Cal State University to cut enrollment, faculty, staff and more — from The L.A. Times by Carla Rivera
Facing an 18% cut in state funding, Cal State plans to reduce enrollment by 10,000, cut $11 million from the chancellor’s office and shrink campus funding by $281 million. No tuition hikes are planned, chancellor says.

Also see:

Christensen on disruptive innovation in higher education — from Lloyd Armstrong, University Professor and Provost Emeritus at the University of Southern California

Although the absence of an upwardly scalable technology driver has rendered higher education impossible to disrupt in its past, we believe that online learning constitutes such a technology driver and will indeed be capable of disruptively carrying the business model of low-cost universities up-market.

Furniture to enhance learning spaces — from Gareth Long [UK]




Also see the following information from

Many, many people have helped us coalesce the ideas that have informed The Third Teacher project. We want to acknowledge as many of them as we can.

General education Information:
The National Center for Education Statistics is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.
GOOD Sheet No. 005: Reform School. This is one of Good Magazine’s “fact sheets,” focusing on education design.
This site is a national initiative of the American Architectural Foundation to improve the quality of America’s schools and the communities they serve by promoting collaboration, excellence, and innovation in school design.
The Council of Educational Facility Planners International’s mission is to improve places where children learn.
This site highlights examples and case studies of excellent K-12 school design collected by Architectural Record magazine.
The British Council for School Environments is a membership organization made up of schools, local authorities, construction companies, architects, and all those involved in designing excellent learning environments. It acts as a forum for exchange, dialogue and advocacy.
Created by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF) provides information on planning, designing, funding, building, improving, and maintaining safe, healthy, high performance schools.
The School Design Research Studio at the University of Wisconsin-Madison seeks to advance the knowledge of effective physical environments for learning by promoting collaborative design and cooperative research.
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment is the government’s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space, providing guidance to architects, planners, designers, developers and clients.
The OECD Programme on Educational Building (PEB) promotes the exchange and analysis of policy, research and experience in all matters related to educational building.
This site is a facilitator of ideas and resources about best practices and innovation in schools from early childhood through the university level.
This British schools design initiative offers an evolving resource of case studies of progressive practices, touching on all aspects of school design, as well as listings of literature, seminars and conferences. (in German)
This German foundation supports pedagogical architecture. (in German)
This is a German NGO of reform oriented educators.
Curriki is an online environment created to support the development and free distribution of world-class educational materials to anyone who needs them.
The Open Architecture Network is an online, open source community dedicated to improving living conditions through innovative and sustainable design.
Gareth Long, a freelance education consultant with major experience in the UK and Cayman Islands, writes a blog that tracks his life, thoughts and work.
Stephen Heppell is a technology guru and professor who continues to be influential in government ICT policymaking on a global scale. His interactive blog tracks his life and musings in writing, photos, video and new media.

Resources by Chapter:

Basic Needs:
This is a glossary and resource for creating healthy schools.
The Greenguard Certification Program is an industry-independent, third-party testing program for low-emitting products and materials. Contains an online list whose products have met indoor air quality standards.
This site advocates for policies and practices that allow all students, teachers and staff to learn and work in a healthy school environment.
This is an alliance of non-profit organizations working to create better learning environments in schools by reducing noise.

Minds at Work:
The National Institute for Play unlocks the human potential through play in all stages of life using science to discover all that play has to teach us about transforming our world.
The Arts Education Partnership is a national coalition of arts, education, business, philanthropic and government organizations that demonstrate and promote the essential role of the arts in the learning and development of every child and in the improvement of America’s schools.

Bodies in Motion:
Ergonomics for Children and Educational Environments provides a forum for the international exchange of scientific and technical ergonomics information related to children and educational environments.
The Cornell University Ergonomics Web presents information from the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University. Contains computer-use guidelines for children of America’s schools.

Community Connections:
This is a family of seven nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping students, ages 6–18, with expository and creative writing.
Committed to helping neighbors build communities, LISC’s national child care program is developing a series of “how-to” guides to assist organizations that are planning to renovate, construct or improve their early childhood facilities, including outdoor playgrounds.
Kaboom rallies communities to achieve better public policy, funding and public awareness for increased play opportunities nationwide; provides resources, and publications for communities that wish to plan a new playspace on their own.

