In these increasingly complex and uncertain economic times, many of us have tested our own financial literacy and gained a humbling respect for luck. We have tested what, in 2008, the President’s Advisory Council called “the ability to … manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being.” While there will always be forces beyond their control as well, for young people, financial literacy increases their chances of being self-reliant and fully independent, even under the duress of straightened circumstances and a difficult economy. They also need financial literacy in recognition of their interdependence. They need financial literacy so that, when they go to the polls, they go with an understanding that their own financial well-being is deeply connected to the well-being of the nation as a whole.
Like other forms of literacy, financial literacy can be developed in young people with practical, hands-on learning that draws on their current life experiences. Just as importantly, financial literacy must give young people the tools to imagine their future, to dream about it and to plan for it.
To strengthen and expand personal finance instruction in New York City classrooms, Teachers College, Columbia University through the generosity of Trustee Joyce Cowin, has developed a financial literacy program that will strengthen personal finance learning where it is most needed: in urban high school classrooms that serve students from immigrant and working-class families — families which, under economic duress themselves, are least able to model financial literacy.
Developed especially for social studies teachers, and in partnership with Working in Support of Education (W!SE), our initiative combines intensive professional development with the opportunity to create lessons that can be easily integrated into history and economics classes. Much of any existing curriculum is set by state and local requirements. Teachers will learn how to work inside these existing course contexts by using self-contained lessons — lessons that can be dropped into these courses at multiple points.
Scholars have found that improving the financial education of teachers remains the best way to reach students, particularly those from at-risk backgrounds. Simply put, teachers need to understand the concepts of personal finance to effectively convey financial concepts and practical applications to their students.
The project’s curriculum and professional development program will focus on helping teachers learn the principles of financial literacy (money, budgeting, cost of money, banking, credit, insurance, investing, financial planning and regulation) and how to teach these principles dynamically through a case study method. Once we have successfully piloted the program in New York City, we will work with W!se and other organizations and develop national financial literacy programs for students across the country. #
Dr. Anand R. Marri is an associate professor of social studies and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, principal investigator for the Understanding Fiscal Responsibility Project, senior research affiliate at the Institute on Education and the Economy and interim program coordinator for the program in social studies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in curriculum and instruction.
Top: Teachers College Trustee Joyce Cowin has developed a financial literacy program in urban high school classrooms.
(L-R) Founder, President & CEO of W!SE Phyllis Frankfort Perillo, with longtime financial literacy advocate and philanthropist Dr. Charlotte Frank at an awards ceremony celebrating the 100 Best High Schools for Teaching Financial Literacy around the U.S., held at the New York Stock Exchange.
In the “x’s and o’s” world of coach-speak, and especially in big-time college basketball, sentimentality is not something commonly heard in post-game press conferences. But following Louisville’s 74-55 victory over Villanova in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, Coach Rick Pitino was in no mood to talk about shooting percentages and pick-and-rolls after learning that Jack Curran, his star guard Russ Smith’s high school coach, had passed away a day earlier.
Pitino himself had ties to the legendary New York mentor, who died at the age of 82, and who had worked for 55 years at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, breaking virtually every New York scholastic record in both basketball and baseball, including winning more than 2,600 games.
“I went to his camp, Friendship Farm, in New York,” said Pitino, 60, who grew up on Long Island, and is the only collegiate coach to ever take three different schools to the NCAA Final Four.
“He had all the traits of a great leader. Very humble, great teacher, very wise man. It was always about the players with him. He had a lot of what I witnessed about [UCLA basketball’s] Coach Wooden. They were very similar personalities. They were great teachers. Although he was a great basketball and baseball coach, he probably was even a better gym teacher. Never lost his passion and love,” said Pitino.
This is the same intense, relentless Pitino who, just two nights later during the first half of the Big East Tournament Final against Syracuse with his team trailing by as many as 15 points, was getting in players faces and displaying every ounce of emotion he had to rally his team.
“I had to jump our guys pretty hard at halftime,” said Pitino.
