Worth Reading - 2/3

1. Can students have too much tech? There appears to be a negative correlation between the availability of technology to lower income students and their success rates:

More technology in the classroom has long been a policy-making panacea. But mounting evidence shows that showering students, especially those from struggling families, with networked devices will not shrink the class divide in education. If anything, it will widen it.

In the early 2000s, the Duke University economists Jacob Vigdor and Helen Ladd tracked the academic progress of nearly one million disadvantaged middle-school students against the dates they were given networked computers. The researchers assessed the students’ math and reading skills annually for five years, and recorded how they spent their time. The news was not good.

2. Teaching in college has become wild and woolly as only challenging previously held positions seems to be acceptable:

When I was in Wichita the other weekend, I gave my talk about how Dante saved my life, and then took questions from the audience. A young woman who looked like an older undergraduate, or perhaps a young graduate student, asked me why I trusted anything Dante said, since he used his poem to get revenge, of a sort, on the people who had wronged him in life. She called Dante a “sociopath.”

I didn’t understand her question. It seemed so … ridiculous that I didn’t know how to answer it. I had just spent an hour talking about the spiritual grandeur and moral depth of the Commedia, and how it transformed my life, and she wanted to know how I could take any of that seriously because Dante was cross with the people who exiled him. Where do you even begin with that?

3. The issue of pollution is still with the developing world, and there is little being done about it:

This year, industrialized countries will spend $10.4 billion helping poor countries cut carbon emissions and brace for the impact of climate change. Meanwhile, the world shells out tens of billions a year combating infectious diseases like HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis,spending which continues to rise.

What hardly anyone’s spending on is pollution—even though it’s the most lethal force on the planet, killing nearly 8.9 million people in 2012, the last year for which there was data.
I didn’t hear the phrase “human trafficking” until well into my 20s. (I’m now in my mid-30s.) Initially, I brushed it off because I could not bear to carry in my mind the reality of such atrocities. But awareness is the most important step to engagement, and it’s this first step where many of us get stuck.

The words of Dr. Diane Langberg, member of Biblical Theological Seminary’s Global Trauma Recovery Institute, are instructive here: “The things we cannot bear to hear about are the atrocities that he/she has had to live through.”

When this sinks in, we have no choice but to repent of our passivity and beg God for the strength to engage in what is close to his heart. Often the next question becomes, where do I begin?

5. Term of respect or sexist hegemony? CUNY bans the use of titles because they infer gender:

“Mr.,” “Mrs.” and “Ms.” are being shown the door at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

In a new policy that has sparked debate among academics, school staffers have been advised to refrain from using gendered salutations in correspondence with students—and instead use a student’s full name, according to an internal memo sent out earlier this month.

The directive pertains specifically to administrators’ written interactions with students and prospective students, said Tanya Domi, a school spokeswoman. But the memo says the policy should be “interpreted as broadly as possible” and was sent to all faculty at the Graduate Center.