Sustainable Schools:
Sponsored by the International Energy Agency, the
objective of Annex 36 is to provide tools and guidelines for energy-efficient retrofitting for decision-makers and designers to improve the learning and teaching environment of educational buildings in countries around the world.
The website of the U.S. Green Building Council assists in the creation of environmentally conscious school buildings by providing facts on the benefits of green schools, project profiles, news, videos, and guidance publications.
The Collaborative for High Performance Schools facilitates the design, construction and operation of high performance schools?—?environments that are not only energy and resource efficient, but also healthy, comfortable, well lit, and contain the amenities for a quality education.

Realm of the Senses:
An initiative of the National Gardening Association, this site provides a wide range of K-12 plant-based educational materials and programs.

Learning for All:
This site contains information that guides parents, advocates, communities, play environment designers and equipment manufacturers in their efforts to create inclusive play environments for all children.
This site supports educators and students in their teaching and study of universal design by offering instructional materials, essays on universal design, and a bibliography and links.
A nonprofit research and development organization, CAST works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals, especially those with disabilities, through Universal Design for Learning.

Rewired Learning:
The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s website and magazine spreads the word about ideal, interactive learning environments and enables others to adapt these successes locally. This site also contains an archive of continually updated best practices.
Futurelab transforms the way people learn through innovative technology and practice, and develops the resources and practices that support new approaches to learning for the 21st century.
The MacArthur Foundation launched this initiative to help determine how digital technologies are changing the way young people learn, play, socialize, and participate in civic life. The website shares emerging research, blogs, awards.
An observatory for Information and Communication Technology in school education, Insight is designed to support decision-makers in education at national, regional or local levels to develop effective strategies for e-learning.


e² design
e² design is an ongoing PBS series about the pioneers and innovators in the field of sustainable architecture, and how their work is producing solutions to pressing environmental and social challenges.

Sowing the Seeds for a More Creative Society
In a video of a lecture in which MIT Media Lab professor, Mitchel Resnick describes how computers and technology should not be used merely to impart information, but to engage kids to design, create and invent. His work explores how new technologies can help people (especially children) learn new things in new ways.

TED: Ideas Worth Spreading

See Ken Robinson > Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.
See Ann Cooper > Ann Cooper talks about the coming revolution in the way kids eat at school — local, sustainable, seasonal and even educational food.
See David Eggers > Dave Eggers asks the TED community to personally, creatively engage with local public schools. With spellbinding eagerness, he talks about how his 826 Valencia tutoring center inspired the opening of others around the world.

From DSC:
On February 24th, I saw this piece at — > USA Inc.: Mary Meeker’s Deep Dive Into The Federal Budget


“By the standards of any public corporation, USA Inc.’s financials are discouraging,” she writes in an introduction to the report. “True, USA Inc. has many fundamental strengths. On an operating basis (excluding Medicare and Medicaid spending and one-time charges, the federal government’s profit and loss statement is solid, with a 4% median net margin over the last 15 years. But cash flow is deep in the red (by almost $1.3 trillion last year, or ~$11,000 per household) and USA Inc.’s net worth is negative and deteriorating. That net worth figure includes the present value of unfunded entitlement liabilities but not hard-to-value assets such as natural resources, the power to tax or mint currency, or what Treasury calls ‘heritage’ or ’stewardship assets’ like National Parks. Nevertheless, the trends are clear, and critical warning signs are evident in nearly every data point we examine.

She points out that Congressional Budget Office data suggests that by 2025 all of the government’s income will go to entitlement spending and interest payments, leaving nothing for any other expenditures.

From DSC:
The day before, I had seen a video mentioned on TV.  From the mentioned URL, I checked the majority of it out. It made me ask, “Is this for real!!!???”

Most likely it is just a sales pitch. But the underlying concept of the growing national U.S. debt is not a joke — and, if not reversed, could have a serious affect on global economies.

