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April 01, 2015

"Middle School Is the Worst. Here’s What It’s Like to Teach It"

Four-minute WYNC report which indicates most middle school teachers probably should get combat pay. It claims that in New York City half of the middle school teachers quit in three years or less.

"Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One"

Yowza. Some tough love here.

March 31, 2015

"Student fury over 'impossible' economics exam"

If 10 or even 20% of the students complain, I would probably be inclined to ignore them.

But more than 90%? I would think something was wrong.

March 30, 2015

"We can thank the Supreme Court for credential inflation"

George Leef nicely makes the case for the 1971 Griggs v. Duke Power decision as the root of the problem.

But it would be nice if there were a test of this. I haven't seen one. 

"Stanford Discourages Students From Viewing Their Admissions Files"

Oh, I just bet they do.

March 16, 2015

"How did Carolina lose its way? A UNC grad returns to campus to find out"

By S. L. Price, Carolina '83. Methinks there is even more big trouble coming for Chapel Hill athletics. Two particularly interesting bits from the article:

The Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Chapel Hill from '84 to '88 is quoted as follows: "Every time we closed the barn door, the athletics department built a new barn."

William Rand Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology John Shelton Reed sat on the special admissions committee in the mid '80s and recalls three athletes--one a men's basketball player--being admitted with SAT verbals of 200. He and two colleagues voted against admitting them but were outvoted. "To this day I regret I didn't blow the whistle right then and there." He continues ". . . we were admitting guys who had a lot of trouble reading and writing and they were taking courses like Arts and Crafts for Elementary School Teachers. They learned how to make turkeys out of pinecones."

March 11, 2015

Two posts from the terrific "You Suck, Sir"

Go here for many more laughs.

"The Facebook".

Female Senior Student:  “Sir, are you Facebook friends with your parents?”

Me:  “No.”

Her:  “How did  you swing that?”

Me:  “My mother asked me how to get on ‘the Facebook’ and I told her there’s a monthly fee.  So she didn’t join.”

Her:  “That’s awful!”

Male Student: “That’s brilliant!”

Female Student: “This is why I never want sons.”

"A Twenty".

Grade 10 Student: “Sir, can you break a twenty?”

He holds out a twenty dollar bill.

Me: “Sorry. I don’t have any cash on me.”

Him: “Too bad. I was gonna buy you a coffee.”

Me: “Well, that’s nice of you.”

He stands looking at me, waiting.

Him: “Oh, so you really don’t have change.”

Me: “You thought I was lying?”

Him: “I thought maybe you were being cheap.”

Me: “But we were just going to exchange twenty dollars for twenty dollars.”

Him: “I’m not good at math.”

March 05, 2015

"Everybody hates Pearson"

One reason:

In the U.S., testing is the most searingly divisive issue. The business of assessing students through high school has grown 57% in just the past three years, to $2.5 billion, according to the Software & Information Industry Association. Some believe “high-stakes testing” is the best way to create accountability; others think it measures little and incentivizes the wrong things. Either way, it is now the largest segment within educational technology—and in little more than a decade, Pearson has gone from no presence to dominating the realm.

The solution, as many people smarter than I have noted: more school choice.

"New SAT, New Problems"

Great, just great:

Coleman and the College Board tout the SAT as a measure of what they define as "college readiness," but what this peek at some questions suggests is that the revised exam is being used as yet another assessment exam that shapes rather than reflects what kids learn in school. It’s a classic case of the tail wagging the dog.

March 03, 2015

"Walker's Wisconsin"

Ironman at Political Calculations presents some interesting data on Wisconsin's recent economic performance

And as a former academic, I found this bit especially interesting:

In Fall 2009, the University of Wisconsin-Madison employed 2,017 faculty and 16,507 administrative staff. In Fall 2010, funded in part by Governor Doyle's new taxes and benefiting from President Obama's economic "stimulus", the number of faculty members increased by 10 to 2,027, while the number of administrative staff increased by 836 to 17,343. Since Fall 2011, of the 19,527 faculty, grad students and staff reported as being employed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where 2,200 are faculty and another 2,000 or so are grad student/teaching assistants, we can infer that the size of the university's administrative staff has increased to around 17,527, which represents an approximate 1,020 increase in the number of administrative staff since Fall 2009.

Coincidentally, Professor Chinn reports that the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Chancellor Becky Blanks has said that the Governor's proposed reduction in funding for the institution could require it to shed some 1,083 staff positions.

Well, that would be about right, wouldn't it? Just thought we'd take a quick moment to connect the appropriate dots....

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