Dropout Nation

John M. Eger – Huffington Post

Lionel Van Deerlin Professor of Communications and Public Policy, San Diego State

Posted: February 1, 2011 12:39 PM

Yes, America is a Dropout Nation.

In his State of the Union address President Obama promised to tackle the dropout rate of American high school students, calling it an “economic imperative if the United States intends to remain competitive in the global society.”

“We know that the success of every American will be tied more closely than ever before to the level of education that they achieve,” Mr. Obama said. “The jobs will go to the people with the knowledge and the skills to do them. It’s that simple.”

America’s dropout rate has been growing steadily for the last 10 to 20 years and is now at record proportions. The seminal report called The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts funded by the Gates Foundation in March, 2006, said in “each year, almost one third of all public high school students — and nearly one half of all blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans — fail to graduate from public high school with their class. Many of these students abandon school with less than two years to complete their high school education.”

A Vision of K-12 Students Today

This project was created to inspire teachers to use technology in engaging ways to help students develop higher level thinking skills. Equally important, it serves to motivate district level leaders to provide teachers with the tools and training to do so. ...

Art Mirrors Science Mirrors Art

John M. Eger – Huffington Post

Lionel Van Deerlin Professor of Communications and Public Policy, San Diego State

Posted: January 30, 2011 07:04 PM

Late last summer, Claire Trageser of the Voice of San Diego talked about Dale Chihuly’s open-air exhibit at the Salk Institute entitled “Salk Meets Picasso”. Trageser wrote that Salk believed in the importance of using art to stimulate creativity. According to Dr. William Brody, Salk’s current president, Salk “understood the appreciation of art and saw its connection to science.”

No surprise, then, that most of the scientists at Salk are equally accomplished in the fine arts, either drawing, painting, playing a musical instrument or in some way hosting concerts in its auditorium for themselves, their staff and local residents. Nor is it any surprise that the “best and brightest” are equally accomplished in the fine arts as well as the hard sciences.

Leonard Shlain, author of Art and Physics: Parallel Dimensions in Time and Space, once observed that great art reflects what is happening in our physical world and often predicts our scientific future. For example, he relates the story, that while Picasso probably didn’t know Einstein, his Cubism was developed about the same time that Einstein first published his theory of relativity. In fact, Shlain says, that if you asked each of them to explain their artistic or scientific discovery, they would use much the same analogies to explain what they had discovered.

Robert Root Bernstein, a MacArthur Prize Fellow studying at the University of California San Diego twenty year ago, took it upon himself to look at the biographies of the top 100 scientists who lived over the last 200 years. What he found was startling: every great scientist was not only accomplished in his field but in the fine arts as well.

El Sistema: How Music Saved Venezuela’s Children

The San Diego Youth Symphony & Conservatory recently hosted a series of events focused on the transformative nature of El Sistema. The remarkable accomplishment of a great humanist, José Antonio Abreu, who dedicated his life to set up the 'Sistema' in 1975, an extraordinary music...