On the same day this past week, my wife and I went to each of our daughters' schools for respective "teacher conferences." The issue was slipping improvement on progress reports. Our assumptions (that is, the assumptions of the teachers, the parents, and the students in conference) are that, by talking, we can discover issues, and, by discovery and more talk with more action, there can be some good change.
On that very day, The Boston Globe issued a progress report of its own. MIT, the elite ivory tower of the American academy is slipping, and it's not school children's grades at stake. It's sexism all over again, after 10 years of trying to improve things. Now the Chronicle of Higher Education starts a "conference," and you can join in with your comments. You may want to do some homework by reading some past report cards from MIT in 1999 and 2005.