Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Monday Links

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I have recently asked my colleagues at UCSD questions such as: How many adjunct/contingent/non-tenure track faculty are there in your department? Can you name them? Have you met any adjuncts for coffee or lunch on campus? Are they invited to the homes of ladder rank faculty? Do they have office space? Do they have any voting rights in your department? Should they? Do you know how they are evaluated? Should they be rewarded for publishing? Should ladder-rank faculty with poor teaching evaluations be assigned to courses ahead of adjunct colleague with excellent teaching evaluations? Should campus charters be changed to extend representation to adjuncts in the Senate?

The results of the informal survey have been so depressing that I would like to survey faculty at UCSD to draw attention to the cooperation that ladder-rank faculty give to the corporatizaton of their home institutions. We should be forging firm bonds with the fastest-growing category in our midst instead of setting ourselves apart from and above them. We are all aware that our fate is tied to the fate of adjuncts and that our separate futures would be far more pleasant if we stand firm with them now. But I think we know that we will not. Better to burnish our progressive self-image by baying at the moon (on this and other list servs) even as we help campus administrators slip the dagger between our collective ribs.

“Families bring their children in bright and early because they want them to learn,” she said, “not because they want them to be test dummies.” Related: How Michelle Rhee Misled Education Reform.

Rhee simply isn’t interested in reasoning forward from evidence to conclusions: conclusions are where she starts, which means that her book cannot be trusted as an analysis of what is wrong with public schools, when and why it went wrong, and what might improve the situation. The only topics worth discussing for Rhee are abolishing teacher tenure, establishing charter schools, and imposing pay-for-performance regimes based on student test scores. We are asked to understand these measures as the only possible means of addressing a crisis of decline that is existentially threatening the United States as a nation and denying civil rights to poor black people.

Two recent reports by a prominent researcher purport to challenge Academically Adrift’s underlying conclusions about students’ critical thinking gains in college, and especially the extent to which others have seized on those findings to suggest that too little learning takes place in college. The studies by the Council for Aid to Education show that students taking the Collegiate Learning Assessment made an average gain of 0.73 of a standard deviation in their critical thinking scores, significantly more than that found by the authors of Academically Adrift.

* The flying monkeys of Burlington, Vermont.

Getting everyone high is a great, if potentially lazy, plot device to exploit narrative inconsistency. There are no metaphors needed here: These characters—and by extension, this episode—is literally on speed. Did we, as viewers, complain that Weiner’s show felt like it was dragging on, or growing recursive? Did we whine that nothing really ever happened, or that Don was being glorified beyond his due? “The Crash” not only brought its awareness of such complaints to the fore, but it brought them at a speed usually reserved for those little explosions (slapstick, campy, or abject) that only interrupted the visually austere or pristine environment that defined “Mad Men.”

Rare, amazing original prospectus for Disneyland.

* LARoB on the lawyer bubble.

* TV show rankings, science style.

Some cosmetics companies that were cruelty-free for many years have changed their policies on animal testing so that they may market to China where animal testing is required.

* Ignoring the memory of the over 1,100 factory workers that passed away at the Rana Plaza Factory collapse in Savar, Bangladesh last month, at least 14 major North American retailers have declined to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety, an agreement that would have entailed a five year commitment from all participating retailers to conduct independent safety inspections of factories and pay up to $500,000 per year towards safety improvements.

Proposal gives Scott Walker administration more power to sell state property.

Proceeds would be used to chip away at the state’s $8 billion debt, but the state entities that formerly owned the properties might not see any benefit from the sales. So, a dorm built with student fees could potentially be sold to pay down the debt for a highway expansion, or vice versa.

What’s Next For Kaitlyn Hunt, The Teen Charged With A Felony For Same-Sex Relationship With Classmate.

VA GOP’s Attorney General Nominee Wanted Women To Report Miscarriages To Police Or Face Jail Time.

* And winter is coming: HBO May Reveal Game of Thrones Ending Before the Books Can.

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