Monday, June 15, 2009

Education Directly Connected to Inequality

For anyone who likes academic-level economics, here is an interesting commentary on the connection between educational attainment and economic equality.

From the 1940s to 1970s, economic growth was shared among the classes ("A rising tide lifts all boats.") Since the mid-1970s, the majority of economic growth in the US has rewarded the top 20% of Americans ("The rich get richer.")

Economists Goldin and Katz attribute this difference almost entirely to educational attainment. For a while (post-WWII), there were many more people going to college, driving up supply of college-educated workers and closing the income gap between college and non-college. However, starting in the 1960s, that gap started to grow again. Historically, US children would have more education than their parents. That has become less true in the past 30 years. If we are to increase equality in this country, we need to make education a priority for ALL children.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Use Cheap Modern Electronics to Explore Nature

Here is a fun blog post about using new, inexpensive digital microscopes to make nature more interesting. In the poster's words: "I spent the whole afternoon looking at stuff and taking pictures. Skin cells, fabrics, seeds, and of course, bugs, were just part of the wild menagerie of things I examined." He also links to a YouTube video that he created, showing a mite crawling on an ant.

The device that he is using costs under $100. If you are working with kids who like engineering, one of the commenters provided a link to a Do-It-Yourself page to create a digital microscope for about $25.

Link to "Exploring Your Own Backyard" on BoingBoing