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G M
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« Reply #150 on: December 22, 2011, 10:41:22 AM »

http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_19526032

Cal State campuses overwhelmed by remedial needs
By Matt Krupnick
Contra Costa Times
© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group
Posted: 12/11/2011 04:33:25 PM PST
Updated: 12/12/2011 04:58:59 AM PST


Wracked with frustration over the state's legions of unprepared high school graduates, the California State University system next summer will force freshmen with remedial needs to brush up on math or English before arriving on campus.

But many professors at the 23-campus university, which has spent the past 13 years dismissing students who fail remedial classes, doubt the Early Start program will do much to help students unable to handle college math or English.

"I'm not at all optimistic that it's going to help," said Sally Murphy, a communications professor who directs general education at Cal State East Bay, where 73 percent of this year's freshmen were not ready for college math. Nearly 60 percent were not prepared for college English.

"A 15-hour intervention is just not enough intervention when it comes to skills that should have been developed over 12 years," Murphy said.

The remedial numbers are staggering, given that the Cal State system admits only freshmen who graduated in the top one-third of their high-school class. About 27,300 freshmen in the 2010 entering class of about 42,700 needed remedial work in math, English or both.

By requiring the Early Start courses, the university is trying, in part, to cut down the number of students kicked out for failing to complete remedial classes their first year. College-level math and English are required for many other Cal State courses, so students who are ineligible for

entry-level classes in one or both subjects have a significant disadvantage.

The courses may be taken online, at a Cal State campus or at some community colleges.

Few instructors believe the 15-hour Early Start courses will ease the burden for remedial students or the university, said Jim Postma, a Cal State Chico chemistry professor and chairman of the systemwide Academic Senate.

If half the students eligible for the Cal State system are unable to handle college work, he said, California is in bad shape.

"It's a terrible indictment of the K-through-12 system," Postma said. "If a factory was building cars and the lug nuts kept falling off the tires, you would do something pretty dramatic about it. We keep adding the lug nuts back to the tires rather than trying to figure out what the problem is."

The remedial problem is hardly confined to California. Schools across the country have puzzled over how to better prepare students for college and what to do with those who are not ready.

But budget cuts have staggered the Cal State system's ability to teach childhood math and English skills to tens of thousands of students every year. One solution would be to do a better job figuring out exactly what kind of help students need to focus remedial education, said Linda Wong, executive director of the University of Southern California's Center for Urban Education.

"There have been a lot of problems with the assessment tools that colleges use," she said. Because of that shortfall, "it's very difficult to customize the curriculum to address specific needs of the students."

The Cal State system's remedial pressures have, for the past few years, led many students to take basic classes at community colleges. That influx has, in turn, made it more difficult for full-time community college students to get into classes they need to prepare for four-year schools.

Budget cuts also have hurt the community colleges: Thousands of classes have been cut the past few years on the state's 112 two-year campuses.

"We're all trying to figure out how to handle these students who are woefully unprepared," said Mark Wade Lieu, an Ohlone College instructor who directs remedial education for the state's community colleges. "The greatest fear is we're going to lose a generation of students."

Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 510-208-6488. Follow him at Twitter.com/MattKrupnick.

Remedial needs
at California State University
New freshmen in the 23-campus system, fall 2010: 42,738
New freshmen who needed remedial help, fall 2010: 27,298
Percentage of fall 2011 freshmen taking remedial math, Cal State East Bay:
73 percent
Percentage of fall 2011 freshmen taking remedial English, Cal State East Bay: 58 percent
Percentage of fall 2011 freshmen taking both subjects, Cal State East Bay:
46 percent
Sources: California State University; Sally Murphy, Cal State East Bay
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G M
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« Reply #151 on: December 26, 2011, 12:20:19 PM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQqSUTRHEKY&feature=player_embedded

Pop.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #152 on: December 26, 2011, 01:26:30 PM »

How come student loans aren't dischargeable in bankruptcy?  That sounds like a racket.  They overspent like a credit card, more than they could afford.  The lender extended irresponsible amounts of lending.  I don't fully understand bankruptcy but if some debts aren't fully dischargeable, maybe none should be.

How soon until the income inequality attacks bleed over to education inequality?  Colleges and universities pay cash for ACT scores and other achievements including sports and music, which in all 3 examples spill over disproportionately to rich kids.  How is that fair?

As mentioned, I am re-learning the world of college cost as father of a H.S senior.  She doesn't like hearing it but my 4 years, done in 3 or so, cost less than her upcoming spring break orchestra trip of one week.  The rest of the learning came from the school of hard knocks.

The bubble in numbers or false expectations upon graduation isn't new.  The absurd cost structure is.  It grows like health care costs I think because of third party pay.  Maybe more like housing where the lender lends without checking or expecting to find income from the borrower.  Worse than housing, the less able your family is to handle the debt, the more they will lend.

The answer ("Cognitive Dissonance of the Left") is to move the cost even further away from the person using the service.  Let's make a 4 year degree "free"!  Tax the people who go straight to work and never get college to pay for the others to pursue pre-med, gender studies and social welfare degrees - until no one goes straight to work or pays taxes.

Nothing contains costs like tying the price charged to the affordability of the purchaser of the product in a market.  From a conservative side it would seem the answer is work and study and pay as you go with your own money, 4 years takes perhaps 8 or whatever it takes if the institutions cannot provide a first rate, full time education within the cost framework of what a middle class family can afford.  When you finish, you actually have bettered yourself, and will understand both the value of the education and the value of productive work.

With work rules as we have and those coming with Obamacare and everything else, I believe we are destined to move away from a 'job' society and back toward a more entrepreneurial economy.  If that happens, paper-based portion of the credentials will diminish in value compared to real knowledge and real ability to get real work of value done.  Just my two cents.

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JDN
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« Reply #153 on: December 30, 2011, 12:07:16 PM »

Doug - it's not easy deciding where your child should go to college. 

I was accepted and wanted to go to Berkeley, a bastion of liberal education.  Instead, my parents sent me to USC, at that time a bastion of conservatism.  Both are good schools, but being a CA resident, USC was a lot more expensive although I did get some scholarships.  Still, my parents insisted.  And look how I turned out!   smiley

I think a liberal arts education is fabulous.  An education cannot be only measured in immediate dollars and sense; the income level of graduates in their first few years.  I think, if you tabulate incomes over a lifetime, good quality small liberal arts school graduates income is commensurable with larger institutions.  That said, if I had a child who wanted to go to a liberal arts college, I would encourage them, however I would anticipate paying for a more focused graduate school later, be in Medicine, Law, or Business etc.
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G M
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« Reply #154 on: December 30, 2011, 02:30:44 PM »

Doug - it's not easy deciding where your child should go to college. 

I was accepted and wanted to go to Berkeley, a bastion of liberal education.  Instead, my parents sent me to USC, at that time a bastion of conservatism.  Both are good schools, but being a CA resident, USC was a lot more expensive although I did get some scholarships.  Still, my parents insisted.  And look how I turned out!   smiley

I think a liberal arts education is fabulous.  An education cannot be only measured in immediate dollars and sense; the income level of graduates in their first few years.  I think, if you tabulate incomes over a lifetime, good quality small liberal arts school graduates income is commensurable with larger institutions.  That said, if I had a child who wanted to go to a liberal arts college, I would encourage them, however I would anticipate paying for a more focused graduate school later, be in Medicine, Law, or Business etc.

Hey, buy a house, it's a great long term investment.......   rolleyes

Any other advice that no longer makes sense?
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G M
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« Reply #155 on: December 30, 2011, 03:09:12 PM »

Do a job search in any state. Look for ads wanting new Registered Nurse grads and the pay and signing bonuses offered. Compare and contrast with the ads looking for newly graduated holders of liberal arts degrees.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #156 on: December 30, 2011, 04:09:53 PM »

"Hey, buy a house, it's a great long term investment....... "

At about 15 cents on the dollar, I am still bullish on home purchasing.  Just worn out.  Pretty good analogy though, because if people actually did buy instead of borrow for the education or the house, they would in general be better off for owning it. 

If you can afford to not work the first 4 years of adulthood and pay the costs, a 4 year degree in personal growth and human knowledge is a wonderful foundation before learning a marketable skill like running a business, designing a bridge or diagnosing a patient.  Same degree with a quarter million in debt and no marketable skill and now you need to go work, maybe not.

I have not found an explanation on or off the board as to why it is okay that the rate charged is different for everyone.  Try pricing rent or food differently to different people.  Some colleges have so much as told us the price is negotiable.  For a kid with a great application, it looks like play money.  She got a 16k award in the mail the other day and she just laughed, knowing that was a drop in the bucket, still far from affordable.  We still don't have a financial plan.
------------
The other theme GM had was STEM.  For others that means Science, technology, engineering, math.  Thinking of two successful relatives in business, different sides of the family, one got the PhD in Math and the other in Physics, neither doing what you would think of as directly working in that field, but the credentials proved the foundation to move forward.  My advice to my daughter is along those lines, do something that you are good at, that sounds really hard, that is relevant and needed and in scarce supply, and do it at a place that is widely respected.  Not just put in 4 years.
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JDN
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« Reply #157 on: December 30, 2011, 04:13:16 PM »

"My advice to my daughter is along those lines, do something that you are good at, that sounds really hard, that is relevant and needed and in scarce supply, and do it at a place that is widely respected.  Not just put in 4 years."

Good advice.  Let us know what you/she decide.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #158 on: December 30, 2011, 08:41:44 PM »

"Let us know what you/she decide."

That's really nice.  It's certainly her decision and I will keep you posted.  She rules out engineering and most sciences for a major even though she would be good at it and her Grandma broke that ground over 60 years ago and would love to get her the institute of technology tours and introductions.  I have suggested the opportunities for high end math in business applications.  We will see.

Further complicating the decision is the negative effect that federal Title IX has on limiting her opportunities to play college varsity sports.
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bigdog
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« Reply #159 on: December 30, 2011, 09:02:50 PM »

I agree that education and real estate investments have some similarities.  May I suggest some others?  1, as with a home you will be living in, be sure you are comfortable with the environment you will be studying in.  2, you DO own your education.  And the idea that you can't make off of it is silly.  It is also silly to suggest that liberal arts degrees do not provide marketable skills.  3, like a home, if you want to increase the resale value you need to cultivate your investment.  If you buy a house, then don't mow the yard, let the roof go to shit, and don't fix the front step your investment is going to reap rewards like you want.  Likewise, if you invest in an education and you drink and f%#@ your way through school, rarely go to class, fail to turn in assignments in a timely fashion and view 30 pages per class of reading as an arduous chore (especially since Jersey Shore is on), you didn't really learn any damn thing no matter what your major is. 

Liberal arts colleges do a damn good job of training students for the "real" world.  Are students willing to pay the price (in non-monetary terms) to recieve the training?  That is the great question in the next few decades.   
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G M
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« Reply #160 on: December 31, 2011, 01:13:56 AM »

I'm reminded of a friend of mine who took the day off from delivering pizzas to get his B.A. English diploma and was back at Dominos the next day. Wasn't even a manager.


Just saying....

Can anyone show me current help wanted ads for new liberal arts graduates promising signing bonuses and pay equal or better than what is being offered to new RN grads?

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bigdog
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« Reply #161 on: December 31, 2011, 06:50:35 AM »

There are liberal arts colleges which to produce RNs.  My college just began a program, with the best medical school in the country, because the med school wanted liberal arts trained nursing students.  Something about the ability to write, learning ethics and the ability to think critically... especially when coupled with a high quality science background.  

And, did you see how much a historian can make?  Newt is bringing back the bank for liberal arts majors!
« Last Edit: December 31, 2011, 07:08:40 AM by bigdog » Logged
G M
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« Reply #162 on: December 31, 2011, 09:20:24 AM »

"And, did you see how much a historian can make?  Newt is bringing back the bank for liberal arts majors!"

I'm sure that explains the reverence for Newt found at the liberal arts colleges/universities across the land....    grin
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G M
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« Reply #163 on: December 31, 2011, 09:43:03 AM »

"There are liberal arts colleges which to produce RNs.  My college just began a program, with the best medical school in the country, because the med school wanted liberal arts trained nursing students.  Something about the ability to write, learning ethics and the ability to think critically... especially when coupled with a high quality science background." 

Cool. the other students at those liberal arts colleges can say that some of the people they went school with got good paying jobs right after graduation. Nice! Them and Newt will really alter the average income for liberal arts grads!
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bigdog
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« Reply #164 on: December 31, 2011, 06:29:05 PM »

Ever hear of Maui Jim sunglasses?  Guess who owns the company. 

I have several students making serious money starting out, in a first job.  Economics, political science, history, English and many other liberal arts majors can produce money makers.  Of course, some people major in something just because they enjoy it.  I even have a couple criminal justice majors, who I am sure will make mad cash. 

"There are liberal arts colleges which to produce RNs.  My college just began a program, with the best medical school in the country, because the med school wanted liberal arts trained nursing students.  Something about the ability to write, learning ethics and the ability to think critically... especially when coupled with a high quality science background." 

Cool. the other students at those liberal arts colleges can say that some of the people they went school with got good paying jobs right after graduation. Nice! Them and Newt will really alter the average income for liberal arts grads!
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G M
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« Reply #165 on: December 31, 2011, 06:38:50 PM »

Ever hear of Maui Jim sunglasses?  Guess who owns the company. 

I have several students making serious money starting out, in a first job.  Economics, political science, history, English and many other liberal arts majors can produce money makers.  Of course, some people major in something just because they enjoy it.  I even have a couple criminal justice majors, who I am sure will make mad cash. 

"There are liberal arts colleges which to produce RNs.  My college just began a program, with the best medical school in the country, because the med school wanted liberal arts trained nursing students.  Something about the ability to write, learning ethics and the ability to think critically... especially when coupled with a high quality science background." 

Cool. the other students at those liberal arts colleges can say that some of the people they went school with got good paying jobs right after graduation. Nice! Them and Newt will really alter the average income for liberal arts grads!

BD,

I'm not saying Liberal Arts grads cannot or will not make money, my point is that from a P/E ratio analysis, a liberal arts degree isn't a good investment when compared to trades/skills or STEM degrees.
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bigdog
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« Reply #166 on: December 31, 2011, 06:48:32 PM »

GM, my point is that some of the best people in STEM have liberal arts degrees, or at least degrees from a LAC.  It also is the case that many people who earn a liberal arts degree are employed in something outside their area of study, but are often better at their job because of the liberal arts degree. 
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G M
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« Reply #167 on: December 31, 2011, 07:03:26 PM »

GM, my point is that some of the best people in STEM have liberal arts degrees, or at least degrees from a LAC.  It also is the case that many people who earn a liberal arts degree are employed in something outside their area of study, but are often better at their job because of the liberal arts degree. 

I'd tend to agree with some stipulations that more education is better, but from the education as an investment from the tangible dollars and cents perspective, liberal arts is not the way to go. I could cite people who dropped out of higher education who did well, but on the whole, that's a bad strategic move as well.
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bigdog
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« Reply #168 on: January 01, 2012, 06:06:26 AM »

GM, my point is that some of the best people in STEM have liberal arts degrees, or at least degrees from a LAC.  It also is the case that many people who earn a liberal arts degree are employed in something outside their area of study, but are often better at their job because of the liberal arts degree. 

I'd tend to agree with some stipulations that more education is better...

I'll settle for this.  Happy New Year, GM.  You helped make 2011 more interesting and informative.  Looking forward to 2012!
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G M
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« Reply #169 on: January 01, 2012, 09:10:24 PM »

GM, my point is that some of the best people in STEM have liberal arts degrees, or at least degrees from a LAC.  It also is the case that many people who earn a liberal arts degree are employed in something outside their area of study, but are often better at their job because of the liberal arts degree. 

I'd tend to agree with some stipulations that more education is better...

I'll settle for this.  Happy New Year, GM.  You helped make 2011 more interesting and informative.  Looking forward to 2012!


Same here.
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bigdog
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« Reply #170 on: January 19, 2012, 02:38:11 PM »

Turns out political science, a liberal arts degree, doesn't do too damn bad.


http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/what-the-top-1-of-earners-majored-in/

What the Top 1% of Earners Majored In
By ROBERT GEBELOFF and SHAILA DEWAN
12:21 p.m. | Updated Added a fuller list of majors at the bottom of the post.

We got an interesting question from an academic adviser at a Texas university: could we tell what the top 1 percent of earners majored in?

The writer, sly dog, was probably trying to make a point, because he wrote from a biology department, and it turns out that biology majors make up nearly 7 percent of college graduates who live in households in the top 1 percent.

According to the Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey, the majors that give you the best chance of reaching the 1 percent are pre-med, economics, biochemistry, zoology and, yes, biology, in that order.


The 1 Percent
Looking at the top of the economic strata.
Below is a chart showing the majors most likely to get into the 1 percent (excluding majors held by fewer than 50,000 people in 2010 census data). The third column shows the percentage of degree holders with that major who make it into the 1 percent. The fourth column shows the percent of the 1 percent (among college grads) that hold that major. In other words, more than one in 10 people with a pre-med degree make it into the 1 percent, and about 1 in 100 of the 1 percenters with degrees majored in pre-med.

Of course, choice of major is not the only way to increase your chances of reaching the 1 percent, if that is your goal. There is also the sector you choose.

A separate analysis of census data on occupations showed that one in eight lawyers, for example, are in the 1 percent — unless they work for a Wall Street firm, when their chances increase to one in three. Among chief executives, fewer than one in five rank among the 1 percent, but their chances increase if the company produces medical supplies (one in four) or drugs (two in five). Hollywood writers? One in nine are 1 percenters. Television or radio writers? One in 14. Newspaper writers and editors? One in 62.

Undergraduate Degree Total % Who Are 1 Percenters Share of All 1 Percenters
Health and Medical Preparatory Programs 142,345 11.8% 0.9%
Economics 1,237,863 8.2% 5.4%
Biochemical Sciences 193,769 7.2% 0.7%
Zoology 159,935 6.9% 0.6%
Biology 1,864,666 6.7% 6.6%
International Relations 146,781 6.7% 0.5%
Political Science and Government 1,427,224 6.2% 4.7%
Physiology 98,181 6.0% 0.3%
Art History and Criticism 137,357 5.9% 0.4%
Chemistry 780,783 5.7% 2.4%
Molecular Biology 64,951 5.6% 0.2%
Area, Ethnic and Civilization Studies 184,906 5.2% 0.5%
Finance 1,071,812 4.8% 2.7%
History 1,351,368 4.7% 3.3%
Business Economics 108,146 4.6% 0.3%
Miscellaneous Psychology 61,257 4.3% 0.1%
Philosophy and Religious Studies 448,095 4.3% 1.0%
Microbiology 147,954 4.2% 0.3%
Chemical Engineering 347,959 4.1% 0.8%
Physics 346,455 4.1% 0.7%
Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Administration 334,016 3.9% 0.7%
Accounting 2,296,601 3.9% 4.7%
Mathematics 840,137 3.9% 1.7%
English Language and Literature 1,938,988 3.8% 3.8%
Miscellaneous Biology 52,895 3.7% 0.1%
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bigdog
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« Reply #171 on: January 26, 2012, 08:26:01 AM »

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-01-24/liberal-arts-education-graduates/52779652/1

Recent college graduates who as seniors scored highest on a standardized test to measure how well they think, reason and write — skills most associated with a liberal arts education — were far more likely to be better off financially than those who scored lowest, says the survey, released Wednesday by the Social Science Research Council, an independent organization.

