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Our best education articles of 2022, 
readers and editors pick the most interesting and insightful articles from the past year about teaching, learning, and the keys to well-being at school.

Our most popular education articles of 2022 explore how to help students feel connected to each other and cultivate character strengths like curiosity and humility, amid the many stressors and pressures that young people are facing today. They also offer support for educators’ and school leaders’ well-being, and reflect on hopes for transformative change in education. 

If you are looking for specific activities to support your students’ and colleagues’ social and emotional well-being in 2023, visit our  Greater Good in Education  website, featuring free research-based practices, lessons, and strategies for cultivating kinder, happier, and more equitable classrooms and schools. For a deeper dive into the science behind social-emotional learning, mindfulness, and ethical development, consider our suite of self-paced  online courses  for educational professionals, including our capstone course,  Teaching and Learning for the Greater Good . Or join one of our new communities of practice that focus on educator well-being, offering space for rest, reflection, togetherness, and hope—and some science, too!

Here are the 12 best education articles of 2022, based on a composite ranking of pageviews and editors’ picks.

interesting articles about education

Six Ways to Find Your Courage During Challenging Times , by Amy L. Eva: Courage doesn’t have to look dramatic or fearless. Sometimes it looks more like quiet perseverance.

Calm, Clear, and Kind: What Students Want From Their Teachers , by Jenna Whitehead: Researchers asked students what makes a caring teacher—and these same qualities may help support your well-being as an educator.

How to Help Teens Put Less Pressure on Themselves , by Karen Bluth: Self-compassion can help teens who are struggling with toxic perfectionism. Five Ways to Support the Well-Being of School Leaders , by Julia Mahfouz, Kathleen King, and Danny Yahya: Burnout rates are high among principals. How can we fight burnout and promote self-care?

How to Help Your Students Develop Positive Habits , by Arthur Schwartz: Small habits repeated regularly can help students cultivate character strengths like patience, gratitude, and kindness.

Can We Make Real, Transformative Change in Education? , by Renee Owen: A new program is preparing leaders to facilitate systemic change in education in order to better serve all students.

Five Ways to Help Students Feel Connected at School Again , by Jennifer de Forest and Karen VanAusdal: According to students themselves, they are yearning for opportunities to connect with friends and peers as they head back to school.

How to Prepare for the Stresses of College , by Erin T. Barker and Andrea L. Howard: Researchers explain the most common causes of stress and distress at college, and what students can do to thrive during a big life transition.

How Humility Can Make Your Students the Best People Ever , by Vicki Zakrzewski: Simple ways for educators to help students move from “me” to “we.”

Four Ways to Inspire Humble Curiosity in Your Students , by Amy L. Eva: Humility and curiosity can encourage students to be passionate about learning and open to others’ perspectives.

What Middle Schoolers Can Teach Us About Respect , by Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman and Lia E. Sandilos: Teens are developing a nuanced understanding of what respect means. Here are some ideas for cultivating more of it in the classroom.

Why Teachers Need Each Other Right Now , by Amy L. Eva: Here are four simple ways to find social support as an educational professional.

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Best Education Articles of 2021: Our 21 Most Shared Stories This Year About Students, Learning Recovery, Mental Health, School Politics & More

interesting articles about education

It feels as if schools have now entered a third phase of the pandemic filled with child vaccines, adult boosters, rolling quarantines and learning recovery efforts — and of course mounting questions about the infectious new Omicron variant. If the 2019 school year was defined by emergency measures and campus closures, and the 2020 school year was about triaging the best possible classroom plans for unvaccinated school populations, the 2021 school year has thus far been one steeped in hope and urgency: Hope that vaccines will bring an end to the global health emergency and allow classrooms to safely return to normal, and urgency surrounding the students who have been pushed off track over the past 20 months — from core skills to key milestones to college and career goals.

Our most widely circulated education coverage this year focused largely on how school is still looking a whole lot different today than it did two years ago, how educators and policymakers are both recognizing the need for urgent learning recovery efforts, and how emerging political fights over schools and curriculum are straining an already stretched system.

These were our 21 most shared and debated articles of 2021:

interesting articles about education

Exclusive Data: An Inside Look at the Spy Tech That Followed Kids Home for Remote Learning — and Now Won’t Leave

Investigation: When the pandemic forced Minneapolis students into remote learning, district officials partnered with Gaggle, a digital surveillance company that uses artificial intelligence and a team of content moderators to track the online behaviors of millions of kids across the U.S. every day. Now, public records obtained by The 74 offer an unprecedented look at how the Minneapolis school district deployed a controversial security tool that saw rapid national growth during the pandemic but carries significant civil rights and privacy concerns. The data highlight how Gaggle puts children under relentless digital surveillance long after classes end for the day. In Minneapolis, officials say the tool helps identify youth at risk of suicide. But some worry that rummaging through students’ personal files and conversations on their school-issued Google and Microsoft accounts could backfire. Read Mark Keierleber’s full report . 

— Read Our Previous Coverage: ‘Don’t get Gaggled’ — Minneapolis school district spends big on student surveillance tool, raising ire after terminating its police contract ( Read more ) 

With Up to 9 Grade Levels Per Class, Can Schools Handle the Fallout From COVID’s K-Shaped Recession?

Learning Loss: Wealthy newcomers from expensive cities like New York and San Francisco propelled housing prices in Austin, Texas, into the stratosphere in 2020, pushing out families of modest means and sending demographic shockwaves through the area’s schools. It’s just one manifestation of the pandemic’s K-shaped recession, a downturn barely felt by the affluent people at the top of the K but devastating to the people at the bottom. As schools prepared to reopen this past fall, research was showing that COVID had put the most disadvantaged students even further behind while propelling privileged children ahead and hollowing out the middle. Meaning the span of academic mastery in individual classrooms — seven grade levels in “normal” times — had widened even further, to as many as nine grade levels. In this chapter of The 74’s series examining the link between the pandemic’s economic turmoil and challenges in classrooms, Beth Hawkins takes you inside an Austin school that’s poised to meet the needs of its “bookend students” — the kids furthest ahead and behind — and may be a model for addressing the COVID classroom crisis. Read our full dispatch from Texas — and see other chapters from our K-shaped report: 

— Early Education: D.C.’s missing students and the rush to avert a COVID classroom crisis ( Read more )

— School Funding: Will fallout from COVID’s K-shaped recession finally fix Delaware’s Jim Crow-era school funding rules? ( Read more )

— Prepared For the Crisis: Recession, recovery & robotics — Can CTE and Reno’s reinvented schools avert the COVID classroom crisis? ( Read more )

— Rebuilding Towards Equity: Trailblazing leader was hired to fix Colorado Springs schools. Will doubling down on his reforms avert crisis? ( Read more )

— 74 Explains: WATCH — How COVID’s K-shaped recession could widen achievement gaps: 

— Inside Our Special Report: The fallout from the pandemic’s K-Shaped recession may be felt by students for years ( See our full series )

interesting articles about education

Chaos Theory: Amid Pandemic Recovery Efforts, School Leaders Fear Critical Race Furor Will ‘Paralyze’ Teachers

Critical Race Theory: Calls for teachers to wear body cameras, mountains of records requests and threats against school administrators are among the flashpoints in an emerging new front in the nation’s culture wars, as parents and other opponents of critical race theory push back against its perceived influence in the classroom . As of June, when this feature was originally published, nine states had banned implementation of the once-obscure theory, which in the minds of many encompasses a host of racial and equity-related initiatives, from culturally responsive teaching to social-emotional learning. For many teachers, the backlash felt like a new kind of McCarthyism, where they fear being harassed, fined or fired for a wide array of classroom activities associated with the examination of structural racism in America. “It’s a huge distraction at a time when we can’t afford a distraction,” Dan Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, told reporter Linda Jacobson ahead of the start of the 2021 school year. “This has been a year the majority of students were not exposed to the kind of learning they should have been exposed to. Now you’re going to paralyze teachers because they are afraid to teach.” Read our special report . 