As I don’t know, I’m seeking input/feedback from any and all economists out there! If what he is saying is even remotely true, the financial aftershocks will be felt throughout the world. Below are my reflections/questions on that potentially-very-important topic/perspective.


I’m not sure what I think about a video that I ran across the other day. I’m referring to a video done by Porter Stansbury, founder of Stansberry & Associates Investment Research. I saw the URL posted on a cable TV station, referencing a URL/video at:


End of America 2011 Video

While I’m not big on the latter part of the video/piece where he pitches some potential investing solutions and reports, (and, NOTE: I do not mean to endorse any strategy he may be talking about nor is this posting meant to get into investment strategies or advice!)

I studied Economics at Northwestern years ago and several things this gentleman says in this video seemed within reason/feasible. Also, I have heard a variety of economists (here in the United States) through the years voicing their concerns about the enormity of the growing level of federal debt and the amount of our debt being owned by other countries.

(As an aside, people don’t like to hear bad news and we don’t vote the rare politicians into office who actually stand up and tell us what we really need to do to fix whatever mess we were/are in. I’ve noticed that in the world of higher education, many don’t like to hear news of the disruptions already underway either.)

Spiritually speaking, America has pushed the LORD out of the public square for so long, that it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see our nation continue its steep and rapid decline. Throughout history, nations have come and gone…risen and fallen…why should we be any different?  (Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…Psalm 33:12 — and conversely…)

By way of a quick piece of research I did — this page on their website claims that the total outstanding debt of the U.S. Federal government is $14.131 trillion — which appears to be true:

Watch out!


  • Is this presentation for real? Are the facts and figures accurate?
  • Could these things occur? Are there grounds to his assertions/predictions? 
  • Have these things happened to nations in the past? If so, under what conditions?
  • Would some macroeconomics professor or an international business class review this video and get to the bottom of his arguments and assertions?!?

It’s very real world and students could work to try and pick apart the various arguments/assertions/implications mentioned therein. Prove if this is a scam or not.

Your thoughts on this anyone?

New, network-based currencies -- from futurist Gerd Leonhard --2011
3/11/11 addendum:
Also see Is America a Nation in Decline? — from

State Higher Education Finance FY 2010 (USA)


States and the nation as a whole face challenging higher education financing and policy decisions. The pattern during the past three decades includes cyclical downturns in per student funding resulting from economic recessions, followed by recovery and growth. State and local revenue for higher education per student has declined and then recovered, often exceeding previous levels.

The SHEF studies for 2006, 2007, and 2008 indicate a three-year increase in state and local support for public higher education relative to inflation and student demand, following a period of declining public investment in higher education between 2001 and 2005. The three-year recovery abruptly ended when, in 2008, the nation suffered the worst recession since the Great Depression. Past experience and current indicators suggest that state revenue will recover slowly in the next few years. Despite the success of ARRA funding in cushioning the recession’s impact, the continuing fiscal crisis beginning in 2008 clearly poses a severe threat to the strength of higher education in the United States.

Such recurring budgeting cycles can be challenging and discouraging. The resiliency of state support for higher education, however, suggests its importance to our future is widely recognized. But there is no question that the fiscal challenges facing the nation will require both creativity and commitment from policymakers and educators. The data and analysis of this and future SHEF reports are intended to help higher education leaders and state policymakers focus on how discrete, year-to-year decisions fit into broader patterns of change over time, and how each step contributes—or not—to meeting longer-term objectives.

Leaders Call for Shared Curriculum Guidelines — from by Catherine Gewertz
Diverse group says framework needed for new common standards

Seventy-five respected leaders in education, business, and government issued a call this week to devise shared curriculum guidelines for the new common standards.

The move is notable for finding common ground on a sensitive topic among an ideologically diverse group of thinkers. Signatories include political liberals and conservatives, and those with varying views on controversial education issues such as charter schools, testing policy, and ways to evaluate and compensate teachers.

