Archive for the ‘Education – Academics’ Category

Should lawmakers (and regulators) have to eat their own cooking?

March 2, 2017

Might induce some genuine empathy and motivate some constructive action.

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According to The Atlantic …

As a presidential candidate, Jimmy Carter criticized “exclusive private schools that allow the children of the political and economic elite to avoid public schools that are considered dangerous or inferior.”

When he assumed office in 1977, he did something remarkable:

He enrolled his 9-year-old daughter, Amy, in a predominantly black Washington, D.C., public school.

Amy became the first child of a sitting U.S. president to attend a public school since 1906.

She still is.

Gotta give the man credit for walking the talk.

Former President Obama?

Not so much …

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A Dept. of Education study found that students in the nation’s capital that were provided with vouchers allowing them to attend private school made “statistically significant gains in achievement.”

Despite that finding, then President Obama curtailed the program … and turned around and enrolled his daughters in Sidwell Friends – the swank private school of choice for the DC elite.

So, it wasn’t at all surprising that several sources found that many of the Democratic Senators who voted against school voucher advocate Betsy DeVos –- opt out of the public school system and send their off-spring to private schools.

OK, maybe they really thought that DeVos wasn’t as qualified as Obama’s basketball buddy, Arne Duncan, who presided for 7 years over declining test scores and “failing schools” headlines.

Or, maybe their pro-choice inclinations don’t really extend beyond their family & friends when it comes to education.

As the USN&WR opined:

Education politics are big business in America, often pitting institutionalized interests like the NEA against parents and kids.

And, equally unfortunately, there are far too many people who are in a position to right the wrongs who are taking advantage of their ability to opt out of the discussion, at least as far as their own children are concerned.

Where education is concerned there’s one America for the elites, like members of Congress and the President, who send their children to private schools.

And, there’s one for everyone else, the regular people who are seeing the educational dreams they have for their children shattered on the altar of politics.

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So, what’s the answer?

(more…)

Tell me again why Duncan was good, but charter-advocate DeVos is bad …

February 8, 2017

Math scores dropped since 2009 … U.S. now trails 39 countries.

Strikes me that Duncan is an easy act for DeVos to follow as Education Secretary..

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The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) recently released its 2015 survey results for math “literacy” … and, the results aren’t pretty.

The average for 15-year-old U.S. students slipped to 470 on the PISA scale … down about 3.5% from 2009 … ranking the U.S. #40 among developed nations (see list at end of this post) … 20 points lower than the average of the 35 OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries.

The scores differential versus the OECD countries is roughly equal for the average, 25th percentile and 90th percentile … refuting claims that “our” best are head-to-head competitive with the the rest of the world’s best.

 

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Digging a bit deeper into the numbers ….

(more…)

Want higher exam grades?

January 31, 2017

Well, then quit browsing the Internet during class.

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A recent study by psychology researchers at Michigan State University investigated students’ actual Internet usage during classes.

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The students agreed to have their in-class browsing activity monitored .

The researchers then matched the browsing activity with the students’ self-reported browsing behavior, their overall academic readiness (think: SAT / ACT scores), their self-reported motivation and interest in the class, and their performance on the course’s final exam.

Here’s what the researchers discovered …

(more…)

Ouch: U.S. math scores continue to drop

January 12, 2017

U.S. now trails 39 countries …

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The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) recently released its 2015 survey results for math “literacy” … and, the results aren’t pretty.

The average for 15-year-old U.S. students slipped to 470 on the PISA scale … down about 3.5% from 2009 … ranking the U.S. #40 among developed nations (see list at end of this post) … 20 points lower than the average of the 35 OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries.

The scores differential versus the OECD countries is roughly equal for the average, 25th percentile and 90th percentile … refuting claims that “our” best are head-to-head competitive with the the rest of the world’s best.

 

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Digging a bit deeper into the numbers ….

(more…)

College: Making Freshman year (almost) free …

November 22, 2016

Let more students earn AP credits by putting “boilerplate” courses online and beefing-up certification testing.

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A recent article posted on Real Clear Politics caught my eye.