— From July: On the Front Lines — From security guards to twitter breaks, how school leaders are responding to an unsettling season of public outrage ( Read more )

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How White Extremists Teach Kids to Hate

School Safety: Five days after extremists used the fringe video gaming platform Dlive to livestream a mob attack on the U.S. Capitol in January, a youthful white nationalist logged on to the site and offered his take about the future of a movement he helped create — a radical agenda, experts warn, that’s targeted at teens . As the Capitol riot reawakens many Americans to the persistent reality of white supremacists among us, experts on extremism are sounding the alarm about the ways alt-right groups weaponize video games and streaming platforms to recruit and radicalize impressionable young minds. For teenagers whose isolation has been heightened by the pandemic, the desire for connection makes them particularly vulnerable, particularly in the current political climate. But experts say parents and educators can intervene before it’s too late. Read more Mark Keierleber’s report . 

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Fearing a ‘Second Pandemic’ of Student Trauma, School Leaders Are Doubling Down on Mental Health First Aid Training

Mental Health: Between April and October of 2020, emergency room visits rose 24 percent for kids ages 5 to 11 and 31 percent for ages 12 to 17 over the year before, a trend experts attribute to pandemic stressors adding to the already mounting crisis of anxiety-related disorders in young people. As students then returned to in-person learning last winter, these symptoms began showing up in classrooms — and teachers became the first line of defense . Fearing what this might mean for the start of the 2021 school year, educators began signing up for Mental Health First Aid certification over the summer. The course, administered by nonprofits including Communities in Schools, reminds adults nationwide that they aren’t “superheroes” — but they can guide young people toward getting help with a mental health challenge while decreasing the stigma and judgment around the struggles many are facing in the pandemic’s wake. In the first installment of a special three-part series produced in partnership with Texas Tribune, Bekah McNeel looked at how this training helped educators at one Texas school — as well as other teachers around the country — deal with their students’ often hidden mental health issues. Read our special report .

— Also in This Series: How a mental health ‘desert’ in Texas became a beacon of counseling services for thousands of children and families ( Read more ) 

— Through Students’ Eyes: Second graders ‘show’ their pandemic challenges through art — and ‘tell’ how their teacher helped them stay strong ( Read more ) 

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Social-Emotional Learning or ‘White Supremacy with a Hug’? Yale Official’s Departure Sparks a Racial Reckoning

SEL: For seven years, Dena Simmons drove efforts to make the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s popular social-emotional learning program, RULER, more culturally relevant for students with life experiences like hers — a Black girl from the Bronx. Her message resonated with educators across the country in districts struggling with the racial mismatch between teachers and students. “Dena’s star was certainly on the rise … because she brought a perspective in content that was transformational,” Andre Perry of the Brookings Institution told reporter Linda Jacobson. But Marc Brackett, the Yale center’s director and a well-known guru on the role of emotions in learning, saw things differently. Emails shared with The 74 and interviews with Simmons and other former staff members at the center show Brackett balked at efforts to include political figures, such as former President Barack Obama, and current texts, such as a book about a transgender boy, into RULER’s lessons. Such approaches, Brackett warned, could get the program “banned.” Simmons’s frustrations peaked in 2020, when she became the target of racial slurs during an online event meant to foster racial healing, and she resigned in January. The clash at the Yale center — and the response to her departure — tell a larger story about what some see as a pressing need to address historical discrimination and others criticize as efforts to politicize the SEL curriculum. As one leader in the world of social-emotional learning said, “There is a measure of urgency that was not present two years ago.” Read our full investigation .

interesting articles about education

Texas Teachers Go Door to Door as Kids Disappear From Remote Classes

Remote Learning: Middle school teacher Brandee Brandt pounded on the door of a San Antonio apartment for the third time. “It’s Ms. Brandt! Davey, are you there?” she called. Finally, Davey’s older brother cracked open the door. “You really aren’t going away are you?” he said, trying to sound annoyed as a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “You know we’re not giving up!” Brandt replied. During the first half of the 2020-21 school year, teachers from Rawlinson Middle School visited around 100 homes , seeking out kids in urgent need of support and engagement. With half the school’s 1,350 students learning remotely during that timeframe, and thus at a higher risk of chronic absence, the teachers come knocking at the first sign of trouble. “I felt a sense of urgency,” Principal Sherry Mireles said, “If they’re not getting their schooling, it’s our responsibility. “I’m not going to allow a 12-, 13-, 14-year-old to drop out. Not on my watch.” Bekah McNeel rode along this spring and has the story .

— The COVID Warriors: See our special series on the educators going above and beyond to save the pandemic generation at . 

How Are States Spending Their COVID Education Relief Funds?

School Funding: Asked by the U.S. Education Department to identify the top issues facing students and schools in the wake of the pandemic, state education officials are remarkably consistent: Their plans for spending their share of federal COVID relief aid for education demonstrate a strong need to expand learning opportunities and address students’ social and emotional needs. But an analysis by FutureEd, a think tank at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, finds that states that have submitted to the department are pursuing those goals in a variety of ways. Contributors Brooke LePage and Phyllis W. Jordan of FutureEd break down how, from tutoring and mental health supports to universal pre-K, museum trips — even a student film festival — states are looking to spend their COVID ed relief funds. Read the essay, and click through our interactive maps .

interesting articles about education

A Better Equation: New Pandemic Data Supports Acceleration Rather than Remediation to Make Up for COVID Learning Loss

Learning Acceleration: In a report released last May, researchers offered some advice for education leaders . As they decide how to spend their federal stimulus dollars and address learning losses in the school year to come, they should consider the lackluster impact of remediation — the typical gap-closing practice of making up missed material before moving on — and new evidence suggesting there’s a better way. TNTP and Zearn analyzed the experiences of 2 million students during the current academic year and found that, on Zearn’s math app, classrooms featuring acceleration — a strategy in which students are challenged by grade-level lessons and instructed in specific missing skills as needed — saw dramatic growth. Students receiving this kind of support completed over 25 percent more grade-level work than they would have using remediation. By contrast, students in remediation continued to struggle. Beth Hawkins talks to the team about their findings .

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Long-Term NAEP Scores for 13-Year-Olds Drop for First Time Since Testing Began in 1970s — ‘A Matter for National Concern,’ Experts Say

Student Achievement: Over the past few years, education observers have grown accustomed to downbeat news from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, with multiple rounds of the test pointing to largely stagnant scores across various subjects. The release this year of results from NAEP’s 2020 long-term trends assessment offers revelations that are startling as well as discouraging: For the first time in the half-century history of that test, reading and math scores for 13-year-olds significantly declined . Black and Hispanic students in that age group both lost ground in math since the test was last given, in 2012, and the lower performance of 9-year-old girls opened up a gender gap with boys that did not exist nine years ago. Worst of all were the plunging scores of low-performing students — especially those scoring at the 10th percentile, who declined an astonishing 12 points in eighth-grade math. “It’s really a matter for national concern, this high percentage of students who are not reaching even what I think we’d consider the lowest levels of proficiency,” said George Bohrnstedt, a senior vice president at the American Institutes for Research. Read Kevin Mahnken’s full report .

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From Tragedy to Triumph to Failure: How 9/11 Helped Pass No Child Left Behind — And Fueled its Eventual Demise

History: Two decades have passed since the morning that changed America forever — a morning that found President George W. Bush in a Florida elementary school, reading with students and attempting to jump-start the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act . Within months of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a collective sense of grief and purpose led the federal government to declare war on terrorism, even as it pledged to provide an excellent education for every child. But while it is generally acknowledged that Congress passed the landmark legislation partially as a demonstration of national unity, some believe the Bush administration’s emphasis on the global war on terror set back the mission of education reform, as attention waned and bipartisanship dissolved. “That whole sweet thing that was put together in the ’80s and came together in various states and then saw this incredible peak in Washington in 2001 — all of that largely fell apart because of 9/11, and the failure of everyone on all sides to hold it together in the wake of 9/11,” former Bush adviser Sandy Kress told The 74’s Kevin Mahnken. Read our full feature . 