From the “A Call for Common Content” webpage:
To be clear, by “curriculum” we mean a coherent, sequential set of guidelines in the core academic disciplines, specifying the content knowledge and skills that all students are expected to learn, over time, in a thoughtful progression across the grades. We do not mean performance standards, textbook offerings, daily lesson plans, or rigid pedagogical prescriptions.

From DSC:
This concerns me…
as such a call for common content would be more palatable to me if ALL academic disciplines were available and represented equally not just STEM-related items. Also, does the common content represent the average citizen? (Come to think of it, who/what is the average citizen and what do they want to pursue?)
I think that we need to move more towards an individualized/customized learning approach, where students can pursue their passions and God-given gifts. With dropout rates approaching 30%, is movement towards a common curriculum a step in the right direction? Will such a strategy decrease or increase the drop out rates? Will such a strategy end up creating a vanilla/cookie-cutter approach to K-12 education where you had better like STEM-related topics or else…oh well…better luck next time?
Your thoughts on this? Am I off-base on this?


  • 40 million American adults did not complete high school.
  • The high school graduate, on average, earns $500,000 more in a lifetime as compared to an individual who did not complete high school.
  • Most high school dropouts (70%) have the intellectual ability to complete the courses needed for high school graduation.
  • Most high school dropouts do not feel a connection between high school courses and future employment.
  • 75% of high school dropouts stated that if they could relive the experience, they would have stayed in high school.
  • 81% of dropouts expressed a need for schooling that connected academics and employment.
Addendum on 3/23/11:
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Helping your child develop a growing relationship with Christ — from by Dennis and Barbara Rainey
These six spiritual disciplines helped our children on their spiritual journeys.

From DSC:
In the world of K-12 education, it seems that we end up putting a lot of responsibility for “success,” growth, and performance on the teachers and on the school districts themselves. But what about the parents? What about the families (or lack thereof) that do or do not value education? Aren’t they part of the answer/equation?

Along these lines, I appreciate the work of those organizations who are trying to support and build families up around the world; to keep marriages and families from declining even further (esp. true in the U.S.).  One of these organizations is Family Life, where I appreciate the work of Dennis and Barbara Rainey as well as the work of Bob Lepine. Though I don’t always agree with everything they say, I love their intent, what they are trying to do, and the tools that they create and/or provide for families.

I do not post this to point fingers at people or to be “holier-than-thou”. I post it in the hopes that someone out there will benefit from the wisdom that comes from the Word. That families, marriages and childrens’ futures will be built up, not further destroyed. I appreciate the work of these types of organizations.

Also see:



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(CA) A Season for Turnaround — from Conditions of Education in California by Alan Daly
…the federal government offers four ‘turnaround’ models:

  • Turnaround:
    The Local Education Agency (LEA) replaces the principal and rehires no more than 50% of the staff; gives the principal greater autonomy; and implements other prescribed and recommended strategies.
  • Restart:
    The LEA converts or closes and reopens a school under a charter school operator, charter management organization, or education management organization.
  • School closure:
    The LEA closes the school and enrolls the students in other schools in the LEA that are higher achieving.
  • Transformation:
    The LEA replaces the principal; implements rigorous staff evaluation and development; institutes comprehensive instructional reform; increases learning time; and provides greater operational flexibility and support of the school.

In California the ‘transformation’ model is the one most frequently chosen.

(NY) Layoffs would hit some schools much harder — from WSJ

(MI) Michigan orders DPS to make huge cuts – Detroit News
Bobb told to consolidate services, close half of schools to end deficit



Mend It, Don’t End It —

Ambient Insight Reports Resilient US eLearning Market

U.S. self-paced e-Learning revenues reached $18.2 Million in 2010 — from Ambient Insight Reports by Tyson Greer, Chief Executive Officer

Seattle, WA – January 20, 2010 – The US market for self-paced e-Learning will grow to $24.2 billion by 2015 according to a new report by Ambient Insight called, “The US Market for Self-paced eLearning Products and Services: 2010-2015 Forecast and Analysis.”

This report forecasts five-year online learning expenditures by eight buyer segments: consumer, corporate, federal government, state and local government, PreK-12 academic, higher education, non-profits and associations, and healthcare.