The author Steven Klinsky, is credentialed as a businessman and education reformer, chairman of Harvard’s Public Education Policy Group and founder of the Modern States Education Alliance (MSEA).

He observes that (1) traditional brick & mortar colleges are increasingly unaffordable, (2) that “the tuition cost for many online courses has been set every bit as high (or sometimes higher!) than for the same course delivered in the physical classroom” and (3) that increasingly popular MOOCs can deliver quality content but no college credits—just “certificates of completion”.

So, as a private citizen and philanthropist, Mr. Klinsky has been trying to “square the circle” with MSEA’s “Freshman Year for Free” program.

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How does Klinsky and MSEA plan to do it?

(more…)

Score higher on the SATs … GUARANTEED!

October 13, 2016

Just make sure that your parents went to college.

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The College Board has just released it’s “Total Group Profile Report” for 2016 college-bound seniors …

One set of numbers caught my eye:

SAT scores by the student’s parents level of educational attainment.

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Note that about 2/3’s of the college-bound seniors taking the SAT came from homes with a degreed parent – either associate, bachelor or graduate.

Only about 1/3 came from homes with parents having only a high school education or less.

And, the performance differentials are substantial between the groups …

(more…)

Some “interesting” SAT results …

October 12, 2016

The College Board has just released it’s “Total Group Profile Report” for 2016 college-bound seniors.

A couple of sets of numbers caught my eye ….

Let’s start with math scores/

Two big takeaways:

(1) The gap between boys and girls narrowed from the 40 point difference in the 1970s to about 25 points … but has remained fairly constant at that level for about the past 20 years

(2) Scores for both boys and girls have been falling for the past dozen years or so.

 

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OK, boys outscore girls in math, but girls do better on the verbal part of the SATs, right?

(more…)

“Strip mall” teacher rakes in $4 million … now you’re talking.

September 2, 2016

Don’t I wish.

Kim Ki-hoon earns $4 million a year in South Korea, where he is known as a rock-star teacher.

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Here’s how he does  it …

(more…)

High tuitions … and “Baumol’s Cost Disease”

June 22, 2016

Previously, we posted What do high healthcare costs and high tuitions have in common?

A loyal reader reminded me of the connection between high tuitions and “Baumol’s cost disease”

To that point …

The NY Times ran a piece by Harvard Prof Greg Mankiew summarizing his views re: high and increasing college tuitions.

One of Mankiw’s identified causes is “Baumol’s Cost Disease”

Many years ago, the economist William Baumol noted that for many services — haircuts as well as string quartet performances — productivity barely advances over time.

Yet as overall productivity rises in the economy, wages increase, so the cost of producing these services increases as well.

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Education is a case in point …

(more…)

In praise of tough teachers …

May 4, 2016

My students are likely to cringe at this post which kinda legitimizes my teaching style.

Uh-oh …

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According to a recent WSJ article:

The latest findings in fields from music to math to medicine lead to a single, startling conclusion: It’s time to revive old-fashioned education.

Not just traditional but old-fashioned in the sense that so many of us knew as kids, with strict discipline and unyielding demands.

Why?

Because here’s the thing: It works.

 

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Of course, that conclusion flies in the face of the kinder, gentler philosophy that has dominated American education over the past few decades.

The conventional wisdom holds that teachers are supposed to tease knowledge out of students, rather than pound it into their heads.

Projects and collaborative learning are applauded; traditional methods like lecturing and memorization — derided as “drill and kill” — are frowned upon, dismissed as a surefire way to suck young minds dry of creativity and motivation.

But the conventional wisdom is wrong.

And the following eight principles explain why …

(more…)

Nums: 94% of profs rate themselves above average … but, don’t we all?

April 29, 2016

According to LiveScience.com

Since psychological studies first began, people have given themselves top marks for most positive traits.

While most people do well at assessing others, they are wildly positive about their own abilities.

The phenomenon is known as illusory superiority.

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Illusory superiority is everywhere

  • In studies, most people overestimate their IQ. For instance, in a classic 1977 study, 94 percent of professors rated themselves above their peer group average.
  • In another study, 32 percent of the employees of a software company said they performed in the top 5%.
  • Drivers consistently rate themselves as better than average — even when a test of their hazard perception reveals them to be below par.

