Alia Wong
Alia Wong
Alia Wong is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the education section. She previously wrote for Honolulu Civil Beat.
  • Jason Reed / Reuters

    Sixteen in ‘16: Our Favorite Education Stories

    Take a stroll down memory lane, a scroll through some #TBTs, or whatever the school kids are calling a throwback these days. Here are our favorite education stories The Atlantic published this year.

  • Godong / Getty

    The American Obsession With Parenting

    Parents of all income and education levels are spending more time promoting their kids’ development—yet socioeconomic gaps in childrearing behavior are growing.  

  • Randall Hill / Reuters

    Civics Lessons From the 2016 Election

    Many teachers are using the election and its outcome to explain America's history and politics to students.

  • Ted S. Warren / AP

    Learning in the Aftermath of a Divisive Election

    Teachers comforted scared students and reassured others that they wouldn’t be ostracized for supporting the president-elect.

  • Chris DeLorenzo

    Why Kids Need Recess

    And why it’s endangered

  • Eric Gaillard / Reuters

    The Preschooler's Empathy Void

    A new study explores how children develop a preference for equality and fairness—research that seems relevant as America prepares to elect its next president.

  • Saul Loeb / AP

    Is This What Our Children Will Learn?

    Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency introduces a new challenge for teachers.

  • Max Taylor Photography

    How Should Universities Atone for Their Past Mistakes?

    Ta-Nehisi Coates talks with the presidents of Harvard and Georgetown about the ways higher-education institutions are acknowledging their histories of slavery and discrimination.

  • Danny Johnston / AP

    In Pursuit of Integration

    U.S. Education Secretary John King is calling for programs that largely leave it up to parents to desegregate schools. Will that suffice?

  • Can School Integration Make a Comeback?

    The U.S. government is currently placing the burden of desegregation on parents. Here's why that may not work.

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    The Failing Grade for Tests

    In the final installment of our series, a panel of education experts describes what evaluation and accountability look like in the perfect world.

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    What If Schools Abolished Grade Levels?

    Sorting kids by age or ability creates problems, according to our panel of education experts.

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    Reimagining the Modern Classroom

    The seats, space, and stuff that idyllic learning environments are made of

  • What ‘Safe Space’ Looks Like in the Classroom

    Thomas Kienzle / AP

    As we sifted through responses to the famed University of Chicago letter, we figured it’d be worth spotlighting what instructors feel about the whole thing. After all, they arguably understand the impact safe spaces and trigger warnings have on the classroom better than anyone else.

    Educators recognize the value of challenging students intellectually; they know students should, at times, feel uncomfortable with the learning material. But they also know that absolutes are dangerous—that sometimes safe spaces and trigger warnings are conducive, and not antithetical, to the robust, stimulating intellectual environment they seek. And at the end of the day, they don’t like being told how to run their classroom.

    Here’s what some current or former university instructors had to say:

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    Disrupting the One-Teacher Standard

    In a perfect world, education experts would shrink class sizes and children would learn from multiple teachers.

  • What Is a Trigger Warning, Anyway?

    Yesterday, my colleague Bourree Lam looked at how University of Chicago alumni are responding to the high-profile letter their alma mater sent out last week to incoming freshmen. The letter essentially warned students that the university—which for decades has espoused its commitment to “freedom of expression”—would not tolerate “intellectual ‘safe spaces’” and “so-called ‘trigger warnings.’”

    The thinking behind the letter, presumably, is that safe spaces and trigger warnings inherently suppress free speech and academic freedom—and, in turn, that the university felt a need to defend those values. As Bourree highlighted yesterday, that premise outraged many alumni, who remember their years at the university as experiences rife with challenging and uncomfortable discussions. Others argued that the wholesale rejection of things like trigger warnings misses the point.

    It got us thinking: What is a trigger warning, anyway? What defines a safe space? Lots of people have questioned whether Dean of Students John Ellison, who wrote the letter, actually understands what the terms mean. My colleague, Conor Friedersdorf, chimed in on the topic this morning. Here’s what some from the academic community had to say.

    From an alum, Audrey Truschke:

    I would say that the letter brought up mixed reactions from me. I wholeheartedly support the basic idea that universities ought to have a strong, unflinching commitment to academic freedom of speech, and I think numerous institutions have dangerously compromised that ideal recently.

    That said, I use trigger warnings periodically on syllabi.

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    When Homework Is Useless

    Education experts offer their thoughts on how—if at all—schools should assign, grade, and use take-home assignments.

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    What Kids Should Know by the Time They're Done With School

    Education experts weigh in on the content areas children should have mastery over by the time they graduate.

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    Fixing America's Broken School Calendar

    We asked education experts how much time they think kids should spend in class. Here's what they had to say.

  • Jim Young / Reuters

    A Public-School Paradox

    Why do so many presidents send their kids to private school?