August 15, 2014: Education News We're Reading This Week


August 15, 2014—Here is what’s new in education news this week.

Jay Mathews of The Washington Post responds to last week’s article titled “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League” by William Deresiewicz. The latter’s main argument is that smart young minds at top schools are also “anxious, timid, and lost,” and seemingly unprepared for the real world—but Mathews has a bit more confidence in the “smart kids” he has been writing about for 30 years, as he explains it.

Elon University special-collections librarian and archivist Katie Nash recently got her hands on a number of college applications from as early as 1913. Today a few of these questions might seem out of place, such as “Have you read any Homer?” or “Is your health good?” Read more from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The U.S. Department of Education just announced it is awarding $28.4 million in grants for students to take Advanced Placement (AP) exams, reports Diverse Education. Data cited in the article suggests that only 10.2 percent of black and Latino high school graduates will take an AP exam, partly because of cost; one test can cost up to $300.

Mathematica Policy Research’s Ira Nichols-Barrer reports on an in-depth study of The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) for Education Next. The charter school network, designed to boost achievement and prepare students for successful college careers, has received funding and acclaim galore. Nichols-Barrer contends that despite its flaws, the model is one to admire.

NPR writes about the difficult task students face when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Of the 20 million students who complete the FAFSA each year, many will make damaging mistakes that hurt their chances of receiving a loan. Aly Seidel provides a few great resources to help complete the elaborate document at the end of her piece.

Students who fought through enormous struggles during their transition from middle to high school recently had the opportunity to share their stories with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Home Room’s Samuel Ryan shares more.

The Hechinger Report’s Community College Spotlight explains how students should think about stress when taking a test. Research by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching suggests that embracing nerves as a challenge can improve test performance.

A July 28 school value list by Money magazine ranked Babson College number one, ahead of heavyweights Harvard and Princeton. But while a school’s reputation is no longer the biggest factor for applicants, writes USA Today, students must remember that many rankings are sensational. Using them is not unlike referring to a product review—they may be interesting, but they shouldn’t be your only resource.