Ironically, the most incompetent are also the most likely to overestimate their skills, while the ace performers are more likely to underrate themselves.

Psychologists say the illusory superiority happens for several reasons:

(more…)

Which is better: taking notes by hand or on a laptop?

April 25, 2016

The idea of taking class notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today.

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But, according to NPR , it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way …

(more…)

Why do students surf the internet (or doze off) in class?

April 19, 2016

In his book Brain Rules, author John Medina reports on empirical observations of student’s classroom attentiveness.

What did he find?

Student’s attention level “naturally” takes a dive approximately 10 minutes into a class session.

This is “natural occurrence” that is linked, in part to body chemistry … and to “mental habits” developed by the current generation of web and channel surfers.

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OK, that’s the problem … what’s the solution?

(more…)

Hasnas: Teachers with conservative views don’t make the cut.

April 4, 2016

GREAT article in the WSJ from our own John Hasnas – MSB Professor of Policy & Ethics: The One Kind of Diversity Colleges Avoid

His central point: When recruiting faculty, universities seek diversity by gender, race and nationality … but, not ideology.

In many instances, conservatives and libertarians need not apply.

 

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That conclusion probably doesn’t surprise many of you who already see the elephant in the middle of the room.

But, Prof. Hasnas provides some texture and “inside scoop”

Here are a couple of highlight snippets from the article … (more…)

What do universities have in common with record labels?

February 19, 2016

Interesting article on Quartz.com tracking how “the internet’s power to unbundle content sparked a rapid transformation of the music industry” and arguing that “it’s doing the same thing to higher education today.”

Let’s start with the recorded music industry.

It’s no surprise that

The unbundling of albums in favor of individual songs was one of the biggest causes of the music industry’s decline.

It cannibalized the revenue of record labels as 99-cent songs gained popularity over $20 albums.

What did surprise me is that recording industry revenues have dropped by half from the $14 billion in 2000.

QZ Chart 1

The eroding revenues and and internet dynamics have “changed the way music labels had to operate in order to maintain profitability.”

“The traditional services of labels: identifying artists; investing in them; recording, publishing, and distributing their work; and marketing them—are now increasingly offered a la carte.”

And, talk about the top 1%  and distribution of riches …

Being a recording artist these days is a hard gig …

Pressure from labels then had downstream effects on content creators, specifically artists.

The top one 1% of artists now take home 77% of revenue, and the rest is spread across an increasing number of artists.

The pain of the record labels is forced on artists through smaller royalty payments.

Ouch.

Now, what’s the parallel to higher education?

(more…)

High tuitions … and “Baumol’s Cost Disease”

January 21, 2016

The NY Times ran a piece by Harvard Prof Greg Mankiew summarizing his views re: high and increasing college tuitions.

One of Mankiw’s identified causes is “Baumol’s Cost Disease”

Many years ago, the economist William Baumol noted that for many services — haircuts as well as string quartet performances — productivity barely advances over time.

Yet as overall productivity rises in the economy, wages increase, so the cost of producing these services increases as well.

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Education is a case in point …

(more…)

Employers: 9 of 10 college grads poorly prepared …

January 13, 2016

According to the WSJ

9 out of 10 business owners surveyed by the American Association Colleges and Universities said that recent college graduates as poorly prepared for the work force in such areas as critical thinking, communication and problem solving.

“Employers are say that they don’t care about all the knowledge you learned because it’s going to be out of date two minutes after you graduate … they care about whether you can continue to learn over time and solve complex problems.”

 

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Are employers being too critical?

(more…)

What’s the most prevalent undergrad major these days?

November 23, 2015

The WaPo published some education statistics extracted from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Note: The source –  ”Digest of Education Statistics” – is a veritable treasure trove of education statistics

One dissected data series was the distribution of undergrad degrees granted.

I was a bit surprised to see that roughly 1 in 5 undergraduate degrees granted are in business.