The five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) growth rate for Self-paced eLearning across all eight of the buyer segments is 5.9%, but growth is much higher in particular segments. For example, growth rates in the PreK-12, healthcare, and association segments are 16.8%, 16.3%, and 14.3%, respectively.

For mobile learning:

The US Market for Mobile Learning Products and Services: 2009-2014 Forecast and Analysis
The US market for Mobile Learning products and services reached $632.2 million in 2009. The demand is growing by a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.3% and revenues will reach $1.4 billion by 2014.

From DSC:
A global push continues to be evident in some of the things that Pearson has been up to in the last year:

Half of Detroit’s schools may close — from

Financial mismanagement and declining enrollment are ringing a death knell for Detroit’s schools. According to Detroit Public School Emergency Manager Robert Bobb, to close a $327 million budget deficit, he’ll need to shut half of the city’s campuses over the next two years.

Under the plan, the 142 current schools in the district would be reduced to 72 by the 2012-13 school year. What will happen to the students attending those schools? Bobb plans to shift them over to the remaining campuses, raising class sizes to 62 students per teacher.

From DSC:
Seriously…this is crazy and completely unfair! Those of us who have more resources need to step in and help out. But how can we best do this? How can folks outside of the Detroit area make a solid, helpful impact? Coming from the tech side of the house, I’d like to see us offer FREE materials…online.

That assistance could come from private corporations, individuals, colleges, universities or for-profit organizations such as K12 Inc.  Another idea along the lines of individuals, is to allocate $1-$5 billion from the amounts being donated by some of the nation’s wealthiest people. Use those funds to make outstanding educational materials that engage our youth. Then we could offer those incredibly-well done, multimedia-based, interactive, engaging, highly-sophisticated materials FREELY to anyone who wants access to them — whether inside or outside the United States. This would be a massive undertaking from a curricular, instructional design, programming, production, etc. standpoint. But WOW! What a difference it could make to level the playing field!

Perhaps working with vendors, some of the funding could be used for loaning out the devices needed to “play” and interact with the materials, and perhaps some other funding could be allocated to the city of Detroit to provide wireless access throughout the city and surrounding suburbs.

Also see:

The $600 billion challenge– from Fortune

Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett are asking the nation’s billionaires to pledge to give at least half their net worth to charity, in their lifetimes or at death. If their campaign succeeds, it could change the face of philanthropy.

The Giving Pledge

…and the list goes on…

One from DSC:

What goes up...must come down -- by Daniel S. Christian

A perfect storm has been building within higher education. Numerous, powerful forces have been converging that either already are or soon will be impacting the way higher education is offered and experienced. This paper focuses on one of those forces – the increasing price tag of obtaining a degree within higher education.  It will seek to show that what goes up…must come down.  Some less expensive alternatives are already here today; but the most significant changes and market “corrections” appear to be right around the corner. That is, higher education is a bubble about to burst.

One from CNBC:

Price of Admission: America's College Debt Crisis

— from CNBC on Monday, January 3, 2011

Also see:

From DSC:
Disclosure: I work for Calvin College. However, I publish the above items in the hopes that those of us at Calvin and within higher education as a whole will choose to innovate — that we will think outside the box in order to greatly lower the cost of providing a degree within higher education. It would be very helpful to future students, families, communities, nations.

No matter how you look at it, pain — but also opportunities — are ahead. Change will not be easy, nor will it be comfortable.  It will most likely be very scary and very tough. At least for me, this posting and the topic it discusses evokes major soul and heart searching for me. Nevertheless, the questions remain:

  • What changes do we need to make so that institutions of higher education can become more affordable? Stay relevant? Be sustainable over time?
  • What should we put in place of the current “status quo”?
  • Who receives the pain? Who enjoys the opportunities?

Also see:

Addendum on 1-19-11:

Student Loan Docume -- videos on Vimeo

Addendum on 1/22/10:
The Bubble: Higher Education’s Precarious Hold on Consumer Confidence — from National Association of Scholars

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