American Educator: Spring 2013

  • Springing to Life

    How Greater Educational Equality Could Grow from the Common Core Mathematics Standards William H. Schmidt, Nathan A. Burroughs

    In America, education has long been viewed as the main instrument for achieving equality of opportunity. Whatever our differences, the idea that every child deserves a chance to be educated enjoys widespread support. What has been contentious is how to go about promoting greater educational...

  • Inequality for All

    For a detailed look at variations in mathematics and science content across the country, see Inequality for All: The Challenge of Unequal Opportunity in American Schools, by William H. Schmidt and Curtis C. McKnight. Schmidt and McKnight have been working for more than two decades to...

  • Schooling Makes You Smarter

    What Teachers Need to Know about IQ Richard E. Nisbett

    In 1994, America took a giant step backward in understanding intelligence and how it can be cultivated. Richard Herrnstein, a psychology professor at Harvard University, and Charles Murray, a political scientist with the American Enterprise Institute, published The Bell Curve, a best-...

  • Self-Regulation and Schooling

    Richard E. Nisbett

    What is it about school and preschool that enhances intelligence and academic abilities? Content knowledge (e.g., learning about climate in different places in the world) and procedural knowledge (e.g., sorting shapes) are of course important, but increasingly scientists are recognizing the...

  • School Ties

    A Psychiatrist's Longtime Commitment to Education  Jennifer Dubin

    Almost 60 years have passed since Dr. James Comer last saw three of his elementary school friends, yet he vividly remembers them. They were African American boys just like him. They, too, came from two-parent homes, and their fathers also worked in the local steel mill. But unlike Comer and his...

  • Seeing Relationships

    Using Spatial Thinking to Teach Science, Mathematics, and Social Studies Nora S. Newcombe

    Alchemists, who searched for centuries for a method of making gold from less valuable metals, may seem like scientists. After all, they experimented—that is, they combined various substances in various ways to see if they could manufacture gold. Yet alchemists are not commonly called...

  • Equality and Cooperation

    Finland's Path to Excellence Jukka Sarjala

    For the past decade, Finland has been lauded for consistently being a top performer on international assessments of student achievement. Having spent 25 years in the Ministry of Education, and then another 8 as director general of the National Board of Education, I am heartened by these...

  • Common Ground on Class Size

    Ritva Semi

    What is the optimal class size? It's a question that educators and policymakers in many countries, including Finland, continually ask themselves. Opinions vary on what student-to-teacher ratio works best. Often, educators are told that it makes no difference if one or two additional children are...