It found that students who had mastered the ability to think critically, reason analytically and write effectively by their senior year were:

•Three times less likely to be unemployed than those who hadn't (3.1% vs. 9.6%).
•Half as likely to be living with their parents (18% vs. 35%).

•Far less likely to have amassed credit card debt (37% vs. 51%).

Grades and other factors influence a student's chances of success, too. Graduates of colleges with tougher admissions standards tended to have fewer debts and were less likely to live with their parents, the study found.

A report this month by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, which studies the labor-market value of college degrees, found that recent graduates with a bachelor's degree in architecture had the highest average jobless rate (13.9%, vs. 8.9% for all recent college graduates). Education and health care majors had some of the lowest jobless rates.

The findings released Wednesday "show something new and different," says lead author Richard Arum, a New York University professor. "Students would do well to appreciate the extent to which their development of general skills, not just majors and institution attended, is related to successful adult transitions."

The study is based on surveys of 925 graduates who as college seniors had taken the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test that aims to measure student learning. In addition to showing greater success financially, high-scorers were more likely to read the news and discuss politics and be living with or married to a romantic partner they met in college.

Richard Ekman, president of the Council of Independent Colleges, an association that encourages its member schools to assess student learning, says findings suggest that the Collegiate Learning Assessment is "a pretty good measure of how people are going to do in life."

Arum also cautions that the study doesn't speak to whether high-scoring graduates picked up their skills while in college. It follows up on research last year showing that 36% of college graduates showed few or no gains in learning between their freshman and senior years.

"While their outcomes are not a product solely of their college experience … it's important for colleges to figure out a way to be more effective," he says.


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #172 on: January 27, 2012, 11:44:32 AM »



By JAMES TARANTO
In the Chronicle of Higher Education, economist Richard Vedder notes a new development in the education marketplace that should make many of his fellow academics nervous:

The announcement of agreements between Burck Smith's StraighterLine and the Education Testing Service (ETS) and the Council on Aid to Education (CAE) to provide competency test materials to students online is potentially very important, along with several other recent developments. A little economics explains why this is so.
With regards to colleges, consumers typically have believed that there are no good substitutes–the only way a person can certify to potential employers that she/he is pretty bright, well educated, good at communicating, disciplined, etc., is by presenting a bachelor's degree diploma. College graduates typically have these positive attributes more than others, so degrees serve as an important signaling device to employers, lowering the costs of learning about the traits of the applicant. Because of the lack of good substitutes, colleges face little outside competition and can raise prices more, given their quasi-monopoly status.
As college costs rise, however, people are asking: Aren't there cheaper ways of certifying competence and skills to employers?
"This is not for everyone, of course," Vedder notes. "Many have the resources to go to expensive residential colleges, which is as much a consumption as academic/investment experience."

The crucial distinction here is actually between the "academic" and "investment" functions of higher ed. The industry has exploded over the past few decades based on a business model that focuses more on selling the college degree as a credential--an "investment" that yields an increase in one's own "human capital"--than on persuading young adults that education is intrinsically valuable.

If someone could offer a less expensive job-hunting license--one that assessed an entry-level job-seeker's worth to a prospective employer at least as accurately as a college degree does--then the demand for college would plummet, as young adults could realize the same gains from a much smaller investment.

 .That's where ETS and CAE come in. They will offer two tests. One, called iSkills, "measures the ability of a student to navigate and critically evaluate information from digital technology." The other, the CLA, "assesses critical learning and writing skills through use of cognitively challenging problems." As Vedder explains: "Students can tell employers, 'I did very well on the CLA and iSkills test, strong predictors of future positive work performance,' and, implicitly 'you can hire me for less than you pay college graduates who score less well on these tests.' "

If the practice became widespread, it would drive college costs down and force cost-cutting and downsizing within the higher-ed industry. So you can expect the industry to fight hard against it.

How might it do that? One aspect of all this that Vedder doesn't explore is the historic origins of the higher-ed industry's credential cartel. As we've explained before, it goes back to Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that companies could not administer IQ tests because they had a racially "disparate impact"--that is, it discriminates against blacks because they score more poorly on average than whites do.

The disparate-impact test in Griggs, written into law in the Civil Rights Act of 1991, applies only to employers. Educational institutions are free to administer IQ tests, which is essentially what the SAT and other entrance exams are. To assure that their degrees pass muster as a condition of employment, colleges and universities go to extreme lengths to ensure a "diverse" student body, including discriminating in favor of blacks (and selected other minorities) in admissions.

As we noted last month--and a tip of the hat to Heather Mac Donald for documenting the phenomenon--colleges and universities have developed sprawling bureaucracies to encourage "diversity," at the expense of traditional academics. Higher-ed institutions also pump out an enormous quantity of dubious scholarship that purportedly proves the ideological presupposition behind this business model--namely, that white racism is the proximate cause of all racial disparity. Here's a funny example, reported by LiveScience.com:

There's no gentle way to put it: People who give in to racism and prejudice may simply be dumb, according to a new study that is bound to stir public controversy.
The research finds that children with low intelligence are more likely to hold prejudiced attitudes as adults. These findings point to a vicious cycle [sic], according to lead researcher Gordon Hodson, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario. Low-intelligence adults tend to gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, the study found. Those ideologies, in turn, stress hierarchy and resistance to change, attitudes that can contribute to prejudice, Hodson wrote in an email to LiveScience.

So IQ tests are racist, except when they're used to "prove" that people with "socially conservative ideologies" are racist and intellectually inferior.

TheRoot.com has an article arguing that the Republican presidential candidates are racist. It's about as uninteresting an argument as you can find--but the headline is revealing: "Colorblind Racism: The New Norm." That Orwellian term, "colorblind racism," is the pithiest summation we've ever encountered of the absurdity of contemporary left-liberal racial dogma.

It also turns out to be a product of academia: The idea of "colorblind racism" was hatched by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a professor of sociology at Duke University, a decade ago. Here's a paper on the subject from the journal Critical Sociology.

The higher education industry's credential cartel is under financial threat owing to the necessity of state and local (and eventually federal) budget cuts and the increasing sense that a degree isn't worth incurring a mountain of debt. It is under legal threat, too. There is a strong likelihood that the Supreme Court will abolish or severely curtail the use of racial preferences in college admissions sometime in the next few years, a possibility that led to gnashing of teeth at the New York Times editorial board. Thanks to the senescence of white guilt, explicated here Monday, it is also under cultural threat.

Now, as Vedder reports, there is a competitive threat as well. We can expect that the higher-ed industry will do whatever it can to crush this threat. The obvious point of attack would be to claim that the new skills tests have a racially disparate impact. ETS and CAE would be well-advised to take strong defensive measures.

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« Reply #173 on: January 27, 2012, 02:55:08 PM »

Two quick things: There is a major difference between measuring what you know and having an indication of how you think and learn.  ETS won't replace that important portion of the college degree.  And, as technology and information increases seemingly exponentially, thinking and learning will be more important than knowing. 

There is spurious research put out by any organization who produces research, whether the higher education "industry," media, think tanks or corporations.  Cherry picking examples of this spurious research to indicate the weakness of the "industry" is spurious itself.  I don't hate capitalism because tobacco industry scientists "proved" for years that smoking and cancer had no link. 
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« Reply #174 on: January 27, 2012, 04:34:13 PM »

Of greater interest to me there was the spurious and specious notion of "color-blind racism".
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« Reply #175 on: January 29, 2012, 05:16:23 PM »

That was part of the research I was referencing.
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« Reply #176 on: February 01, 2012, 12:22:01 PM »


By FAY VINCENT
In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama said he wants the federal government to assert control over the rapidly rising cost of college tuition. His objective is to force all schools receiving federal aid—which is nearly all of them—to justify their tuition increases or lose the aid. Where to begin?

The president could hardly have found a more intricate area in which to assert power. His supporters laud his effort for recognizing the burdens on young people emerging from college with mounting debts. Critics see political motivations, with the president appealing to young voters in an election year. And cynics may consider all this just another idea that will have come to life during a State of the Union only to die rapidly in the cold weather of careful analysis. Whatever the case, by treading into educational pricing, the president may find himself getting an education.

Consider an analogy. If Harvard is a Ferrari, then Fairfield University, the small Jesuit school in Connecticut where I was a trustee for many years, is a Chevrolet. Yet in education, Ferraris cost about the same—often less—than Chevrolets. This year Harvard's stated tuition is $36,300, while Fairfield's is $39,900.

