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What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?

What if the Secret to Success Is Failure?
Photo Dominic Randolph can seem a little out of place at Riverdale Country School — which is odd, because he’s the headmaster. Riverdale is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, with a 104-year-old campus that looks down grandly on Van Cortlandt Park from the top of a steep hill in the richest part of the Bronx. On the discussion boards of, worked-up moms from the Upper East Side argue over whether Riverdale sends enough seniors to Harvard, Yale and Princeton to be considered truly “TT” (top-tier, in UrbanBabyese), or whether it is more accurately labeled “2T” (second-tier), but it is, certainly, part of the city’s private-school elite, a place members of the establishment send their kids to learn to be members of the establishment. Randolph, by contrast, comes across as an iconoclast, a disrupter, even a bit of an eccentric. Levin had believed in the importance of character since KIPP’s inception. For Levin, the next step was clear.

Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail - Jessica Lahey A new study explores what happens to students who aren't allowed to suffer through setbacks. Matthew Benoit/Shutterstock Thirteen years ago, when I was a relatively new teacher, stumbling around my classroom on wobbly legs, I had to call a student's mother to inform her that I would be initiating disciplinary proceedings against her daughter for plagiarism, and that furthermore, her daughter would receive a zero for the plagiarized paper. "You can't do that. She didn't do anything wrong," the mother informed me, enraged. "But she did. "No, I mean she didn't do it. I don't remember what I said in response, but I'm fairly confident I had to take a moment to digest what I had just heard. In the end, my student received a zero and I made sure she re-wrote the paper. While I am not sure what the mother gained from the experience, the daughter gained an understanding of consequences, and I gained a war story. I'm done fantasizing about ways to make that mom from 13 years ago see the light.

Study Shows How Classroom Design Affects Student Learning As debate over education reform sizzles, and as teachers valiantly continue trying to do more with less, a new study suggests that it might be worth diverting at least a little attention from what’s going on in classrooms to how those spaces are being designed. The paper, published in the journal Building and the Environment, found that classroom design could be attributed to a 25% impact, positive or negative, on a student’s progress over the course of an academic year. The difference between the best- and worst-designed classrooms covered in the study? A full year’s worth of academic progress. The study was conducted over the 2011–12 academic year, with 751 students in 34 classrooms, spread across seven primary schools in the seaside town of Blackpool, England. So what did they find? Read more here. [Hat tip: Wired] [Image: Brain and Board via Shutterstock]

With Growth Of 'Hacker Scouting,' More Kids Learn To Tinker hide captionKids build robots with Popsicle sticks at an Oakland meeting of Hacker Scouts, a group that encourages young people to create do-it-yourself crafts and electronics. Jon Kalish for NPR Kids build robots with Popsicle sticks at an Oakland meeting of Hacker Scouts, a group that encourages young people to create do-it-yourself crafts and electronics. Countless kids have grown up with the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts or Campfire Girls, but for some families, the uniforms and outdoor focus of traditional Scouting groups don't appeal. In recent months, Scoutlike groups that concentrate on technology and do-it-yourself projects have been sprouting up around the country. Ace Monster Toys is a hacker space in Oakland, Calif., where members share high-tech tools. The kids in Hacker Scouts are not breaking into computer networks. On this warm fall day, Alicia Davis, 10, is wearing a wool hat she knit herself. "I've been sewing on little felt pieces with this," Davis explains.