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Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Who needs reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic when we got school prayer?

Posted by Charles II on March 7, 2013

Jon Marcus, Huffington Post:

The amount being spent per student by public colleges and universities has fallen to its lowest level in at least 25 years, a result of state budget cuts a new report warns are rapidly eroding the nation’s educational edge over its international competitors.

I think this refers to Fig. 4, where tuition has risen to 47% of the costs of education. Table 3 also shows that research as a source of support has dropped substantially, indicating that many universities are no longer world class research facilities.

This reminds me of the farmer who decided to teach his mule to eat less. It did work for a while.

Posted in education | 1 Comment »

Argentina may default

Posted by Charles II on November 23, 2012

Heather Stewart and Uki Goni, The Guardian:

Argentinian politicians and global debt campaigners have responded with fury to a US court judgment that risks plunging the country back into default.

Elliott Capital Management and Aurelius Capital Management, regarded as “vulture funds” by Buenos Aires, won a ruling in a New York court on Wednesday that could force Argentina to hand over $1.3bn (£816m) in repayments and interest to the tiny minority of bondholders who refused to sign up to a hard-fought writedown of its debts after the country defaulted in 2001.

[Separately]Argentina was brought to a virtual standstill on Tuesday by the first national strike against her presidency, organised by the same Peronist labour unions who were once her staunchest supporters.The country ground to a halt as labour leaders demanded wage hikes to offset a yearly inflation rate that independent economists estimate at a yearly 25%. The middle class had already taken to the streets earlier this month when a million protesters took to the streets in various cities across Argentina also protesting against high inflation, economic stagnation, corruption in government and the rising crime rate that seems to be accompanying the ailing economy.

It’s stuff like this that makes me pessimistic about the economy. The vultures have not been chastised, and people are beginning to say, Burn it down rather than heel to them.

Posted in education, Latin America | 4 Comments »

This looks like it’s worth reading

Posted by Charles II on September 1, 2012

Too busy to excerpt it, so take a look at Kristina Rizga, MoJo, on why Everything You’ve Heard About Failing Schools is Wrong (via Ritholtz)

Posted in education | 2 Comments »

Echidne writes

Posted by Charles II on May 24, 2012

Click to read

She also has a post on education with this elegantly simple explanation:

The basic problems in the US education system are income inequality, residential segregation and the local funding of education. When those are put together we end up with an unequal system, one where the districts that really need more resources than any other districts in fact end up with fewer resources. Then the schools in the poor areas (where the students have many more problems) will fail and the solution is to punish the schools and the teachers.

Posted in blogs and blogging, education, Just for fun | 9 Comments »

Obama at Ft. Stewart

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2012

I listened to the Obamas speaking at Ft. Stewart, Georgia on April 27th. The speech was introduced in part by a letter recounting the experience of a veteran who was swindled by a for-profit online college.

Obama said that things had gotten so bad that college recruiters had gotten Marines with serious brain damage to sign up to take courses. Other people had been hounded into taking out high-interest student loans. And everyone was finding it hard to sort through the claims of various schools. He promised that online colleges would have to produce a simple FAQ sheet called “Know Before You Owe.”

It was not great oratory. I would have wished that he would have used it as a teaching moment to talk about the competition between funds for veterans’ benefits and for weapons systems and about the need to have a strong economy as the engine to drive a strong military. But both he and Michelle connected to the troops. And his best line was one that the general public should hear and think about (my paraphrase):

“You know that you rise and fall as one unit. All Americans rise and fall as one nation.”

If we really believed this, it would put an end to the silly Randian narcissism that imagines that if we only punish those who are lazy enough, we will make them reform, and that if we do not, then at least the right people–identifiable by their wealth– will be rewarded. The truth is that all of us, rich and poor, are part of a nation in decline precisely because we are a house divided.

Posted in Barack Obama, education, military | 2 Comments »

The for-profit education fraud: bipartisan, disastrous for our kids

Posted by Charles II on April 19, 2012

Danny Weil, Truthout:

On Friday, April 13, 2012, Courthouse News reported a class-action lawsuit by students filed in federal court against the Art Institute of California and its owner, Educational Management Corporation (EDMC). As reported in Truthout, Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R-Maine) husband, former governor of Maine John McKernan, is chairman of the board of EDMC and a former CEO of the company. The company also faces an $11 billion false claims lawsuit by the federal government and 11 states.

Like subprime mortgages, for-profit colleges are a scam driven by payment of commissions to sales staff known as recruiters.