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Note: The gray lines are at the 10% and 20%

Here are a few other points that caught my eye …

(more…)

Does playing basketball make you taller?

November 11, 2015

Of course not … that’s silly.

OK let’s try a variant of the question: Does education make you smarter?

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I bet a lot of you would bet the over on that one.

Here’s what the researchers say …

(more…)

Business Week: 2015 MBA Rankings … new process, new results.

November 3, 2015

Bloomberg (Business Week) changed the way it compiles its MBA rankings “with a sharper focus on what people most hope to get after business school.”

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Specifically, BW beefed up its emphasis on alumni feedback to calibrate how they’re doing,  what they’re earning and how happy they’re feeling.

And, BW says “Older elements of our ranking, including a tally of faculty research, have been scrapped because they don’t get at our fundamental question: How well does this business school channel its graduates into good jobs?”

Here is the revised list of metrics for scoring MBA programs.

  • Employer Survey (35 percent of total score):  recruiter feedback on the skills they look for in MBAs, and which programs best equip their students with those skills
  • Alumni Survey (30 percent):  feedback from the classes of 2007, 2008, and 2009 on how their MBAs have affected their careers, their compensation change over time, and their midcareer job satisfaction
  • Student Survey (15 percent):  the class of 2015’s take on academics, career services, campus climate, and more
  • Job Placement Rate (10 percent):  the most recent data on how many MBAs seeking full-time jobs get them within three months of graduation
  • Starting Salary (10 percent):  most recent data on how much MBAs make in their first jobs after graduation, adjusted for industry and regional variation

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Here are the 2015 rankings …

(more…)

A bad week for standardized testing … and bad results from standardized tests.

October 30, 2015

This week, for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam.

The results weren’t pretty: “Results from national math and reading tests show slipping or stagnant scores for the nation’s schoolkids.”

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And, it’s even worse than it sounds.

Let’s cut to the chase …

(more…)

School “misbehavior” can be lucrative long-run … say, what?

September 29, 2015

Talk about a potential license to kill …

That was my first thought, but the article reporting a study by a Johns Hopkins prof turned out to be more nuanced than the headline … and, in my opinion, very misleading.

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The summary conclusion: some students who misbehave in school learn less (as measured by conventional scoring) but end up earning more over their lifetime.

Here are the details and my take …

(more…)

OECD : Over-use of computers is detrimental to education.

September 23, 2015

The Organization for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) recently issued a report on the impact of technology – think, of computers in the classroom -– on fundamental learning.

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The bottom line:

“Students who use computers very frequently at school do much worse [in reading, science and math], even after accounting for social background and student demographics.”

More specifically …

(more…)

Literacy, learning and Common Core standards …

September 17, 2015

I’m really conflicted in the debate re: the Common Core and its higher standards of learning.

As I argued in a prior post, I’m all for giving students a more rigorous education, but wonder if the emphasis on standards is just a diversion from fixing fundamental problems.

See Common Core: Is the problem really standards?

Said differently, it’s really easy to print & mail higher standards, but … what good are they if students aren’t achieving lower standards because of their capabilities, their environment or the educational delivery system. 

Case in point: U.S. literacy rates.

My hunch: all states have standards that say, at a minimum, “students should be able to read”.

Still, Google “U.S. Literacy Rates” and you get linked to articles with titles like:

The U.S. Illiteracy Rate Hasn’t Changed In 10 Years

Broad-scale studies indicate that less than 15% of the U.S. population reads proficiently.

Ouch.

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Think about those findings for a moment …

(more…)

Eureka: Common Core’s new math … take the minute quiz.

September 15, 2015

Heard a story recently about a 3rd grader who was failing math.

Her state had signed up to the Common Core Standards (and testing) … and her school district had embraced the the Common Core curriculum.

Her math grades in 1st and 2nd grade were just fine.

When the Fs started coming home, her father – a college-educated engineer – jumped into the fray to tutor her.

The Fs kept coming.

The Fs kept coming  even though her answers were right … her process of arriving at the right answer was wrong.

Before you say, “well, certainly she needs to do the problem the right way”, take this simple test.