It was more like he rocket-shipped them. His team went on to a remarkable 29-4 run in the second half, sparked by a frenzied all-out defensive effort that brought the Louisville faithful to a well-frenzied state themselves. The Cardinals rolled to a 78-61 victory over the Orange to win their second consecutive Big East post-season championship and earn a number-one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Louisville’s internal motor is fueled by a pair of guards that are simply faster than everyone else on the court. In senior Peyton Siva and junior Russ Smith, Pitino’s scheme of controlled chaos and unrelenting pressure on the ball that leads to the type of fast-break baskets that was the undoing of Syracuse in the second half, is a style that is unique to Louisville. It’s predicated on Siva and Smith playing a disciplined game, while at the same time making split-second decisions that are based on old-fashioned all-out hustle. Its precise execution is based on a trust between Pitino and his players.
It’s no wonder then that Pitino freely says that Siva, the point guard, is (along with Billy Donavon) the best person and player he has ever coached. Siva is able to orchestrate the genius of Pitino’s coaching philosophy better than any of his previous players. Together Siva and Pitino have collaborated on over 120 wins during the past four seasons and made it to the Final Four in last year’s NCAA Tournament. Still, with Pitino, there is always room for improvement.
“He’s always tough on Peyton,” said Peyton Siva Sr., talking about his son, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of this year’s Big East tournament for the second time. Patrick Ewing of Georgetown is the only other two-time winner of the award. “It’s part of the grooming process, it was all presented to us before we got here. If you don’t want to work hard then Louisville is the not the place for you. Coach Pitino has done an outstanding job with my son, he’s a coach as well as a father figure. I guarantee when he’s done with them, he will prepare them for life.”
The game will always mean a lot to Pitino, but those close to him talk about him developing a wider perspective on life and in coaching as time has gone by. In the last 12 years he lost his brother-in-law, who was also his best friend, in the attacks on 9-11, and he also went through a highly publicized extortion scandal that was fueled by an extra-marital affair. The character of the players that he brings in to Louisville is a top priority to him and, once there, his goal is developing that aspect in their lives even more.
“As he’s gotten older and focused on the complete picture in terms of the guys, he’s very cognizant of what they have to do in life,” said Eric Crawford, who was a long time reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal and is working on a book with Pitino on overcoming adversity. “He wants them to be positive and the type of person that turns people on, and not turn them off. He wants them to practice face-to-face communication.”
It’s the old-school values that Pitino identified in Jack Curran and wants his players to emulate. With Siva and Smith he has two players who can execute the Pitino brand of basketball on the court and who want to be socially responsible off the court. Smith has dedicated the NCAA Tournament to the memory of his beloved former mentor, and while Siva may have not played for Curran, he follows the principals established by the late coaching icon that are now being passed down to the next generation of college basketball players.
“Just everything [Coach Pitino] taught me in life, I want to instill that in the freshman that will come next year,” said Siva minutes after celebrating his team’s victory over Syracuse. “I plan on staying around and talking to them about how Coach P. is and build him up.” #
Mike Cohen is sports editor at Education Update and director of Throwback Sports, a small-group and individualized sports program for children. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Microcomputer technology was just evolving in the early 1980s when my colleague, Laura Goin, and I started to experiment with computer-based teaching environments at Vanderbilt University. This was 20 years before Facebook, fifteen years before Google, and no one carried cell phones – especially not students. This was a time when there were almost no computers in schools, and we were creating long forgotten “videodiscs” and using “HyperCard” to access the desired video clip as we engaged struggling readers and helped them build the necessary background knowledge needed to comprehend what they were reading.
But despite how ancient it sounds, what we were doing was working. High school students who struggled to read were showing vast improvement using this technology-supported pedagogy. The technological tools we developed were helping us with tasks that we humans struggle with: providing instant and corrective feedback, mastery learning, repetitive practice and data collection, those things that lead to expertise in learners.
The technology we experimented with back then became the foundation of a reading intervention program used now by more than 1 million students across the country every day — READ 180. And at a time when companies and developers are struggling to make their technology tools stick in schools and prove that they work, READ 180 is one of the educational technology field’s greatest success stories. I believe it can teach us a lot about why and how technology can work in schools, including how to take programs to scale and how to balance the technology with the science of learning.
