Week Links in Education: May 6

Stories, particularly related to education in the United States, that caught my attention this week.

At an exhibition in Seoul, a university art student ate Maurizio Cattelan’s Comedian, which is a banana.

A car accident derailed her college plans, but Janice Hall returned to finish her degree—at the age of 81. “Of course, there’s still challenges from the stroke,” she said. This fall, she’s going to start on her master’s degree.

About 100 miles away, another Indiana school, Taylor University, fired its writing center director—allegedly because she rejected the provost’s attempt to dictate how she taught a writing course with a racial justice theme. Students and faculty seem upset.

In suburban Portland, a pair of high schoolers named Sam and (naturally) Sherman organized a World War II tank to attend prom in. Sherman “even” got a date to go with him. They were escorted by Darth Vader on a unicycle, playing flaming bagpipes, much like Patton’s Third Army.

In Oklahoma, the state governor vetoed a bill—which passed the legislature with nearly unanimous support—that would have guaranteed the right of Native students to wear Indigenous regalia at graduation ceremonies.

Around the United States, legislatures held by the Republican Party are trying to make it harder for high school and college students to vote.

The U.S. Department of Education reported a decline in American eighth graders’ test scores in U.S. history and (for the first time) civics between 2018 and 2022.

Across Europe, students have occupied 22 schools and universities in the latest wave of climate protests.

The U.S. surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, released an advisory document called “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation,” including a “national strategy to advance social connection.” It noted that young adults have some of America’s highest rates of loneliness, and these rates increased every year from 1976 to at least 2019.

A study published last month found that American elementary and middle school math teachers who believe gender equality has been achieved were more likely to give lower grades to work attributed to girls.

The Supreme Court’s influence scandals now have an education angle: ProPublica has reported that the billionaire Harlan Crow paid the private-school tuition of Justice Clarence Thomas’s grandnephew.

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