The Schoolyard (group blog)

Whether in big cities or tiny villages, 21st-century education is education in transition.  Our bloggers are exploring a range of educational issues affecting students, teachers, schools, and communities.

#weareallumass: The Power of Collaborative Journalism

(This post was originally composed and published on 3/12/15 on

Just last month I watched a news story move from individual posts on my facebook news feed to the trending topic on my sidebar all in a matter of a week.

On February 1st, 2015, the University of Massachusetts began barring admission of Iranian national students entering into energy-related programs in the engineering and science departments. The University claimed in a press release that this decision was in response to a 2012 law, which was to refuse Iranian citizens United States visas if they intended to study nuclear or energy related fields. UMass said that, “administrators ‘recognize’ the ‘difficulties’ the policy creates for students from Iran as ‘unfortunate’ and in ‘conflict with institutional values and principles.’” (cite) The school sent out notices to students about their decision telling them, essentially, the “law made them do it.” (Click to see Umass’ text memo they published on Feb. 6th) Clearly, this sentiment was not agreed with by the students, some of whom had degrees that were suddenly placed in jeopardy. Soon, several reports came out claiming that the federal law that had been blamed in fact did not force the administration to enact this policy.

Informal Education at Home: Africatown Seattle

This story on a police incident that took place at a Seattle public school last month came to my attention a few weeks ago. Since then I have been researching the issue more, and trying to get in contact with some of the main players in this story.

UB 20/20's Downtown Campus - A New Perspective

594 source:

pictured: Vision for new medical campus, which will open Fall of 2016


Earlier in the semester, I noticed that I wrote a piece that did not exactly “believe” in what UB’s 20/20 plan had to offer. I love my city and am proud to call myself a Buffalonian; So, I decided I would come back and highlight some positive thoughts and energy I have surrounding the plan, specifically the downtown campus.

How Do International Students Affect Buffalo's University Heights?

SUNY Buffalo has prided themselves for decades on their ability to recruit international students. Because of their efforts, international students today make up 15 percent of the student body, and 5,500 of University Height’s residents are international students. Currently, UB boasts the top spot for recruiting internationally among American public schools.

Ken Robinson: A Must Watch Ted Talk!


Check out this informative (but funny!) Ted Talks video. Sir Ken Robinson discusses where we have gone wrong with our education system. America spends more money on education, has smaller class sizes, and has attempted more initiatives than most other countries. However, emphasis has been put on producing good workers, rather than creative thinkers.

Income Inequality and Public Education in the US: Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog post I briefly outlined just how unequal our country has become. Over the last couple of decades, the rich and superrich have experienced a dramatic increase in income, while the rest of Americans ranging from the poor to the upper-middle class have lagged far behind. What media often fails to cover is how class disparities are impacting our public education system. In August of 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream Speech” in a time where black peers lagged behind their white peers by more than three years. Fifty years later, social class has become the main barrier to a success in the United States.

Knowing About Knowledge

 As I’ve been exploring the topic of informal education over the past couple months, I’ve had to grapple with the term and the topic itself as an underreported subject in general. For some, non-formal education simply means the kind of education that is provided for out-of-school youth who are unable to attend a formal educational institution because of cost or other prohibitive factors. For others, informal or alternative education is viewed as a crucial supplement to traditional schooling.

Where are American Youth Being Educated?

In order to identify the most popular youth development organizations in this country and compare their impact to that of formal education, I created an infographic demonstrating the number of children enrolled in public school, private school, and in six youth organizations in the United States.

Should We "Hack" Schooling?


Check out this awesome TEDx talk on the phenomena of "Hackschooling", made all the more credible (I think) by the fact that this speaker, Logan LaPlante, is a 13 year old who is "hacking" his own education!

Income Inequality and Public Education in the US: Part 1

In part 1 of my coverage on the relationship between income level and public education, I wanted to convey just how unequal our country has become. Although the United States is often considered the richest and most developed nation in the world, many of its citizens lack these achievements that are supposed to be associated with development. According to Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, authors of Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, American income inequality is the highest in the advanced industrial world. “If there were a gold medal for inequality, the United States would win hands down…Standard measures show that the United States more closely resembles a developing country than an advanced country on this measure of economic performance.”