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Smart Drugs for College Kids

November 05, 2015

Pop a pill, ace a test. If you could take a pill that would instantly make you work harder, improve your brain function and make you “smarter,” would you?

A panel of experts argued this question in a debate this week presented byIntelligence Squared U.S. at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., entitled, “College Students Should be Allowed to Take Smart Drugs.”

Are Smart Drugs a Smart Choice? Experts Debate at SMPA

November 03, 2015

If there was a pill that could make everyone smarter and more focused, how many people would take it?

This question was the subject of debate among experts at the Jack Morton Auditorium Monday night. Moderated by ABC News correspondent John Donvan, the panel weighed the medical and moral risks, as well as the benefits, of college students using drugs like Adderall, without a prescription, to help them study.

‘Smart Drugs’ Are Here — Should College Students Be Allowed to Use Them?

November 03, 2015

We use coffee to stay awake, good food and nutrition to stay healthy and alert. But if there was a drug that made you smarter, helped you learn, and made you more focused, would you take it?

That’s a question that Nicole Vincent, associate professor of philosophy, law and neuroscience at Georgia State University, asked to open her TED talk in Sydney last year.

That question also opened a Monday night debate at George Washington University in which two sides argued both for and against whether “College Students Should Be Allowed to Take Smart Drugs.”

Why Banning Smart Drugs for College Students Is Impossible, Evil

November 03, 2015

Should college students be allowed to take Adderall and Modafinil to improve their academic performance, or should universities treat these so-called “smart drugs” the same way Major League Baseball treats steroids? I attended a debate on the subject at George Washington University last night, and came away convinced that banning smart drugs is not only impractical—it’s profoundly evil.

Are Smart Drugs Good for College Students?

November 03, 2015

Should college students take smart drugs? That was the question posed to a panel of professors at an Intelligence Squared debate at George Washington University on Monday night.

Colleges Should Allow Students to Take Smart Drugs

November 03, 2015

Last night, I had the pleasure of debating my views on why college students should be allowed to take smart drugs. My partner, Anjan Chatterjee and I were in support of the resolution. Nicole Vincent and Eric Racine were opposed.

The debate, hosted by Intelligence Squared US (IQ2US) and FIRE, was an engaging conversation about the existing and potential role of these drugs in society, and in particular on college campuses.

Intelligence Squared / FIRE Debate: College Students Should Be Allowed to Take Smart Drugs

November 01, 2015

Intelligence Squared US and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) are embarking on a joint venture (that I am proud to have brokered), to present a series of high-profile debates on college campuses. Our first debate will be tomorrow at George Washington University.

‘Smart Pills’ for College Students: Would That Be Cheating?

October 26, 2015

Should students be allowed — or encouraged — to take “smart drugs” so they can get better grades?

That will be the question on the table on Monday when the public affairs program Intelligence Squared — IQ2 — brings its lively debate format to George Washington University.

Debate on Campus Assault Jurisdiction

September 21, 2015

On September 16, 2015, ALI members Stephen J. Schulhofer of New York University School of Law, Jeannie C. Suk of Harvard University Law School, and Michelle J. Anderson of City University of New York School of Law participated in a debate discussing whether universities are equipped for enforcing policies in response to sexual assault violence, or whether the criminal court system is better suited for the task.

Can a Debate About Who Should Decide Campus-Rape Cases Change Minds?

September 18, 2015

Just before four law professors take the stage here to debate whether courts or colleges should decide sexual-assault cases, the ABC News correspondent John Donvan polls the audience of about 250 people.

Should all rape allegations involving college students be handled by the criminal-justice system? Or should campuses continue to use a separate disciplinary process, with different standards and sanctions, and give students who allege such incidents a choice of how to proceed?

In New York, Law School's Jeannie Suk Debates Title IX

September 18, 2015

Harvard Law School professor Jeannie C. Suk argued at a forum in New York this week that the criminal court system, not campus resources, should investigate and adjudicate cases of alleged sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape.

At the forum—hosted by Intelligence Squared Debates and titled “Courts, Not Campuses, Should Decide Sexual Assault Cases”—Suk and Yale Law School professor Jed Rubenfeld argued in favor of the motion. Michelle Anderson, the dean of City University New York School of Law, and Stephen Schulhofer, a professor at New York University School of Law, argued in favor of university involvement in the contentious issue.

