RealClearEd Today 05/16/2014: Who Gets to Graduate?

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Good morning, it's Friday May 16. This morning at RealClearEducation we have news, commentary, analysis, and reports from the top of the education world. Paul Tough's latest piece for this weekend's New York Times Magazine is out: he writes about the University of Texas and some new approaches a psychologist and school administrator are implementing to help students acquire their diplomas. As we do each weekday we'll update the site throughout the day with new content - on our main page as well as sidebars that focus on specific parts of the education sector in depth. At the bottom of this email are just a few highlights of all the new material on our site this morning.

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"Wouldn't it be nice if we were older. Then we wouldn't have to wait so long..." It was 48 years ago today The Beach Boys released "Pet Sounds." The enormously influential album put an indelible mark on popular music and influenced many other artists. Paul McCartney cited "Pet Sounds" as helping to develop Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band." The first rock concept album, The Beach Boy's work inspired others including influential work by The Who, Pink Floyd, and Marvin Gaye.

"Pet Sounds" combined The Beach Boys' sound with a trippier element that caught a changing Rock and Roll scene and a changing country like a surfer slicing into a wave in fast water. As a 1972 Rolling Stone review noted, the Beach Boys' earlier music had a candy-like aesthetic tied to the suburban Southern California surf scene, "But Pet Sounds...nobody was prepared for anything so soulful, so lovely, something one had to think about so much." It was not a huge seller at the time, although it spun off several well-received singles including "Caroline, No," the derivative "Sloop John B" and its opening track, "Wouldn't It Be Nice." "Pet Sounds" also marked a turn in Brian Wilson's music and a change in The Beach Boys' commercial prospects. Yet "Pet Sounds" has stood the test of time, is lionized by critics, and was included in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry.

What does "Pet Sounds" have to do with education policy? Well, three years earlier The Beach Boys told Americans to "Be True To Your School" and spoke to adolescents everywhere with its B side, "In My Room." But more relevant is the tension throughout "Pet Sounds" between the world as we'd like it to be and the world as it is. That's a tension that both inspires those who work in education and vexes their work.

You know it seems the more we talk about it
It only makes it worse to live without it

RealClearEducation May 16, 2014 Headlines:
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