FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.

posted on 03 January 2016

2015, The Year That Was: Education

from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Kalpana Jain, The Conversation

As we approach 2016, we look back at the big stories of The Conversation's education coverage over the past 12 months.

2015 was a year of much turmoil: higher education witnessed student activism not quite seen since the free speech movement of the 1960s.

The spark for the protests came from the University of Missouri - where students' demands for racial justice had gone unheard. With the football team joining the protesting students, events took a different turn and resulted in the resignation of the president, Tim Wolfe. Thereafter, protests spread to over 100 other campuses.

Racism on campus

Over the past year, scholars writing for The Conversation have emphasized how much race continues to be a factor in students' success - and not just in college, but even through their early school years.

As some have pointed out, academia suffers from a "stunning lack of diversity." Black scholars describe experiences ranging from racial slights to outright discrimination. At the K-12 level, research shows that black students are more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions for minor violations of the code of conduct.

On campuses, students have been demanding for some time the renaming of buildings whose names evoke a troubled racial past. Many universities and their past leaders were intimately connected to the slave trade and slavery. This year further escalated some of the tensions.

In this environment, Fisher v University of Texas, a case challenging the University of Texas's race-conscious admissions policy, took on even greater significance. The policy allows the university to build a racially and ethnically diverse student body. But the case challenging it says it violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Tenure, college costs, guns

The debates on university campuses in 2015 were many, and not just to do with race.

The issue of academic freedom became a fractious one after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker put forward a proposal to slash spending on education and modify the state laws on tenure.

There were many issues of concern this year. Björn Lflczay, CC BY-SA

All over again, issues of college affordability were brought center-stage by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's announcement of a US$350 billion debt-free college plan. Our experts argued how such a large expansion in federal dollars would come at a cost.

And while students struggled with debt, smaller colleges struggled to keep student enrollment high enough. One of them, Sweet Briar, a women's liberal arts college, was among those hit hard by declining enrollment. While the board voted to close the doors, its alumnae made efforts to keep it going for at least another year.

In Texas, meanwhile, a "Campus Carry" gun law passed in spring 2015, raising faculty fears about the possibility of grade inflation.

Teachers, testing, new ESSA

If higher education was in turmoil, so was K-12.

Testing pressures led to an ever-growing number of parents, teachers and students "opting out" of testing across all 50 states. Some experts put the blame on the influence of a "network" of private actors over the policies implemented under US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who will be leaving office at the end of this year.

A number of scholars commented on how policies have left schoolteachers highly demotivated. In an effort to improve the "annual yearly progress" of their students, some schools not only resorted to unethical practices, but also punished teachers for low scores.

How then are teachers being evaluated? It isn't clear. Not least when music teachers can be evaluated based on the math and reading scores of students.

In answer to some of these concerns, before the end of the year, President Obama signed The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) - which will replace the NCLB and end many of testing and evaluation policies, although experts still urge caution on wholeheartedly embracing the ESSA.

Despite the odds, schoolteachers and university professors remained unfailing in their commitment, innovation and dedication to their students. Indeed, innovative examples of teaching were among our best-read stories as well. Here are some:

How understanding the prisoner's dilemma can help bridge liberal and conservative differences

Want more innovation? Try connecting the dots between engineering and humanities

A teacher uses Star Trek for difficult conversations on race and gender

Through the brewing class: what beer-making can teach students about business

Using Wikipedia: a scholar redraws academic lines by including it in his syllabus

'Teaching artists': creative ways to teach English to immigrant kids

The ConversationKalpana Jain, Editor, The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<

Click here for Historical News Post Listing

Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted. You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.

Econintersect Contributors


Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF

The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.

Take a look at what is going on inside of
Main Home
Analysis Blog
Slow Economic Growth Will Be Around For A Long Time
The Job Guarantee, Wage-Price Inflation And Alternative Solutions: Part 2
News Blog
Early Headlines: Asia Stocks And Dollar Up, Oil, Gold Steady, Obama Climate Policies Gone, US Oil Glut, Euro Surges, Shorts Remain, Trump Into Yemen?, Iran-Russia Deals, Cat 4 Cyclone Hits Oz, And More
March 27, 2017 Weather and Climate Report - Will the MJO Deliver a Nino?
The Most Reputable Companies Worldwide
Gut Bacteria Play A Role In Long-term Weight Gain
What We Read Today 27 March 2017 - Special Public Edition
Is Less More In The Smartphone Market
Average Gasoline Prices for Week Ending 27 March 2017 Statistically Unchanged - Again
What We Read Today 27 March 2017
Why New Jets Could Destroy Airlines
March 2017 Texas Manufacturing Survey Continues to Expand
Wage Growth After The Great Recession
Is OPEC Losing Its Ability To Influence Oil Prices?
Many Worry That The Great Recession And Mounting Student Debt Have Stunted Millennials' Financial Development
Investing Blog
The Dollar's Coming Impact On Markets
The Real 401k Plan Manager 27 March 2017
Opinion Blog
Macron May Lead But Le Pen Remains The Big Story
Is The 20th Century Still The 'Hayek Century'?
Precious Metals Blog
These Gold Stocks Will Produce Much Bigger Gains Than Gold Itself
Live Markets
27Mar2017 Market Close: US Dollar Falls Into The 98 Range, WTI Crude Slips Into The 47 Handle, Wall Street Generally Sour And Down
Amazon Books & More

.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government



Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day


Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution



  Top Economics Site Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2017 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved