Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein, a former associate editor and writer at the Prospect and The Daily Beast, is a Spencer Fellow in education reporting at Columbia University. Her work on politics, women’s issues, and education has appeared in BusinessWeek, Slate, The New Republic, and The Nation.

Recent Articles

WHO'S PREPARED FOR COLLEGE?

WHO'S PREPARED FOR COLLEGE? J. asks a good question about my comparison between French and American high schools. Do the French prepare fewer kids for college, and is that why their bac exam is more challenging and predictive of educational success? Here's the answer: About half of French high school students , or 600,000 people, sit for the bac annually, and 70 percent earn a passing grade. In the American high school class of 2005 , 1.2 million students took the ACT and 1.5 million took the SAT of about 2.7 million total high school graduates. So virtually every high school graduate endures one of these exams at least once. And 68 percent of American students complete at least the suggested four years of English and three each of social studies, science, and math to prepare for college. What this all boils down to is that yes, a larger percentage of American students are "preparing for college." But that preparation is much less stringent and leaves only 25 percent of us fully...

COLOR ME UNPREPARED.

COLOR ME UNPREPARED. The poor state of our nation's high schools in the era of No Child Left Behind is almost overwhelming. A new report from ACT, the college-prep testing service that administers the popular alternative to the SAT, finds that even when students take the federally recommended college preparatory curriculum of four years of English and three years each of social studies, science, and math, only 25 percent of them are truly prepared for the higher order reading, writing, quantitative, and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in college. As The New York Times reports in an article on the study: Kati Haycock, director of the Education Trust, another Washington-based group that advocates standard-setting, said that as she traveled around the country, she found many schools not offering challenging work. "When you look at the assignments these kids get, it is just appalling," she said. "A course may be labeled college-preparatory English. But if the kids get more than...

BLOGGING LIKE GRAFFITI?

BLOGGING LIKE GRAFFITI? Apropos of discussions about old-style journalists' "delicacy" when faced with criticisms from the blogosphere, comes this curious analogy in Lauren Collins ' riveting New Yorker article on Banksy , the elusive (and rather progressive !) British graffiti artist: The graffitist's impulse is akin to a blogger's: write some stuff, quickly, which people may or may not read. Both mediums demand wit and nimbleness. They arouse many of the same fears about the lowering of the public discourse and the taking of undeserved liberties. This accurately reflects the fears I've heard again and again from print journalists. But notwithstanding the alacrity both mediums require, the characterization doesn't seem quite right. I'm as nonplussed by graffiti as the next kid born in the 1980s, but it remains the case that according to the letter of the law, graffiti artists are vandalizing public and private property. Bloggers, on the other hand, don't take up any space intended...

ABORTION AND DISABILITY.

ABORTION AND DISABILITY. We are facing two scary pushes from the extreme right in terms of reproductive freedom. First, as reflected in the Supreme Court's Carhart decision two weeks ago, there's a new willingness to stop short of protecting women's health and allow certain abortion procedures only in the extreme situation of a woman's life being at risk. This standard would allow states to outlaw abortions in cases (like this Irish example) in which the fetus is not viable outside the womb, forcing women to carry deeply traumatic pregnancies to term. The second push, as Sarah reported on so thoroughly here , are "informed consent" laws like the one in South Dakota, which force women to hear ideologically-compromised statements on fetal pain, the sanctity of the mother-child bond, or adoption before allowing them to exercise their right to choose. In light of these trends, the New York Times story today on the efforts of parents with Down syndrome children to dissuade others from...

MAYDAY.

MAYDAY. I just returned from Taft Park outside the U.S. Capitol, where several hundred protesters gathered to support progressive immigration reform. Although mobilizations took place nationwide today , the D.C. event focused on the Asian and Pacific Islander community and featured boisterous traditional Korean drumming in addition to the rallying cries that resonated during nationwide street protests last year: "Families united!" and "Si, se puede!" ("Together we can!"). Most immediately, activists are pressing Congress to pass the DREAM and STRIVE acts, which together would give over 12 million undocumented immigrants a path toward permanent residency and citizenship. DREAM would help 65,000 undocumented high school students fund their college educations by making them eligible for loans, scholarships, and in-state tuition at public colleges. STRIVE is a broad response to President Bush's immigration proposal. Instead of creating an underclass of "guest workers" with no hope for...

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