Question: Little Joey has a jar with 35 jelly beans.  He gives away 17 of the jelly beans to his friends. How many jelly beans does Joey have left in the jar.  Show each step of your calculation and label all numbers.

Do it !  Should only take a few seconds ….

(more…)

Homework is discriminatory … say, what?

September 10, 2015

A recent study, published in The American Journal of Family Therapy concludes:

“Students in the early elementary school years are getting nearly three times as much homework than is recommended by education leaders”

According to CNN, parents reported first-graders were spending 28 minutes on homework each night versus the recommended 10 minutes.

Student doing homewrok

 

What are the potential consequences of this gross overload? 

(more…)

Common Core: Is the problem really standards?

August 11, 2015

When questioned in the debate re: his support for Common Core, Jeb Bush gave a mushy (and self-contradictory) answer .

When he was done, I wasn’t sure if he was for it or against it.

For his punch line, he reverted to the universal “we need to set higher standards” argument.

A couple of other candidates jumped in to praise higher standards.

Sounds like motherhood, right?

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I’m not so sure ….

(more…)

More educated women having babies, but …

May 8, 2015

Pew just published an interesting study on birth rates and family size.

Here’s one of Pew’s spotlight charts.

The data seems to support the headline …

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But, there’s a more compelling takeaway …

(more…)

Fix: How do you feel about public boarding schools?

May 7, 2015

I’ve long opined that disadvantaged kids from tough homes and neighborhoods would benefit from boarding schools that dislocate them from their challenging environments and provide them with a constructive, comprehensive learning and social experience.

What I didn’t know was that this education model is already in place in a few locales and is slowly being spread to others.

Click to view photo essay
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One of the pioneering public boarding schools is DC’s SEED Foundation Charter School …

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Baltimore Fix: How about more Jesuit high schools?

May 6, 2015

Yesterday, we looked at the numbers re: Baltimore City school’s spending …

Summary: Over $16,000 per student …  top 4 (or higher, depending on the study) in the country … with a  student to teacher ratio of about 15 to 1 … and a student to “adult” ratio of about 8 to 1.

Not bad.

While researching the post, I stumbled on an article in Business Insider:

How a Baltimore school that only accepts poor students has a 100% college acceptance rate.

The article profiles Baltimore’s Cristo Rey High School  which has achieved a 100% college acceptance rate among graduates despite taking only students from disadvantaged neighborhoods

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How does Cristo Rey do it?

(more…)

Baltimore Fix: More spending on education … say, what?

May 5, 2015

A largely unchallenged claim in the past week is that the way to fix many of Baltimore’s inner city problems is to spend more on education.

Makes sense until you look at the numbers.

Based on 2010 Census numbers, Baltimore City spent almost $16, 000 per student … more recent analyses peg the number even higher.

That spending level ranks Baltimore City 4th among school districts with at least 40,000 students …  more recent data reflecting an infusion of additional Fed funds pushes the ranking up to #2, trailing only NYC.

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Let’s put those numbers into context …

(more…)

Baltimore chaos reminded me of Michelle’s commencement speech …

May 1, 2015

A couple of year’s ago, I wrote a post that probably stunned loyal readers.

The post praised Obama — Michelle that is.

She gave the kick ass speech that I was hoping the Obamas would deliver everywhere, all the time.

Ironically, the speech was given at Bowie State University … a few miles from Baltimore.

Unfortunately, Mrs. O decided a war on Twinlies was more important than cultural leadership.

Still the speech is worth a listen.

Here’s a flashback…

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I haven’t been a big Michelle Obama fan.

Never recovered from her “first time I’m proud to be an American” snit … and totally turned off by her hypocritical  lifestyle of the rich & famous routine.

Biggest deal: I’ve oft said that she and her husband have squandered an opportunity to talk frankly to black kids in a way that only they can.

They’ve got the cred to push family values, individual responsibility and the importance of education.

Except for a few lines in a few speeches, they’ve come up prtetty empty.

That is, until last week when the First Lady gave a great commencement address at Bowie State University.

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She  encouraged the graduates  to promote the importance of education in the black community.

