June 22, 2018

The Next Evolution

The Atlantic published two articles this week about intriguing advancements in the science of alcoholism and epigenetics.

Scientists discovered a new way of studying addiction in rats that may yield clues to better understanding and treating alcoholism. Instead of treating every lab rat as identical, scientists are studying the segment of the lab rat population that become addicted to drugs when given the choice between drugs and sugar. Differences in their genes may provide clues to what causes addiction in humans.

The other article, “Can a Parent’s Life Experience Change the Genes a Child Inherits?,” looks at the controversial world of epigenetics research. It is a long but fascinating look at how a parent’s life experiences, such as living through a famine, can impact their children and even grandchildren.

Food for Thought

America’s aging water infrastructure could present an economic opportunity, according to a recent report from Brookings Institute. The report lays out a water workforce playbook, detailing how states can take use aging water infrastructure for workforce development, as water workers tend to earn more than the average U.S. worker and do not require high levels of educational attainment.

brookings water

brookings water 2

Dropping Knowledge

Rand Corporation released a study yesterday of the Gates Foundation’s Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching, a multi-year, $575 million investment in teacher effectiveness in seven district and charter school systems. A few major findings from the six-year evaluation include:

  • “The sites succeeded in implementing measures of effectiveness to evaluate teachers and made use of the measures in a range of human-resource (HR) decisions.”
  • “With minor exceptions, by 2014–2015, student achievement, access to effective teaching, and dropout rates were not dramatically better than they were for similar sites that did not participate in the Intensive Partnerships initiative.”

The Gates Foundation commissioned this report, and now it is showing their efforts to improve student achievement fell short. The 74 Million published an article yesterday summarizing the study for those who do not want to read the 587-page report.

rand corp graphic

 


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