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Can Right Answers Be Wrong? Latest Clash Over ‘White Supremacy Culture’ Unfolds in Unlikely Arena: Math Class

Math Skills: A document outlining how to be an “antiracist math educator” has sparked criticism for promoting the idea that focusing on getting students to produce the right answer is one way that “white supremacy culture” shows up in math class. Educators drawing inspiration from the document, part of a larger math equity project at The Education Trust-West — funded with $1 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — say the emphasis on accurate calculations shuts down students’ thinking process and turns math into a competition. They say the middle grades especially are a period when many Black and Hispanic students turn off math, resulting in persistent racial disparities in advanced high school classes. Making math more culturally relevant by linking concepts to socioeconomic issues, they say, can help students see the reasons for math in their lives. But some Black scholars think the document only reinforces teachers’ bias against students of color. “The workbook’s ultimate message is clear: Black kids are bad at math, so why don’t we just excuse them from really learning it,” Erec Smith of York College of Pennsylvania told reporter Linda Jacobson. And even math educators devoted to increasing equity said the document can widen divides at a time of political polarization. Read our full report .

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One Fate, Two Fates. Red States, Blue States: New Data Reveal a 432-Hour In-Person Learning Gap Produced by the Politics of Pandemic Schooling

School Closures: Through the pandemic, schools in Republican states offered in-person learning at nearly twice the rate of those in Democratic states , according to new data, amounting to an estimated 66 additional days of face-to-face instruction for those students. The numbers, provided to The 74 by the school calendar tracking website Burbio, deliver a cumulative view of schooling decisions throughout COVID-19 and reinforce evidence of a partisan divide long highlighted by researchers. Averaged from September through May, states that voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election gave students the chance to learn in the classroom 74.5 percent of the time, compared to 37.6 percent of the time in states that voted for Joe Biden. The full impact of that disparity remains largely unmeasured, says Chad Aldeman, policy director at Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab. But he suspects the effects on students could be vast. “Time is a rough proxy for learning,” he told The 74’s Asher Lehrer-Small. “So lost instructional time is likely to lead to lost learning.” Read our full report . 

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‘Equal Treatment, not Special Treatment’: Conservative Supreme Court Justices Appear Ready to Strike Down Religious Barriers to Public School Choice Funding

SCOTUS: Maine allows private religious schools to participate in its tuition benefit program for families that don’t have a public high school in their community — except for schools that seek to instill religious beliefs in their students. That caveat is at the heart of Carson v. Makin , a school choice case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in December . Plaintiffs’ attorney Michael Bindas, with the libertarian Institute for Justice, argued that the state is discriminating against religion. He is representing two families that were told they could not receive a tuition benefit because they wanted their children to attend religious schools. Based on the justices’ questioning, experts said, states would likely no longer be able to defend such rules after the court rules next year. “Very few of the justices paid any attention to the longstanding principle at the heart of American constitutional tradition — that taxpayers should not be forced to fund religious education,” said Alex Luchenitser of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Read Linda Jacobson’s full report on the arguments.

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Districts Are Receiving Billions for Academic Recovery, But Some Parents Struggle to Find Tutoring for Their Children

Personalized Learning: Research showing that so-called high-dosage tutoring could give struggling students the academic boost they need to recover from the pandemic created a buzz earlier this year. Parent advocacy groups and policymakers expected to see districts use relief funds on such programs. But nearly halfway through the school year, some districts aren’t using their American Rescue Plan aid to offer tutoring, according to reviews from Burbio and the Center on Reinventing Public Education. Others limit services to specific students or have struggled to find enough tutors. That leaves parents such as Aida Mieja of Los Angeles to pick up extra shifts cleaning offices in order to pay $470 for a private tutor for her ninth grade daughter. In districts such as Nashville, leaders signed up about half the number of tutors they had hoped to recruit this fall. “It’s this giant puzzle,” Keri Randolph, the district’s chief strategy officer, told reporter Linda Jacobson. Tutoring, she said, is “hot and sexy right now, but people have no idea how hard it is.”

— Research: Study shows Chicago tutoring program delivered huge math gains — and personalization may be the key ( Read more )

Genocide ‘In My Own Backyard’: North Carolina Educators Ignored State’s Eugenics History Long Before Critical Race Theory Pushback

Curriculum: Even as a young girl, the shadow of a dark history hung over Orlice Hodges. At 7 years old, her grandmother offered an explanation — chilling, in retrospect — of what happened to young women taken away by social workers: They went to Black Mountain to get “fixed.” As she got older, the North Carolina woman would learn the awful meaning. “’Fixed’ meant sterilization,” said Hodges, who was told by family members that her own aunt had been a victim. From 1929 to 1974, North Carolina’s eugenics program sterilized over 7,600 people — in its latter years, disproportionately targeting Black women. To this day, reports Asher Lehrer-Small, none of the state’s 10 largest school districts include the episode in social studies curricula , despite a two-decades-old recommendation from a governor-appointed committee calling on the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to do just that. An exhibit that included first-person accounts and victims’ medical records commissioned “to ensure that no one will forget what the State of North Carolina once perpetrated upon its own citizens” toured colleges and universities for a few years in the early 2000s before being packed away in a state office basement. That North Carolina’s K-12 schools have almost without exception ignored this tragic history offers a compelling example of how knowledge of racially motivated, government-inflicted harm was suppressed long before the recent debate over critical race theory. Read the full report . 

Shipwreck Camp Delivers A Treasure Trove of Science With the Search for Sunken Boats in Lake Erie

STEM: About 6,000 ships have sunk in the Great Lakes in the last 150 years, costing thousands of lives and leaving cargo under water. Those wrecks are now providing a big hook for a summer camp to teach science to teenagers drawn in by the chance of seeing one up close . Case Western Reserve University’s Shipwreck Camp taught students about waves, the lakes, shipping history and how to search for artifacts this summer before taking students to the lake to search for the Adventure and W.R. Hanna, two ships that sank just offshore around 1900. “Shipwreck camp is a thinly veiled exposure to Great Lakes science and technology,” says James Bader, head of the center that runs the camp. “We don’t hide it very well.” Patrick O’Donnell visits the camp — and brought back these photos and videos from the middle of Lake Erie .

— Summer STEM: Saturday science lessons in the park, as Cleveland school district sneaks learning into hands-on experiments at festival ( Read more ) 

interesting articles about education

Will the Tea Party of 2022 Emerge from the Debate over Schools? Virginia Election Offers GOP Template for Midterms

EDlection: It took weeks for number-crunchers in both parties to pull apart meaningful conclusions from November’s gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. But the races — especially in Virginia, where a well-liked Democrat was denied a second term in a state that Joe Biden won by 10 points last year — have made a few things clear. One is that education, an issue that voters have overwhelmingly trusted Democrats to manage in years past, could be a major vulnerability for the party as the 2022 midterms approach . The other is that, with the midterms now less than a year away, both parties have significant incentives to seize the initiative on K-12 schools. The GOP, which appears to have harnessed public outrage over COVID-related closures and school equity initiatives, has already announced plans to make a national education pitch with a proposed “parents’ bill of rights,” and polling indicates that their base hasn’t been this animated about the state of schools in recent memory. “In many ways, the critical race theory debate of 2021 is just the latest version of the death panel conversation from Obamacare, or the Willie Horton story of 1988,” political scientist Stephen Farnsworth told The 74’s Kevin Mahnken. “The question is whether this can be weaponized to benefit Republicans.” Read our full report .

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With Nearly Half of Parents Expected to Forgo Child COVID Shots, Schools Brace for New Wave of Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccines: Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has green-lit a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, schools are bracing for a new source of tension: In poll after poll, nearly half of parents say they do not want their kids to get it . As 74 contributor Greg Toppo writes, that could mean new skirmishes in schools already divided over social distancing and mask wearing. Even requiring the vaccine might not settle the dispute: An October poll found that 46 percent of parents simply wouldn’t send their child to school if COVID shots were required. The sources of vaccine hesitancy range from risk assessment — many parents aren’t especially worried their children will get seriously sick from coronavirus — to fears of some Black parents based on the nation’s history of mistreating research subjects in their communities. But many education experts say that without vaccination, children are likely to spend more time in quarantine, which could exacerbate learning loss. Read the full story . 

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New Federal Data Confirms Pandemic’s Blow to K-12 Enrollment, With Drop of 1.5 Million Students; Pre-K Experiences 22 Percent Decline

Disenrollment: Preliminary data released in June by the National Center for Education Statistics show that public school enrollment dropped 3 percent in 2020-21 from the year before . The sizable decline — about 1.5 million students, compared with 2019-20’s total population of 51.1 million — was felt across the country, with the biggest decreases in Puerto Rico (minus 5.51 percent), Mississippi and Vermont (tied with minus 5.02 percent). The drop was concentrated heavily among the youngest children: Kindergarten enrollment fell by 9 percent, pre-K by an astonishing 22 percent, even as the high school ranks thinned by just .4 percent. Most of those young learners are expected to return to in-person classrooms, but Robin Lake, head of the Center on Reinventing Public Education, said schools and districts need to prepare now to meet academic and social-emotional needs that had been deferred in the interim. “These kids are owed a lot in terms of the time they’ve missed learning things, playing with other kids, all of that stuff,” she told The 74’s Kevin Mahnken. “So we’re encouraging school districts to put those kinds of supports in place this summer and try to reach as many kids as possible to address some of those foundational skills.” Read the full report . 

‘Oregon Trail’ at 50: How Three Teachers Created the Computer Game That Inspired — and Diverted — Generations of Student

Games: If you’re of a certain age, chances are you encountered the computer game The Oregon Trail sometime during your school years — you know, the one where you light out in a covered wagon for Oregon’s Willamette Valley, beset by bandits, bad weather and, of course, dysentery. The game now exists in 14 languages and so revolutionized computer gaming that it earned a place in the World Video Game Hall of Fame. It’s a highly improbable trajectory for a game launched in 1971 — 50 years ago today — five years before the first personal computers even came on the market. The Oregon Trail was the brainchild of three Minneapolis student teachers, who brought history to life by placing players in the shoes of settlers facing life-or-death decisions — via a hulking teletype machine connected to a mainframe miles away. Despite sales that would ultimately exceed 65 million copies, however, the trio never saw a dime for their efforts. But they tell 74 contributor Greg Toppo they are not bitter. One said he is still stopped by autograph seekers, who tell him, “’You really saved my life in middle school because of this program.’ It’s just incredible how many people we touched.” Read the full feature . 

…And a quick postscript for the time capsule: 

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Photo History: Back in early March we realized it had been precisely a year — 52 weeks since the pandemic first swept through the nation, going on to close school after school like a relentless set of dominoes Over the course of a month, The 74’s Meghan Gallagher researched and assembled a photo history of that first pandemic year at schools , amassing 52 photos that captured just how much had changed in educators’ and students’ lives. They are now a haunting time capsule revisiting solemn scenes and sadness across the education landscape — masked students, sports without spectators, dining rooms turned into classrooms and socially distanced lunch periods. But these pictures also show students, their families and educators in moments of resilience and inspiration, reflecting how Americans found new ways to celebrate such milestones as graduations. The images are a reminder that it has been a school year like no other, one we won’t soon forget. See the full photo gallery . 

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How Did Students Fare This Year? 21 Big Things We Learned About Schools in 2021

By Steve Snyder

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New advances in technology are upending education, from the recent debut of new artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots like ChatGPT to the growing accessibility of virtual-reality tools that expand the boundaries of the classroom. For educators, at the heart of it all is the hope that every learner gets an equal chance to develop the skills they need to succeed. But that promise is not without its pitfalls.

“Technology is a game-changer for education – it offers the prospect of universal access to high-quality learning experiences, and it creates fundamentally new ways of teaching,” said Dan Schwartz, dean of Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE), who is also a professor of educational technology at the GSE and faculty director of the Stanford Accelerator for Learning . “But there are a lot of ways we teach that aren’t great, and a big fear with AI in particular is that we just get more efficient at teaching badly. This is a moment to pay attention, to do things differently.”

For K-12 schools, this year also marks the end of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding program, which has provided pandemic recovery funds that many districts used to invest in educational software and systems. With these funds running out in September 2024, schools are trying to determine their best use of technology as they face the prospect of diminishing resources.

Here, Schwartz and other Stanford education scholars weigh in on some of the technology trends taking center stage in the classroom this year.

AI in the classroom

In 2023, the big story in technology and education was generative AI, following the introduction of ChatGPT and other chatbots that produce text seemingly written by a human in response to a question or prompt. Educators immediately worried that students would use the chatbot to cheat by trying to pass its writing off as their own. As schools move to adopt policies around students’ use of the tool, many are also beginning to explore potential opportunities – for example, to generate reading assignments or coach students during the writing process.

AI can also help automate tasks like grading and lesson planning, freeing teachers to do the human work that drew them into the profession in the first place, said Victor Lee, an associate professor at the GSE and faculty lead for the AI + Education initiative at the Stanford Accelerator for Learning. “I’m heartened to see some movement toward creating AI tools that make teachers’ lives better – not to replace them, but to give them the time to do the work that only teachers are able to do,” he said. “I hope to see more on that front.”

He also emphasized the need to teach students now to begin questioning and critiquing the development and use of AI. “AI is not going away,” said Lee, who is also director of CRAFT (Classroom-Ready Resources about AI for Teaching), which provides free resources to help teach AI literacy to high school students across subject areas. “We need to teach students how to understand and think critically about this technology.”

Immersive environments

The use of immersive technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality is also expected to surge in the classroom, especially as new high-profile devices integrating these realities hit the marketplace in 2024.

The educational possibilities now go beyond putting on a headset and experiencing life in a distant location. With new technologies, students can create their own local interactive 360-degree scenarios, using just a cell phone or inexpensive camera and simple online tools.

“This is an area that’s really going to explode over the next couple of years,” said Kristen Pilner Blair, director of research for the Digital Learning initiative at the Stanford Accelerator for Learning, which runs a program exploring the use of virtual field trips to promote learning. “Students can learn about the effects of climate change, say, by virtually experiencing the impact on a particular environment. But they can also become creators, documenting and sharing immersive media that shows the effects where they live.”

Integrating AI into virtual simulations could also soon take the experience to another level, Schwartz said. “If your VR experience brings me to a redwood tree, you could have a window pop up that allows me to ask questions about the tree, and AI can deliver the answers.”


Another trend expected to intensify this year is the gamification of learning activities, often featuring dynamic videos with interactive elements to engage and hold students’ attention.

“Gamification is a good motivator, because one key aspect is reward, which is very powerful,” said Schwartz. The downside? Rewards are specific to the activity at hand, which may not extend to learning more generally. “If I get rewarded for doing math in a space-age video game, it doesn’t mean I’m going to be motivated to do math anywhere else.”

Gamification sometimes tries to make “chocolate-covered broccoli,” Schwartz said, by adding art and rewards to make speeded response tasks involving single-answer, factual questions more fun. He hopes to see more creative play patterns that give students points for rethinking an approach or adapting their strategy, rather than only rewarding them for quickly producing a correct response.

Data-gathering and analysis

The growing use of technology in schools is producing massive amounts of data on students’ activities in the classroom and online. “We’re now able to capture moment-to-moment data, every keystroke a kid makes,” said Schwartz – data that can reveal areas of struggle and different learning opportunities, from solving a math problem to approaching a writing assignment.

But outside of research settings, he said, that type of granular data – now owned by tech companies – is more likely used to refine the design of the software than to provide teachers with actionable information.

The promise of personalized learning is being able to generate content aligned with students’ interests and skill levels, and making lessons more accessible for multilingual learners and students with disabilities. Realizing that promise requires that educators can make sense of the data that’s being collected, said Schwartz – and while advances in AI are making it easier to identify patterns and findings, the data also needs to be in a system and form educators can access and analyze for decision-making. Developing a usable infrastructure for that data, Schwartz said, is an important next step.

With the accumulation of student data comes privacy concerns: How is the data being collected? Are there regulations or guidelines around its use in decision-making? What steps are being taken to prevent unauthorized access? In 2023 K-12 schools experienced a rise in cyberattacks, underscoring the need to implement strong systems to safeguard student data.

Technology is “requiring people to check their assumptions about education,” said Schwartz, noting that AI in particular is very efficient at replicating biases and automating the way things have been done in the past, including poor models of instruction. “But it’s also opening up new possibilities for students producing material, and for being able to identify children who are not average so we can customize toward them. It’s an opportunity to think of entirely new ways of teaching – this is the path I hope to see.”

