A Themed Education: Q&A with The Bronx Academy of Letters

The state of public schools in the U.S. has become a public social cause, and a topic of great debate, in recent years. The school system shaping Millennials and post-Millennials has been called broken by some, but the solutions are less clear. Some champion charter schools as the future of the education system, others suggest banning private schools, and recently emphasizing early education by making it a part of the public system, has been held up as a possible solution.

The Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters was founded in 2003 during the “small schools movement,” a period of time that larger public schools were being sized down into more manageable organizations with focused curriculums. According to the NYTimes, since 2002 NYC has closed or started a phase out of 63 public high schools, and opened 337 in their place—many of them small themed schools. Today, the movement is continued in a slightly different way, and recently some large schools have been reorganized to house several smaller themed schools all under one roof. Themed educations, schools that focus their curriculums on one particular topic, have been happening all over the country and are one of the educational forces influencing some of the next generation.

The Bronx Academy of Letters is celebrating its 10th birthday, and we were able to sit down with the school’s Executive Director Carrie Angoff and Board President Toni Bernstein, two of the Academy of Letters Advisory Board members, to hear about the obstacles that young and underprivileged Millennials and post-Millennials are facing, and how one school has been working to fix the problem over the last decade.

 

Tell us a little bit about the ethos of the school. How is it different?

Toni: At the time [it was founded], there were these giant, very…

 
 
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Millennial News Feed

Quote of the Day: "It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without cinnamon roll breakfast and watching The Twilight Zone marathon.” –Male, 13, CA

Millennials are first generation digital, and have broadcast countless moments of their lives online—but for the most part, they were in charge of their own digital images. For the next generation, this is not the case. Parents today post (often embarrassing, see above) photos of their offspring from the womb on, which destroys any hope of anonymity they might later have. One writer argues that parents should be vigilant about keeping their children’s images off the internet until they are mature enough to decide what they want their digital identity to be. (Slate)

“Me Me Me” and selfie-obsessed. In article after article, Millennials are accused of being the most narcissistic generation to date. But the data often cited to prove this claim might be flawed, and other research has “directly contradicted the idea that Millennials are the most narcissistic of previous generations.” In a study of high-school seniors across decades, little change in ideas about self-esteem and life satisfaction was found, and another found narcissistic behavior is linked to life-stage, not generation. (The Atlantic)

The next generation might be growing up with tech-galore, but they’re also reading some of the same classics the previous generation enjoyed. Book-reading data from 9.8 million students shows that Green Eggs and Ham is the number one book read by first and second graders, and made the top five book list for third graders. The data also shows that girls are reading more than boys, outpacing them after grade four. (Publisher’s Weekly)

Young consumers have made binge watching a media consumption norm, but the full impact of streaming services hasn’t been fully measured—until now. Nielsen will begin to track viewership data on Amazon and Netflix next month, providing content owners with information on the impact of licensing shows to these sites and whether streaming is “meaningfully eating into traditional television viewing.” Previously, Nielsen found that after signing up for streaming services, 18-34-year-olds watch TV less than they used to. (StreamdailyWall Street Journal)

Eek—2014 seems to be the year of bad Barbie press. This week a Barbie picture book titled I Can Be a Computer Engineer is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons—it turns out it teaches girls they can’t code without a boys’ help. Those protesting the book assert that it is perpetrates a cultural message that “computers are a boys thing,” when brands should be supporting girls who really do like to code. (Recode)

We don’t just deliver data. Along with our bi-weekly survey result data files, we provide our Gold subscribers with a topline report that synthesizes hand-picked, illuminating data points and our insights and expertise. Interesting differences between males and females, older and younger Millennials, ethnicities, and more are highlighted, and relevant statistics are streamlined into an easily consumed, concise, visual takeaway. (Ypulse)

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