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Ed Webb

Bill Maher vs. higher ed | Bryan Alexander - 0 views

  • First, Maher gets certain things wrong, and many people share those errors, so addressing them might be beneficial. Second, several of his criticisms point to more broadly held American attitudes.  Better understanding them can help higher ed as it tries to navigate an increasingly challenging battle for public support.
  • Accurately, he points out that published prices have risen faster than inflation for a generation. However, setting aside the reasons for that inflation, this misses two key points. First, the tuition amounts cited are published prices, not what institutions actually charge most students.  Widespread tuition discounting means only the richest tend to pay full price, which subsidizes everyone else, who pay less.
  • ignoring the wide range of low cost colleges and universities
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  • Maher gets some points dead right, like the general – and especially Democratic – idea that everyone should get some post-secondary schooling.  This is still the default American idea, with persistent popularity.
  • not all of higher ed is about those teenagers, and it’s a mistake to assume it is
  • Ignoring these swarms of campuses with low (sticker!) prices in favor of complaining about the most expensive slice of American academia is, alas, a popular mistake.
  • He wants the college and university sector to shrink back in size and influence.  He advises an end to college for all, wanting instead college for even fewer.
  • Maher reminds us of the power of economic populism, and not just in the ways Trump mobilized it. Academia’s sometimes intention of mitigating inequality runs smack into our role in making inequality happen
  • to whatever extent Bill Maher is representative, the public has woeful gaps in its understanding of how higher ed works.  Our elite institutions stand in for the entire sector too often. Our high tuition, high discount strategy just looks like very high tuition.  Adult learners are nowhere near visible enough.
  • the cost of today’s education is likely to be somewhat higher than what I paid 30 years ago, but the price is definitely dramatically higher because today’s students aren’t enjoying the taxpayer support that I did. The price went up for sure. How much the cost went up is less clear
Ed Webb

The Fall, and Rise, of Reading - 1 views

  • During a normal week — whether in two-year or four-year colleges, in the humanities or STEM — about 20 to 40 percent of students do the reading.
  • The average college student in the United States spends six to seven hours a week on assigned reading, according to the National Survey of Student Engagement (which started tracking the statistic in 2013). Other countries report similarly low numbers. But they’re hard to compare with the supposed golden age of the mid-20th century, when students spent some 24 hours a week studying, Baron says. There were far fewer students, they were far less diverse, and their workload was less varied — “studying” meant, essentially, reading books.
  • more students are on track to being ready for college-level reading in eighth and 10th grade” — about 62 percent — “than are actually ready by the time they reach 12th grade.
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  • The scores of fourth- and eighth-graders on reading tests have climbed steadily since the 1990s, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. But those of 12th-graders have fallen. Just 37 percent of high-school seniors graduate with “proficiency” in reading, meaning they can read a text for both its literal and its inferential meanings.
  • While those with bachelor’s and graduate degrees maintained the highest levels of literacy overall, those groups also experienced the steepest declines. Just 31 percent of college graduates were considered proficient readers in 2003, by that test’s definition, down from 40 percent in 1992.
  • “We quickly realized that unless you actually assign a grade for the out-of-class component, students just won’t do it,”
  • “Harvard students are really not that different in terms of how they behave. They’re bright, they’re academically more gifted,” she says. But they’re also “incredibly good at figuring out how to do exactly what they need to do to get the grade. They’re incredibly strategic. And I think that’s really true of students everywhere.”
  • turns the classroom into a social-learning environment
  • “We have young people who are coming away from high school with a very sort of test-driven training — I won’t call it education — training in reading.”
  • Teaching students how to read in college feels “remedial” to many professors
  • Faculty members are trained in their disciplines. “They don’t want to be reading teachers. I don’t think it’s a lack of motivation,” says Columbia’s Doris Perin. “They don’t feel they have the training.” Nor do they want to “infantilize” students by teaching basic comprehension skills, she says.
  • Tie reading to a grade: Quizzes and assigned journals, which can determine about 20 percent of the final grade, can double or even triple reading compliance — but rote formats that seem to exist for their own sake can encourage skimming or feel punitive.“Do away with the obvious justifications for not doing the reading,” says Naomi Baron, at American U. “If you summarize everything that’s in the reading, why should students do it?”Ask students to make arguments, compare, and contrast — higher- order skills than factual recall.Using different media is fine, but maintain rigor. “You can do critical reading of anything that has essentially an academic argument in it,” says David Jolliffe, at the U. of Arkansas. Video and audio, in fact, may sometimes be better than textbooks — what he calls “predigested food.”Explicitly tie out-of-class reading to in-class instruction, going over points of confusion and connecting lessons and texts to each other.Teach reading skills. “Hundreds” of strategies exist, all of which make “explicit the processes that proficient readers use without thinking about it,” says Doris Perin, at Columbia.
  • “A lot of faculty members, myself included, are saying, If they’re not doing the reading, we can get unhappy, we can get angry,” she says. “Or we can do something about it.”
Ed Webb

Literacy Levels Among College Students | Faculty Focus - 0 views

  • While we’d like to think that our students are prepared for the challenging content we assign, collegiate students are still developing as readers and we need to help them in this process.
  • Looking at the average literacy levels for students enrolled in two- and four-year institutions, the authors report that while college students on average score significantly higher than the general adult population in all three literacy types, the average score would be characterized at the intermediate literacy level.
  • some important findings for those institutions of higher education whose missions include working with first-generation college students or with international students. Students whose parents are college graduates score significantly higher across all literacy types than those students whose parents did not attend any post-secondary education. Foreign-born students score significantly lower across every literacy type than their US-born peers.
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  • researchers did not find significantly different literacy levels when comparing students at public vs. private institutions or at selective vs. nonselective institutions. While the findings may be a little disheartening, the report shows that ALL institutions of higher education need to be aware of their students’ literacy levels.
Ed Webb

Liberal Education after the Pandemic | AAUP - 1 views

  • The current massive and unanticipated experiment in online education could transform higher education as we know it. We should begin these difficult conversations about the future of the liberal arts now, in cyberspace, before the new normal takes shape—whenever that may be. Even if we feel trapped in our own homes and beset with anxiety and cabin fever, we also have an opportunity to reconsider the aims of higher education not in the abstract but in this concrete historical moment, with attention to specific institutional needs, public policy proposals, ideological pressures, and the overarching economic crisis.
  • A genuine commitment to ethical, historically aware, egalitarian, or democratic principles can land an individual in a world of trouble. I am thinking, for example, of the basic scientific literacy, historical awareness, and ethical commitment that equip an individual citizen to recognize the expertise of infectious disease specialists and reject the common sense of neighbors or the priorities and demands of an employer—or to spot the bogus claims, fundamental incompetence, or ethical depravity of some elected leaders. Such scientific literacy and basic familiarity with statistical analysis allow nonexperts to understand the arguments of climatologists and reject the sophistry of coworkers or talk show hosts or governors who point out, for example, that “the climate has always been changing.”
  • The reason that individual institutions cannot pitch such potential outcomes under ordinary circumstances is that these intellectual faculties serve the public good but do not necessarily advance the economic interests or career objectives of individual prospective or current students, especially those incurring significant debt. Being a whistleblower, for example, is generally a costly, painful career move—but the public needs to know nonetheless if the US military is shooting civilians in the streets of Baghdad; or the pharmaceutical industry is engineering a profitable opioid epidemic; or the health insurance industry is denying legitimate claims.
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  • just as the current crisis represents an opportunity for the people who have been working hard to privatize everything imaginable, dismantle public education, sink net neutrality, and align higher education with the demands of prospective employers and industry moguls (think here of the interventions of the Koch brothers in higher education, for example), it also represents an opportunity to push for the basic conditions under which a liberal education might properly serve its public functions. We should use these months to advocate for the kinds of public policies, such as tuition-free higher education, that recognize liberal education as a common good. We must articulate the reasons why a liberal education is in fact a common good and why a liberal education is disfigured if it is made to promote the demands of prospective employers.
  • We need a society capable of devising new and more humane social contracts, new political economies, new food and energy grids, and sustainable use of resources—whether or not these projects produce financial dividends for individual graduates or for their employers. An accessible, publicly funded liberal education decoupled from the demands of industry and prospective employers is the best way to prepare people to do these things.
  • we should use these months of confinement to strategize about a long-term case for liberal education and for public investment in an educated citizenry. Now is the time to invest some of our intellectual capital in education advocacy that ultimately makes a difference not only in the lives of students but also for the collective well-being of our nation and the world
Ed Webb

University of Akron offers buy-out to 47 percent of faculty - cleveland.com - 2 views

  • No law school, polymer science, or engineering faculty can take the offer.
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    "No law school, polymer science, or engineering faculty can take the offer."
Martin Burrett

American girls read and write better than boys - 0 views

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    "As early as the fourth grade, girls perform better than boys on standardised tests in reading and writing, and as they get older that achievement gap widens even more, according to research published by the American Psychological Association."
Vicki Davis

