Posts Tagged ‘war on education’
* Some 74 percent of professors aged 49-67 plan to delay retirement past age 65 or never retire at all, according to a new Fidelity Investments study of higher education faculty. While 69 percent of those surveyed cited financial concerns, an even higher percentage of professors said love of their careers factored into their decision.
* “Studies show that about 30 percent of the cost increases in higher education over the past twenty-five years have been the result of administrative growth,” Ginsberg noted. He suggested that MOOA can reverse this spending growth. “Currently, hundreds, even thousands, of vice provosts and assistant deans attend the same meetings and undertake the same activities on campuses around the U.S. every day,” he said. “Imagine the cost savings if one vice provost could make these decisions for hundreds of campuses.”
* The conclusions are inescapable: In our zeal to dehumanize criminals we have allowed our prisons to become medieval places of unspeakable cruelty so far beyond constitutional norms that they are barely recognizable.
* I think I’ve done this one before, but hey, it’s summertime: 30 Beautiful Abandoned Places.
And David Simon comes to his senses. UPDATE: Nope. See comments.
* Ian Bogost has a great piece on MOOCs in an otherwise totally skippable LARoB feature on the subject.
MOOCs are a financial policy for higher education. They exemplify what Naomi Klein has called “disaster capitalism”: policy guilefully initiated in the wake of upheaval. The need to teach more students with fewer resources is a complex situation. It’s partly caused by hubris, especially the blind search for higher institutional status through research programs, and it’s exacerbated by the tax base crises of the ongoing and seemingly permanent Great Recession. MOOCs offer the next logical step in this process of “cost containment.” But those who would call current funding models “unviable” and offer MOOCs as a convenient alternative fail to admit that the very need for an alternative presumes that we want to abandon public education in favor of a corporate-owned infrastructure in the first place.
MOOCs are an academic labor policy. As a consequence of the financial policy just described, MOOCs are amplifying the precarity long experienced by adjuncts and graduate student assistants, and helping to extend that precarity to the professoriate. MOOCs encourage an ad-hoc “freelancing” work regime among tenured faculty, many of whom will find the financial incentives for MOOC creation and deployment difficult to resist. This is particularly true of public institution faculty who have gone years without raises. Many institutions offer tens of thousands of dollars of direct compensation for MOOC development and teaching. And, in some cases, MOOCs offer direct access to student tuition and direct competition among faculty for those new resources, extending the “entrepreneurial” institutional politics of professional schools (and corporate life more generally) to all disciplines.
MOOCs are speculative financial instruments. The purpose of an educational institution is to educate, but the purpose of a startup is to convert itself into a financial instrument.The two major MOOC providers, Udacity and Coursera, are venture capital-funded startups, and therefore they are beholden to high leverage, rapid growth with an interest in a fast flip to a larger technology company or the financial market. The concepts of “disruption” and “innovation,” so commonly applied to MOOCs, come from the world of business. As for EdX, the MOOC consortium started by Harvard and MIT, it’s a non-profit operating under the logic of speculation rather than as a public service. If anything, it will help the for-profits succeed even more by evangelizing their vision as compatible with elite non-profit educational ideals.
* It is telling that elite professors and universities who design MOOCs aren’t using them for their own students. Those of us who value education and its role in fostering both literacy and democracy should pass on them too.
* Patton Oswalt: A Closed Letter to Myself about Thievery, Heckling, and Rape Jokes.
* Sarah Kendzior vs. the prestige economy. Good interview.
* The investigation was ongoing, but Undersheriff James Szczesniak said there was no evidence yet that Martino “had any ill intent.” There could be a dozen perfectly legitimate reasons why he’d have 30 to 40 pipe bombs in his apartment.
* What’s more important: a college degree or being born rich? The answer will totally not surprise you!
* Modern art as weapon in the Cold War. And they say the humanities are worthless!
Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete.
* We can’t buy this kind of motivation from the market. No tool or program can spark it. And the elites at the top of the current educational heap—who advanced their careers while the educational culture declined—have no clue.
* Judge rules that Fox Searchlight should have paid its interns. Fox today, literally every other media and publishing outfit in the country tomorrow…
* A judge responded to an assault victim by demanding sex in exchange for ‘legal favors’ in her divorce. She filed a complaint, and he sent cops to plant meth in her car. It’s the most atrocious abuse of power since this other story that was also published today.
* Former White House Chief of Staff mulling run for Illinois governor on bleed-the-teachers platform. You know, for the children.
* Meanwhile, from our governor: Scott Walker Endorses Mandating Transvaginal Ultrasounds And Shutting Down Abortion Clinics.
* Chinese century watch: Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal.
* Man of Steel sounds pretty middling, alas. And no after-credits sequence? Outrageous.
* “A higher education system worth defending or reclaiming has never existed”: Education’s “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” Moment.
How can this lead to cost reductions? The savings can accrue rapidly if the course is massively enrolled and subsections are taught by less well-paid individuals; or if the course lasts several years and the designers and lead professor may be paid over time.
* For the love of the game: The other day, Iowa Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz decried the spreading influence of money in college athletics. This is funny for several reasons, but you don’t really need to go past the fact that Ferentz is paid $3.8 million a year to coach Iowa’s football team, and does so while providing a comically small return on investment. In situations like this, schools would normally cut bait and fire the coach, but Ferentz is protected by a buyout that makes his contract look downright reasonable. … If Iowa were to fire Ferentz today, the school would have to pay a buyout of $17,531,360.
