Opinion: Why public university presidents are under fire
University of California, Berkeley, will have to find a new president at the end of the year.
June 19th, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Opinion: Why public university presidents are under fire

Editor's note: Jeremi Suri is the Mack Brown Distinguished professor of global leadership, history, and public policy at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of numerous books, including, most recently, "Liberty's Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama."

(CNN) - We know an industry is in crisis when its top institutions cannot establish stable leadership. That is the case with some of our nation's best public universities today.

When the Board of Visitors at the University of Virginia pressured President Teresa Sullivan to resign on June 10, she became the fourth leader of a flagship public university to leave office under a cloud of controversy recently.

The other casualties included the highly respected leaders of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Illinois and the University of Oregon. The president of the University of California at Berkeley has also announced that he will step down in December. Leaders of public universities in other states face equally strong pressures to go. The men and women in these jobs seem to have a target on their backs.

This can't go on.

Our nation's public universities are the heart and soul of our higher education system, which is the envy of the world.

Flagship public universities educate more of the brightest high school students than private universities in many states. They conduct the lion's share of advanced research. They also attract the largest number of foreign students. If our public universities fall into a decline because of a leadership vacuum, then our entire system will decline, too.

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Filed under: College • Voices
June 19th, 2012
02:05 PM ET

Revenge of the Nerds: The best jobs

Engineering and IT professions have achieved rock star status. Ainissa Ramirez explains how to get children interested. From Smart is the New Rich with Christine Romans.

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Report: U.S. science students run simple experiments, but can't explain results
Students competed at the Google Science Fair last year -- but in schools, many struggle to explain experiment results.
June 19th, 2012
12:23 PM ET

Report: U.S. science students run simple experiments, but can't explain results

By Sally Holland, CNN

Washington (CNN)  - American students can successfully conduct simple science experiments at school, but aren't able to explain the results, a new report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows.

Results released today reveal that America's fourth-, eighth-, and 12th-graders struggled when investigations had more variables to manipulate or required strategic decision-making while collecting data. Many weren't able to explain why certain results were correct.

It's the first time the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation's Report Card, measured how students performed on hands-on and interactive computer tasks like a professional scientist might. While traditional standardized tests grade students on what they know, people in the workforce are measured on how they apply what they've learned in school. This analysis moves away from "paper and pencil" tests and should allow for a different type of analysis by education experts.

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Filed under: Issues • Science • STEM • Testing
My View: Six ways to retain great teachers
June 19th, 2012
06:20 AM ET

My View: Six ways to retain great teachers

Courtesy Kurt Budliger PhotographyBy Katy Farber, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Katy Farber is a sixth grade teacher in Vermont. She is also an author, speaker and blogger.  Her first book, Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exodus, was released in July by Corwin Press.  Her second book, Change the World with Service Learning:  How to Organize, Lead and Assess Service Learning Projects, was released in January 2011.

A big part of the national conversation about education is how to attract the best and brightest teachers to the profession. It is a favorite line of many a politician. While that is well and good, it seems that many policy makers and education experts are missing the point: how to keep good teachers in our nation’s classrooms once they are actually there.

With about one-third of our teachers leaving the profession in their first three years, and even higher turnover rates in some urban areas, this is a pressing issue in American education that isn’t getting much attention.

We have an anti-teacher climate that has only worsened since I wrote the book “Why Great Teachers Quit and How we Might Stop the Exodus.” Based on my interviews of teachers nationwide, I learned firsthand why teachers are quitting the profession in droves, and personally, I saw it happen to my friend and mentee.

The situation has only gotten worse, with layoffs, pay cuts, anti-union sentiment, program cuts and strict mandates that are part of federal education laws. If we are to make any reform or new initiative work in education, we have to create schools that are supportive, humane, dynamic and creative. For many teachers (and their students), this is far from reality.

Here are some ideas for how to stop the flow of talented teachers out of the profession, based on my interviews, experience and research:
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