National High School Mock Trial Championship - 5 views

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    If you get into mock trials as a way to learn about the judicial system, there is a national high school mock trial championship here in the United States.
Deron Durflinger

Niall Ferguson: How American Civilization Can Avoid Collapse - The Daily Beast - 4 views

  • “killer applications
  • Competition
  • The Scientific Revolution
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  • Modern Medicine
  • The Consumer Society
  • The Work Ethic
  • The Rule of Law and Representative Government.
  • these killer apps were essentially monopolized by Europeans and their cousins who settled in North America and Australasia
  • the great divergence
  • They also grew more powerful
  • 20th century, just a dozen Western empires—-including the United States—controlled 58 percent of the world’s land surface and population, and a staggering 74 percent of the global economy.
  • tendency of Western societies to delete their own killer apps.
  • But there is a second, more insidious cause of the “great reconvergence,” which I do deplore—and that is the
  • Ask yourself: who’s got the work ethic now? The average South Korean works about 39 percent more hours per week than the average American. The school year in South Korea is 220 days long, compared with 180 days here. And you don’t have to spend too long at any major U.S. university to know which students really drive themselves: the Asians and Asian-Americans
  • Yet life expectancy in the U.S. has risen from 70 to 78 in the past 50 years, compared with leaps from 68 to 83 in Japan and from 43 to 73 in China.
  • On no fewer than 15 of 16 different issues relating to property rights and governance, the United States fares worse than Hong Kong. Indeed, the U.S. makes the global top 20 in only one area: investor protection
  • The future belongs not to them but to today’s teenagers
  • The latest data on “mathematical literacy” reveal that the gap between the world leaders—the students of Shanghai and Singapore—and their American counterparts is now as big as the gap between U.S. kids and teenagers in Albania and Tunisia.
  • Yet statistics from the World Intellectual Property Organization show that already more patents originate in Japan than in the U.S., that South Korea overtook Germany to take third place in 2005, and that China is poised to overtake Germany too
  • the United States’ average competitiveness score has fallen from 5.82 to 5.43, one of the steepest declines among developed economies. China’s score, meanwhile, has leapt up from 4.29 to 4.90.
  • Perhaps more disturbing is the decline of meaningful competition at home, as the social mobility of the postwar era has given way to an extraordinary social polarization. You don’t have to be an Occupy Wall Street leftist to believe that the American super-rich elite—the 1 percent that collects 20 percent of the income—has become dangerously divorced from the rest of society, especially from the underclass at the bottom of the income distribution.
  • Far more than in Europe, most Americans remain instinctively loyal to the killer applications of Western ascendancy, from competition all the way through to the work ethic. They know the country has the right software. They just can’t understand why it’s running so damn slowly.
  • What we need to do is to delete the viruses that have crept into our system: the anticompetitive quasi monopolies that blight everything from banking to public education; the politically correct pseudosciences and soft subjects that deflect good students away from hard science; the lobbyists who subvert the rule of law for the sake of the special interests they represent—to say nothing of our crazily dysfunctional system of health care, our overleveraged personal finances, and our newfound unemployment ethic
  • And finally we need to reboot our whole system.
  • If what we are risking is not decline but downright collapse, then the time frame may be even tighter than one election cycle
  • Western Civilization's Killer Apps
  • COMPETITION
  • THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
  • THE RULE OF LAW
  • MODERN MEDICINE
  • THE CONSUMER SOCIETY
  • THE WORK ETHIC
Claude Almansi

Changing Demographics of Tablet and eReader Owners in the US | Nielsen Wire - 0 views

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    "August 25, 2011 In the U.S., as recently as last Summer, tablet and eReader owners tended to be male and on the younger side. But according to Nielsen's latest, quarterly survey of mobile connected device owners, this is no longer the case. Back in Q3 2010, for example, 62 percent of tablet owners were under the age of 34 and only 10 percent were over the age of 55. By Q2 2011, only 46 percent of tablet owners were under the age of 34 and the percentage of those over 55 had increased to 19 percent. Looking at the data by gender underlines key changes in the eReader category. Sixty-one percent of all eReader owners are now female, compared to a mere 46 percent in Q3 2010. (Smartphone owners are now evenly split between male and female and tablets remain primarily male.)"
Ed Webb

What teachers really want to tell parents - CNN.com - 12 views

  • if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can't deal with parents anymore; they are killing us
  • if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them
  • it's OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don't set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It's a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+
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  • Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has "given" your child, you might need to realize your child "earned" those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education
  • more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children
  • never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don't respect her, he won't either
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