* I’m sure that academics will have objections, although Whedon has stood up to far worse than the Shakespeare (or Earl of Oxford) mob. He has been to Comic-Con. When Shakespeare’s done right, you can’t imagine him ever being done wrong. The clarity is blinding.
* Third graders will now officially assess NYC teachers. Foolproof! What could go wrong?
* Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests. No! It can’t be! That’s impossible!
Marijuana usage rates are comparable among Blacks and whites, yet Blacks are over 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.
Here are a couple of (education-related) end-times predictions from Clayton Christensen:
In 15 years, half of US universities may be bankrupt.
By the year 2019 half of all classes for grades K–12 will be taught online.
Disruptive innovation will be, as Techcrunch (among other acolytes) is happy to profess, the end of school as we know it.
Such is its inevitability, so the story goes, that new players can enter the education market and, even though their product is of lower quality and appeals to those who are not currently “customers,” oust the incumbent organizations. (Incumbents, in this case, are publicly funded, brick-and-mortar schools.) As Christensen and his co-authors argued in Disrupting Class in 2008, “disruption is a necessary and overdue chapter in our public schools.”
But like many millennialist prophets are wont to do when their end-times predictions don’t quite unfold the way they originally envisioned, Clayton Christensen and his disciples at the Clayton Christensen Institute (which was recently renamed from the Innosight Institute) have just tweaked their forecast about (public) education’s future. 5 years post-Disrupting Class, “disrupting class” will look a bit different, they now say. Via @zunguzungu.
* I’ve seen dumber things than a mayor offering to spend $173 million in tax money on a building for a private college that already has its pick of several arenas to play in—but not much dumber…. I can’t for the life of me imagine what Emanuel thinks Chicago is likely to get out of this deal, unless he really thinks that convention planners are just waiting for a 12,000-seat arena to hold their plenary sessions in, at which point they’ll start throwing wadded-up hundred-dollar bills at any Chicagoan they can find. At the very least it’s something to think about as the mayor’s appointees say they have no choice but to close the schools. Common sense on school closings.
* Good news for Gerrys: Pope Francis says even atheists go to heaven. That’s a load off.
* Precious bodily fluids: Portland, Ore., rejects adding fluoride to drinking water.
* Best Cities for Working Women in the U.S. Congratulations, Durham!
* Just stealing it from LGM outright: ESPN is a great corporation. It is ungodly profitable. It creates a mere 43% of Disney’s total operating income. Think about that. All of Disney, including Disneyland and everything else it owns. 43%. But you see, ESPN has recently acquired some lucrative properties, like more SEC football games. In order to show us more Vanderbilt-Kentucky football and build a crazy expensive new set, ESPN has decided to lay off 300-400 employees. This a mere 2 weeks after Disney’s stock reached an all-time high.
* And Octavia Butler reminds us introspection is kind of a pain.
* An analysis by Thomson Reuters in association with Times Higher Education shows startling levels of gender inequality in research-intensive universities across the world. The gap persists not just in emerging nations but also in some of the world’s most highly developed countries – where the fight for women’s rights and equality has gone on for decades.
* And in local news: Responding to a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the U.S. Department of Justice warned voucher schools in Milwaukee to stop excluding, counseling out, or otherwise discriminating against students with disabilities.
* The wisdom of markets: hacked @AP Twitter account sends Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 150 points in a few seconds.
* Graduate school and the peak-end heuristic. It’s a thing!
Peterson, who has a masters in linguistics from the University of California–San Diego and founded the Language Creation Society, spent twelve to fourteen hours a day, every day, for two months working on the proposal that landed him the Thrones job. When he was finished, he had more than 300 pages of vocabulary and notes detailing how the Dothraki language would sound and function. “The application process favored those of us who were unemployed at the time, which I was,” Peterson laughed.
* And a little something for the whatthefuckaricans out there: Marc Maron…IN SPACE.
* A war on education we can believe in: Bill for compulsory science fiction in West Virginia schools.
* In Virginia’s Fairfax County, Robbing Banks for the CIA. Crazy story.
Angry, his interrogators accused him of making up a ridiculous story. Still, Torres persuaded them to look at the text and e-mail messages on his cell phone; he also gave them the password to his Facebook (FB) account and urged them to retrieve a copy of the Defense Intelligence Agency immunity letter from his glove compartment. The police locked up Torres on a charge of attempted robbery and examined the evidence. By the end of the night, they weren’t sure what was going on, but they suspected Torres might be telling the truth.
* Early this morning, Mia Ferguson ’15 and Hope Brinn ’15 filed a complaint with the federal government against Swarthmore College for violating the Clery Act. Their complaint was filed with testimonies from 10 other students, the most they know of a college ever having submitted in one complaint.
* After months of wooing and under close scrutiny, edX was rejected this week by Amherst College amid faculty concerns about the online course provider’s business plans and impact on student learning.
* Eighty-nine percent of high-school instructors described the students who had completed their courses as “well” or “very well” prepared for first-year, college-level work in their discipline. But only about one-quarter of college faculty members said the same thing about their incoming students. The gap was similar when the survey was last conducted, in 2009.
* Since the day Obama became president in January 2009, approximately 135 people have been murdered in mass shootings in the United States. During that same period, Obama’s drones in Yemen and Pakistan have killed at least 158 and possibly as many as 233 civilians — that is, noncombatants, some of them women and children – according to a tally by the New America Foundation’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative.