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Stories by Matt Weber

By Matt Weber, Jill Anderson 06/20/2018 3:18 PM EDT
Minnijean Brown-Trickey
As far as it may seem that we have come regarding race and equity in America, there is still so much more to be done, says Minnijean Brown-Trickey. As one of the nine African American teenagers who became known as the “Little Rock Nine” when the city attempted to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957, Brown-Trickey faced extreme opposition and harassment — issues of race relations that continue to exist across the United States today. “We shouldn’t have to be dealing with this 60 years later,” she says. “Little Rock should be a story about a distant past we are not dealing with...
By Matt Weber 05/09/2018 12:28 PM EDT
Escuela Nueva
What can be done when a system of schooling is failing? You have to rethink everything and start from the beginning, says Vicky Colbert, executive director of the Escuela Nueva Foundation and former vice-minister of education in Colombia. And that is exactly what Colbert and her colleagues did in the 1970s when they recognized that rural schools in the country were faltering due to a lack of understanding around the unique challenges that their students faced. “Needs are the mother of innovation," says Colbert. "So when you have so many problems and so many difficulties with these invisible...
By Matt Weber 04/12/2018 10:59 AM EDT
C.J. Anderson
Giving back to the community has always been of the utmost importance to NFL star C.J. Anderson, and helping the children in his hometown of Vallejo, California is his top priority. Last year he launched the Dreams Never Die Foundation in Vallejo with the objective of providing the youth of the city with the resources needed to reach their maximum potential — whether in academics, athletics, or both. "Being from the inner city, you do not have a lot of resources and opportunities to pursue schools like Harvard or UC–Berkeley, where I graduated from," says Anderson, who hopes he can be an...
By Matt Weber 04/05/2018 11:00 AM EDT
Financial Literacy
Financial literacy is arguably one of the most important skills one can learn, but people do not always have the access — whether due to socioeconomic, geographic, or other reasons — to the tools needed to learn them. Angel Rich, founder and CEO of the Wealth Factory, has made it a priority to address this issue, which she says is greater than most imagine. "Financial illiteracy is all around us," says Rich. "I would say that [it] is a national crisis and should be addressed." With Wealth Factory, Rich aims to create greater access to tools that help people — regardless of race, gender, or...
By Matt Weber 03/22/2018 10:57 AM EDT
Computational Thinking
As technology advances, so must the ways in which we are taught to interact with it. And these new skills should be taught in schools, says computer scientist and physicist Stephen Wolfram, chief designer of Mathematica, the Wolfram Alpha answer engine, and the Wolfram Language. “At any moment in history there is certain amount of knowledge that is worth teaching ... and there is another part of knowledge that should be automated,” says Wolfram. Many skills that used to be taught — writing with quill pens or using typewriters, for instance — are not anymore, because these skills have been "...
By Matt Weber 03/15/2018 2:52 PM EDT
Growth Mindset
Over the course of her career, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has been fascinated by how some children accept their failures and others feel defeated by them. It became clear to her and her research partners that the difference was in the mindset. If a child understood that they had the capacity to learn and do better next time (growth mindset), then they were able to move on from the failure. If a child felt that they had performed to the best of their ability and could learn no more (fixed mindset) — and still did not do well — then the failure dragged them down. Dweck's research, which...
By Matt Weber 03/07/2018 3:46 PM EST
Making Caring Common
It is clear that we are living in tumultuous times. Our democracy seems fragile, says Senior Lecturer Richard Weissbourd, and, as a society, we are becoming fractured. With adults seemingly unwilling to have the conversations necessary to strengthen our democracy, it has become increasingly important to reach the children. "We feel we have to prepare young people to be constructive citizens who can mend those divides,” says Weissbourd, faculty director of Making Caring Common (MCC). “How do we prepare young people to become caring, ethical citizens who can do better than we did?” In an effort...
By Matt Weber 02/22/2018 10:58 AM EST
Community College
Community colleges are the "backbone of the higher education system," says Professor Bridget Terry Long, an educator and economist, whose work focuses on the transition from high school to higher education and beyond. Over 42 percent of college students — including many students of color, older students, and people seeking continuing education — attend community colleges in the United States, says Long, and many of that number experience challenges in paying their tuition. Programs such as the Obama administration's American College Promise, which offers two years of free tuition to...
By Matt Weber 02/14/2018 2:40 PM EST
Dr. Ruth
What is the key to successful interpersonal relationships? The answer to that is clear, says famed therapist and sex educator Dr. Ruth Westheimer. "Respect is not debatable," she says. And, that respect needs to extend into every aspect of a relationship, including sex, something that Westheimer does not take lightly. Everyone should strive to be sexually literate and be taught to constantly nourish their relationships, both sexually and otherwise, she says. Westheimer is concerned, however, about some young people's focus on casual sex. "I do believe in the importance of relationships," she...
By Matt Weber, Sarah Dryden-Peterson 02/07/2018 2:51 PM EST
Elmo and Sarah Dryden-Peterson
It could be argued that nobody is more universally beloved by young children than loveable, furry monster Elmo. And that love extends way beyond Sesame Street, which was evident on Elmo's recent trip to Jordan to visit with Syrian refugees. "We got to visit a school, and read books, and meet lots of new friends!" says Elmo. And Elmo's new friends were equally thrilled to meet him. "There was nothing better than seeing children light up when they met Elmo," says Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, who accompanied Elmo on the trip....

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