Education

Courtesy MSU College of Education

Ask a five year old what they want to be when they grow up and chances are you’ll hear things like a doctor, a teacher, and maybe Batman. Obviously, not many kids grow up to be Batman, but increasingly there are also fewer and fewer growing up to be teachers. Across the country and here in Michigan, the number of students choosing to go into teaching preparation programs is declining.

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Two weeks ago, a now infamous sex education class at East Lansing High School unleashed strong reactions among parents and students. The abstinence-based course was conducted by Pregnancy Services of Greater Lansing, an organization that opposes abortion. The class provoked negative comments about the so-called SMART curriculum now in place at East Lansing High School.

For about a week, sex education has been one hot topic in the Lansing area. It began last week when Alice Dreger, an author, college professor and activist, live tweeted from her son’s sex ed class at East Lansing High School. Among the quotes from the instructors, according to Dreger: “Safe sex is kind of a misnomer.” “You'll find a good girl. If you find one that says 'no,' that's the one you want." Dreger and many others on social media blasted the approach for being outdated, unconcerned with credible data and focused on fear and shame.

A mid-Michigan author has published a book that examines the connection between childhood’s imaginary worlds and adulthood creativity. Michelle Root-Bernstein is an historian, independent scholar, and educator affiliated with Michigan State University, and she is very interested in what makes people creative. Her recent book is called "Inventing Imaginary Worlds: From Childhood Play to Adult Creativity Across the Arts and Sciences".

Courtesy U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Senate and House of Representative both continue efforts to write the country’s first comprehensive education legislation since "No Child Left Behind" expired back in 2007. Both Republican-led chambers are at work on measures that address various issues:  educational accountability, local versus federal authority and school choice among others. The Senate measure is scheduled to go before the Education committee today. U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan is an influential critic of some features of these measures.

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