Through years of experimentation, we learned that applying the right technology in the right ways could help teachers do their jobs better and students learn better. From the beginning, the work we did was about finding new ways to support the needs of students who struggled and needed to catch up, and the teachers who teach them. We started with what we knew about students’ deficiencies, and looked at ways that technology could help teachers do a better job at meeting those challenges.
The technological advances the world has made since then are staggering. In the age of the iPad, we are easily mesmerized by new apps, devices and social networks that give us new ways of creating and sharing content, communicating and collaborating with our peers, and documenting the world around us. Indeed, these tools have influenced revolts and revolutions in recent years in Tunisia, Egypt and Iran, and changed the way politicians raise money and companies do business. Some say the secret to transforming our schools into true learning laboratories for the 21st Century is to bring these shiny tools into the classroom.
Understanding and leveraging ways technology can help students and teachers is critical, but it can’t come at the expense of the science of learning. Over the years, to take advantage of advances in technology we have modified and improved READ 180 yet we have remained loyal to the foundations we set in the 1980s – focusing on helping struggling readers, using years of research and science to figure out how technology can fill in the gaps and help do things that humans don’t do well. And even as we leverage the new technologies available, even as we, too, feel the sway of the tempting new gadgets that hit the market each month, we’re still focusing on the end goal: teaching kids to read, using the science of learning as our root.
If we want to help our schools to become more effective, more exciting and more relevant, we shouldn’t rush to implement technology for technology’s sake. We should exploit it for learning’s sake. #
Dr. Ted S. Hasselbring is a research professor in the department of special education at Vanderbilt University. He has conducted research on the use of technology for enhancing learning in students with mild disabilities and those at-risk of school failure.
Recently there has been considerable media coverage about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Much of the coverage is alarmist and based upon outdated and mistaken assumptions about the nature of this disorder. Recent research in psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience has dramatically changed scientific understanding of what ADHD actually is and how it is related to development and functioning of the brain. Here are a few of the important changes that have emerged over recent years in scientific understanding of ADHD:
ADHD is not primarily a cluster of behavior problems accompanied by difficulty in listening to others. It is essentially a developmental impairment of the management system of the brain, its executive functions.
ADHD is a complex disorder which impacts the individual’s ability to organize and activate for work tasks; to focus attention and shift it when needed; to manage alertness and emotions; to sustain effort for work tasks; and to utilize working memory.
ADHD often looks like a lack of willpower because all those with ADHD are able to focus quite well for a few tasks that really interest them or when they feel they have a gun to their head, yet they have chronic difficulty in focusing on many other tasks that they recognize as important. Yet ADHD is not a problem of willpower.
There are scientifically demonstrated differences in the development and functioning of the brain in persons with ADHD when compared with others of comparable age — differences in the rate of maturation of certain key areas of brain, in the wiring that connects various sections of brain and in the chemical dynamics of communication between countless networks of neurons that comprise the brain’s management system.
Many who suffer from ADHD, especially those who are well-behaved and quite bright, often are not recognized as having this disorder until they encounter the challenges of secondary school or university studies where parents and teachers do not provide as much scaffolding.
Medication treatments for ADHD do not cure the disorder as an antibiotic may cure an infection. Yet, if medication dose and timing is carefully fine-tuned to the sensitivities of each particular patient, about 80 percent experience significant measurable improvements in their functioning during the portion of day when the medication is active. Side effects are usually minimal if the medication is taken as prescribed by a person who is basically in good health. #
Dr. Thomas E. Brown is Associate Director at the Yale Clinic for Attention & Related Disorders in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. His recently-released book, A New Understanding of ADHD in Children and Adults: Executive Function Impairments (Routledge) describes this new paradigm for understanding ADHD and the scientific research that supports it. For more information visit www.DrThomasEBrown.com.