Education Next

The Top 20 Education Next Articles of 2022

interesting articles about education

Education Next

interesting articles about education

Our annual look back at the year’s most popular Education Next articles is itself a popular article with readers. It’s useful as an indicator of what issues are at the top of the education policy conversation.

In both the Top 20 Education Next Articles of 2021 and the Top 20 Education Next Articles of 2020 , race and the pandemic dominated the discussion. This year, as President Biden declared the pandemic over (while still using the emergency as a reason to pause student loan repayments), readers seem to have moved on to a new set of topics.

For years, too, technology has been seen as an educational cure-all. This year, the pendulum swung back, as readers focused on the downsides of new technology. Our most-read article of the year was a piece by Doug Lemov, “ Take Away Their Cellphones ,” about the negative effects of cellphones and social media on student mental health, and how schools can adjust their policies to respond. It was a pandemic response and recovery article, too, in a way, but as Lemov traced, “The pandemic occurred amid a broader epidemic. Long before Covid-19, the psychologist Jean Twenge had found spiraling levels of depression, anxiety, and isolation among teens…. This historic downturn in the well-being of young people coincided almost exactly with the dramatic rise of the smartphone and social media.”

Technology also exposed schools to cyberattacks, a phenomenon explored by Eileen Belastock in another well-read article, “ Our Biggest Nightmare Is Here .”

Not all the tech coverage was negative. Our executive editor Michael B. Horn’s exploration of how the metaverse might “create educational experiences that are otherwise impossible in a traditional environment,” “ Meet the Metaverse ,” also made the top 20 list. The company that owns Facebook announced its name-change to Meta in late 2021.

While technology trends shape student and teacher experiences over the long run, the school environment in America is also shaped by elected or appointed representatives serving on school boards. Parent frustration over pandemic closures and controversy over race-related and gender-related education was often directed at school boards. Two articles probing those issues, “ Schoolboard Shakeup in San Francisco ” and “ Locally Elected School Boards Are Failing ” also made the top 20 list.

Education Next senior editor Paul E. Peterson had three articles on the top 20 list, narrowly edging out Robert Pondiscio and executive editor Michael J. Petrilli, who had two each. Congratulations to them and to all of our authors, and best wishes to all of our readers for the year ahead.

interesting articles about education

1. Take Away Their Cellphones … So we can rewire schools for belonging and achievement By Doug Lemov

interesting articles about education

2. Homeschooling Skyrocketed During the Pandemic, but What Does the Future Hold? It may be less of an either-or option, as homeschooling is combined with online experiences, neighborhood pods, cooperatives, or joint undertakings with public and private schools By Daniel Hamlin and Paul E. Peterson

interesting articles about education

3. Every Student Needs 21st-Century Data-Literacy Skills Forum: Rethinking Math Education By Steven D. Levitt and Jeffrey Severts

interesting articles about education

4. Deadline Looms for Borrowers Seeking Public Service Loan Forgiveness As the Biden administration debates loan forgiveness, some 3 million student borrowers—many of them teachers—are eligible for more than $100 billion in debt relief. But do they know? By Sarah Turner

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5. School Board Shakeup in San Francisco Arrogance, incompetence, and woke rhetoric trigger successful recall effort By Joanne Jacobs

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6. A Half Century of Student Progress Nationwide First comprehensive analysis finds broad gains in test scores, with larger gains for students of color than white students By M. Danish Shakeel and Paul E. Peterson

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7. What I Learned Leading America’s First Public School A culture of urgency, grounded in love, is essential, at “high-performing” and “underperforming” schools alike. And try to find a way to refill your cup. By Rachel Skerritt

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8. Time to Pull the Plug on Traditional Grading? Supporters of mastery-based grading say it could promote equity By Patricia Alex

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9. Bringing College into High Schools Bard’s High School Early Colleges offer a model for students to earn an associate degree by the end of 12th grade By Wayne D’Orio

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10. Meet the Metaverse A New Frontier in Virtual Learning By Michael B. Horn

interesting articles about education

11. Locally Elected School Boards Are Failing Pandemic stress-tested school governance, revealing many flaws By Vladimir Kogan

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12. “How’d You Do It?” Mississippi’s Superintendent of Education Explains State’s Learning Gains “Data and accountability will drive the behaviors that you want to see,” Carey Wright says in exit interview By Robert Pondiscio

interesting articles about education

13. “Our Biggest Nightmare Is Here” Cyberattacks are targeting school districts. How can schools respond to keep data and systems secure? By Eileen Belastock

interesting articles about education

14. The Costs of Canceling Darwin Fewer scientists, more skepticism of science in states that limit evolution instruction By Benjamin W. Arold

interesting articles about education

15. What Next for New York Charter Schools? The era of explosive growth of network-run, “no excuses” charter schools is over. Tentatively emerging: “community-based” charter schools. By Robert Pondiscio

interesting articles about education

16. School Superintendents Head for the Exits In big districts, brand-new leaders fill vacancies By Greg Toppo

interesting articles about education

17. First, Know Thyself. Then, Pick a Career Path The potential of helping students see their potential By Michael J. Petrilli

interesting articles about education

18. The Case for Kindergarten Tests Starting NAEP in 4th grade is much too late By Michael J. Petrilli

interesting articles about education

19. The Bigger Picture of Charter School Results A National Analysis of System-Level Effects on Test Scores and Graduation Rates By Douglas N. Harris and Feng Chen

interesting articles about education

20. Partisan Rifts Widen, Perceptions of School Quality Decline Results of the 2022 Education Next Survey of Public Opinion By David M. Houston, Paul E. Peterson, and Martin R. West

— Education Next

P.S. You can find the Top 20 Education Next articles of 2021 here , 2020 here , 2019 here , 2018 here , 2017 here , 2016 here , 2015 here , 2014 here and 2013 here .

P.P.S. You can find the Top 10 Education Next blog posts of 2022 here.

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Spring 2024.

Vol. 24, No. 2

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The Top 20 Education Next Articles of 2021

The pandemic and race dominate the discussion—for a second year.

by Education Next


The Top 20 Education Next Articles of 2020

Race and the pandemic dominate the discussion

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Schools Squandered Virtual Learning

A timid response, with lessons for the future

by Michael B. Horn

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The 10 Most Significant Education Studies of 2023

Following our annual tussle with hundreds of studies of merit, we’ve pared them down to 10 you shouldn’t miss—from what AI can (and can’t) do to the neuroscience of brain synchrony.

For those of us hoping for a quiet, back-to-normal kind of year, the research coming out of 2023 might disappoint. A rising tide of teenage mental health issues sent researchers scurrying for answers, and the sudden ascendance of AI posed a new threat to codes of academic conduct and caused some educators to forecast the end of teaching as we know it (we’re here to dispel that myth).

There was plenty of good news in the mix—and fascinating news, too. Neuroscientists continued to push the envelope on mapping the human brain, using cutting-edge technology to get a sneak peek at the “brain synchrony” between students and teachers as they learn about complex topics, and a comprehensive review of social and emotional learning confirmed, once again, that there’s no substitute for caring, welcoming school environments.

Finally, we did our due diligence and unearthed classroom strategies that can make a big difference for students, from the use of math picture books to a better, more humane way to incorporate tests and games of knowledge into your classroom activities.


In case anyone thought the jury was still out on the Turing test, which proposes a hypothetical threshold at which humans and machines respond indistinguishably to a prompt— more evidence recently came in, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell who’s testing who.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina set a “deep neural” AI model to work on a college-level anatomy and physiology textbook, after first training the software to recognize important information. The AI took stock, pondered in its fashion, and then dutifully produced 2,191 test questions tied to learning standards, which a panel of teachers judged to be “on par with human-generated questions in terms of their relevance to the learning objectives.” Remarkably, the instructors also said they’d consider adopting the machine-generated questions for their courses.

That’s spooky, but not without its silver linings. Test creation is time-consuming for teachers, and one knowledgeable educator who took AI for a test drive says that it performs well on other tasks like planning lessons, writing instructions, and even composing emails to parents. New AI-powered tools like Diffit, Curipod, and, meanwhile, are starting to sound like revolutionary teaching aids.