According to the Washington Post, she layered a tough-love cultural commentary with statistics …  one in three African American students drop out of high school  … only one in five African Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 have a college degree.

Here are a couple of the high impact sound bites from her speech:

(more…)

What do universities have in common with record labels?

April 27, 2015

Interesting article on Quartz.com tracking how “the internet’s power to unbundle content sparked a rapid transformation of the music industry’ and arguing that”and it’s doing the same thing to higher education today.

Let’s start with the recorded music industry.

It’s no surprise that

The unbundling of albums in favor of individual songs was one of the biggest causes of the music industry’s decline.

It cannibalized the revenue of record labels as 99-cent songs gained popularity over $20 albums.

What did surprise me us that recording industry revenues have dropped by half from the $14 billion in 2000.

QZ Chart 1

The eroding revenues and and internet dynamics have “changed the way music labels had to operate in order to maintain profitability.

The traditional services of labels: identifying artists; investing in them; recording, publishing, and distributing their work; and marketing them—are now increasingly offered a la carte.”

And, talk about the top 1%  and distribution of riches …

Being a recording artist these days is a hard gig …

Pressure from labels then had downstream effects on content creators, specifically artists.

The top one 1% of artists now take home 77% of revenue, and the rest is spread across an increasing number of artists.

The pain of the record labels is forced on artists through smaller royalty payments.

Ouch.

Now, what’s the parallel to higher education?

(more…)

Banned substance: Red ink is,well, threatening …

April 3, 2015

I once worked for a CEO who wouldn’t stand for lemon in his water or red ink.

That is, both the red ink on a financial statement and red ink on a document.

Apparently, he was onto something with the latter.

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In the UK, hundreds of schools have banned their teachers from marking in red ink.

Here’s why …

(more…)

Does playing basketball make you taller?

March 27, 2015

Of course not … that’s silly.

OK let’s try a variant of the question: Does education make you smarter?

 

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I bet a lot of you would bet the over on that one.

Here’s what the researchers say …

(more…)

Oh Swami, what’s the secret to success?

January 9, 2015

Psychology professor Angela Lee Duckworth has researched successful students, athletes and business managers.

She concludes that talent and intelligence will get you only so far.

The characteristic that separates successful people from the also-rans is, in a word, grit”.

Grit is tenacious spirit that keeps certain people dedicated to their goal (whether it involves their studies, their projects, their clients, or something else) for the long haul, determined to accomplish what they set out to do.

Grit is working with intensity and  stamina over long periods of time to incrementally chip away at some goal.

Prof. Duckworth says schools & companies should recruit people who are not only smart, but also demonstrate “true grit”.

Maybe she’s onto something.

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Here’s a TED talk in which Prof. Duckworth summarizes her findings.

 

If you want more here’s is a link to a longer talk Prof. Duckworth gave recently.

(more…)

Do you think I’m sexy? … My ratings hang in the balance!

December 11, 2014

According to BigThink.com

The website ratemyprofessors.com has students anonymously comment on their professors’ “helpfulness,” “clarity” and “easiness.”

The punctuation point: Raters are asked where the prof is “hot” or “not.”

Four professors from Central Michigan University trolled through the data and wrote a paper examining “Attractiveness, Easiness, and Other Issues: Student Evaluations of Professors on rateMyProfessors.com.”

After conceding that the site is rife with “issues”, the authors dug in and researched the relationship between student perceptions of professor “hotness” and their evaluation of “quality of instruction.”.

Guess what?

A large percentage of American college students consider courses to be high-quality when the professor is attractive..

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As Gomer Pyle would say: “Surprise, surprise, surprise.”

The only surprise is the magnitude and consistency of the relationship.

Profs that are “not hot” are toast.

The Central Michigan “scholars” also evaluated the relative hotness of profs by discipline …

(more…)

Another look: Is a college degree is worth it?

November 5, 2014

Lots has been written recently re: the economic value of a college degree.

Let’s boil it down to 3 key charts …

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First, the cost side of the equation …

Sky-rocketing tuitions are loading students with an enormous amount of post-graduation debt.