Middle Collegiate Church launches its album, Welcome, composed and produced by Broadway and television actor Tituss Burgess (Jersey Boys, The Little Mermaid, Guys and Dolls, 30 Rock) on Sunday, June 9 at 6 PM. The album features an internationally renowned cast including Burgess, Alyson Palmer (of BETTY, whose music has been heard on The L-Word, Ugly Betty, and Weeds), and Broadway and television star Jenny Powers (Grease, Little Women, Nurse Jackie, Law and Order: Criminal Intent).
The high-energy music blends old-school gospel, jazz, and theatrical genres. Burgess composed the album to support Middle Collegiate Church and its social justice ministries. He explains, “Middle Church cares about everyone. It's not a surface level concern. It runs deep. She stands on the side of justice. She calls out those who neglect civil rights.”
Welcome’s vocals are performed by Burgess, Palmer, Powers, and a collection of voices who have performed on Broadway or toured nationally and internationally including Kristina Nicole Miller (The Lion King), Tami Petty (American Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Opera Center), Jarvis Derell, Martina Sykes, Amy Lynn Hamlin, Joe Caruncho, and Allison Mickelson. The album was co-produced with Dionne McClain-Freeney and Stefan Held.
Middle Collegiate Church is a celebrating, culturally diverse, inclusive and growing community of faith where all people are welcomed just as they are as they come through the door. As a teaching congregation that celebrates the arts, our ministries include rich and meaningful worship, care and education that nurture the mind, body and spirit, social action which embraces the global community, and participation in an interfaith dialogue for the purpose of justice and reconciliation. The Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Ph.D. is Senior Minister of Middle Collegiate Church. Established in 1628, the Collegiate Church is an ecumenical church affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, the National and World Council of Churches, and the New York City Council of Churches.
Emphasis on STEM education has been pushed forward by the Obama administration, military, technology sector, and education experts, citing that STEM education will lead to economic growth and stability. Yet, there is a growing trend of collaboration between colleges and museums, which claim an arts integrated education will accomplish the same feat. Recently, Baruch College and the Rubin Museum of Art hosted a conference that outlined the great strides in innovation and development that is garnered through partnerships between higher-education institutions and museums around the globe.
The conference provided an umbrella for all of the new initiatives, research, and ground-breaking projects established through the various relationships, all of which underscored the positive effects the arts and culture can have on the students and help prepare them for a career in the 21st Century.
A multitude of studies indicate that increased exposure to arts and culture in college and high school enhances students’ overall learning capacity, creativity, social awareness, critical-thinking and communication skills — all prime qualities employers seek in potential candidates. Initial results from comprehensive study still underway by Deb Mexicott, assistant director of arts at University of Michigan, showed that students with minimal involvement in arts deemed themselves as creative, efficient problem solvers, and confident communicators, compared to students with no involvement in arts in high school. According to research conducted by the National Governors Association in 2002, students who study the arts are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, and four times more likely to participate in a math or science fair. Moreover, results illustrated a strong correlation between arts education to “academic and personal success.”
Exposure to the arts also integrates project-based learning as well as object-based learning — both have positive effects on learners. Dr. Leonie Hannan, a teaching fellow at University of College London, a forerunner of museum and higher education collaboration, explained that 67 percent of students’ found object based learning more engaging and effective than listening to a lecture. Furthermore, nearly 35 percent of students agreed that hands-on learning aids in the understanding and acquisition of knowledge, whereas, 1.6 percent reported no positive gains. The studies provide hard facts that museums and the arts can provide stimulating learning environments for students.
Museums, colleges, and education organizations are first to utilize this information innovatively. With technology, the movement has gone viral: the American Museum of Natural History recently partnered with Coursera; Smarthistory by Khan Academy, an open educational resource, has reported over six million unique visits and continues to grow exponentially; Columbia University incorporated the Rubin Museum’s digital art collection into its core curriculum. “This is a step toward creating global citizens in an interdependent world,” said Stan Altman, director of the Baruch College-Rubin Museum of Art Project.