Rich, prestigious schools like Harvard and Yale could charge much more for what they provide. They could also reduce tuition by increasing their reliance on their huge endowments. Less wealthy schools, by contrast, are dependent on tuition and have almost no pricing flexibility. Yet the sticker price for four years at Harvard is very close to the price at Fairfield, even though many would consider a Harvard education and diploma more valuable.

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Students at a college and career convention in Los Angeles.
.The crucial defect in the president's thinking is the assumption that four years of higher education is a commodity. Of course it's not. Price can be deceptive. And the real cost of a Harvard education is about twice the sticker price.

Much of the complication in tuition pricing arises from schools' policies on endowment-spending and financial aid. President Obama will find that at many schools only a relatively small percentage of students pay the full tuition sticker price, with the average net cost of the education well below that stated price. Financial aid provided to students accounts for the difference.

How would President Obama have federal authorities decide whether a school should take more from its endowment in order to reduce tuition? How would the feds determine whether a school with a major financial-aid program based solely on need is to be equated with another school that gives much of its aid to wealthy kids based on merit?

If the feds believe in supporting only needy students and not those who are wealthy but win merit scholarships, the financial-aid policies at many schools would have to be adjusted. What is to be the operative governing principle for federal policy—"fairness"?

Is it fair to give financial aid to rich kids? Is it fair to give financial aid to athletes who have no academic plans? Is it fair to spend money on academic programs in unpopular subjects? These are but a few of the many educational and financial issues the feds will have to confront. Think of how many new federal employees will have to be hired to meet this new responsibility of our government.

Then there's the baleful history of how federal price controls have worked in the past. Private companies hired thousands of lawyers to justify proposed price increases to federal bureaucrats. Those bureaucrats examined the reasons and often challenged the merits.

Time and money were wasted. Looking back, that was the point. By making price increases difficult and tedious, the federal government ensured that many didn't take place—so consumers bore other, indirect costs, like waiting in hours-long gas lines.

Why is this history not persuasive to the White House? What about all the legal challenges that colleges and universities would make to the feds' decisions? More litigation and more costs to be absorbed by tuition and endowments.

The only consolation one can derive from this obvious fiasco is that it will almost surely be next seen in that dark corner of the Capitol where premature and poorly developed ideas are abandoned to die of inattention.

President Obama has identified a legitimate issue. The costs of education are increasing rapidly and there are few structural limits. Perhaps the president will set out a more sensible effort when and if he ever supplies details of what he has in mind.

Mr. Vincent, a former CEO of Columbia Pictures Industries and commissioner of Major League Baseball, has served as a trustee of Fairfield University, Williams College and Carleton College.

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« Reply #177 on: February 02, 2012, 10:22:57 AM »

January 2012

Charles Murray
American Enterprise Institute

Do We Need the Department of Education? 
Charles Murray is the W.H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He received his B.A. in history at Harvard University and his Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written for numerous newspapers and journals, including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, and National Review. His books include Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, What It Means to Be a Libertarian, and Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality. His new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, will be published at the end of January.
The following is adapted from a speech delivered in Atlanta, Georgia, on October 28, 2011, at a conference on “Markets, Government, and the Common Good,” sponsored by Hillsdale College’s Center for the Study of Monetary Systems and Free Enterprise.

THE CASE FOR the Department of Education could rest on one or more of three legs: its constitutional appropriateness, the existence of serious problems in education that could be solved only at the federal level, and/or its track record since it came into being. Let us consider these in order.


(1) Is the Department of Education constitutional?


At the time the Constitution was written, education was not even considered a function of local government, let alone the federal government. But the shakiness of the Department of Education’s constitutionality goes beyond that. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the things over which Congress has the power to legislate. Not only does the list not include education, there is no plausible rationale for squeezing education in under the commerce clause. I’m sure the Supreme Court found a rationale, but it cannot have been plausible.


On a more philosophical level, the framers of America’s limited government had a broad allegiance to what Catholics call the principle of subsidiarity. In the secular world, the principle of subsidiarity means that local government should do only those things that individuals cannot do for themselves, state government should do only those things that local governments cannot do, and the federal government should do only those things that the individual states cannot do. Education is something that individuals acting alone and cooperatively can do, let alone something local or state governments can do.


I should be explicit about my own animus in this regard. I don’t think the Department of Education is constitutionally legitimate, let alone appropriate. I would favor abolishing it even if, on a pragmatic level, it had improved American education. But I am in a small minority on that point, so let’s move on to the pragmatic questions.


(2) Are there serious problems in education that can be solved only at the federal level?


The first major federal spending on education was triggered by the launch of the first space satellite, Sputnik, in the fall of 1957, which created a perception that the United States had fallen behind the Soviet Union in science and technology. The legislation was specifically designed to encourage more students to go into math and science, and its motivation is indicated by its title: The National Defense Education Act of 1958. But what really ensnared the federal government in education in the 1960s had its origins elsewhere—in civil rights. The Supreme Court declared segregation of the schools unconstitutional in 1954, but—notwithstanding a few highly publicized episodes such as the integration of Central High School in Little Rock and James Meredith’s admission to the University of Mississippi—the pace of change in the next decade was glacial.


Was it necessary for the federal government to act? There is a strong argument for “yes,” especially in the case of K-12 education. Southern resistance to desegregation proved to be both stubborn and effective in the years following Brown v. Board of Education. Segregation of the schools had been declared unconstitutional, and constitutional rights were being violated on a massive scale. But the question at hand is whether we need a Department of Education now, and we have seen a typical evolution of policy. What could have been justified as a one-time, forceful effort to end violations of constitutional rights, lasting until the constitutional wrongs had been righted, was transmuted into a permanent government establishment. Subsequently, this establishment became more and more deeply involved in American education for purposes that have nothing to do with constitutional rights, but instead with a broader goal of improving education.


The reason this came about is also intimately related to the civil rights movement. Over the same years that school segregation became a national issue, the disparities between black and white educational attainment and test scores came to public attention. When the push for President Johnson’s Great Society programs began in the mid-1960s, it was inevitable that the federal government would attempt to reduce black-white disparities, and it did so in 1965 with the passage of two landmark bills—the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act. The Department of Education didn’t come into being until 1980, but large-scale involvement of the federal government in education dates from 1965.


(3) So what is the federal government’s track record in education?


The most obvious way to look at the track record is the long-term trend data of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Consider, for instance, the results for the math test for students in fourth, eighth and twelfth grades from 1978 through 2004. The good news is that the scores for fourth graders showed significant improvement in both reading and math—although those gains diminished slightly as the children got older. The bad news is that the baseline year of 1978 represents the nadir of the test score decline from the mid-1960s through the 1970s. Probably we are today about where we were in math achievement in the 1960s. For reading, the story is even bleaker. The small gains among fourth graders diminish by eighth grade and vanish by the twelfth grade. And once again, the baseline tests in the 1970s represent a nadir.


From 1942 through the 1990s, the state of Iowa administered a consistent and comprehensive test to all of its public school students in grade school, middle school, and high school—making it, to my knowledge, the only state in the union to have good longitudinal data that go back that far. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills offers not a sample, but an entire state population of students. What can we learn from a single state? Not much, if we are mainly interested in the education of minorities—Iowa from 1942 through 1970 was 97 percent white, and even in the 2010 census was 91 percent white. But, paradoxically, that racial homogeneity is also an advantage, because it sidesteps all the complications associated with changing ethnic populations.


Since retention through high school has changed greatly over the last 70 years, I will consider here only the data for ninth graders. What the data show is that when the federal government decided to get involved on a large scale in K-12 education in 1965, Iowa’s education had been improving substantially since the first test was administered in 1942. There is reason to think that the same thing had been happening throughout the country. As I documented in my book, Real Education, collateral data from other sources are not as detailed, nor do they go back to the 1940s, but they tell a consistent story. American education had been improving since World War II. Then, when the federal government began to get involved, it got worse.


I will not try to make the case that federal involvement caused the downturn. The effort that went into programs associated with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in the early years was not enough to have changed American education, and the more likely causes for the downturn are the spirit of the 1960s—do your own thing—and the rise of progressive education to dominance over American public education. But this much can certainly be said: The overall data on the performance of American K-12 students give no reason to think that federal involvement, which took the form of the Department of Education after 1979, has been an engine of improvement.


What about the education of the disadvantaged, especially minorities? After all, this was arguably the main reason that the federal government began to get involved in education—to reduce the achievement gap separating poor children and rich children, and especially the gap separating poor black children and the rest of the country.


The most famous part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act was Title I, initially authorizing more than a billion dollars annually (equivalent to more than $7 billion today) to upgrade the schools attended by children from low-income families. The program has continued to grow ever since, disposing of about $19 billion in 2010 (No Child Left Behind has also been part of Title I).


Supporters of Title I confidently expected to see progress, and so formal evaluation of Title I was built into the legislation from the beginning. Over the years, the evaluations became progressively more ambitious and more methodologically sophisticated. But while the evaluations have improved, the story they tell has not changed. Despite being conducted by people who wished the program well, no evaluation of Title I from the 1970s onward has found credible evidence of a significant positive impact on student achievement. If one steps back from the formal evaluations and looks at the NAEP test score gap between high-poverty schools (the ones that qualify for Title I support) and low-poverty schools, the implications are worse. A study by the Department of Education published in 2001 revealed that the gap grew rather than diminished from 1986—the earliest year such comparisons have been made—through 1999.


That brings us to No Child Left Behind. Have you noticed that no one talks about No Child Left Behind any more? The explanation is that its one-time advocates are no longer willing to defend it. The nearly-flat NAEP trendlines since 2002 make that much-ballyhooed legislative mandate—a mandate to bring all children to proficiency in math and reading by 2014—too embarrassing to mention.