While other forms of consumer debt have held relatively constant for the past 10 years, student loans have soared from “only” $200 million in 2004 to over $1 trillion today.

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That’s the cost.

What about the benefits side?

(more…)

In praise of tough teachers …

November 3, 2014

My students are likely to cringe at this post which kinda legitimizes my teaching style.

Uh-oh …

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According to a recent WSJ article:

The latest findings in fields from music to math to medicine lead to a single, startling conclusion: It’s time to revive old-fashioned education.

Not just traditional but old-fashioned in the sense that so many of us knew as kids, with strict discipline and unyielding demands.

Why?

Because here’s the thing: It works.

image

Of course, that conclusion flies in the face of the kinder, gentler philosophy that has dominated American education over the past few decades.

The conventional wisdom holds that teachers are supposed to tease knowledge out of students, rather than pound it into their heads.

Projects and collaborative learning are applauded; traditional methods like lecturing and memorization — derided as “drill and kill” — are frowned upon, dismissed as a surefire way to suck young minds dry of creativity and motivation.

But the conventional wisdom is wrong.

And the following eight principles explain why …

(more…)

Georgetown ranked #1 in …

October 13, 2014

LinkedIn data mines its rolls, scores the career progress of members in several disciplines, and then ranks schools based on the members’ career progress scores.

In the current ranking, Georgetown’s undergraduate program was ranked #3 in Finance and #1 in Investment Banking.

Take that, Wharton.

 

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click to see the Top 25

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Does playing basketball make you taller?

August 29, 2014

Of course not … that’s silly.

OK let’s try a variant of the question: Does education make you smarter?

 

image

=====

I bet a lot of you would bet the over on that one.

Here’s what the researchers say …

(more…)

Maybe, the best college essay ever written …

August 12, 2014

Too bad it was written after-the-fact.  After the rejections.

The WSJ published an op-ed by a HS senior: To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me

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It’s worth reading … says the things that most of us are probably thinking.

Here are some highlights:

(more…)

Part-time nation: Even on college faculties …

July 24, 2014

interesting factoid from Quartz.com “ What universities have in common with record labels” …

Used to be that the majority of college faculty were on the tenure track … with less than 1 in 3 being non-tenure track “part-timers”.

 

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Source: Quartz.com

With the cost pressures that universities face these days, those numbers have completely reversed.

Now, the majority of university faculty s part-timers … and about 1 in 3 are on the tenure track.

And, Quartz points out that there’s increasing separation between content producing “marquee”  profs and “average” profs.

“The ranks of professors will quickly diverge into the 1% and everyone else.”

As the original Grandma Homa used to say; “It’s easy to be good, hard to be great.”

#HomaFiles

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What do universities have in common with record labels?

July 15, 2014

Interesting article on Quartz.com tracking how “the internet’s power to unbundle content sparked a rapid transformation of the music industry’ and arguing that”and it’s doing the same thing to higher education today.

Let’s start with the recorded music industry.

It’s no surprise that

The unbundling of albums in favor of individual songs was one of the biggest causes of the music industry’s decline.

It cannibalized the revenue of record labels as 99-cent songs gained popularity over $20 albums.

What did surprise me us that recording industry revenues have dropped by half from the $14 billion in 2000.

QZ Chart 1

The eroding revenues and and internet dynamics have “changed the way music labels had to operate in order to maintain profitability.

The traditional services of labels: identifying artists; investing in them; recording, publishing, and distributing their work; and marketing them—are now increasingly offered a la carte.”

And, talk about the top 1%  and distribution of riches …

Being a recording artist these days is a hard gig …

Pressure from labels then had downstream effects on content creators, specifically artists.

The top one 1% of artists now take home 77% of revenue, and the rest is spread across an increasing number of artists.

The pain of the record labels is forced on artists through smaller royalty payments.

Ouch.

Now, what’s the parallel to higher education?

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Another look: Is a college degree is worth it?

June 3, 2014

Lots has been written recently re: the economic value of a college degree.

Let’s boil it down to 3 key charts …

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First, the cost side of the equation …

Sky-rocketing tuitions are loading students with an enormous amount of post-graduation debt.

