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Justin Snider
Justin Snider teaches undergraduate writing at Columbia University, where he is also an advising dean. Previously, Snider taught high school English and advised student publications in the United States, Austria and Hong Kong. A California native, he is a graduate of Amherst College, the University of Chicago, the University of Vienna and Harvard University.

Entries by Justin Snider

Thinking We Know What We Test: Justin Snider

(2) Comments | Posted August 23, 2012 | 9:39 AM

This piece comes to us courtesy of The Hechinger Report.

An op-ed in The New York Times on August 20th, "Testing What We Think We Know," argued that many medical procedures are carried out in the United States despite a very thin evidence-base for their efficacy....

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Why Mike Daisey's Fabrications Don't Bother Me

(4) Comments | Posted March 19, 2012 | 5:25 AM

Mike Daisey is a man damned -- or so the blogosphere, journos and pundits the world over would have us believe. He conflated fact and fiction, and he lied to both the producer and the host of "This American Life" in a radio show they aired in January 2012.


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In Global Education Race, U.S. Is Falling Behind

(4) Comments | Posted October 17, 2011 | 6:59 PM

America's universities have long had a reputation for being the best in the world -- a truth so apparently self-evident that it's rarely been doubted or questioned. But what if the nation's 5,000 institutions of higher education, as a whole, have fallen behind their international peers?

Indeed, there's...

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Preparing Teachers for a Lifetime in the Classroom

(4) Comments | Posted June 30, 2011 | 2:59 PM

"It takes a lot to be a teacher," Luke Carman says. "Every decision that is being made, you're simultaneously doing 17,000 other things. It requires a lot of intellectual forethought, persistence and energy."

Carman, 23, has spent the past two years preparing for a career in the classroom through the...

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Of Bosses, Both Good and Bad

(1) Comments | Posted May 17, 2011 | 2:52 PM

"All good bosses are alike; each bad boss is bad in his own way."

Tolstoy this isn't. Nonetheless, it serves reasonably well as a distillation of recent research on leadership. Good bosses tend to do a lot of the same things: trust, respect, protect and empower their underlings; treat people...

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How the U.S. Education System Looks to a Leading Expert Abroad

(24) Comments | Posted May 11, 2011 | 12:45 PM

I recently had a chance to ask the OECD's Andreas Schleicher, an expert on educational systems around the world, what he makes of the current push for reform in American public education.

Q: The PISA results make clear that U.S. students aren't performing particularly well compared...

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For This Graduating Senior, Deep Thinking -- and Teaching -- Really Matters

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2011 | 1:41 PM

In a few weeks, Mopati Morake will earn a bachelor's degree in political science from Williams College in Massachusetts. A native of Botswana, Morake has been educated on three continents. He finished high school in 2007 at Li Po Chun United World College in Hong Kong.

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Keys To Finnish Educational Success: Intensive Teacher-Training, Union Collaboration

(413) Comments | Posted March 17, 2011 | 9:56 PM

On March 16, I sat down with Finland's Minister of Education, Ms. Henna Virkkunen, for a discussion of the Finnish educational system -- and what lessons it might hold for the U.S. educational system.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

The Hechinger Report: It's...

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The New York Times Needs to Do Its Homework on Teacher Evaluations

(6) Comments | Posted March 11, 2011 | 12:49 PM

An editorial on March 7 in The New York Times, titled "Fairness in Firing Teachers," has me wondering whether the Times editors understand much about how teachers -- in New York City and elsewhere -- are evaluated. The editorial makes some stunning statements that simply don't comport with...

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Supply vs. Demand: Rock Star Superintendents

(272) Comments | Posted March 6, 2011 | 9:22 AM

They command six-figure salaries, often with annual bonuses and car allowances. (Generous health care and pension plans are a given.) Sometimes their employers also foot the bill for their life insurance policies.

There are very few of them, for their skill set is rare. They must be savvy politicians and...

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Rote Memorization: Overrated or Underrated?

(29) Comments | Posted February 3, 2011 | 5:53 PM

Among the countless catchphrases that educators generally despise are "drill-'n-kill" and "rote memorization." In keeping with their meanings, both sound terrifically unpleasant. To learn something "by rote," according to the Random House dictionary, is to learn it "from memory, without thought of the meaning; in a mechanical way."

The fear...

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A Closer Look at Justice Kern's Ruling in NYC Value-Added Case

(1) Comments | Posted January 12, 2011 | 11:53 PM

On Monday, January 10, Justice Cynthia Kern ruled that the decision by the NYC Department of Education to publicly release Teacher Data Reports (TDRs) with individual teachers' names attached was not "arbitrary and capricious." That the chips fell this way isn't terribly surprising.

Kern's ruling is interesting more...

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New Book Takes Aim at Ed Reformers and Status Quo Defenders

(5) Comments | Posted January 5, 2011 | 1:00 PM

Oops, Rick Hess has done it again: challenged conventional wisdom and shown how fuzzy much of today's education-reform thinking is. In his latest book, The Same Thing Over and Over: How School Reformers Get Stuck in Yesterday's Ideas (Harvard University Press, 2010), Hess drives home the...

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New York City Teachers, Don't Bank on Privacy

(33) Comments | Posted December 17, 2010 | 12:35 PM

The world wasn't exactly shocked in 2009 when Alex Rodriguez's name turned up on a list of 104 Major League Baseball players who had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Nor was anyone surprised to learn later that year that David Ortiz -- the Red Sox's "Big Papi" and a six-time...

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Lessons From Finland's Education System

(55) Comments | Posted December 13, 2010 | 10:29 AM

Last week, Finland was once again among the top-scoring nations on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an exam given to 15-year-olds around the world. U.S. students were in the middle of the pack for science and literacy but below average in mathematics.

To gain insight into...

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Shh! (Or, Why Your Screaming Baby Should Have You Worried)

(22) Comments | Posted November 26, 2010 | 4:30 PM

Holiday season is once again upon us. It's a time of thanksgiving, and joy, and renewal -- and believing, or pretending to believe, that it's better to give than get.

To see loved ones far away, many will take to the skies and endure endless hours of discomfort in seats...

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Are Age and Experience Overrated When it Comes to Leadership?

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2010 | 12:19 PM

(Studies show that children who can delay gratification -- by resisting marshmallows -- are more successful as adults than those who can't / photo courtesy of Smith609, Wikimedia Commons)
Age and experience: How much do they matter when it comes to positions of power and...
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Building Castles in the air: Visionary Leadership

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 10:46 AM

(Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany [photo by Softeis])

It's hard to read Henry David Thoreau these days -- almost 150 years after his death -- and not think, "How quaint! How clichéd!"

It's equally hard to remember that Thoreau's insights weren't considered clichés when he wrote...

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Education Insiders: No Lasting Impact of "Waiting for 'Superman' "

(12) Comments | Posted October 19, 2010 | 1:18 AM

In a segment called "Waiting for Superman: Fact or Fiction?" on the BAM! Radio Network, education historian Diane Ravitch and four members of the media (including yours truly) discussed Davis Guggenheim's latest documentary, Waiting for 'Superman'.

Our host, Errol St. Clair Smith, wanted to...

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Newsflash: We Need Fewer, Not More, College Grads?

(6) Comments | Posted October 15, 2010 | 4:12 PM

One surefire way to get people's attention is to say the exact opposite of what everyone else is saying -- to claim that conventional wisdom is wrong.

And sometimes, of course, conventional wisdom is wrong. This was one of the themes of Freakonomics, the hugely popular book by Stephen Dubner...

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