Archives: Kristen Blair

  • What’s important to know about screens and reading 

    In a world accustomed to skimming and scanning, what promotes deep reading? Paper or screen? Does the medium matter? As schools integrate digital resources and tools broadly into curricula and teaching, such questions need good answers. Fortunately, evidence is accumulating, with big impacts for learning.  New …

  • Time for a reboot on kids’ online privacy 

    One in three internet users worldwide is a child under 18, estimates show. Expect that figure to rise as smart toys and all sorts of smart devices fuel constant connection. How will personal data, collected today, be used tomorrow? Answers are evolving. In a marketplace where…

  • Teen girls face myriad challenges, pressure from many sides

    It’s tough to be a teen girl today. Youth depression has risen significantly over the past decade, the uptick coming primarily from girls. The mother of a 17-year-old girl, I know pressures are high. Smartphones and social media fuel constant connection and comparison. Achievement expectations and perfectionism raise…

  • When parental involvement is too much of a good thing

    There’s a new twist to an ongoing debate — this one about parents and the students they create. This fall a “We Are Teachers” blog post, lamenting an upsurge in over-involved parents, went viral, eliciting coverage from myriad media outlets and the national teachers’…

  • Challenging myths about competitive college admissions 

    March is madness for high school seniors. Each year, seniors mark March as the final month in the agonizing wait for college decisions. Early application timelines mean the admission process is blessedly over for some. But many still wait, even as stakes soar and odds seem to dwindle. UNC-Chapel Hill,…

  • Solving the trust problem between teachers and parents 

    Teachers and parents, we have a trust problem. Just 36 percent of public school teachers express “complete” or “a lot of” trust in parents, EdChoice’s new “Schooling in America Survey” says.  What’s eroding trust? One likely culprit: Parental expectations are sky-high. Harried millennial parents want schools to teach skills once considered part…

  • In high school, the easy ‘A’ is even easier 

    Call it high-grade high school. When it comes to letter-grade earning power, high-schoolers are rich indeed. Grade inflation is real and it’s inequitable, padding the GPAs of wealthier students faster than others. Such are the findings of a Fordham Institute study that tracked grades in North Carolina public schools for over…

  • In high school, the easy ‘A’ is even easier 

    Call it high-grade high school. When it comes to letter-grade earning power, high-schoolers are rich indeed. Grade inflation is real and it’s inequitable, padding the GPAs of wealthier students faster than others. Such are the findings of a Fordham Institute study that tracked grades in North Carolina public schools…

  • Stress test: Ways to win after academic failure 

    High school tests the mettle of many teens. Surveys, both informal and scientific, reveal pervasive stress. A poll of more than 35,000 teens, released this spring by the app, After School, found 45 percent felt stressed “all the time.” The American Psychological Association’s earlier 2014 “Stress in America” survey found teens’…

  • Out go the classics in English classrooms  

    Classic literature has fallen from favor in English class. The movement away from the literary canon, begun decades ago, has accelerated rapidly following adoption of Common Core standards by most states eight years ago. Some states, including North Carolina, have revised these standards. But the devaluation of classic literature is…