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Is There a Santa Claus?

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun: Dear Editor— I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? Virginia…

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Imagine all the people. Just reading their damned syllabus.

These are not the rhetorical choices I would make in order to convey this message to my own students, but I can certainly identify with the author’s evident frustration. My own syllabus has a FAQ section, and in the first week or so of classes I usually assign an open-notes “Syllabus Quiz” so that students can get points for demonstrating that they can, in fact, read the syllabus. Imagine you’ve…

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An Open Letter to Reuters Reporters Nate Raymond and David Ingram

How did Reuters happen to get a picture of the arrest of Martin Shkreli (the pharmacy bro who bought the rights to a drug and raised the cost an obscene percentage)? Why is that question at least as important as what Martin Shkreli looks like while being arrested? There are two subjects on which Reuters could have informed its audience, two sets of questions it could have answered: Subject One:…

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Coding Bootcamps and the New For-Profit Higher Ed

There are actually a number of narratives – some of them competing narratives – at play here in the recent push for coding bootcamps, MOOCs, and other ed-tech initiatives: that everyone should go to college; that college is too expensive – “a bubble” in the Silicon Valley lexicon; that alternate forms of credentialing will be developed (by the technology sector, naturally); that the tech sector is itself a meritocracy, and…

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Students don’t know what’s best for their own learning

Many educators worry that students are more positive about teachers who give better marks regardless of what the students learn, and are more negative about teachers who make students work hard in order to learn. If this is true, it means the simplest way for a teacher to get a good evaluation is to make it easy for students to get good marks. As it happens, students who rated their…

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Smith College Protesters Bar Journalists From Covering Sit-In Unless They Support the Cause

Reporters planning to cover the sit-in arrived at the Massachusetts college’s student center on Wednesday only to find that the protesters intended to keep them out. Alyssa Mata-Flores, a Smith senior and a sit-in organizer, elaborated on the decision to The Republican: “We are asking that any journalists or press that cover our story participate and articulate their solidarity with black students and students of color. By taking a neutral stance, journalists…