Weekly Roundup 3/26/2012

Twenty years on, ‘Year of the Woman’ fades
Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post, March 24, 2012

Synopsis: An “unprecedented” wave of women swept into office in Washington in 1992, the Post’s national political correspondent Karen Tumulty recalls. It was an election “that was supposed to change everything.” But 20 years later – after Nancy Pelosi served as speaker of the House and Hillary Clinton came close to the Democrats’ presidential nomination – the advances for women in politics appear to have stalled.

Takeaway: Women who run for office still face some questions that men do not, such as who will take care of small children if they win. But the bigger obstacle, experts say, is that the surge in women running for office has ended and fewer women are planning a career in politics than did in the heady days of the ’90s.

For background, see these and earlier reports from the CQ Researcher-plus archives: Kenneth Jost, “Women in Politics,” March 21, 2008; Robert Benenson, “Women and Politics,” Sept. 17, 1982; “Women Voters,” Mary Costello, Oct. 11, 1972.

--Kenneth Jost, Associate Editor


Khan Academy: Good, Bad or Ugly?
Keith Devlin, Huffington Post, Mar. 20, 2012

Synopsis: Khan Academy, the booming online math-tutorial website founded by former hedge-fund manager Salman Khan, is good as far as it goes, but instructional video can go only so far, writes Stanford University math professor and educational-media researcher Keith Devlin.

Takeaway: "For those of us who find ourselves with the ability to learn math, we will do so with whatever tools we can find... For people like us, Sal Khan's videos are a great resource. Unfortunately...a school teacher has the responsibility of teaching all children. And there's the rub. For the majority who find mathematics extremely difficult...we currently know of no approach that comes close to regular group interactions with a good, inspiring, human teacher. Changing the way a human mind works, which is what teaching amounts to, is a difficult task. Moreover, it involves emotional, psychological and social factors."

For more on this and related topics, see my CQ Researcher report, “Digital Education,” Dec. 2, 2011.

--Marcia Clemmitt, Staff Writer