Educators are taking note and find themselves at the fore of the trailblazing efforts. Dr. Janice Robertson, associate professor at Pratt Institute, described the ubiquity of PowerPoint slideshows in art history classes, and how art students “are bored to death.” She has effectively implemented Voice Thread, a multimedia cloud application, in all of her classes. The multimedia accessibility boosted student-to-student collaboration. “I saw students becoming more passionate about art … sharing ideas, questioning ideas and being more engaged,” said Robertson. “Art became fun.” Many professors unfamiliar with teaching museum material welcome the new practice and expressed positive experiences in and out their classrooms. Professor Laurence Kirby, a 2012-2013-faculty fellow in the Baruch-Rubin Art Project, teaches mathematics and failed to see a stretch between math and art; rather, he said that the two subjects “naturally complement each other.”
The Baruch-Rubin Art Project mission is to do exactly just that: “encourage innovation in educational experiences … to enrich student experiences by creatively integrating arts across curricula.” The art project started in 2010 and has grown to include five CUNY colleges and provides financial support for faculty members interested in arts immersion. In 2012, recorded college attendance at the Rubin Museum peaked to nearly 9,500 visits, with group or class visits accounting for 53 percent. What is more, the project has successfully intertwined Rubin Museum’s collections into ten distinct disciplines ranging from Business to Law and from Anthropology to Political Science. The project is flourishing and has inspired neighboring universities such as SUNY to do the same. “We hope the project can serve as a model for others,” said Altman. #
The conference featured ten interactive workshops, including “21 Apps We Can’t Live Without,” delivered by keynote speaker Dr. Judith M. Dixon, Consumer Relations and Braille Development Officer for the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Other workshops included techniques for working with cable companies to make video programs accessible to the vision loss community; the present and future state of Braille, covering the impact of technology and the role of Braille in education; a boot camp with tips on getting ready for employment; the ins and outs of starting a business; and addressing workplace laws covering accessibility.
In addition, there was a “Breaking Barriers” awards ceremony featuring Kees Kruythoff, CEO of Unilever U.S. Kruythoff spoke about why a diverse workforce matters, and how it helps business. “I have seen and really experienced so much diversity globally – I’ve had the true privilege of meeting people from so many cultures and I’ve witnessed the powerful impact diversity has had on our business over the last two decades.” Kruythoff says he views Unilever’s “philosophy and strategies about managing diversity and inclusion in the workplace…[as] a truly natural extension of our business plan.”
Demonstrations highlighted small Braille displays that sync up with tablet computers and smart phones. #
Pictured above: Kees Kruythoff, CEO of Unilever U.S.
This article appeared in the May/June 2013 issue of Education Update. Read the full issue here.
The Child Mind Institute's 11th Annual Adam Jeffrey Katz Memorial Lecture, featuring Grammy-winning artist Naomi Judd, is a two-part program designed to raise awareness about children's mental health.
Part I: 4:00-5:00PM
The ABCs (and Ds) of Mood Disorders in Kids and How They Differ From Adults
Gabrielle Carlson, MD
Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Stony Brook School of Medicine
Part II: 5:30-6:30PM
A conversation with Grammy-winning artist Naomi Judd about living with anxiety and depression.
From humble beginnings as a single Mom in a small Kentucky town to her meteoric rise as a country music superstar and American icon, Naomi Judd's incredible life-long journey is an inspiring story. Reaching unprecedented success as half of country music's mother/daughter duo The Judds, Naomi has sold 20 million records, scored fifteen #1 hits, and received over sixty industry awards, including six Grammy's. View full bio here.
For a day Union Square was transformed into a street lab organized by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest non-governmental school system in Israel. Top high-school students from Israel demonstrated their experiments and high-tech inventions in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM.) Among those who attended the event were Ido Aharoni, Consul General of Israel in New York, who commended the students on their outstanding work. “The creativity and ingenuity exemplified by these students is an inspiration to us all. The Israeli Sci-Tech program has been adapted to many schools in the United States,” stated Aharoni.
“We decided to start with this program because of the crisis in science,” said Joel Rothschild, director of Moshinsky & R&D Center Administration, underlining that “no kids want to study science and therefore we want to find a way to promote engineering, giving them a big motivation. The kids want to be creative. We need to find a new education program that motivates students, because in engineering and science almost nothing is impossible”.
