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Arthur Camins
Arthur H. Camins is the Director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ. He taught in elementary schools in Brooklyn and worked in administrative roles in New York City, Massachusetts and Kentucky. The ideas expressed in this article are his alone and do not represent Stevens Institute. His writing can be accessed at

Entries by Arthur Camins

How the Gospel of Pragmatism Undermines Education Improvement

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2016 | 3:40 PM

2016-02-07-1454876463-8908247-MartinLutherKingJrLetterfromBirminghamJail1.jpgWe need improvements in K-12 education. Too few students learn the critical thinking skills they need for successful life, work and citizenship. The race and class of students and the financial resources of their communities skew student learning. Republicans have...

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Reason, Empathy and Integration: The Anti-Fear Combination Treatment

(1) Comments | Posted January 4, 2016 | 11:57 AM

In the depths of the Great Depression Franklin D. Roosevelt's famously declared, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." Those inspiring words need revitalization as fear of terrorism and economic insecurity grip the...

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Now Is Time to Embrace the Civic and Moral Purposes of Education

(3) Comments | Posted November 29, 2015 | 7:46 PM

I wish I lived in a country in which the unconstrained expression of racist and xenophobic ideas from candidates for president of the United States engendered enough public condemnation to cause immediate and unredeemable rejection. I wish politicians, whatever their personal beliefs, felt compelled to keep such poisonous thoughts to...

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U.S. Schools Don't Fail at Test Performance, They Fail at Citizenship Development

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 6:18 PM

Schools in the U.S. are failing, but not in the way that advocates for test-driven accountability, charter schools, and vouchers claim. In fact, schools in the U.S. do a terrific job of preparing our young people to live in and accept the world as it is. The less-than-stellar average scores...

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Haven't We Done Enough? Must We Have Winners and Losers Even in Education?

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 9:45 AM

There are stark contrasts between the Democratic and Republican candidates for President of the United States across many issues of values, style and substance. However, none of the Democrats have distinguished themselves from their rivals with respect to K-12 education policy by challenging the winners and losers ethos has come...

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Let's Talk About Values, Beliefs and Evidence

(3) Comments | Posted August 12, 2015 | 7:26 AM

In August 1945, the United States dropped the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seventy years later, the President Obama is imploring Congress to approve a deal to dissuade Iran from building a nuclear bomb. This is an opportune moment to reflect on the intersection of science, technology and...

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The K-12 Education Speech We Need From Democrats

(7) Comments | Posted July 9, 2015 | 6:22 PM

With the Elementary, Secondary Education Act (ESEA) once again up for reconsideration in Congress, it is time for the Democratic presidential hopefuls to take a stand. Candidates Sanders, O'Malley and Clinton have decided that to differentiate themselves from their Republican rivals, they must make a direct, unmistakable appeal to the...

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Democrats: There Are Better Choices Than School Choice to Improve Education

(3) Comments | Posted June 24, 2015 | 7:20 PM

Over the next year we can expect to hear a lot from Republican presidential candidates about school choice- the word of choice to marshal political support to expand the number charter schools and vouchers for private schools. Democrats, except maybe the governor of New York, have...

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We Can Be Better Than the Audacity of Small Hopes

(3) Comments | Posted May 14, 2015 | 7:47 PM

The United States is suffering through the audacity of small hopes. In the shadow of the Great Recession and after several decades of increasing wealth disparity in the United States, the politically and financially powerful have the audacity to call upon the nation to accept small dreams. Nowhere is this...

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The Better Way to Improve Education: Invest and Trust

(1) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 1:02 PM

Current debate about education policy is dominated by several zombie ideas. One idea that should have been dead, but keeps coming back to life is the "government is the problem"-inspired commitment to public disinvestment. The other better left for idea is to distrust educators, but trust tests and...

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You Say You Want a Revolution?

(0) Comments | Posted January 12, 2015 | 4:44 PM

In his 1992 autobiography, Sam Walton wrote, "Frankly, I'd like to see an all-out revolution in education." Similarly, advocacy for an education revolution has been adopted by Pearson, the education publishing and assessment giant.

Well, you know we all want to change the world.


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The Identity and Empathy Gap

(2) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 10:44 AM

As a nation, the United States is infected with racial and socio-economic myopia. Sadly, the malignant biases that support the empowered also undermine the ability of the disempowered to identify and empathize with one another.

Once again, this time in New York City -- a grand jury has declined not...

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Go Ahead. Ask. No, Demand.

(2) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 6:48 PM

Improving education is not simple because the human beings who inhabit schools, their relationship with one another and the social system in which they live are complex and varied. While simple solutions to complex problems always fall short, the elements of effective systemic solutions in education are not so hard...

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Education Reform: Unsubstantiated Benefit Claims; Unreported Side Effects

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 4:55 PM

Would the Food and Drug Administration permit a pharmaceutical company to target marketing of a drug to poor communities with claims of helpfulness for everyone, when it knew ahead of time that it could only help a few and without advertising known negative side effects? Of course, not. The use,...

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Resistance to Attacks on Public Education is Not Enough

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 12:57 PM

The Vergara vs California superior court decision to throw out five state statutes that provide job protections to teachers underscores the persistence, power and wealth behind current education policies. Response from critics has been swift and sharp. However, if we want to defend and improve a democratically-governed public education system...

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Arguing for Science Literacy

(1) Comments | Posted June 2, 2014 | 3:56 PM

Students who are scientifically literate know how to argue. However, current education policies undermine rather than advance this vital academic goal.

I do not mean disagreements that are resolved based on personal considerations or positional authority. For scientists, argument is all about whether claims -- regarding the accuracy and...

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Escape From Poverty for a Few More Students Is Not a Worthy National Goal

(2) Comments | Posted May 20, 2014 | 5:32 PM

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision provided a catalyst to advance but not fully achieve racial and economic justice. Sixty years later, Republicans and Democrats alike continue to talk about race, poverty and education. However, there is a chasm in current education policies between proclamations of...

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Why God Bless the Child That's Got His Own Is Not a Worthy Education Policy

(2) Comments | Posted April 11, 2014 | 12:39 PM

Them that's got shall have
Them that's not shall lose
So the Bible says and it still is news
Mama may have and Papa may have
But God bless the child that's got his own, that's got his own

Who would have imagined that many decades...

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PISA Results: A Chicken Little Moment?

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 1:45 PM

The current debate regarding interpretation of recently released results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) implies that we need to choose between two interpretations: 1. The educational sky isn't falling. Although US students have never done well on international tests, as a nation we have made remarkable economic...

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Elementary School Children Need More Time to Learn

(4) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 7:57 PM

Give us back our time! Elementary school children need more time to learn as scientists, social scientists and artists.

Science is about how the natural world works and social studies is about how people live in the world. We'd all be better off if schools taught reading as a tool...
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