Concern that the end of human teaching is one software release away is premature: Studies we’ve reviewed suggest that AI still requires a lot of fine-tuning, and in July of 2023 , researchers concluded that without human intervention, AI is atrocious at mathematics, performing poorly on open-ended problems and routinely flubbing even simple math calculations. To be useful, it turns out, AI may need us more than we need it.


No one likes tests—except the three authors of a 2023 study , apparently. The trio, who have experience as teachers and researchers, sing the praises of virtually every kind of test, quiz, and knowledge game, asserting that such assessments should be frequent, low-stakes, highly engaging, and even communal. Their rationale: When properly designed and stripped of dread, tests and quizzes dramatically improve “long-term retention and the creation of more robust retrieval routes for future access,” a well-established phenomenon known as the testing effect .

The study is a fascinating, granular look at the mechanics of testing and its impacts on learning. Here are some of the highlights:

Mix it up: To maximize student engagement, quiz students frequently—but don’t let the format get stale. In their analysis, the authors endorse testing formats as varied as multiple choice, cued-recall tests, clickers, fill-in-the-blank, short answer, and contests of knowledge.

Be competitive: When designing multiple-choice or true-false tests, opt for “competitive alternatives” in your answers. For example, when asking “What is the hottest terrestrial planet?,” proffer Venus , Mars , and Mercury instead of Venus , Uranus , and Saturn —because “Uranus and Saturn aren’t terrestrial planets.” Competitive alternatives require students to scrutinize all options, the authors hypothesize, leading them to retrieve and consider more learned material.

Pretest: Quizzing students on material they haven’t yet learned improves long-term performance “even if [students] are not able to answer any of those questions correctly,” according to the researchers. Notably, pretesting can also lead to “a reduction in mind wandering” during subsequent lessons.

Get communal: Asking students to take tests in groups can improve retention and motivation while reducing anxiety. Consider focusing on specific rather than open-ended questions, the authors caution, since students can sometimes “recall and remember information less accurately” when working together.

Pass it on: Teach students to self-test by “summarizing the main points from a lecture… without looking at any notes,” or by meeting in “small study groups where the students practice testing one another—an activity that many students already report doing.”


Like the proverbial canary in the coal mine, subtle shifts in a teacher’s tone of voice—a sharp rise in volume or a sudden barrage of repeated instructions born of frustration—can be the first sign that something’s awry in the classroom, disturbing a fragile equilibrium and leading students to clam up or act out, a study published late in 2022 suggests.

Researchers observed as teens and preteens listened to instructions given by teachers—“I’m waiting for people to quiet down” or “It’s time to tidy up all of your belongings,” for example—delivered in warm, neutral, or controlling tones. While the effect was unintended, an authoritative tone often came off as confrontational, undermining students’ sense of competence and discouraging them from confiding in teachers. Warm, supportive tones, on the other hand, contributed to a classroom environment that reinforced learning across multiple social and academic dimensions like sense of belonging, autonomy, and enjoyment of the class. 

It takes years to find the right tonal balance, says experienced middle school teacher Kristine Napper. “Neither high expectations nor kind hearts can do the job alone,” she coaches . Instead, teachers should strive for a warm, supportive tone and then draw on that “wellspring of trust to hold students to high standards of deep engagement with course content.”


In 2021, we reported that as students progressed through a computer science course, the learning material left neural fingerprints that mirrored brain activity in other students, the teacher, and experts in the field. “Students who failed to grasp the material,” we wrote, “exhibited neural signatures that were outliers; they were drifting.” But the brain patterns of students who performed well on a later test aligned strongly with other top performing students—and with the teacher and experts, too.

Intriguingly, even abstract concepts—those that lack any physical attributes—appeared to trigger similar mental representations in students’ minds, attesting to the remarkable cognitive flexibility underlying human communication and knowledge sharing.

A 2023 study using electroencephalography (EEG) largely confirms those findings. High school science teachers taught groups of young adults fitted with electrodes about science topics such as bipedalism, habitats, and lipids. Researchers found that stronger “brain synchrony” between peers—and between students and teachers—predicted better academic performance on follow-up tests, both immediately and a full week later.

Together, these studies underscore the importance of scholarly expertise and direct instruction, but also hint at the downstream power of peer-to-peer and social learning. As knowledge passes from teachers to learners to greater and lesser degrees—some students grasp material quickly, others more slowly—an opportunity to distribute the work of learning emerges. When advanced students are paired with struggling peers, assisted by nudges from the teacher, groups of students might eventually converge around an accurate, common understanding of the material.


The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words—and two are worth two thousand—might be expressed, mathematically, as a simple multiplication formula. But can reading math picture books really multiply learning?

A 2023 review of 16 studies concluded that math books like Are We There Yet, Daddy? and Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi improved student engagement and attitudes toward math; strengthened kids’ grasp of math representations like graphs or physical models; and boosted performance on tasks like counting to 20, understanding place value, and calculating diameters. In early childhood, in particular, math picture books worked wonders—one study found that young students “tend to anticipate and guess what will happen next, resulting in high engagement, aroused interest in understanding the problems, and curiosity in finding solutions”—but even middle school students seemed mesmerized by math read-alouds.

Importantly, math picture books weren’t a substitute for procedural fluency or mathematical practice. Typically, the authors noted, teachers bracketed math units with picture books, introducing a mathematical concept “in order to prepare [students] for the upcoming practice and activities,” or, alternatively, used them to review material at the end of the lesson.


It’s hard to move the needle on student writing. Hours of close reading followed by the addition of dozens of edifying margin notes can swallow teacher weekends whole, but there’s no guarantee students know how to use the feedback productively.

In fact, without guidance, revisions tend to be superficial, a new study suggests—students might correct typos and grammatical mistakes, for example, or make cursory adjustments to a few ideas, but leave it at that. A promising, time-saving alternative is to deploy rubrics, mentor texts, and other clarifying writing guidelines.

In the study, high school students were graded on the clarity, sophistication, and thoroughness of their essays before being split into groups to test the effectiveness of various revision strategies. Students who consulted rubrics that spelled out the elements of an excellent essay—a clear central thesis, support for the claim, and cohesive overall structure, for example—improved their performance by a half-letter grade while kids who read mentor texts boosted scores by a third of a letter grade.

Rubrics and mentor texts are reusable, “increase teachers’ efficient use of time,” and “enhance self-feedback” in a way that can lead to better, more confident writers down the line, the new research suggests.


Parents, teachers, and medical professionals are wringing their hands over the alarming, decades-long rise in teenage mental health issues, including depression, feelings of “ persistent hopelessness ,” and drug addiction.

The root causes remain elusive—cell phones and social media are prime suspects—but a sprawling 2023 study offers another explanation that’s gaining traction: After scouring surveys, data sets, and cultural artifacts, researchers theorized that a primary cause is “a decline over decades in opportunities for children and teens to play, roam, and engage in other activities independent of direct oversight and control by adults.”

Scholarly reviews of historical articles, books, and advice columns on child rearing depict an era when young children “walked or biked to school alone,” and contributed to their “family’s well being” and “community life” through meaningful chores and jobs. If that all feels vaguely mythical, data collected over the last 50 years reveals a correlation: frank admissions by parents that their children play outdoors independently less than they did, and significant drops in the number of kids who walk, bike, or bus to school alone or are allowed to cross busy roads by themselves. In the U.S., for example, a government survey showed that 48 percent of K–8 students walked to school in 1969, but by 2009 only 13 percent did.

Risky play and unsupervised outdoor activities, meanwhile, which might “protect against the development of phobias” and reduce “future anxiety by increasing the person’s confidence that they can deal effectively with emergencies,” are often frowned upon. That last point is crucial, because dozens of studies suggest that happiness in childhood, and then later in adolescence, is driven by internal feelings of “autonomy, competence, and relatedness”—and independent play, purposeful work, and important roles in classrooms and families are vital, early forms of practice.

Whatever the causes, young children seem to sense that something’s off. In one 2017 study , kindergartners who viewed images of fun activities routinely struck pictures that included adults from the category of play, rejecting the role of grown-ups in a domain they clearly saw as their own.


