"Are We Teaching Composition All Wrong?"

In my experience this is so, so true:

In 10 years of teaching writing, I have experimented with different assignments, activities, readings, approaches to commenting on student work — you name it — all to help students write coherent prose that someone would actually want to read. And as anyone who keeps up with trends in higher education knows, such efforts largely fail. . . .

First, a simple truth: Students do not revise. This cuts to the very heart of how most of us teach composition. . . . 

Weak drafts remain weak; stronger drafts get slightly stronger, but not by much.

"Faculty Voter Registration in Economics, History, Journalism, Law, and Psychology"

This goes a considerable way toward explaining why higher education today--particularly among the "elite" institutions--is the way it is:

We investigate the voter registration of faculty at 40 leading U.S. universities in the fields of Economics, History, Journalism/Communications, Law, and Psychology. We looked up 7,243 professors and found 3,623 to be registered Democratic and 314 Republican, for an overall D:R ratio of 11.5:1. The D:R ratios for the five fields were: Economics 4.5:1, History 33.5:1, Journalism/Communications 20.0:1, Law 8.6:1, and Psychology 17.4:1. The results indicate that D:R ratios have increased since 2004, and the age profile suggests that in the future they will be even higher. We provide a breakdown by department at each university. The data support the established finding that D:R ratios are highest at the apex of disciplinary pyramids, that is, at the most prestigious departments.

Link via Marginal Revolution.

"Free college isn’t the solution: How the push for 'college for all' sets up students to fail"

So true.

The problem with the “free college” idea is, however, not merely financial. It also reinforces the myth that college is appropriate or even possible for all students. That myth already has destructive consequences for both the quality of higher education and for some of the students caught up in what has become a multi-billion dollar hoax.

As unrealistic as it is, the idea that everyone should attend college has been embraced by Americans. By 1992, 95 percent of high school seniors said they planned to go on to college — even though half of them lacked even basic 9th grade math and verbal skills. These aspirations, however, had dramatic real-world consequences: In 1979 fewer than half of high school graduates enrolled in college. By 2012, that number had soared to more than two-thirds, and even with the dumbed-down curricula and inflated grades, many of them would have a rude encounter with reality.

"Here’s how homeschooling is changing in America"

Three useful things to know:

. . . 1.5 million children were homeschooled in the United States in 2007. This is up significantly from 1.1 million children in 2003 and 850,000 children in 1999. . . . 

. . . sociologists Philip Q. Yang and Nihan Kayaardi argue that the homeschool population does not significantly differ from the general U.S. population. Put another way, it is not really possible to assume anything about the religious beliefs, political affiliations or financial status of homeschooling families anymore. . . . 

So, what are the reasons behind this expansion of the homeschool movement? My research shows that this has been fueled, at least in part, by changes in the public school system. For example, changes in technology have brought about the rise of online charter schools, which utilize remote online instruction to serve their students.