Berkeley in the News Archive

The links to the stories summarized on this page are time sensitive, so stories might no longer be online at that URL. We also include links to the original source publication itself.

Monday, 16 June 2014

1. Op-Ed: For Poor Kids, New Proof That Early Help Is Key
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

Psychology professor Alison Gopnik compares her thoughts -- from 20 years ago to now -- about the value of social policies meant to help very young children. Before, she had thought such policies were a moral good, but she'd thought it would be "really hard, perhaps impossible, to demonstrate the long-term economic benefits of those policies." Today, she says that while she still believes in the moral imperative for such policies, but "I was totally, resoundingly, dramatically wrong about whether one could demonstrate long-term effects." She itemizes some of the findings, including a new study by Berkeley colleague Paul Gertler, of the Haas School of Business, and concludes: "I'm really glad I was so wrong. In the U.S., 20% of children still grow up in poverty. The self-evident moral arguments for helping those children have fueled the movement toward early childhood programs in red Oklahoma and Georgia as well as blue New York and Massachusetts. But the scientific and economic arguments have become just as compelling." Full Story

2. Op-Ed: Taking on Teacher Tenure Backfires
New York Times (*requires registration)

Associate public policy and economics professor Jesse Rothstein writes about a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge's ruling on a teacher tenure lawsuit this week. He says the judge determined that laws protecting teachers from dismissal violate the state’s constitutional commitment to provide “a basically equal opportunity to achieve a quality education.” Rothstein disagrees with the ruling and the parallels the judge drew with earlier cases concerning school desegregation and funding." He says: "[T]here is a difference between recognizing students’ rights to integrated, adequately funded schools and Judge Treu’s conclusion that teacher employment protections are unconstitutional. ... The issue is balance. Few would suggest that too much integration or too much funding hurts disadvantaged students. By contrast, decisions about firing teachers are inherently about trade-offs: It is important to dismiss ineffective teachers, but also to attract and retain effective teachers. ... Attacking tenure as a protection racket for ineffective teachers makes for good headlines. But it does little to close the achievement gap, and risks compounding the problem." Full Story

3. San Francisco leads the way with $15 minimum-wage ballot measure
Los Angeles Times (*requires registration)

Ken Jacobs, chairman of Berkeley's Center for Labor Research and Education, is referenced in an article about minimum wage ballot measures in cities around the county. He says that the campaigns have gained steam as talk of a new wage floor intensifies nationwide. San Francisco's 2003 living-wage measure was followed closely by Santa Fe, N.M., and now 10 municipalities have moved ahead of state and federal minimum wages. Jacobs co-authored a study released Friday that analyzed Oakland's proposed hike. It found that one-quarter of workers — up to 48,000 people — would benefit directly or indirectly, and roughly 56,700 workers would receive paid sick days, while business operating costs would rise by an estimated 0.2% to 0.3% for retail and 2.7% to 2.9% for restaurants. Full Story

4. Wikipedia pops up in bibliographies, and even college curricula
Los Angeles Times

Kevin Gorman, the nation's first "Wikipedian in Residence" at Berkeley, is interviewed in a story about Wikipedia's increasing acceptance in academia. Wikipedia "has essentially become too large to ignore," he says. "It is certainly an initial source of information for a huge number of people. ... For many people, it may be their primary source of information." Gorman guides students who are composing Wiki entries as assignments in Berkeley's American Cultures program. Full Story

5. If Colleges Didn't Waste Your Tuition Dollars, We Wouldn't Need New Student Loan Reform

An article about the student debt crisis cites a study by Berkeley's Debt & Society project, which found that rising higher education spending is in large part driven by factors that may be unrelated to academic quality. The report noted that many schools are spending money on amenities such as student lounges and sports arenas, and that in turn raises the cost of schools' debt. Full Story

6. Letter to the Editor: Social Isolation Damages Children
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

Readers respond to the article "Very Little and Acting Mean" (Personal Journal, May 27) about national efforts to address social isolation among very young children. They cite Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and senior fellow of Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, for saying students who experience repeated social stress related to being left out can be sensitized to stress that leaves them vulnerable and unable to cope with ordinary pressures. Full Story

7. Amyris and Total ready to sell renewable jet fuel
San Francisco Business Times (*requires registration)

Amyris, a Bay Area company started in 2003 by UC Berkeley scientists, is set to being selling a renewable jet fuel with French oil company Total S.A. Full Story

8. Tim Cook, Making Apple His Own
New York Times (*requires registration)

Business professor Kellie McElhaney is quoted in a story about Tim Cook's leadership of Apple after the death of Steve Jobs. Regarding Cook's public emphasis on social issues, she says she “gets nervous” when C.E.O.s talk about doing what is “right” without making a business case. “Right to whom?” she asks, and the article indicates it's a view shared by some Apple investors. Full Story

9. Afghans Vote to Elect New President
Wall Street Journal

Afghan citizens voted on Saturday to elect a new president to replace Hamid Karzai, and a former Berkeley faculty member is in the running. Ashraf Ghani is the former Afghan Minister of Finance, and he has taught at UC Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, and Kabul University. Election results are scheduled to be announced July 2. Full Story

10. 50 years ago, ‘Freedom Summer’ changed South, US
Washington Post

An article about the 50-year anniversary of the summer of 1964, also known as Freedom Summer for its civil rights struggles, mentions Mario Savio's rise as a student leader of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley that year. Full Story

11. Review: 'Classical Style' at Ojai Music Festival draws on wit, wisdom
Los Angeles Times

A review of an opera -- "The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts)" -- commissioned for the Ojai Music Festival includes the following description of one of the scenes: "A sniveling PhD candidate in the music department at UC Berkeley, Henry Snibblesworth, stumbles into the opening scene of 'Don Giovanni.' His theorizing deflates the Don, who then loses his desire for Donna Anna and thus has no need to kill her father, the Commendatore. He, then, is stuck needing to figure out what to do with his life. Snibblesworth offers him a job at Cal, but the benefits aren't so attractive these days." Full Story

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