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On My Mind


The Hidden Brain: How Miscommunications Happen

posted Sep 22, 2015, 5:48 AM by Michael Toise   [ updated Sep 22, 2015, 5:54 AM ]

In case you were wondering why we are spending so much time clarifying our expectations with students. 

My new motto for the year "Be Overly Explicit"

Take a listen.


Schools Put College Dreams Into Practice

posted Apr 9, 2013, 5:17 PM by Michael Toise

ALONG his block in Newark’s West Ward, where drugs are endemic and the young residents talk about shootings with alarming nonchalance, Najee Little is known as the smart kid. He got all A’s his sophomore year, breezing through math and awing his English teachers. His mother, a day care worker, and father, who does odd jobs to make ends meet, have high aspirations for him. They want him to earn a college degree.  

Read the rest of the article HERE

Will Geography Decide Our Destiny?

posted Apr 7, 2013, 11:12 AM by Michael Toise




Will Geography Decide Our Destiny?

The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate
by Robert D. Kaplan 
Random House, 403 pp., $28.00

When maps were introduced into Ottoman schools in the 1860s, conservative Muslims—people we would now call Salafists—were so outraged that they ripped them off classroom walls and threw them down the latrines. Though Muslim geographers such as Muhammad al-Idrisi (1099–1166) had produced serviceable maps, they were not widely available and for most of Ottoman history the spatial configuration of territory in two dimensions had been largely restricted to military specialists.

Parking Is Hell: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

posted Apr 4, 2013, 3:58 AM by Michael Toise

The episode begins with Stephen Dubner talking to parking guru Donald Shoup, a professor of urban planning at UCLA and author of the landmark book The High Cost of Free Parking. In a famousTimes op-ed, Shoup argued that as much as one-third of urban congestion is caused by people cruising for curb parking. But, as Shoup tells Dubner, there ain’t no such thing as a free parking spot:  Listen to the whole story HERE

Breaking Free of the Cellphone Carrier Conspiracy

posted Apr 3, 2013, 6:42 PM by Michael Toise

David Pogue in the NY Times.  

Where, exactly, is your threshold for outrage? Would you speak up if you were overbilled for a meal? Would you complain if you paid for a book from Amazon.com that never arrived?

Or what if you had to keep making monthly mortgage payments even after your loan was fully repaid?

Well, guess what? If you’re like most people, you’re participating in exactly that kind of rip-off right now. It’s the Great Cellphone Subsidy Con.

When you buy a cellphone — aniPhone or Android phone, let’s say — you pay $200. Now, the real price for that sophisticated piece of electronics is around $600. But Verizon, AT&T and Sprint are very thoughtful. They subsidize the phone. Your $200 is a down payment. You pay off the remaining $400 over the course of your two-year contract.  

Read the rest HERE

Evaluating Teachers: Transforming a Game Into a Game-changer

posted Mar 30, 2013, 4:51 AM by Michael Toise

from the Huffington Post.  Last week, ministers of education and union leaders from the best performing and most rapidly education systems met in Amsterdam to discuss how to evaluate teachers effectively. Everywhere this is a hot topic but these summits provide an opportunity to advance the dialogue between government and unions on professional issues without getting side-tracked by national industrial disputes.  Read the rest HERE

Singapore’s Lessons for an Unequal America by Joseph Stiglitz

posted Mar 19, 2013, 5:47 AM by Michael Toise   [ updated Mar 19, 2013, 5:48 AM ]

Inequality has been rising in most countries around the world, but it has played out in different ways across countries and regions. The United States, it is increasingly recognized, has the sad distinction of being the most unequal advanced country, though the income gap has also widened to a lesser extent, in Britain, Japan, Canada and Germany. Of course, the situation is even worse in Russia, and some developing countries in Latin America and Africa. But this is a club of which we should not be proud to be a member.

Read the rest of the article byJoseph Stiglitz on Singapore in the NY Times.  

Hundreds of Thousands of Youth in Metro Area Adrift: Report

posted Oct 25, 2012, 6:49 PM by Michael Toise   [ updated Oct 25, 2012, 6:50 PM ]

There are approximately 350,000 young people in the New York metro area not in school or working, according to a report by Measure of America, a project by the Brooklyn-based Social Science Research Council.

“These young people…are pretty much adrift at the margins of society and they’re missing out on the knowledge and the skills but also the purpose and identity that school and work offer,” said Sarah Burd-Sharps, co-director of Measure of America. “The cost of disconnection is really high. It can leave scars that last their entire life time.”   Read the the HERE.

Interview with Daniel Handler

posted Jul 9, 2012, 1:55 PM by Michael Toise   [ updated Jul 9, 2012, 1:55 PM ]

From Public Radio International's Bullseye with Jesse Thorn:  

Daniel Handler delves into his memories of young love and high school frustrations to pen the novel Why We Broke Up -- the twist? He writes the girl's side of the story. The story is illustrated by a collection of items collected during the relationship; the paintings are provided by New Yorker illustrator Maira Kalman. Daniel Handler is also known by his alter ego, Lemony Snicket, who authored A Series of Unfortunate Events.  

Listen to the whole interview HERE.

Release date: Feb 13, 2012 

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