In summary: the long, intrusive, expensive role of the federal government in K-12 education does not have any credible evidence for a positive effect on American education.


* * *


I have chosen to focus on K-12 because everyone agrees that K-12 education leaves much to be desired in this country and that it is reasonable to hold the government’s feet to the fire when there is no evidence that K-12 education has improved. When we turn to post-secondary education, there is much less agreement on first principles.


The bachelor of arts degree as it has evolved over the last half-century has become the work of the devil. It is now a substantively meaningless piece of paper—genuinely meaningless, if you don’t know where the degree was obtained and what courses were taken. It is expensive, too, as documented by the College Board: Public four-year colleges average about $7,000 per year in tuition, not including transportation, housing, and food. Tuition at the average private four-year college is more than $27,000 per year. And yet the B.A. has become the minimum requirement for getting a job interview for millions of jobs, a cost-free way for employers to screen for a certain amount of IQ and perseverance. Employers seldom even bother to check grades or courses, being able to tell enough about a graduate just by knowing the institution that he or she got into as an 18-year-old.


So what happens when a paper credential is essential for securing a job interview, but that credential can be obtained by taking the easiest courses and doing the minimum amount of work? The result is hundreds of thousands of college students who go to college not to get an education, but to get a piece of paper. When the dean of one East Coast college is asked how many students are in his institution, he likes to answer, “Oh, maybe six or seven.” The situation at his college is not unusual. The degradation of American college education is not a matter of a few parents horrified at stories of silly courses, trivial study requirements, and campus binge drinking. It has been documented in detail, affects a large proportion of the students in colleges, and is a disgrace.


The Department of Education, with decades of student loans and scholarships for university education, has not just been complicit in this evolution of the B.A. It has been its enabler. The size of these programs is immense. In 2010, the federal government issued new loans totaling $125 billion. It handed out more than eight million Pell Grants totaling more than $32 billion dollars. Absent this level of intervention, the last three decades would have seen a much healthier evolution of post-secondary education that focused on concrete job credentials and courses of studies not constricted by the traditional model of the four-year residential college. The absence of this artificial subsidy would also have let market forces hold down costs. Defenders of the Department of Education can unquestionably make the case that its policies have increased the number of people going to four-year residential colleges. But I view that as part of the Department of Education’s indictment, not its defense.


* * *


What other case might be made for federal involvement in education? Its contributions to good educational practice? Think of the good things that have happened to education in the last 30 years—the growth of homeschooling and the invention and spread of charter schools. The Department of Education had nothing to do with either development. Both happened because of the initiatives taken by parents who were disgusted with standard public education and took matters into their own hands. To watch the process by which charter schools are created, against the resistance of school boards and administrators, is to watch the best of American traditions in operation. Government has had nothing to do with it, except as a drag on what citizens are trying to do for their children.


Think of the best books on educational practice, such as Howard Gardner’s many innovative writings and E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge Curriculum, developed after his landmark book, Cultural Literacy, was published in 1987. None of this came out of the Department of Education. The Department of Education spends about $200 million a year on research intended to improve educational practice. No evidence exists that these expenditures have done any significant good.


As far as I can determine, the Department of Education has no track record of positive accomplishment—nothing in the national numbers on educational achievement, nothing in the improvement of educational outcomes for the disadvantaged, nothing in the advancement of educational practice. It just spends a lot of money. This brings us to the practical question: If the Department of Education disappeared from next year’s budget, would anyone notice? The only reason that anyone would notice is the money. The nation’s public schools have developed a dependence on the federal infusion of funds. As a practical matter, actually doing away with the Department of Education would involve creating block grants so that school district budgets throughout the nation wouldn’t crater.


Sadly, even that isn’t practical. The education lobby will prevent any serious inroads on the Department of Education for the foreseeable future. But the answer to the question posed in the title of this talk—“Do we need the Department of Education?”—is to me unambiguous: No.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright © 2012 Hillsdale College. The opinions expressed in Imprimis are not necessarily the views of Hillsdale College. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the following credit line is used: “Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College"     33 East College St. Hillsdale, MI 49242 • Tel: +1 517 437-7341 • Fax: +1 517 437-3923
© 2007-09 Hillsdale College. All rights reserved.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #178 on: February 12, 2012, 02:19:32 PM »


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHtDF-z77wk&feature=player_embedded
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« Reply #179 on: March 10, 2012, 10:59:59 AM »

http://pjmedia.com/blog/campus-president-rebukes-limbaugh-supporting-professor/?singlepage=true

Campus President Rebukes Limbaugh-Supporting Professor

U. of Rochester intimidates a professor and allows students to disrupt his class.



by
Robert Shibley

March 10, 2012 - 12:00 am


By now, most are familiar with the national tempest over conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, and her testimony to Congress about whether Georgetown and other Catholic universities should have to cover birth control through their insurance policies. Predictably, the controversy has spilled over to a university campus. But the campus is the University of Rochester, and the issue is not contraception, but campus policing of speech.
 
UR economics professor Steven Landsburg addressed the arguments of Limbaugh and Fluke on his blog, The Big Questions, with three entries. In the first blog entry, “Rush to Judgment,” Landsburg states that while Fluke deserves respect as a human being, her position does not. He defended in economic terms Limbaugh’s (obviously joking) suggestion that those who use subsidized contraception should have to tape their sexual activities and post them online so that the benefit can be shared by those doing the subsidizing.
 
Landsburg called Fluke an “extortionist with an overweening sense of entitlement,” and in his second blog entry, he gave the nickname “contraceptive sponges” to “people who want others to pay for their contraception because — well, just because they don’t want to pay for it themselves.” Landsburg then discussed the pros and cons of six arguments that contraception should be subsidized. The third blog entry suggested that perhaps the best way to subsidize contraception fairly is simply to tax men and to give women cash.

This went over very poorly with folks at UR. At least 17 students even barged into Landsburg’s class and formed a line blocking him off from his students. (Landsburg continued to lecture.) And UR president Joel Seligman sent out a memo blasting Landsburg’s blog entries, saying that he was “outraged that any professor would demean a student in this fashion.”
 
Thankfully for free speech, however, Seligman also said:
 

Professor Landsburg has the right to express his views under our university’s deep commitment to academic freedom.
 
Landsburg responded to Seligman in a fourth blog entry.
 
While UR is private and does not have to guarantee free speech, it nevertheless does so, as do most private universities (and such promises have especially clear legal force in the state of New York). After all, attracting quality students and faculty is likely to be much harder for a university that tells its community free thought is unwelcome on campus. UR states:
 

Freedom of expression of ideas and action is not to be limited by acts of intimidation, political or ideological oppression, abuse of authority, or threat of physical harm and well-being.
 
That freedom extends to both Landsburg and Seligman as well as to UR as an institution, and as university president, Seligman had the right to both personally and institutionally condemn Landsburg’s remarks as long as UR takes no official action against the professor for his expression.
 
Unfortunately, despite the fact that all public universities and the vast majority of private universities are supposed to protect unpopular views on campus, the reality is quite different. According to a study (large PDF) by the Association of American Colleges & Universities, less than 20 percent of faculty members strongly agreed that it was “safe to hold unpopular positions” on their campus. This is borne out by multiple cases from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (where I work), such as that of SUNY Fredonia’s Steven Kershnar, who was denied promotion because of his op-eds in a local newspaper, or Purdue University-Calumet’s Maurice Eisenstein, who was investigated under nine complaints of harassment for his Facebook comments about Islamist violence.
 
While Seligman had the right to condemn Landsburg, whether doing so was wise is a different issue. This article from UC Berkeley, which points out that its chancellor condemned an affirmative action bake sale on campus last fall but not a recent appearance from Louis Farrakhan, shows us why. Once a university president takes the position that some expression (like Landsburg’s) is beyond the pale, that president risks looking like a political hack when he or she fails to condemn equally controversial statements from the other side of the political spectrum.
 
Most worrisome, however, is the fact that UR allowed its students to disrupt Landsburg’s class without any consequences, despite the fact that campus security was on the scene. What happened in Landsburg’s class is a textbook example of “mob censorship,” where a group of people silence or drown out a speaker with whose views they disagree. A classroom is perhaps the least appropriate place for something like this to happen, and the fact that UR did not see fit to clear the heckling students out of the class is disturbing. If UR truly values “freedom of expression of ideas and action,” it should make clear that those who engage in mob censorship will be punished and that it will tolerate no further disruptions of campus speakers, be they professors like Landsburg or (the more common target) invited speakers like former Congressman Tom Tancredo, Minutemen leader Jim Gilchrist, or General David Petraeus.
 

Robert Shibley is the vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in Philadelphia, PA.
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« Reply #180 on: March 10, 2012, 11:01:53 AM »

“contraceptive sponges”

I wish I'd thought of that!  grin
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« Reply #181 on: March 10, 2012, 11:18:40 AM »

A WEEK and a half ago, the day after the school shooting near Cleveland, a student stood in the doorway of my Bronx college classroom. He was eating half a bagel with cream cheese. It was a month into the semester, 45 minutes into the class period. I didn’t remember ever having seen him before.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/10/opinion/teachers-need-trust-and-security.html?ref=opinion
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« Reply #182 on: March 13, 2012, 10:33:48 PM »

http://school.failblog.org/2012/02/28/homework-class-test-why-couldnt-he-just-be-complacent-and-dumb-like-everyone-else/
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« Reply #183 on: March 22, 2012, 04:23:09 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2012/03/22/homework-at-virginia-school-do-some-oppo-research-on-republicans-but-not-on-obama/

Homework at Virginia school: Do some oppo research on Republicans but not on Obama
 

posted at 4:40 pm on March 22, 2012 by Allahpundit
 





The bad news: This is a brazen bit of political indoctrination. The good news: The class is now more or less qualified for work in America’s mainstream media. If you’re going to push your politics on kids, at least teach ‘em a trade.
 
He may or may not have also told them to send their research to Obama’s campaign. Another useful journalistic skill — learning to coordinate with Democrats for professional gain and the advancement of the cause. In a world of high Hopenchange unemployment, shouldn’t we congratulate this guy for looking out for his students’ bottom line?
 

“This assignment was just creepy beyond belief — like something out of East Germany during the Cold War,” one frustrated father, who asked for his family to remain anonymous, told The Daily Caller.
 
The assignment was for students to research the backgrounds and positions of each of the GOP candidates for president and find “weaknesses” in them, the parent explained. From there, students were to prepare a strategy paper to exploit those weaknesses and then to send their suggestions to the Obama campaign…
 
No similar assignment was given to research Obama’s history, identify his weaknesses or pass them along to the Republican candidates…
 
[Fairfax County Public School system spokesman John] Torre explained that Principal Dr. Catherine Cipperly, who refused to comment, discussed the matter with Denman, citing that students should have been given a choice to research candidates from either major party.
 
I’m guessing that Team O is already sufficiently well stocked with oppo people that it doesn’t need help from the JV, but any competitive organization knows that it’s always worth scouting promising young talent. And speaking of vetting The One, go read the 1995 interview that Team Breitbart dug up in which an ambitious young redistributionist muses about how the top five percent control all of America’s wealth while the rest of us get “bitter” and look for “scapegoats” among each other. Say this for the guy: If nothing else, at least he’s consistent. (Except when it’s politically inconvenient.) Exit question: Time for OWS to start demagoging “the five percent” instead?
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« Reply #184 on: April 03, 2012, 04:36:08 PM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/senior-citizens-continue-to-bear-burden-of-student-loans/2012/04/01/gIQAs47lpS_story.html?wprss=

Senior citizens continue to bear burden of student loans


(Sid Hastings/ For The Washington Post ) - Sandy Barnett stands in the rear doorway of her trailer home in Springfield, Ill. Barnett is struggling to pay student loan debt associated with graduate study at Sangamon State University and the University of North Texas.

By Ylan Q. Mui, Published: April 1




 The burden of paying for college is wreaking havoc on the finances of an unexpected demographic: senior citizens.

New research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that Americans 60 and older still owe about $36 billion in student loans, providing a rare window into the dynamics of student debt. More than 10 percent of those loans are delinquent. As a result, consumer advocates say, it is not uncommon for Social Security checks to be garnished or for debt collectors to harass borrowers in their 80s over student loans that are decades old.


That even seniors remain saddled with student loans highlights what a growing chorus of lawmakers, economists and financial experts say has become a central conflict in the nation’s higher education system: The long-touted benefits of a college degree are being diluted by rising tuition rates and the longevity of debt.

Some of these older Americans are still grappling with their first wave of student loans, while others took on new debt when they returned to school later in life in hopes of becoming more competitive in the labor force. Many have co-signed for loans with their children or grandchildren to help them afford ballooning tuition.

The recent recession exacerbated this problem, making it harder for older Americans — or the youths they are supporting in school — to get good-paying jobs. And unlike other debts, student loans cannot be shed in bankruptcy. As a result, some older Americans have found that a college degree led not to a prosperous career but instead to a lifetime under the shadow of debt.

“A student loan can be a debt that’s kind of like a ball and chain that you can drag to the grave,” said William E. Brewer, president of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. “You can unhook it when they lay you in the coffin.”

Sandy Barnett, 58, of Illinois thought she was doing the right thing when she decided to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology in the late 1980s. She had worked her way through college but said she took out a loan of about $21,000 to pay for graduate school so she would have more time to focus on her studies.

But even after earning her master’s, Barnett struggled to find a job that paid more than $25,000 a year and soon fell behind on her payments. She suffered through a layoff, a stretch of unemployment and the death of her husband — while her student loan ballooned to roughly $54,000.

Barnett filed for bankruptcy in 2005, but she couldn’t get out from under her student loan debt. She said a collection agency began garnishing the wages from her full-time job as a customer service representative a year ago, and now money is so tight that she must choose between buying gas and buying food. An air conditioner for her mobile home is an unimaginable luxury.

“I shake my head every day at the thought that I’m working for nothing,” Barnett said. “It’s really a black hole because there’s no end in sight.”
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« Reply #185 on: April 12, 2012, 07:58:24 AM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/10/opinion/nocera-football-and-swahili.html

"In playing for the team, the athletes are giving their schools more immediate value than anyone else in the student body. They are also doing something that requires at least as much skill as playing in a university orchestra. Even putting aside the question of pay, surely the university ought to feel a moral obligation to return the favor by giving the players the tools to succeed in life.

Instead, universities do the opposite. With their phony majors and low expectations, they send the unmistakable message to the athletes that they don’t care what happens after their eligibility expires. It’s a disgrace."
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bigdog
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« Reply #186 on: April 21, 2012, 05:26:09 PM »

http://catholicexchange.com/why-are-homeschooled-kids-so-annoying/2/

About a year ago, when I first started considering taking my kids out of public school, I wasn’t met with the kind of incredulous questioning that I expected after suggesting something so reckless and foolhardy.  For the most part people were excited and supportive and helpful.  Many thought we were already homeschooling, in fact.  What surprised me most though is that folks who were concerned about the prudence of such a decision weren’t worried that my children might not learn enough or the the right things.  They didn’t wonder how my kids would know how to be quiet when they were supposed to or to wait in lines when they have to.
 
No, the biggest concern among the concerned was: SOCIALIZATION.  Ahhhh!  Socialize those kids!  Learnin’, schmlearning- those kids need to be among herds of other kids their exact age in order to learn how to be normal.  In other words: homeschooled kids are annoying and weird, and you don’t want your kids to be annoying and weird, do you?
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G M
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« Reply #187 on: April 21, 2012, 05:46:45 PM »

You're depriving your kids the offical indoctrination from the teacher's union! Where will they learn to sing song of praise for Obama?  MMMMM  mmmmm MMMMM!


http://catholicexchange.com/why-are-homeschooled-kids-so-annoying/2/

About a year ago, when I first started considering taking my kids out of public school, I wasn’t met with the kind of incredulous questioning that I expected after suggesting something so reckless and foolhardy.  For the most part people were excited and supportive and helpful.  Many thought we were already homeschooling, in fact.  What surprised me most though is that folks who were concerned about the prudence of such a decision weren’t worried that my children might not learn enough or the the right things.  They didn’t wonder how my kids would know how to be quiet when they were supposed to or to wait in lines when they have to.
 
No, the biggest concern among the concerned was: SOCIALIZATION.  Ahhhh!  Socialize those kids!  Learnin’, schmlearning- those kids need to be among herds of other kids their exact age in order to learn how to be normal.  In other words: homeschooled kids are annoying and weird, and you don’t want your kids to be annoying and weird, do you?

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DougMacG
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« Reply #188 on: April 21, 2012, 07:38:40 PM »

Funny line at the end:  "And that’s why homeschooled kids are so annoying.  Because no one tells them that the way God made them isn’t cool enough."

Looking forward to any first hand home school stories or info.  My nephew did it for a year at age 12 and got caught up in academics.  He needs the socialization.  The Boy Scouts for one thing has been very good for that.  They do a lot of great activities and the dads are very involved keeping the atmosphere fun and positive.

Home school is of course not really home school.  It is a parent directed education (like public schools are supposed to be).  Those kids often get out and about way more than school kids and have academic and social networks.  They are eligible here for school sports and other activities as well which can help them stay connecting if they later come back in.

Thye teacher union comment is funny.  Around here each home school choice cuts about 10k/yr out of their funding.  Every bit of competition with the public school is a force for good for all of the kids.
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G M
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« Reply #189 on: April 21, 2012, 09:18:22 PM »


http://hotair.com/archives/2012/04/07/teacher-tells-6th-grade-class-that-republicans-are-stupid/

Teacher tells 6th grade class that ‘Republicans are stupid’
 

posted at 10:00 am on April 7, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
 





I suppose it can said of a Virginia elementary school teacher who allegedly told her students “Republicans are stupid” that she at least spoke her mind. Her actions are more defensible than those of a fellow Old Dominion State colleague who deviously tasked her students with finding flaws in the GOP presidential candidates but not in the lone Democratic candidate.
 
The Daily Caller reports that “as Republican voters were filing into the halls of [Colin] Powell Elementary School in Fairfax County to vote on Super Tuesday,” teacher Kristin Martin told her sixth-grade class that “Republicans are stupid” and “they don’t care about anyone but wealthy people and businesses.”
 
One of the students in the class told The DC:
 

It all started when this disabled kid came in and named all the Republicans candidates for Super Tuesday. She [Martin] said to him, ‘I don’t like them, I think that they are stupid.’
 
The blog additionally notes that Martin reportedly told the class that she had voted for Obama and that “Democrats do more for the community and schools.”
 
