The Marvel of Pre-School in Estonia

In 2014, Erin and her family moved from the U.S. to Estonia, a member country of the European Union and NATO between Finland, Latvia and Russia, where English, Estonian and Russian are all widely spoken. Their decision was based on the cost and quality of living, health care system, levels of technology and other benefits not available in the U.S., like free public transportation. Erin is now in the master’s program at Tallinn University on a full scholarship and working part-time at a non-profit organization supporting civil society in Russia; her husband is self-employed and works online. The family’s residence permits are currently based on her educational status, but could be supported by her husband’s status as a business owner as well. Subject to approval and a language test, one can apply for permanent residency after five years of temporary residency in Estonia, which allows living and working in any E.U. country. Estonia does not allow dual citizenship, so they plan to stay U.S. citizens.

Discussing the “Crisis in the Humanities”

As someone who studied the humanities and not a STEM field (to the horror of my tiger parents), but has built a life and a living off of having higher education degrees in the humanities, I am always interested in reading pieces about “the crisis” in this particular field (as an aside, the crisis in STEM has been mostly revolved around how it lacks women).

This piece comes from our neighbors up north at the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE). Stephen Slemon, the president of ACCUTE, recently gave this speech in his opening remarks while on a panel at Ryerson University.

We meet tonight in the darkening shadow of a humanities crisis industry, and here are just a few of the recent headlines. “Humanities Fall From Favour.” “Prestige of Humanities at All-Time Low.” “Oh, the humanities. Big trouble, but there’s still some hope.”

How 2 Pick 1 School

The Blair family are an upper middle class (or maybe just upper? not sure - they're doing ok) white family with six kids. The dad, Ben, runs a company that makes homeschooling software or something, the mom, Gabrielle, is this super design blog world entrepreneur (she also writes a blog about their life). The family spent the past few years living in France and they just moved to Oakland and decided to send their two oldest kids to the local public high school. You know, the one they were assigned to. The one that is 30% black, 30% Hispanic, 30% Asian, and 10% white. The one that the other families in their neighborhood vowed never to send their kids to. The school is scored a 2 out of 10 on GreatSchools, a site that scores schools based on a variety of criteria but probably mostly test scores, and neighbors warned them away from it, but the school year is a few weeks in and the family is happy with the choice.

Jobs for Coders! (If Only More People Knew How to Code)

"Our policy at Facebook is literally to hire as many talented engineers as we can find. There just aren't enough people who are trained and have these skills today." — Mark Zuckerberg

‘Submissive Students Do Not Make Good Computer Scientists’

By making these students submit to their teachers’ absolute authority, we are training them to be service workers, not CEOs.

The Odds of Having Your Letter of Recommendation Read

Julie Schumacher, a professor of creative writing at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities wrote in the Chronicle of Higher of Education that she received more than 1,500 letters of recommendation to read and went through just half of them.

Paying the Tuition, Only if You Get a Job

Can't find a job after you've graduated from a program that's designed to get you a job in the thing you are learning? You don't have to pay the tuition. It's kind of genius isn't it?

The Classes That We Were Forced to Take

In The Washington Post, a father argues that mandating that high school students take specific courses in order to graduate doesn't make a lot of sense if all they take away from the course is that they despise it, and don't retain any of the information they've learned/were asked to memorize.

Choosing a College Major Based on Salary Prospects

Over at The Wall Street Journal, a discussion of "the importance of selecting a major to make a living—and having a life."

Why Teachers Quit (or Stay)

The Atlantic has an excellent piece looking at why teachers quit (family reasons, salary limitations, how emotionally taxing the job is, how little support they receive from the administration) and why they stay (because of the kids, but also in circumstances where there is strong support from administrators). Richard Ingersoll, who taught high school social studies and algebra in private and public high schools and then left to get a Ph.D. and become a professor at Penn says sums it up thusly: "Respected, well-paid lines of work do not have shortages."

Things to Do With $500 Billion

• Bring the nation's schools up a Bill Clinton-approved decent minimum standard.