The Onion,  “a majority of American eighth-graders are now able to look at a map of the earth and point to where the world is.”

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Algorithms in Use: Evaluating Teachers and “Personalizing” Learning (Part 2) | larrycuban

In Part 1, I made the point that consumer-driven or educationally-oriented algorithms for all of their mathematical exactness and appearance of objectivity in regression equations contain different values among which programmers judge some to be more important than others.  In making value choices (like everyone else, programmers are constrained by space, time, and resources), decisions get made that have consequences for both teachers and students. In this post, I look first at those algorithms used to judge teachers’ effectiveness (or lack of it) and then I turn to “personalized learning”…

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