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Education

September 02, 2014

"10 Things Every College Professor Hates"

Pretty much nailed it. #2 is probably the most apt:

Don’t ask the professor if you “missed anything important” during an absence.

No, you didn’t miss anything important. We spent the whole hour watching cats play the theremin on YouTube!

Of course you missed something important! We’re college professors! Thinking everything we do is important is an occupational hazard. Here’s an alternative way to phrase it: “I’m so sorry I missed class. I’m sure it was awesome.”

"How to Game the College Rankings"

You can put this down as a law of human behavior: if the stakes are high and if a system can be gamed, then, sooner or later, the system will be gamed. This is a fascinating if rather depressing case study.

(So what would be a good college rating system? I think XKCD is, as usual, on the right track.)

Tell me something I don't know

"Most Americans are Financially Illiterate".

Sigh.

August 28, 2014

"The New Science of Pairing College Roommates"

I'd be surprised, but pleased, if the "science" has improved since I attended. My college's crack housing folks put me--quiet, nerdy--with a hugely unhappy liar and a borderline alcoholic. 

It wasn't fun.

August 27, 2014

"The Future of College?"

I don't think Minera will be "the future of college," but it could well be a darn sight better than a lot of what currently passes for higher education.

And at $11,450/year for tuition and fees, the price seems right.

August 25, 2014

"Randi Goes Rogue: Three Secrets About Teacher Tenure And Seniority"

Amazing. But then I should expect it from the leader of the AFT.

On August 6, Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, was a guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” offering up the darndest faux factoid: “Most teachers right now in America have less than two years of experience.” You can watch it yourself: . . . 

In a 2011 report by the National Center for Education information titled, “Profile of Teachers in the U.S.” on page 19 they report that 74 percent of teachers have over five years experience. Meanwhile, data from the National Center for Education Statistics says that in the 2011-12 school year, only 9 percent had less than three years experience (the top data line). Or you could just think about the schools your children attend.

August 21, 2014

"Strongest Possible Endorsement"

Review of new book, Dear Committee Members, ". . . an epistolary novel consisting entirely of fictionalized letters of recommendation penned by professor Jason Fitger (failed novelist, failed husband, successful misanthrope)."

August 20, 2014

"The unintended effects of being an administrator"

Great, and enhanced by this comment:

I ignore all of the rest and look only at the eyes. In the first picture there is a hope, an optimism, a joie de vivre as it were. In the second....... I see the 1,000 yard stare. That is administration.

"Campus Activism: The Fight for Imaginary Victories"

Peter Wood, so right:

Campus activism is, by and large, the world of make-believe.  Whenever students occupy a president’s office, Tinkerbell is not far away. . . . 

The premise behind campus activism is always the same.  The college campus is a microcosm of the larger world.  What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens at Oberlin or Sweet Briar is imagined to rock the foundations of the old order.  Patriarchy trembles.  The Zionist Entity is called to account.  The coal-breathing capitalist Earth warmers feel the chill of a generation walking on their graves.

That premise, of course, is always mistaken.

August 11, 2014

"Why We Shouldn’t Raise Teacher Pay"

Nicely done.

Why has increasing teacher pay not led to a corresponding increase in teacher skills? Vanderbilt University economist Dale Ballou has an answer. Simply put, even when schools are offered highly-skilled teachers, they don’t seem to want them. Writing in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Ballou demonstrated that many of the most attractive teaching applicants—those who graduate from more competitive colleges, earn higher GPAs, or hold degrees in specialized areas such as math or science—schools often reject them in favor of less-impressive candidates who took the traditional route of majoring in education. An education degree was generally preferred even for applicants preparing for a secondary-school position. . . .

Ballou and fellow economist Michael Podgursky of the University of Missouri have shown that higher pay without reforms could actually lower teacher quality. Their argument starts with the observation that increasing pay reduces the number of job openings (because fewer teachers will quit or retire), and increases the number of new applicants (because the salary is more attractive). This necessarily lowers the chance that any given teaching applicant will receive a job offer.

That reduced probability may discourage certain would-be applicants from making the costly investment of time and money in becoming certified for teaching, especially if they do not perceive that schools favor them in the hiring process. And, unfortunately, the best-qualified applicants are probably most discouraged.

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