For each of the students this experience represents an important step in their future career. “My dream is to became a doctor, but studying science and being part of this event is amazing,” said Sapir Cohen, age 17. She developed a special application for Smartphone that is able to scan food for allergens like milk. “I am allergic to milk so I wanted to develop something in order to help other people like me,” she said.
All the inventions were very surprising, such as a computer program able to summarize pages of text not only online but also handwritten. “We are students and we will need this kind of application,” said Noam Gafter, age 17, who created this project with Arie Pavlov, age 18, and Mark Vaykhansky, age 17. Some of the invention needed more than one year to be realized, like the device to prevent teen drunk driving that allows parents to block the engine. According to Yehuda Negosi, age 17, “is a great invention especially for parents because they can see the test's result from the breathalyzer and they can decide if the son or daughter can start the engine."
Another curious invention was a recycling basket. Hen Assur, age 18, explained that “in order to inspire kids and educate them we decided to create a sort of game for recycling”. In fact, like a basketball game, children have to throw the bottle inside the basket where there are many sensors that give points like in a game.
All these young students are an important example of what young people are capable of in technology and science, creating new devices that can be significant in our everyday life.
Studies linking childhood participation in the arts to lifetime skill in academic and career pursuits have become ubiquitous, so much so that they have come to trivialize an important conversation for parents. These studies cite the arts as having a pivotal role in the development of 21st century skills, critical thinking, the experience of working sequentially toward a goal, and improvement in a child’s academic achievement. Arts educators have long recognized these outcomes, but they see more. Children who immerse themselves in the arts experience something greater than improved grades. They experience joy.
Children acquire knowledge over time, gradually building skills and assembling content that allows each to see the possibility of success and the skill needed to approach it. Artistic study forces us to set goals, to work toward them, and to experience joy in the journey, whatever its outcome. In other words, the arts slow things down. School is where the journey is supposed to begin, but teacher-inspired journeys of achievement are often thwarted by a system that eschews journeys with risk. Instead, our system favors short paths toward immediate gratification, flawed paths that we now define as success. Perhaps this is because our parent-guided school leadership would rather guarantee a child’s success than to allow him/her to risk a journey that may include failure.
Teachers know that failure is one of life’s great learning experiences. In today’s schools, however, they are forced to declare every student a winner – regardless of the child’s true level of achievement. We have failed these children by allowing parents to tell their teachers how to teach, what to teach, and to demand that every child receive continuous praise and inflated grades. We have proclaimed the finish line to be our goal, certifying every child a victor before the starter’s pistol has been fired. But the journey has no relevance when schools choose to guarantee results rather than opportunity. Perhaps we adults have forgotten how we learned - one skill at a time, one achievement at a time, even one failure at a time.
The arts provide an ideal platform to restore rigor to our schools, for study in the arts demands skill, judgment, and patience. When a child leans to paint, skills are needed to fill the canvas with quality and expression. There is the study of color, of form, and of technique, and there are intangible elements that require critical thinking. These include the development of a painting’s concept, and the artistic language required to convey it.
Similarly, a child can’t play the clarinet in 10 minutes, days, or weeks. S/he must build skills that lead to a performance, and this takes time. That winter concert we enjoyed wasn’t put together in a week or a month. It was the result of a continuum of skills inspired by music teachers brave enough to swim upstream against declarations of success without expectations of achievement. Concerts are crafted by children who have mastered their art through hard work, skill building, and patience. They have concluded their journey, whether at the finish line or still approaching it, thanks to arts teachers who inspire success and are willing to teach their students to wait for it.
As Director of Long Island’s Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, I have the privilege of working with 1,500 arts majors every day. Guided by a faculty of leading professionals, our students struggle with creative ideas, master artistic techniques, and build works of art one skill at a time. At Usdan, the happy result is seen on the faces of children boarding their buses following a fulfilling summer’s day of “work.” Theirs are smiles of achievement, the result of numerous moments of trial and triumph. We don’t guarantee that children will cross the finish line. We guarantee that they will learn, grow, and have fun approaching it. The joy, after all, is in the journey.
Dale Lewis is the Executive Director of Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts in Wheatley Heights, Long Island, NY. www.usdan.com
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