While other forms of consumer debt have held relatively constant for the past 10 years, student loans have soared from “only” $200 million in 2004 to over $1 trillion today.

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That’s the cost.

What about the benefits side?

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What’s the most prevalent undergrad major these days?

April 28, 2014

The WaPo published some education statistics extracted from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Note: The source –  ”Digest of Education Statistics” – is a veritable treasure trove of education statistics

One dissected data series was the distribution of undergrad degrees granted.

I was a bit surprised to see that roughly 1 in 5 undergraduate degrees granted are in business.

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Note: The gray lines are at the 10% and 20%

Here are a few other points that caught my eye …

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Oh Swami, what’s the secret to success?

March 26, 2014

Psychology professor Angela Lee Duckworth has researched successful students, athletes and business managers.

She concludes that talent and intelligence will get you only so far.

The characteristic that separates successful people from the also-rans is, in a word, grit”.

Grit is tenacious spirit that keeps certain people dedicated to their goal (whether it involves their studies, their projects, their clients, or something else) for the long haul, determined to accomplish what they set out to do.

Grit is working with intensity and  stamina over long periods of time to incrementally chip away at some goal.

Prof. Duckworth says schools & companies should recruit people who are not only smart, but also demonstrate “true grit”.

Maybe she’s onto something.

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Here’s a TED talk in which Prof. Duckworth summarizes her findings.

 

If you want more here’s is a link to a longer talk Prof. Duckworth gave recently.

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Banned substance: Red ink is,well, threatening …

March 21, 2014

I once worked for a CEO who wouldn’t stand for lemon in his water or red ink.

That is, both the red ink on a financial statement and red ink on a document.

Apparently, he was onto something with the latter.

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In the UK, hundreds of schools have banned their teachers from marking in red ink.

Here’s why …

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In praise of tough teachers …

March 12, 2014

My students are likely to cringe at this post which kinda legitimizes my teaching style.

Uh-oh …

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According to a recent WSJ article:

The latest findings in fields from music to math to medicine lead to a single, startling conclusion: It’s time to revive old-fashioned education.

Not just traditional but old-fashioned in the sense that so many of us knew as kids, with strict discipline and unyielding demands.

Why?

Because here’s the thing: It works.

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Of course, that conclusion flies in the face of the kinder, gentler philosophy that has dominated American education over the past few decades.

The conventional wisdom holds that teachers are supposed to tease knowledge out of students, rather than pound it into their heads.

Projects and collaborative learning are applauded; traditional methods like lecturing and memorization — derided as “drill and kill” — are frowned upon, dismissed as a surefire way to suck young minds dry of creativity and motivation.

But the conventional wisdom is wrong.

And the following eight principles explain why …

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Flashback: Michelle’s commencement speech rocks …

February 28, 2014

Yesterday, President Obama announced a  public-private partnership designed to provide economic and educational opportunities to young men and boys of color through commitments from foundations, business leaders and public officials.

He didn’t speak to the deterioration of family structures, the dominuation of  religion in kid’s lives, the toxic influence of bad-boy rappers, etc., so I’m not optimistic. But, I’m rooting for him on this one.

Brought back memories of a post from last May, praising Michelle Obama.

Here’s a flashback…

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I haven’t been a big Michelle Obama fan.

Never recovered from her “first time I’m proud to be an American” snit … and totally turned off by her hypocritical  lifestyle of the rich & famous routine.

Biggest deal: I’ve oft said that she and her husband have squandered an opportunity to talk frankly to black kids in a way that only they can.

They’ve got the cred to push family values, individual responsibility and the importance of education.

Except for a few lines in a few speeches, they’ve come up prtetty empty.

That is, until last week when the First Lady gave a great commencement address at Bowie State University.

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She  encouraged the graduates  to promote the importance of education in the black community.

According to the Washington Post, she layered a tough-love cultural commentary with statistics …  one in three African American students drop out of high school  … only one in five African Americans between the ages of 25 and 29 have a college degree.

Here are a couple of the high impact sound bites from her speech:

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