I reached out to John Torre, a spokesman for the school district, who said that the county’s investigation into the incident was “inconclusive.” The teacher, he told me, denies having made these statements, which means that in the district’s eyes it boils down to a case of “she said, they said.”
 
But not all the parents of children in Martin’s class are satisfied with that outcome. One mother, a self-identified Republican, is quoted by The DC as saying:
 

I felt like the teacher was brainwashing naïve, young children to believe people like me, my family and, to a certain extent, my daughter, were stupid.
 
The reaction is understandable, but I would find it far more instructive to know what a parent who is a Democrat thinks of this type of proselytizing—whether it happened or not.
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G M
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« Reply #190 on: April 22, 2012, 11:33:08 PM »

http://news.yahoo.com/1-2-graduates-jobless-underemployed-140300522.html

WASHINGTON (AP) — The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor's degrees.

Opportunities for college graduates vary widely.

While there's strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor's degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers. Most future job openings are projected to be in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides, who can provide personalized attention as the U.S. population ages.

Taking underemployment into consideration, the job prospects for bachelor's degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade.

"I don't even know what I'm looking for," says Michael Bledsoe, who described months of fruitless job searches as he served customers at a Seattle coffeehouse. The 23-year-old graduated in 2010 with a creative writing degree.

Initially hopeful that his college education would create opportunities, Bledsoe languished for three months before finally taking a job as a barista, a position he has held for the last two years. In the beginning he sent three or four resumes day. But, Bledsoe said, employers questioned his lack of experience or the practical worth of his major. Now he sends a resume once every two weeks or so.

Bledsoe, currently making just above minimum wage, says he got financial help from his parents to help pay off student loans. He is now mulling whether to go to graduate school, seeing few other options to advance his career. "There is not much out there, it seems," he said.

His situation highlights a widening but little-discussed labor problem. Perhaps more than ever, the choices that young adults make earlier in life — level of schooling, academic field and training, where to attend college, how to pay for it — are having long-lasting financial impact.

"You can make more money on average if you go to college, but it's not true for everybody," says Harvard economist Richard Freeman, noting the growing risk of a debt bubble with total U.S. student loan debt surpassing $1 trillion. "If you're not sure what you're going to be doing, it probably bodes well to take some job, if you can get one, and get a sense first of what you want from college."

Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University who analyzed the numbers, said many people with a bachelor's degree face a double whammy of rising tuition and poor job outcomes. "Simply put, we're failing kids coming out of college," he said, emphasizing that when it comes to jobs, a college major can make all the difference. "We're going to need a lot better job growth and connections to the labor market, otherwise college debt will grow."

By region, the Mountain West was most likely to have young college graduates jobless or underemployed — roughly 3 in 5. It was followed by the more rural southeastern U.S., including Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. The Pacific region, including Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, also was high on the list.

On the other end of the scale, the southern U.S., anchored by Texas, was most likely to have young college graduates in higher-skill jobs.

The figures are based on an analysis of 2011 Current Population Survey data by Northeastern University researchers and supplemented with material from Paul Harrington, an economist at Drexel University, and the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank. They rely on Labor Department assessments of the level of education required to do the job in 900-plus U.S. occupations, which were used to calculate the shares of young adults with bachelor's degrees who were "underemployed."

About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields.

Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year.

Broken down by occupation, young college graduates were heavily represented in jobs that require a high school diploma or less.

In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000).

According to government projections released last month, only three of the 30 occupations with the largest projected number of job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor's degree or higher to fill the position — teachers, college professors and accountants. Most job openings are in professions such as retail sales, fast food and truck driving, jobs which aren't easily replaced by computers.

College graduates who majored in zoology, anthropology, philosophy, art history and humanities were among the least likely to find jobs appropriate to their education level; those with nursing, teaching, accounting or computer science degrees were among the most likely.

In Nevada, where unemployment is the highest in the nation, Class of 2012 college seniors recently expressed feelings ranging from anxiety and fear to cautious optimism about what lies ahead.

With the state's economy languishing in an extended housing bust, a lot of young graduates have shown up at job placement centers in tears. Many have been squeezed out of jobs by more experienced workers, job counselors said, and are now having to explain to prospective employers the time gaps in their resumes.

"It's kind of scary," said Cameron Bawden, 22, who is graduating from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in December with a business degree. His family has warned him for years about the job market, so he has been building his resume by working part time on the Las Vegas Strip as a food runner and doing a marketing internship with a local airline.

Bawden said his friends who have graduated are either unemployed or working along the Vegas Strip in service jobs that don't require degrees. "There are so few jobs and it's a small city," he said. "It's all about who you know."
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JDN
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« Reply #191 on: May 11, 2012, 11:15:21 AM »

Doug, without going into a defense, albeit tepid, of the LA Times, here is another article in the opinion section today that I think you will agree with; at least I do.

"We have no problem with a school that takes an unusual path to engage students and brings about academic success. The problem is that the "academic success" part is eluding the school. Its students' scores on state standardized tests have bounced up and down, most recently down. Compared with schools statewide that have similar student demographics, Semillas is in the basement."

Therefore IMHO and the LA Times, close it down.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-charter-semillas-del-pueblo-20120511,0,4516055.story
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JDN
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« Reply #192 on: May 11, 2012, 10:16:33 PM »

Perhaps this should be a personal email, but since you have raised the subject on the public forum, I am curious which College your daughter and you finally selected for her?  She sounds
absolutely great; you are very lucky.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #193 on: May 11, 2012, 10:55:56 PM »

Thanks JDN.   St. Olaf College.  They are strong academically and she was recruited for sports.  They are especially famous for their choir but have great orchestras, beautiful campus, nice people, religious atmosphere even though it is Lutheran and she is Catholic, alcohol and drug free atmosphere, top notch food, an hour from home and mostly paid for.  A 4 year residential liberal arts college, they are also very good in the sciences.

The last one she passed on was a great business school at a major university, almost all scholarship including a semester abroad scholarship, but no chance to compete for the school team (because of Div 1 and title 9), large urban campus (scary for a protected suburbanite), and she isn't sure business is her major to enter such a focused program.  Could possibly make that switch after one year, or for grad school.  We'll see...

https://www.stolaf.edu/about/ (some info)
According to the most recent National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates, St. Olaf ranks 11th overall among the nation's 262 baccalaureate colleges in the number of graduates who go on to earn doctoral degrees.  St. Olaf earned top 10 rankings in the following fields: religion/theology and social service professions (2nd); arts/music, education, and medical sciences (4th); life sciences (5th); mathematics/statistics, chemistry, and engineering (8th); foreign languages and biological sciences (9th); and physical sciences (10th).
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JDN
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« Reply #194 on: May 12, 2012, 10:19:05 AM »

Please congratulate your daughter.  Yes, I know the school; I have a friend who went there and enjoyed it immensely. She went on to become a physician. One could argue the merits of large versus small.  My father went to Lawrence, a school similar to St. Olaf only in Wisconsin.  He loved the small college atmosphere and the opportunity to participate in sports.  In contrast, while I was quite good at tennis, I was not good enough to play varsity while I was at USC; while I was there they won Div. I.  In some ways I missed out.

Probably your daughter will end up in grad school elsewhere, but while at St. Olaf I'm sure she will enjoy herself.  By the way, St. Olaf does offer a good overseas study program if your daughter is interested.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #195 on: May 12, 2012, 04:39:49 PM »

Thank you JDN.  It is quite a beautiful campus with green grass and majestic trees, up on a hill overlooking the river valley and the metro area to the north and southern MN to the south.

Small colleges are quite competitive.  St. Olaf's claim is being the only school in the nation whose fight song is in 3/4 time - a waltz, Um Ya Ya at 3:30 and 3:45 in the video after a blonde MN college girl gives her homecoming commentary in Swedish:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9K4Mx87p1w
----

"while I was quite good at tennis, I was not good enough to play varsity while I was at USC"

You will need to remove the past tense attached to 'quite good at tennis' before we meet halfway for the match to decide all differences.  )
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JDN
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« Reply #196 on: May 13, 2012, 10:05:57 AM »

I notice they even have Norwegian studies and offer Norwegian language classes!  It is a lovely campus. 

Well you must be quite good at tennis if I need to remove the past tense from "quite good" in order to keep up with you, but I'm afraid that's not going to happen. 20+ years ago a 88 year old man blindly drove up on the sidewalk and ran me down; I had just finished my running exercises at the track and was jogging home.   Among other injuries, my shoulder was damaged; suddenly my "big serve" become a powder puff and my attack serve/volley game became suicide.  So I gave up the sport. 

