CHINESE IN AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOLS: Families pay $40,000 to an education consultancy to get their children enrolled in a public high school in Michigan. The ultimate goal is for them to attend a top American university. (NYTIMES)
Roughly 370,000 students from the mainland are enrolled in American high schools and universities, 6x more than a decade ago. Their financial impact — $11.4 billion was contributed to the American economy in 2015. It has turned education into one of America’s top “exports” to China.
83% of China’s millionaires are planning to send their children to school abroad. The average age, according to the poll, has dropped to 16 today from 18 in 2014 — the first time it has reached the high-school level.
In 2005, only 641 Chinese students were enrolled in American high schools. By 2014, that student population approached 40,000 — a 60-fold increase in a single decade — and it now accounts for nearly half of all international high-school students in the United States.
CHINESE IN VEGAS: The first direct flight from Beijing to Las Vegas, launched Dec. 2 by Hainan Airlines, is viewed as a major step toward the goal the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority has set to push international visitation to 30% over the next decade. International visitors currently account for 16% of traffic. (NYTIMES)
KIDS ARE EXPENSIVE: American families will shell out an average of $233,610 from birth through age 17 — or about $13,000 a year. The ballooning price tag, a 3% increase, comes at a time when day-care costs can exceed university tuitions and homes prices have skyrocketed to record highs. (Washington Post)
Families in urban areas in the Northeast, such as New York and Boston, were likely to pay even more — an average of $253,770, or roughly $14,000 a year — because of higher housing and child-care costs.
Lower-income families are likely to spend $212,300 per child through age 17, while higher-income families will spend more than double that, or about $454,770.
Families in rural areas, meanwhile, are likely to spend 24% less than their counterparts in urban areas in the Northeast.
Credit: Washington Post
PERSONALIZED LEARNING FOR 6-12 GRADES: A nationwide pilot program, one that could indicate just how deeply and how quickly the personalized-learning trend will penetrate the average classroom. Indeed, despite the buzz around personalized learning, there’s no simple recipe for success, and the common ingredients — such as adaptive-learning technology and student control over learning — can backfire if poorly implemented. (Wired)
One early November afternoon in an hour’s drive south of San Francisco, a class of ninth-graders sat at computers for a 45-minute session of personalized learning time. Many watched instructional videos or worked with adaptive-learning software that adjusted lessons based on each student’s proficiency. Other than a few murmured conversations and the clicking of keyboards, the only sound was mellow acoustic guitar music played on their teacher’s laptop.
By offloading some rote learning to a computer—such as memorizing the steps of cell division or the formulas for sine, cosine and tangent—we can make the most of the connections between teachers and kids. We want more of those interactions to be about big ideas, deeper learning and the sort of feedback that you can only get from a real, live adult.
“I took a speed reading course and read ‘War and Peace’ in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.” ~Woody Allen
BOREDOM: What if boredom is a meaningful experience—one that propels us to states of deeper thoughtfulness or creativity? Boredom might spark creativity because a restless mind hungers for stimulation.
Bored subjects came up with more ideas than a nonbored control group, and their ideas were often more creative. Subjects who took an “associative thought” word test came up with more answers when they’d been forced to watch a dull screensaver.
The problem is that these days we don’t wrestle with these slow moments. We eliminate them. “We try to extinguish every moment of boredom in our lives with mobile devices.” This might relieve us temporarily, but it shuts down the deeper thinking that can come from staring down the doldrums.
Credit: Wayne Miller/Magnum USA, 1955
SPEED READING: Skilled readers know more about language, including many words and structures that occur in print but not in speech. They also have greater “background knowledge,” familiarity with the structure and content of what is being read. We acquire this information in the act of reading itself—not by training our eyes to rotate in opposite directions, playing brain exercise games, or breathing diaphragmatically. Just reading.
Boustrophedon (Ancient Greek method): Texts were written bidirectionally, left to right on one line, then right to left on the next. This method would seem to allow reading to proceed continuously, uninterrupted by line sweeps. Try it.
Here we have a nice normal first line.
.siht ekil nettirw eb dluoc enil txen ehT
Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP): A text is presented at a single location on a screen, one word (or sometimes a few) at a time. It was developed for research purposes in the 1960s. College students could read with RSVP at up to 700 words per minute with good comprehension, about triple their normal speeds. Alas, the experiments also found that subjects could only sustain reading at high speeds with good comprehension for short bursts.
AMERICA’S HEARTLAND: Do big cities belong in the heartland? (If not, choose a map with “holes” in it.) Does the heartland rigidly follow state lines? Does it venture south into Texas, or east into Pennsylvania? (NYTIMES)
MEGA REGIONS: Mesmerizing commute maps reveal we all live in mega regions and not cities. (Wired)
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT STATES: 22 states still allow corporal punishment in school: 15 expressly permit it while another 7 do not prohibit it. Corporal punishment is “the intentional infliction of pain or discomfort and/or the use of physical force upon a student with the intention of causing the student to experience bodily pain so as to correct or punish the student’s behavior.” In the 2013-2014 school year, more than 110,000 students were physically punished. (NPR)
You have the highest stress levels 25-34 years, with a steep drop after 55.
Women experience greater levels of stress.
Stress levels decrease with greater education and higher income.
WEALTHIEST ZIP CODES: The top five zip codes in America with the highest average income probably won’t surprise you: three of the five are in New York City, while one is in Miami Beach.
Washington, D.C. 20510 ranks as the wealthiest zip code in the District, with an average income of $191,818.
Maryland, Gibson Island, 21056 has an average income of $450,012.
Virginia, Roanoke 24005 has an average income of $394,400
Florida, Miami Beach 33109 with a stunning $2,180,105 in average income.
New York City has the wealthiest zip code (10104), with an average income of $2,976,929.
HOW MUCH DO YOU MAKE? Nearly 73% of full-time workers aren’t comfortable with the idea of discussing their pay with anyone at work other than their boss or the HR department. Only 13% said they’d be “completely comfortable” with sharing such information more broadly, recognizing that it might offer workers better leverage in negotiations. The remaining 14% or so said they would be comfortable discussing their salaries with close colleagues, but not their wider team.
Women were slightly more uncomfortable than men with the idea of sharing what they make, despite what they might stand to gain from doing so. About 74.5% of the women in the sample said they were uncomfortable talking about it with anyone other than a supervisor or HR, compared with 70% of the men.
There was a little more variation, meanwhile, among age groups. Respondents aged 25 to 34 were most likely to welcome the idea of talking openly about their pay. 34% said they were either completely comfortable with it or would do so with close colleagues, compared to 27% of all ages surveyed.