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Education Extra Credit: History minefield, antiquated assessments and billboard recruitment

Education Extra Credit this week looks at history lessons, assessments, STEM inequity and off-campus safety.

3 min read


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SmartBrief education writers and editors read hundreds of articles, studies and press releases each week — too many to summarize and fit neatly into the sections of our newsletters. Education Extra Credit shares some additional topics of note from the past week or so.

Don’t miss this careful walk through the “How do we teach history?” minefield. Kevin Mahnken of The 74 offers an absorbing Q&A with Howard University historian Daryl Scott. I’ll let Scott sum up this must-read himself: “I’m here to say that the history that gets taught is not as important as the effort to build a shared culture in society moving forward. You will not exterminate your enemies, and you’re going to cohabitate the same territory. The question is how much damage you’ll do to each other and to everyone else. We’re at that point.”  

“Antiquated,” “uncreative” and other spot-on descriptions of year-end tests. Cornell University professor Robert Sternberg and the Center for American ProgressLaura Jimenez, Ulrich Boser and Jamil Modaffari say we need to reinvent standardized tests to create periodic, holistic assessments that measure richer, critical thinking and address real-world problems. Easy peasy? Nope. But imperative nonetheless. 

Social studies’ Big Bang. When social studies and STEM collide, students want to know about it. Student reporter Kathereen Yang takes a look at the Analysis of Identity and Equity in STEM” class at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., where teachers Elizabeth Duval and Rahman Culver lead student discussions about biases baked into all aspects of STEM; the relationship between standardized testing, race and inequity; and even the effects of having few Black students in the school’s own magnet program. 

Temple U. beefs up safety for students in off-campus housing. Colleges and their students nationwide, aware of the increase in violent crime since the pandemic began, are always looking for new ways to keep students safe. Temple University’s latest measures include $2,500 security grants to private landlords in neighborhoods that cater to students. Just 56% of the Philadelphia school’s students who live in private housing feel safe compared with 81% in on-campus housing, and some parents of those off-campus students have started paying for private security patrols after one student was robbed and murdered outside his apartment last fall.

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Diane Benson Harrington is an education writer at SmartBrief. 



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