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Florida County Has Banned the Bane of Kids' Existence

The superintendent wants nightly reading instead of homework

(Newser) - The superintendent of Marion County schools in Florida has just issued a "no homework" mandate for the district's 31 elementary schools starting this fall, reports WESH 2 . Superintendent Heidi Maier cites research that nightly homework assignments haven't been shown to directly impact a child's academic advancement,... More »

More Studying, Less Playing Is Good for Preschoolers

Study finds 'academic-oriented' pre-kindergarten programs help kids

(Newser) - If you think preschool is all about playing with dolls and blocks, think again. There's a growing trend toward more rigorous, scholarly preschools—and a new study supports the idea, finding that children who attended a year at an "academic-oriented" preschool were performing better academically by the end... More »

Student Could Get 8 Years for Sharing Paper Online

He falls foul of tough Colombian copyright law

(Newser) - A grad student in Colombia who says he just wanted to help other researchers—and the endangered amphibians they study—could get up to eight years in prison for copyright infringement after sharing a research paper he found online. Diego Gomez, 26, posted the paper on a file-sharing site and... More »

Why Asian Kids Are Schooling White Students

It's simple: They work harder, study finds

(Newser) - Researchers in the US and China are investigating the roots of a school-age stereotype: Why are Asian-American students more successful than their white peers? It's not a matter of innate cognitive ability, the experts find. Instead, Asian-American students often simply try harder, the study says, via . That... More »

'Second-Class' Professors Seek Fairer Wages

Adjunct professors get few benefits

(Newser) - Even within the ivory tower of academia, many feel a sharp class divide: While tenured professors have job security and, often, six-figure pay, adjunct professors can see their courses dropped at any time and may be paid a relative pittance. "To students, everyone is just 'professor,'"... More »

Schools Spend Way More on Athletes Than Students

Six times more at Division I colleges

(Newser) - Sorry brainiacs, but if you go to a Division I public school, you can expect your institution to spend more—much more—on athletes than on education. A new analysis picked up by USA Today lays out some key stats:
  • At 97 schools that compete in top-tier football, per-athlete spending
... More »

America's Kids: School Is Way Too Easy

More than a third of 4th-, 8th-, 12th-graders say so about various subjects

(Newser) - If your kid's favorite pastime seems to be whining to you about the rigors of school, it might be time to call his bluff. A study of questionnaires completed as part of America's largest regular student assessment finds that a huge segment of our nation's kids say... More »

Top French Academic in Manhattan Mystery Death

Nude Richard Descoings found dead in hotel room

(Newser) - A prestigious French scholar in Manhattan for a conference was found nude and dead in his midtown hotel room in suspicious circumstances, according to investigators. Richard Descoings, 53, a member of France's Council of State and director of top French university Sciences Po, was discovered by hotel staffers after... More »

Obama's Pick for Economic Adviser: Alan Krueger

Labor economist, Princeton prof worked in Treasury Department

(Newser) - President Obama is set to nominate Princeton labor economist Alan Krueger as his top economic adviser. Krueger, who helped lead the Treasury Department through Obama’s first two years in office, would become the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. In the position, he’d likely urge government action... More »

Kids Don't Learn Much in First 2 Years of College

They're more interested in socializing, surprise, surprise

(Newser) - Yet another reason to skip college : You probably won’t learn all that much anyway. A new book reveals that almost half of the undergrads in America learn basically nothing during their first two years, USA Today reports. Even after four years, 36% of students had made few significant gains... More »

Calling Obama 'Professor' Is Palin Code for 'Uppity': Prof

Palin's brainy slam is really a racist slam, says longtime pal

(Newser) - When Sarah Palin told Tea Party activists last week that President Obama was "a professor of law standing at the lectern," she wasn't just tapping into populist anti-intellectualism—she was also making a not-so-subtle attack on the president's race. So says Harvard professor and longtime Obama pal Charles... More »

Anthropologist Levi-Strauss Dead at 100

French ethnologist introduced structuralist theory

(Newser) - Claude Levi-Strauss, widely considered the father of modern anthropology for work that included theories about commonalities between tribal and industrial societies, has died. He was 100. The French intellectual was regarded as having reshaped the field of anthropology, introducing structuralism—concepts about common patterns of behavior and thought, especially myths,... More »

Krugman Spat With Professor Explodes Online

Sniping turns to race when Ferguson calls Obama Felix the Cat

(Newser) - Niall Ferguson picked the wrong Nobel-winning economist to mess with. The Scottish historian, who teaches at Harvard, has been caught up in a high-profile academic feud with New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who has called him a "poseur" and a "whiner" in recent blog posts. Ferguson hit... More »

GOP Needs Its Brains Back

(Newser) - Republican sycophants may think Sarah Palin’s resignation was brilliant, “but don’t kid yourself,” writes Robert Eisinger in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The GOP is in trouble.” The party has lost its intellectual coherence, and if it wants it back, it’s got to look beyond... More »

If Economists Fail, Don't Blame Economics

...don't give up on economics

(Newser) - Economists have made some disastrous calls recently, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on economics, opines an editorial in the Economist. True, too few economists predicted the financial crisis, but the current backlash, which assumes that the dismal science is basically useless, has gone too far. “... More »

Obama Meets With Human- Rights Leaders

Under fire for recent moves, holds 'probing' pre-speech discussion

(Newser) - Dogged by criticism over recent decisions, President Obama invited a crew of human-rights and civil-liberties leaders and academics to discuss Guantanamo, tribunals, and transparency ahead of today’s speech on similar themes, the Huffington Post reports. Obama said he was unhappy with Congress’ denial of funds to close Gitmo and... More »

Spooky Universal Pattern Captivates Math Experts

Academics ponder similarities between cities and organisms

(Newser) - A fascinating mathematical similarity between infrastructure requirements of cities and the nutritional needs of different-sized animals has energized a field of study that is enthralling academics. Researchers have discovered that any measure of a city's infrastructure—from number of gas stations to miles of roadway—grows only in proportion to... More »

FSU Must Give Up Wins in Academic Scam: NCAA

(Newser) - An academic-misconduct scandal that reached into all corners of Florida State University’s athletic department could cost the school victories in a number of sports, the St. Petersburg Times reports—including in football, where coach Bobby Bowden is second on the all-time list. An NCAA probe found that the Seminoles... More »

NYC Prep Student Leaps to Death Into Recess Crowd

Fourth-graders out playing as body plunges to ground

(Newser) - A 17-year-old student at an elite Manhattan prep school leapt to his death from an eleventh-story classroom window yesterday, reports the New York Daily News. His plunging body narrowly missed a group of fourth graders playing in front of the Dalton School. "I heard a loud bang," said... More »

Is Something Rotten in the Bard's Works?

Debate over who really wrote Shakespeare's plays rages on

(Newser) - Did William Shakespeare really write the plays attributed to him? The question remains the subject of an intense academic debate, NPR reports. Those who doubt the “man from Stratford” penned his plays point to a lame rhyming epitaph on the supposed bard’s headstone, and to lack of documents... More »

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