It’s an often-fiery but ultimately dubious debate: Should teachers employ direct instruction, or opt for inquiry-based learning?

At its core, direct instruction often conveys information “by lecturing and by giving a leading role to the teacher,” researchers explain in a 2023 study examining the evidence supporting both approaches. Critics typically focus solely on its passive qualities, a straw-man argument that ignores activities such as note-taking, practice quizzes, and classroom discussions. Opponents of inquiry-based learning, meanwhile, characterize it as chaotic, akin to sending students on a wild goose chase and asking them to discover the laws of physics on their own—though it can actually unlock “deep learning processes such as elaboration, self-explanation, and metacognitive strategies,“ the researchers say.

Both sides misrepresent what teachers actually do in classrooms. Instructional models are “often combined in practice,” the researchers note, and inquiry-based learning is usually supported with direct instruction. Teachers might begin a lesson by leading a review of key concepts, for example, and then ask students to apply what they’re learning in unfamiliar contexts. 

Let the debate rage on. Teachers already know that factual fluency and the need to struggle, flail, and even hit dead-ends are integral to learning. Teaching is fluid and complex and spools out in real time; it resists every effort to reduce it to a single strategy or program that works for all kids, in all contexts.


It’s déjà vu all over again. The researcher Joseph Durlak, who put social and emotional learning on the map with his 2011 study that concluded that SEL programs boosted academic performance by an impressive 11 percentile points, was back at it in 2023—working with an ambitious new team, led by Yale professor Christina Cipriano, on a similar mission.

The group just published a comprehensive meta-analysis that surveyed a whopping 424 studies involving over half a million K–12 students, scrutinizing school-based SEL programs and strategies such as mindfulness, interpersonal skills, classroom management, and emotional intelligence. The findings: Students who participated in such programs experienced “improved academic achievement, school climate, school functioning, social emotional skills, attitudes, and prosocial and civic behaviors,” the researchers concluded.

Intriguingly, SEL remained a powerful driver of better cultures and student outcomes into the middle and high school years, a reminder that there’s no cutoff point for building relationships, teaching empathy, and making schools inclusive and welcoming.

While politicians continue to stoke controversy on the topic, there’s actually widespread support for SEL, as long as it’s connected to better academic outcomes. A 2021 Thomas B. Fordham Institute survey revealed that parents reacted negatively to classroom instruction labeled “social and emotional learning,” but were favorably disposed when a single clause was added—calling it “social-emotional & academic learning” turned the tide and secured parental buy-in.


In the United States, the teaching of reading comprehension has ping-ponged between skills-based and knowledge-based approaches. In 2019, things appeared to come to a head: While reading programs continued to emphasize transferable skills like “finding the main idea” or “making inferences,” the author Natalie Wexler published The Knowledge Gap , an influential takedown of skills-based methods, and a large 2020 study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute concurred, noting that “exposing kids to rich content in civics, history, and law” taught reading more effectively than skills-based approaches.

Now a pair of new, high-quality studies—featuring leading researchers and encompassing more than 5,000 students in 39 schools—appears to put the finishing touches on a decades-long effort to push background knowledge to the forefront of reading instruction.

In a Harvard study , 3,000 elementary students participated in a yearlong literacy program focused on the “knowledge rich” domains of social studies and science, exploring the methods used to study past events, for example, or investigating how animals evolve to survive in different habitats. Compared to their counterparts in business-as-usual classes, the “knowledge based” readers scored 18 percent higher on general reading comprehension. Background knowledge acts like a scaffold, the researchers explained, helping students “connect new learning to a general schema and transfer their knowledge to related topics.” In the other study , a team of researchers, including leading experts David Grissmer, Daniel Willingham, and Chris Hulleman, examined the impact of the “Core Knowledge” program on 2,310 students in nine lottery-based Colorado charter schools from kindergarten to sixth grade. The approach improved reading scores by 16 percentile points, and if implemented nationally, the researchers calculated, might catapult U.S. students from 15th to fifth place on international reading tests.

The pendulum is swinging, but the researchers caution against overreach: There appear to be “two separate but complementary cognitive processes involved in development and learning: ‘skill building’ and ‘knowledge accumulation,’” they clarified. We may have the balance out of whack, but to develop proficient readers, you need both.

The 10 Education Issues Everybody Should Be Talking About

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What issues have the potential to define—or re define—education in the year ahead? Is there a next “big thing” that could shift the K-12 experience or conversation?

These were the questions Education Week set out to answer in this second annual “10 Big Ideas in Education” report.

You can read about last year’s ideas here . In 2019, though, things are different.

This year, we asked Education Week reporters to read the tea leaves and analyze what was happening in classrooms, school districts, and legislatures across the country. What insights could reporters offer practitioners for the year ahead?

Some of the ideas here are speculative. Some are warning shots, others more optimistic. But all 10 of them here have one thing in common: They share a sense of urgency.

Accompanied by compelling illustrations and outside perspectives from leading researchers, advocates, and practitioners, this year’s Big Ideas might make you uncomfortable, or seem improbable. The goal was to provoke and empower you as you consider them.

Let us know what you think, and what big ideas matter to your classroom, school, or district. Tweet your comments with #K12BigIdeas .

No. 1: Kids are right. School is boring.

Illustration of a student who is bored in class

Out-of-school learning is often more meaningful than anything that happens in a classroom, writes Kevin Bushweller, the Executive Editor of EdWeek Market Brief. His essay tackling the relevance gap is accompanied by a Q&A with advice on nurturing, rather than stifling students’ natural curiosity. Read more.

No. 2: Teachers have trust issues. And it’s no wonder why.


Many teachers may have lost faith in the system, says Andrew Ujifusa, but they haven’t lost hope. The Assistant Editor unpacks this year’s outbreak of teacher activism. And read an account from a disaffected educator on how he built a coalition of his own. Read more.

No. 3: Special education is broken.

Conceptual Illustration of a special education puzzle with missing pieces

Forty years since students with disabilities were legally guaranteed a public school education, many still don’t receive the education they deserve, writes Associate Editor Christina A. Samuels. Delve into her argument and hear from a disability civil rights pioneer on how to create an equitable path for students. Read more.

No. 4: Schools are embracing bilingualism, but only for some students.


Staff Writer Corey Mitchell explains the inclusion problem at the heart of bilingual education. His essay includes a perspective from a researcher on dismantling elite bilingualism. Read more.

No. 5: A world without annual testing may be closer than you think.


There’s agreement that we have a dysfunctional standardized-testing system in the United States, Associate Editor Stephen Sawchuk writes. But killing it would come with some serious tradeoffs. Sawchuk’s musing on the alternatives to annual tests is accompanied by an argument for more rigorous classroom assignments by a teacher-practice expert. Read more.

No. 6: There are lessons to be learned from the educational experiences of black students in military families.


Drawing on his personal experience growing up in an Air Force family, Staff Writer Daarel Burnette II highlights emerging research on military-connected students. Learn more about his findings and hear from two researchers on what a new ESSA mandate means for these students. Read more.

No. 7: School segregation is not an intractable American problem.


Racial and economic segregation remains deeply entrenched in American schools. Staff Writer Denisa R. Superville considers the six steps one district is taking to change that. Her analysis is accompanied by an essay from the president of the American Educational Research Association on what is perpetuating education inequality. Read more.

No. 8: Consent doesn’t just belong in sex ed. class. It needs to start a lot earlier.


Assistant Editor Sarah D. Sparks looked at the research on teaching consent and found schools and families do way too little, way too late. Her report is partnered with a researcher’s practical guide to developmentally appropriate consent education. Read more.

No. 9: Education has an innovation problem.


Are education leaders spending too much time chasing the latest tech trends to maintain what they have? Staff Writer Benjamin Herold explores the innovation trap. Two technologists offer three tips for putting maintenance front and center in school management. Read more.

No. 10: There are two powerful forces changing college admissions.


Some colleges are rewriting the admissions script for potential students. Senior Contributing Writer Catherine Gewertz surveys this changing college admissions landscape. Her insights are accompanied by one teacher’s advice for navigating underserved students through the college application process. Read more.

Wait, there’s more.

