Does the “school cliff” matter more than the fiscal cliff?

For all the yammering about the fiscal cliff, another cliff might present a more perilous danger — what the folks at Gallup call the “school cliff.” Never heard of that one? Take a look at chart below — and you’ll grok it immediately. As this Gallup blog post explains: “[Our] research strongly suggests that the longer […]

Friday on Office Hours: Why do some kids succeed and others fail?

That’s the question at the center of a fascinating new book by New York Times Magazine and This American Life contributor Paul Tough. It’s called How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character (Buy it at Amazon,, or IndieBound). And Tough will be talking about it, and taking your questions, on […]

This might be the best 11 minutes you’ll spend today.

Seth flags this short film about this amazing project. Watch it. Seriously. P.S. Seth also has some interesting thoughts on what this film tells us about the book industry.

How to predict a student’s SAT score: Look at the parents’ tax return

This weekend, triggered by a few readers who disagreed with my assertion that socioeconomic status is a huge driver of educational attainment and performance, I decided to respond the way any nerd would in my situation: I made a chart. In a moment of Excel fervor, I took data from the College Board’s 2011 Total […]

Eight brief points about “merit pay” for teachers

In today’s Washington Post is another story about “merit pay” for teachers. But this one, by national education correspondent Lyndsey Layton, spends some space on my own thoughts on the topic. For those new to the issue, or coming to the Pink Blog from Tweets about the article, let me summarize my views as succinctly as […]

Warning: 1 in 5 teenagers will experiment with art

The College for Creative Studies, the excellent art and design school in Detroit, has launched one of the smartest ad campaigns I’ve seen this year. The objective: Get students (and parents) to consider a BFA or MFA. The technique: The posters you see below.

The future of education . . . 100 years ago

The intrepid Maria Popova — BTW, if you’re not subscribing to her newsletter or following her on Twitter, you should — points to a really interesting item in How to Be a Retronaut. The Retronaut blog, which collects artifacts from the past to help us understand the present, unearthed an article from Ladies Home Journal […]

Why do we care about some things and not others?

Joe F. is a high school teacher in New York who emailed recently with a pair of interesting questions. In fact, they were so intriguing that I asked Joe if I could present them to Pink Blog readers for their responses. Here is Joe’s explanation, followed by his questions: Our school holds an annual holiday […]

What your business can learn from a 6th grade classroom

Josh Stumpenhorst, a teacher in the suburbs of Chicago, wrote to share his experience trying implement a FedEx Day, one of the stickiest ideas in the Motivation 3.0 repertoire, in his 6th grade classroom. He dubbed it Innovation Day 2011 and has a great description at his blog, Stump the Teacher. But I wanted to highlight some […]

Does giving teachers bonuses improve student performance?

One of the hottest ideas in education policy these days is tying teacher pay to student performance on standardized tests. The theory is that offering up cash bonuses will prompt unmotivated and unaccountable teachers to get their acts together and do better by our kids. The first comprehensive study of this approach, from the Nashville public […]

Sign up and get Dan's newsletter



Each Issue Features:

3 things that have caught Dan’s attention recently: Books, movies, ideas, tools, quotations, etc.

A Pinkcast: Dan’s popular 90-second videos that offers tips for working smarter and living better.