Debate: Courts, not Campuses, Should Decide Sexual Assault Cases

September 17, 2015

Jed Rubenfeld and Jeannie Suk (for) and Michelle Anderson and Stephen Schulhofer (against) participated in an interesting and extensive debate on this question on September 16; video here. One of the most notable aspects of the discussion was the systematic doubt about the capacity of courts to be fair. Professor Suk noted that campus disciplinary proceedings had a disproportionate impact on the poor and minorities; Dean Anderson responded, to oversimplify, that Ferguson and other incidents make clear that the criminal justice system is worse. All sides agreed that there are excesses in campus discipline which are appropriately being weeded out in courts. Again, to oversimplify, Professor Schulhofer argued nevertheless that campus discipline was necessary for fairness to the accused; given draconian sexual assault sentences, the power of prosecutors, the pressure of sweet pleas, and the unreliability of juries, some form of accountability other than prosecution was necessary so that the lives of minor offenders (or alleged offenders) were not ruined. Taken together, I think most or all parties might agree that the criminal justice system has often been disrespectful of victims, dismissive of sexual assault claims, and also sometimes arbitrary and brutal to those charged with or convicted of sex offenses. If this is so, one wonders what makes the character or ability of professors and administrators so much higher that better results are likely in the academy.

Liberals Are Stifling Intellectual Diversity, Campus Audience Decides After Hearing Both Sides of the Argument

February 26, 2015

WASHINGTON — Before the Intelligence Squared debate held at George Washington University, only one in three audience members said they agreed that liberals are stifling intellectual diversity at colleges and universities, but after hearing both sides of the debate, almost three-fifths of the audience was convinced that liberals are stifling intellectual diversity.

The debate, moderated by John Donvan, an author and correspondent for ABC News, will be aired on National Public Radio stations and is available online.

Encouragingly, Both Sides in Debate on Campus Speech End Up Defending Campus Speech

February 25, 2015

At GW last night, nobody was willing to argue that students should be silenced.

Anyone feeling disheartened by the many ways our First Amendment freedoms are under attack may find solace in the outcome of an event last night hosted by Intelligence Squared at George Washington University. Two teams of two debated whether liberals are stifling intellectual diversity on college campuses—and the side arguing for the proposition won in a landslide.

Interestingly, three of the four participants and both debaters arguing the affirmative indentify as liberals.

Fox News Contributor, Professors Face Off in Free Speech Debate

February 25, 2015

Panelists visiting GW debated whether or not liberals suppressed intellectual diversity on college campuses Tuesday.

The debate, hosted by Intelligence Squared, a non-profit group that organizes discussions around the country, engaged about 100 people in the Jack Morton Auditorium. John Donovan, an author and ABC news correspondent, moderated the event.

Audience members were invited to vote on whether they thought liberals discouraged intellectual diversity on college campuses before and after the discussion. When it began, 33 percent said liberals suppressed intellectual diversity, while 21 percent said they disagreed and 46 percent were undecided.

Campus Debate Convinces: Liberals Stifle Intellectual Diversity on Campus

February 25, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a 90-minute campus debate Tuesday over whether liberals stifle intellectual diversity on college campuses, nearly six in 10 members of the audience agreed – they do.

That according to a vote of the audience taken after the “Intelligence Squared Debate” at George Washington University on the topic of whether “liberals are stifling intellectual diversity on campus.”

Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, along with Fox Newscontributor and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, were able to convince 59 percent of those in attendance that there is a pervasive liberal intolerance of different views on campuses, an atmosphere that hinders free speech and debate.

The Core of the Debate

October 01, 2014

A recent debate, “Embrace the Common Core?” hosted by Intelligence Squared, featured some of the nation’s top experts on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The Oxford-style “2 vs. 2” debate show included comments on topics such as whether or not the CCSS are actually right for kids and the rationale behind national standards. In particular, the debate focused on the controversial CCSS-aligned assessments and the cognitive appropriateness of the standards. The debate offered a refreshing take on what is often a politically charged topic. Many other educational bloggers have also offered analysis of this debate, including Diane Ravitch and The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss.

Common Core Revisited

September 25, 2014

On September 9, I attended the NPR-syndicated Intelligence Squared debate, "Should Schools Embrace the Common Core?" Although it has been reported that close to 80 percent of Americans now oppose the Common Core Standards, the initial poll of the live audience showed that 50 percent of the audience was for, 13 percent against, and 37 percent undecided. So one obvious question is: How much of the audience was made up of people who had some skin in the Common Core game?

Leveled Reading: The Making of a Literacy Myth

September 24, 2014

New York public school principal Carol Burris, an outspoken standards critic and defender of leveled reading, recently published an anti-Common Core missive on the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog that was fairly typical of the form. Where, she wondered, “is the research to support: close reading, increased Lexile levels, the use of informational texts, and other questionable practices in the primary grades?”

The blog post, which has already been intelligently critiqued by Ann Whalen at Education Post, expanded on remarks delivered by Burris earlier this month at an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate with Fordham president Michael Petrilli and former assistant secretary of education Carmel Martin. There, too, she demanded evidence of literacy improvements arising from the use of complex texts.