Want to know what educators really think about innovation? A new Education Week Research Center survey delves into what’s behind the common buzzword for teachers, principals, and district leaders. Take a look at the survey results.

A version of this article appeared in the January 09, 2019 edition of Education Week as What’s on the Horizon for 2019?

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The power of education: Inspiring stories from four continents

interesting articles about education

A girl and a woman in Burkina Faso . An Afghan refugee family in Greece . A teacher in India . An entrepreneur in Guatemala .

These are the stories on the power of education currently featured in an immersive exhibition entitled “Education transforms lives” that UNESCO has set up at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the sidelines of the High-level Political Forum .

Each inspiring story vividly brings to life the aspirations of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education . The experiences portrayed in these powerful personal testimonies capture how small individual steps across the globe are helping to advance and ensure the right to education for every woman, man and child.    

“I don't know what the future has in store for me but this is my second chance and I don't want to waste it.”  

interesting articles about education

Photo credit : Sophie Garcia

Awa Traore, 21, is working from morning to night to catch up. She grew up in the tiny village of Banzon in Burkina Faso where she completely missed out on schooling. When the chance came up, she moved 30 km away to the city of Bobo-Dioulasso where she lodges with her uncle and aunt and in return shops, cooks and cleans for them. Her days are long. After dropping her nephew at school, she sets off to the market. Only when her daily chores are done can she turn to her books and prepare for her literacy class at 6.30pm. Awa knows she has a lot of ground to make up for and that other women with more education than her are having difficulty finding work. Despite the odds, she is determined to use this second chance at literacy as a stepping stone to a profession in the health field.  

“I feel very lucky to go to school every day. My mother did not get that chance.”

interesting articles about education

Head down, serious, 11-year-old Rachidatou Sana concentrates on getting her answer exactly right. Already an outstanding pupil at Kua C school in Bobo-Dioulasso, she loves mathematical problem-solving but will have to find her own solution in the fight to keep on with her studies. Like many girls her age in Burkina Faso, Rachidatou was born to poor parents (her mother is illiterate) and is daily torn between home chores, earning a living and studying to better her situation. All she wants is an equal chance, the same as everyone else. She plans to go to college to train as a nurse 'so I can help others and my family.'  

“If Matin couldn't study here he would be very behind compared to other children.”

interesting articles about education

Photo credit : Olivier Jobard

Shahnaz Karimi, 24, her husband Nasir Rasouli, 34, and their eight-year-old livewire son Matin arrived in Lesbos in August 2018. Originally from Herat in Afghanistan, the Rasouli family travelled from their first adopted home in Iran seeking a better life. Now they live alongside 1,300 other residents at the Kara Tepe village. Both came with professions: Shahnaz was a beautician and Nasir a painter and decorator. In Lesbos, Matin goes to primary school while his parents attend English classes and art classes. Matin is already better than his parents in English. For the Rasouli family, education fills their long days, gives them a much-needed sense of normality and offers hope of work and a better future.  

“The biggest change education has made in my life is that I can work and add my money to the expenses for the house, to buy food and help with my children's schooling.”

interesting articles about education

Photo credit : James Rodríguez

As a little girl, Margarita Pelico lived next door to her local school and wanted to follow the children she saw on their way to class. Her parents, less convinced that a girl needed education, had to be persuaded. Margarita comes from a family of nine in the village of Los Cipreses, a rural area of Totonicapán, Guatemala where most men are farmers while the women weave. They are members of the Mayan-K'iche ethnicity whose mother tongue is K'iche. Margarita's school closed down and, by the time it reopened, she was way behind. Aged 13 she discovered a free flexible adult correspondence education programme designed for older girls who missed out. She learned to add and subtract going to the market with her teacher, and to calculate while they were sewing. Determined to pursue her studies, she was able to go on to secondary school and college. Now a social worker and running her own weaving company, she is dedicated to helping other girls follow the same path to education – and sends her own five-year-old to the same school that she once attended.  

“I thought that teaching people would be giving them the gift of a lifetime”

interesting articles about education

Photo credit : Jyothy Karat

Teacher Prathibha Balakrishnan, 38, came to the village of Kadichanokolli deep in the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve in southern India in 2008 with a mission to teach the Betta Karumba mountain people. There was no electricity, no school and no healthcare. She joined hands with another extraordinary woman, namely Badichi, 44. Badichi, a tribal matriarch with seven children, has very little schooling but an innate understanding of the power of education. She worked hard as a housemaid to pay the tuition fees for all of her children and her grand-child Anitha who was abandoned by her parents. The Betta Kurumba, a secluded people who mostly work on tea and coffee plantations, have high levels of illiteracy. When Prathibha needed an ally to persuade them, Badichi went into action. Both women gained in confidence, gathering support to successfully petition the local government to install a primary school, roads and electricity. Along the way, Badichi's daughters Seetha, 17, and Vasanthi, 19, who are pupils of Prathibha, returned the favour by teaching her the local language. Some villagers speak Prathibha’s native Tamil but are now taught in their own language. Seetha is now in 11th grade, Vasanthi has enrolled to become a nurse in a hospital nearby and both speak three languages, a leap forward for a village where most adults are illiterate.

The exhibition is organized in partnership with Education Above All , the Qatar Foundation , the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations as well as the co-chairs of the Group of Friends and Lifelong Learning (Argentina, Czech Republic, Japan, Kenya and Norway).

It will be on display throughout July and August 2019 at the UN Headquarters. A selection of photos is available online

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Interesting STNE Put And Call Options For June 14th

May 03, 2024 — 11:10 am EDT

Written by BNK Invest for BNK Invest  ->

The put contract at the $14.00 strike price has a current bid of 15 cents. If an investor was to sell-to-open that put contract, they are committing to purchase the stock at $14.00, but will also collect the premium, putting the cost basis of the shares at $13.85 (before broker commissions). To an investor already interested in purchasing shares of STNE, that could represent an attractive alternative to paying $17.00/share today.

Because the $14.00 strike represents an approximate 18% discount to the current trading price of the stock (in other words it is out-of-the-money by that percentage), there is also the possibility that the put contract would expire worthless. The current analytical data (including greeks and implied greeks) suggest the current odds of that happening are 87%. Stock Options Channel will track those odds over time to see how they change, publishing a chart of those numbers on our website under the contract detail page for this contract . Should the contract expire worthless, the premium would represent a 1.07% return on the cash commitment, or 9.31% annualized — at Stock Options Channel we call this the YieldBoost .

Below is a chart showing the trailing twelve month trading history for StoneCo Ltd, and highlighting in green where the $14.00 strike is located relative to that history:

Turning to the calls side of the option chain, the call contract at the $20.00 strike price has a current bid of 25 cents. If an investor was to purchase shares of STNE stock at the current price level of $17.00/share, and then sell-to-open that call contract as a "covered call," they are committing to sell the stock at $20.00. Considering the call seller will also collect the premium, that would drive a total return (excluding dividends, if any) of 19.12% if the stock gets called away at the June 14th expiration (before broker commissions). Of course, a lot of upside could potentially be left on the table if STNE shares really soar, which is why looking at the trailing twelve month trading history for StoneCo Ltd, as well as studying the business fundamentals becomes important. Below is a chart showing STNE's trailing twelve month trading history, with the $20.00 strike highlighted in red:

Considering the fact that the $20.00 strike represents an approximate 18% premium to the current trading price of the stock (in other words it is out-of-the-money by that percentage), there is also the possibility that the covered call contract would expire worthless, in which case the investor would keep both their shares of stock and the premium collected. The current analytical data (including greeks and implied greeks) suggest the current odds of that happening are 76%. On our website under the contract detail page for this contract , Stock Options Channel will track those odds over time to see how they change and publish a chart of those numbers (the trading history of the option contract will also be charted). Should the covered call contract expire worthless, the premium would represent a 1.47% boost of extra return to the investor, or 12.78% annualized, which we refer to as the YieldBoost .

The implied volatility in the put contract example is 56%, while the implied volatility in the call contract example is 49%.

Meanwhile, we calculate the actual trailing twelve month volatility (considering the last 251 trading day closing values as well as today's price of $17.00) to be 45%. For more put and call options contract ideas worth looking at, visit

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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