In education news, essays may soon be graded by machine, but at the same time two community activists tell the Huffington Post about organizing to take back kids' schooling. Elsewhere, economist Richard Wolff has broken into primetime with his critique of our financial system and negotiations between FARC and the Colombian government could finally end a half-century conflict.
— Alleen Brown focuses on education.
“Essay-Grading Software Offers Professors a Break,” by John Markoff. The New York Times, April 5, 2013.
In the latest ed tech news, the non-profit known for making MOOCs edX introduced its automated essay grader last week. The technology reflects a system-wide move towards automation and standardization in education. Fans say it will give fast feedback to students and save teachers time. The organization Professionals Against Machine Scoring of Student Essays in High-Stakes Assessment points out that computers are not so good at judging "accuracy, reasoning, adequacy of evidence, good sense, ethical stance, convincing argument, meaningful organization, clarity, and veracity.”
— James Cersonsky focuses on labor and education.
“Organizing for Educational Justice Rooted in Community,” by Donna Nevel. Huffington Post, April 9, 2013.
Count on HuffPo to put this piece in their "Impact" section rather than… Education. The ideas elaborated in this piece, an interview of Leticia Alanis from La Union in Brooklyn and Ujju Aggarwal from the Parent Leadership Project in Manhattan, could (should!) be the basis of how society thinks about education. Namely, participatory action research and community organizing, led by students and allies (most immediately, their parents), to define, investigate and lobby around issues that affect their schooling.
— Catherine Defontaine focuses on war, security and peace-related issues, African and French politics, peacekeeping and the link between conflicts and natural resources.
“Korea: B2 bombers offering a path to peace?” by Pepe Escobar. Al Jazeera, April 9, 2013.
As the tensions between the United States and North Korea escalate, this article questions the underlying motives of the American administration. As Pepe Escobar points out, can we really believe that “mighty superpower Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is about to bomb the poor, undefended United States of America into the Stone Age”? Indeed, as The Wall Street Journal “revealed,” the US wants to provoke North Korea, which proves to be very easy. North Korea’s paranoia is well known and the country still has the Korean War in mind, when “the North was virtually flattened” as the US “dropped more napalm in Korean cities than in Vietnam.” But then, what are the real motives of the Obama Administration? War? Invasion? Or just satisfying arms producing companies? In any case, it seems highly improbable that Kim Jong-un is insane enough to provoke a nuclear war with the United States.