Debating Common Core: Beware Decomposing Numbers and Rinky-Dink Assessments

September 19, 2014

Intelligence Squared U.S. sponsored a debate September 9, 2014 on the Common Core State Standards. Four participants argued whether American schools should embrace the standards. They included Carmel Martin, a former assistant Secretary of Education and current executive vice president at the Center for American Progress, Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank, Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York in Rockville Centre, New York, and Frederick Hess, director of educational policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Martin, from the "left," and Petrilli, from the "right," argued in support of Common Core. Burris, from the "left," and Hess, from the "right," were opposed.

Four Common Core ‘flimflams’

September 17, 2014

So where is the research to support: close reading, increased Lexile levels, the use of informational texts and other questionable practices in the primary grades? During our recent Intelligence Squared debate on the Common Core the Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrilli told the audience he “spent the big part of the weekend talking to some reading experts.” When I later asked Mr. Petrilli for the evidence of the research on Common Core reading methods he said, “Well, I will be happy to go find it for you after this debate.” I am still waiting.

Common Core: Yes or No? A Debate.

September 14, 2014

Embrace the Common Core State Standards? Do not embrace the Common Core? That was the question in New York when four people — two for embracing and two against — participated in a recent debate about the controversial initiative.

The event was sponsored by an organization called Intelligence Squared U.S., which offers forums for debates and discussions of topical issues.

12 education thought leaders you should follow on Twitter

September 12, 2014

Petrilli is the current president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and an editor of Education Next. He is a frequent poster and seems to be in the know about many of the education comings and goings. His feed is a good resource if you want to read some interesting articles on education, or if you want to know about the latest education debate (he recently spoke in favor of the Common Core at a "Embrace the Common Core" debate sponsored by Intelligence Squared U.S. -- would you be surprised if we told you Ravitch then blogged about it?)

“Embrace the Common Core?” A Debate

September 11, 2014

I am not exactly sure what “Intelligence Squared” is, but it sponsored an interesting debate about Common Core.

Speaking for Common Core was Mike Petrilli, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Carmel Martin, formerly assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education and a strong enthusiast for Race to the Top as well as the Common Core.

Speaking in opposition to the proposition of embracing the Common Core was Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Center in New York, and Rick Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

I found Burris and Hess far more persuasive than Petrilli and Martin.

In NPR Show, a Debate and a Vote on Common Core

September 10, 2014

Four partisans with strong opinions debated the Common Core State Standards on Tuesday night in New York City as part of the very lively but civil Intelligence Squared U.S. series, which will air on NPR.

This week on MOOCs, ep. 6

May 07, 2014

Is it really a question of bricks vs clicks? In a debate at Columbia University, the question whether it would be bricks or clicks — in other words campus vs MOOCs — in the future of higher education, the clicks won. Now, in all fairness, I believe that the future of (higher) education lies in combining both (and add in other elements) to get the best outcomes for students, but nevertheless the debate, as reported on in the New Yorker, is an interesting one.

Professor Makes Sure There’s No Disconnect in Her Online Program

May 05, 2014

Beyond issues of retaining students, critics also raise concerns about whether online education provides effective ways to learn and whether it affords students the personalized attention they deserve. Those issues were debated earlier this month at an Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates event, titled “More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete,” at Columbia University.

How to Get a Campus Feeling in a MOOC

April 25, 2014

You can never recreate or replace the accelerated learning effect of being able to interact with your teacher and fellow students in person - in physical proximity. At least, this is an argument that is often used by those who are not big fans of MOOCs (massive open online courses). The last time I saw it was in an article about the Intelligence Squared debate at Columbia University on the question: 'bricks or clicks?' But, in our connected world, does that really hold up?

The mismatch problem: Why college football scholarships are not enough

April 22, 2014

Have you ever had a moment when you heard an argument that made you examine a long-held belief?

I had a moment like that recently when listening to an NPR Intelligence Squared podcast on college admissions. Intelligence Squared is a high-quality product, as the debate is civil, fact-heavy, and performed with great skill. In other words, it's everything that cable news is not, sort of like reading the best of the college football internet as opposed to relying on Holtz and May to analyze team strength.

Are College Campuses Obsolete?

April 22, 2014

On one recent night, the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series put forth a motion on Columbia University’s campus: “More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete.” This is heavily contested territory, as both the setting and the style of the debate reflected. Columbia itself is the owner of quite a few nice-looking bricks, but, only last month, the university signalled its intention to start producing online courses. The Intelligence Squared events are inspired by traditional Oxford debates, decided by the votes of the audience, but they’re judged electronically. The points and counterpoints were streamed and tweeted live, but in tone the evening still evoked the charm of a winsome classroom professor: percussive jazz-fusion tracks piped in before, friendly anecdotes during, and a reception, in lieu of office hours, after.