Category Archives: Education

Great article about exciting new developments at Khan Academy

Khan Academy has been the education start-up to watch for awhile now, having been featured in Wired Magazine and endorsed and promoted by none other than Bill Gates. A new article by David Hill at SingularityHub gives a great summary of the Academy’s past year, showing why the program remains the hottest thing in education technology.

Comparing effect of teacher scores and parent engagement on Chicago student math scores

Here’s a chart from Chicago open data about the progress report for Chicago Public Schools for the 2011 to 2012 school year.

Here’s what I did. I narrowed the list of schools down to 208, including only those that had data in these three categories: ISAT (Illinois Standard Achievement Test) Exceeding Math %, parent engagement score, and teacher score. (I don’t know how the progress report scored teachers or parent engagement.) I then charted the math achievement score against and the parent-engagement and teacher scores, and added a trend line.

Here’s what it shows: Both parent engagement and high teacher scores are important to achievement; there is an upward trend in math scores for both variables. Teacher score, however, seems to have the stronger effect, according to this data. Never underestimate the power of a good teacher.

The trend with ISAT Exceeding Reading scores is substantially the same as the math-scores trend.


How is 2009 federal stimulus to NYC being used?

I was surprised at first by this info about how money provided to NYC through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is being used. But then I realized that most of the stimulus money is going to private parties, not the city, and isn’t counted in these stats. I still didn’t know, however, that so much money was given to education in the federal stimulus. For an interactive chart, go here.

This pattern is not unique to NYC. As Sam Dillon reported in the New York Times, the stimulus funding “was the largest one-time infusion of federal education dollars to states and districts in the nation’s history.”

The total was around $100 billion nationwide, and again as reported by the New York Times, here’s how it was spent:

About $65 billion of the $100 billion in education stimulus money went to states in three pots: $39.5 billion as part of a stabilization fund intended to bolster the finances of state public education systems, $13 billion for the federal program for poor students known as Title I, and $12.2 billion for students with disabilities. Congress directed the rest of the $100 billion to smaller initiatives, including $4.3 billion to a school improvement grant program the Obama administration calls Race to the Top.

(The last one, Race to the Top, is a program that’s similar to many of the city App Contests sprouting up all over the country. It puts up a pot of money that schools can compete for through innovations and advances in education.)

Money well spent?