But golf I suppose is a possibility to decide our differences.  smiley  Or do you ride/race bicycles?  After totalling my motorcycle last year I bought a nice bicycle.  I've found that I enjoy training on a bicycle, although I will admit on the hills I do terribly miss my throttle.  smiley
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #197 on: May 15, 2012, 12:07:04 PM »

The rising cost of education
"For decades, American politicians have waxed passionate on the need to put college within every family's reach. ... The College Board, which tracks each type of financial assistance in a comprehensive annual report, shows total federal aid soaring by more than $100 billion in the space of a single decade -- from $64 billion in 2000 to $169 billion in 2010. ... And what have we gotten for this vast investment in college affordability? Colleges that are more unaffordable than ever. Year in, year out, Washington bestows tuition aid on students and their families. Year in, year out, the cost of tuition surges, galloping well ahead of inflation. And year in, year out, politicians vie to outdo each other in promising still more public subsidies that will keep higher education within reach of all. ... Federal financial aid is a major source of revenue for colleges and universities, and aid packages are generally based on the gap between what a family can afford to pay to send a student to a given college, and the tuition and fees charged by that college. That gives schools every incentive to keep their tuition unaffordable. Why would they reduce their sticker price to a level more families could afford, when doing so would mean kissing millions of government dollars goodbye? Directly or indirectly, government loans and grants have led to massive tuition inflation. ... The more government has done to make higher education affordable, the more unaffordable it has become. Doing more of the same won't yield a different outcome." --columnist Jeff Jacoby
===============

"If our students are burdened with oppressive loans, why do so many university rec centers look like five-star spas? Student cell phones and cars are indistinguishable from those of the faculty. The underclass suffers more from obesity than malnutrition; our national epidemic is not unaffordable protein, but rather a surfeit of even cheaper sweets. Flash mobbers target electronics stores for more junk, not bulk food warehouses in order to eat. America's children do not suffer from lack of access to the Internet, but from wasting hours on video games and less-than-instructional websites. We have too many, not too few, television channels. The problem is not that government workers are underpaid or scarce, but that so many of them seem to think mind readers, clowns and prostitutes come with the job. An average American with an average cell phone has more information at his fingertips than did a Goldman Sachs grandee 20 years ago. ... In 1980, a knee or hip replacement was experimental surgery for the 1 percent; now it is a Medicare entitlement. American poverty is not measured by absolute global standards of available food, shelter and medical care, or by comparisons to prior generations, but by one American now having less stuff than another." --historian Victor Davis Hanson
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 12:09:33 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
JDN
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« Reply #198 on: May 23, 2012, 09:15:31 AM »

"On May 2, D'Avonte Meadows, a 6-year-old with an infectious grin and rambunctious streak, was suspended for three days from Sable Elementary in suburban Denver for crooning "[I'm] Sexy and I Know It" to a girl in lunch line.

The school declared it sexual harassment and told his parents that, because D'Avonte sang the same song to the same girl before, he is a repeat offender."    huh

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-zero-tolerance-20120523,0,61074.story
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Mick C.
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« Reply #199 on: May 30, 2012, 09:10:34 AM »

The Unteachables: A Generation that Cannot Learn
The greatest tragedy of progressive education is not the students' lack of skills, but of teachable character.
by
JANICE FIAMENGO

“The honeymoon is over.” Instructors who award low grades in humanities disciplines will likely be familiar with a phenomenon that occurs after the first essays are returned to students: former smiles vanish, hands once jubilantly raised to answer questions are now resentfully folded across chests, offended pride and sulkiness replace the careless cheer of former days. Too often, the smiles are gone for good because the customary “B+” or “A” grades have been withheld, and many students cannot forgive the insult.

The matter doesn’t always end there. Some students are prepared for a fight, writing emails of entreaty or threat, or besieging the instructor in his office to make clear that the grade is unacceptable. Every instructor who has been so besieged knows the legion of excuses and expressions of indignation offered, the certainty that such work was always judged acceptable in the past, the implication that a few small slip-ups, a wrong word or two, have been blown out of proportion. When one points out grievous inadequacies — factual errors, self-contradiction, illogical argument, and howlers of nonsensical phrasing — the student shrugs it off: yes, yes, a few mistakes, the consequences of too much coffee, my roommate’s poor typing, another assignment due the same day; but you could still see what I meant, couldn’t you, and the general idea was good, wasn’t it? “I’m better at the big ideas,” students have sometimes boasted to me. “On the details, well … ”.

Meetings about bad grades are uncomfortable not merely because it is unpleasant to wound feelings unaccustomed to the sting. Too often, such meetings are exercises in futility. I have spent hours explaining an essay’s grammatical, stylistic, and logical weaknesses in the wearying certainty that the student was unable, both intellectually and emotionally, to comprehend what I was saying or to act on my advice. It is rare for such students to be genuinely desirous and capable of learning how to improve. Most of them simply hope that I will come around. Their belief that nothing requires improvement except the grade is one of the biggest obstacles that teachers face in the modern university. And that is perhaps the real tragedy of our education system: not only that so many students enter university lacking the basic skills and knowledge to succeed in their courses — terrible in itself — but also that they often arrive essentially unteachable, lacking the personal qualities necessary to respond to criticism.

The unteachable student has been told all her life that she is excellent: gifted, creative, insightful, thoughtful, able to succeed at whatever she tries, full of potential and innate ability. Pedagogical wisdom since at least the time of John Dewey — and in some form all the way back to William Wordsworth’s divinely anointed child “trailing clouds of glory” — has stressed the development of self-esteem and a sense of achievement. Education, as Dewey made clear in such works as The Child and the Curriculum (1902), was not about transferring a cultural inheritance from one generation to the next; it was about students’ self-realization. It involved liberating pupils from that stuffy, often stifling, inheritance into free and unforced learning aided by sympathy and encouragement. The teacher was not so much to teach or judge as to elicit a response, leading the student to discover for herself what she, in a sense, already knew. In the past twenty years, the well-documented phenomenon of grade inflation in humanities subjects — the awarding of high “Bs” and “As” to the vast majority of students — has increased the conviction that everyone is first-rate.

This pedagogy of self-esteem developed in response to the excesses of rote learning and harsh discipline that were thought to characterize earlier eras. In Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, Mr. Gradgrind, the teacher who ridicules a terrified Sissy Jupe for her inability to define a horse (“Quadruped. Graminivorous. Forty teeth … ”), was seen to epitomize a soulless pedagogical regime that deadened creativity and satisfaction. Dickens and his readers believed such teaching to be a form of mental and emotional abuse, and the need to protect students from the stigma of failure became an article of faith amongst progressive educators. For them, the stultifying apparatus of the past had to be entirely replaced. Memorization itself, the foundation of traditional teaching, came to be seen as an enemy of creative thought: pejorative similes for memory work such as “rote learning” and “fact-grinding” suggest the classroom equivalent of a military drill, harsh and unaccommodating. The progressive approach, in contrast, emphasizes variety, pleasure, and student interest and self-motivation above all.

It sounds good. The problem, as traditionalists have argued (but without much success), is that the utopian approach hasn’t worked as intended. Rather than forming cheerful, self-directed learners, the pedagogy of self-esteem has often created disaffected, passive pupils, bored precisely because they were never forced to learn. As Hilda Neatby commented in 1953, the students she was encountering at university were “distinctly blasé” about their coursework. A professor of history, Neatby was driven to investigate progressive education after noting how ill-equipped her students were for the high-level thinking required of them; her So Little For the Mind remains well-worth reading. In her assessment:

The bored “graduates” of elementary and high schools seem, in progressive language, to be “incompletely socialized.” Ignorant even of things that they might be expected to know, they do not care to learn. They lack an object in life, they are unaware of the joy of achievement. They have been allowed to assume that happiness is a goal, rather than a by-product.

The emphasis on feeling good, as Neatby argued, prevents rather than encourages the real satisfactions of learning.

Of course, the progressive approach has advantages, not the least of which is that it enables university administrators to boast of the ever-greater numbers of students taking degrees at their institutions. Previously disadvantaged groups have gained access to higher education as never before, and more and more students are being provided with the much-touted credentials believed to guarantee success in the workforce. Thus our universities participate in a happy make-believe. Students get their degrees. Parents are reassured that their money has been well-spent. And compliant professors are, if not exactly satisfied — it corrodes the soul to give unearned grades — at least relieved not to encounter student complaints.

More than a few students know that something fishy is going on. The intelligent ones see their indifferent, mediocre, or inept counterparts receiving grades similar to their own, and the realization offends their sense of justice. Moreover, there is little satisfaction in consciously playing the system. The smart student with his easy “A” knows that he has not been challenged to develop his intellect. I remember once walking in the hallway behind a student who had just picked up her final term essay; as she joined her friends, she flipped to the back of the paper without reading any of the instructor’s comments. “An A,” she said jubilantly, but with a strong undertone of derision. “And I didn’t even read the book!” As the paper thudded into the trash basket, her friends joined in the disdainful laughter.

In contrast, the weak student who believes in his high grades has also had a disservice done him. He has been misled about his abilities, falsely persuaded that career paths and goals are open that may be out of reach. Eventually, the fraud will be revealed: by an employer who finds him inadequate, by his own dawning recognition that he cannot achieve what he hoped. The reckoning will likely be bitter; evidence exists that the pedagogy of false esteem can even cause psychological harm. When students who have always been praised must confront the reality of their low achievement, their tendency is, as researchers James Coté and Anton Allahar report, not to confront the problem directly but to hit back at its perceived source — the teacher who has given them the bad news, the employer who does not renew a contract. Far more than their adequate peers when faced with difficulties, these students experience a range of negative reactions, including anger, anxiety, and depression.

Even more seriously, such students have not only been misled but fundamentally malformed. They have never learned to listen to criticism, to recover from disappointment, or to slog through difficulties with no guarantee of success except commitment. The person who is never challenged is also never refined, never learns to cope with the setbacks that come on the way to high endeavor. And it is not only in the academic realm, of course, that they may be hampered: a full life outside of university also requires the ability to confront one’s weaknesses and recover from defeat. Despite the admittedly important emphasis on character formation in our schools — on tolerance, anti-racism, refusal of bullying, and so on — it seems that we have failed to show students what real achievement looks like and what it will require of them.

http://pjmedia.com/blog/the-unteachables-a-generation-that-cannot-learn/?singlepage=true
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