There is a vast network of former and current government officials who actively participate in the for-profit college swindle. Some of the conspirators are well known, and include: Mitt Romney, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-North Carolina), John Kline (R-Minnesota), Alcee Hastings(D-Florida), Trent Lott (R-Mississippi), Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), Steve Gunderson (R-Wisconsin), Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Brian Moran, Snowe, Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi (D-California), and John Boehner (R-Ohio). The group also includes Obama administration officials and supporters such as Lanny Davis, Anita Dunn, Hilary Rosen, Anthony Miller and Charles Rose.

As I have previously written, you won’t read about any of this in The Washington Post because the Post owns a predatory for-profit college outfit known as Kaplan University…

I have to say that I think that there’s plenty of blame to go around. Kids are not being careful enough about getting into debt. But our leaders should set an example, and setting up tricksy schemes to plunge kids into debt before their lives have really even begun is not a positive example.

Watch the right turn this into a Democratic scandal.

Posted in abuse of power, charter schools, The Plunderbund | 3 Comments »

Charles Murray, relegated to the footnotes

Posted by Charles II on February 2, 2012

Bashing Charles Murray is all the rage since the publication of his book, Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010. Charles Pierce manages to swat Murray and David Brooks with one stroke, while Adam Serwer gets Murray and the American Enterprise Institute with another.

But it’s such overkill. This month, I got Charles Murray as the Cracker Jacks prize in my copy of Imprimis, the magazine produced by Hillsdale College, and mailed to me faithfully every 30 days for over a decade despite the lack of any indication whatsoever that I belong to that tribe.

And Murray does not disappoint. The article he writes, “Do We Need a Department of Education?” is so historically illiterate that the only place that would publish it is… Hillsdale College.

Take the claim that education is not a constitutional function, and that the Framers could not have possibly thought that Congress should get involved because it is not enumerated in Art. I Sec. 8. It’s historically-illiterate baloney, of course, which (after throwing up a giant smokescreen) Murray tacitly admits by saying he’s in the minority on this [fn 1].

Next, Murray asks whether there are any serious problems in education that can only be solved on the federal level. Murray admits that segregation did create a case for federal intervention. He claims that the first major federal spending on education was triggered by Sputnik, which is easily proven false by, well, looking at the facts [fn2] if not also by looking at Murray, who also says that it was in 1965 (eight years after Sputnik) that spending really increased [fn 3], but he contends that the increase in spending justified by desegregation no longer serves a purpose, which is an idiotic argument [fn 4].

Next, Murray asks what the federal track record is. This is not a very smart question and Murray admits that the feds did not cause a decline in educational achievement nor prevent a rise in it [fn 5].

Murray says that “The bachelor of arts degree as it has evolved over the last half-century has become the work of the devil.” [fn 6]

Murray says, contrafactually, that the only positive developments in education have been home schooling and charter schools [fn 7].

In short, the only thing that’s newsworthy about Charles Murray is that anyone pays any attention to him. He’s a fraud who doesn’t even know basic American history, misrepresents and misuses statistics, and lies.

Could be a VP candidate, mebbe.
(Click to read the footnotes)
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in education, frauds, Republicans as cancer | 4 Comments »

Ohio’s Voucher Program: End Run Around The Establishment Clause?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 12, 2011

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America runs thus:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion

The Supreme has in the past judged — twice — that it forbids public funding of parochial schools.

So how, then, is the State of Ohio able to get away with this:

Terri Seymour, a Colerain [Ohio] Township mother of an EdChoice eighth-grader, is happy that her daughter, Amanda, was able to move from a Mount Healthy elementary school that she deemed too easy to two more challenging Catholic schools, most recently St. Clement School in St. Bernard.

“It’s made her brand new,” Seymour said of Amanda.

Somebody should tell Ms. Seymour that if she wants her daughter to do well in mathematics — which is essential to careers in business or any of the sciences — she’d better put her back into public school, as a 2006 study found that public-school kids get much better math educations than those in conservative Christian schools:

The Education Department reported on Friday that children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools. The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private school counterparts fared better.

The report, which compared fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores in 2003 from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools, found that fourth graders attending public school did significantly better in math than comparable fourth graders in private schools. Additionally, it found that students in conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind their counterparts in public schools on eighth-grade math.

Furthermore, why is public money being shoveled at non-public schools, religious or otherwise, without any form of accountability? From the Cincinnati Enquirer article linked above, wherein we met Terri Seymour:

Six years after Ohio taxpayers began paying private-school tuition for what is now more than 15,000 students, the state is not reporting academic results for about half of them.

Scam, scam, scam.

Posted in 'starving the beast', education | Tagged: , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Michelle Rhee’s Strategy For Bad News: Kill The Messenger!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 14, 2011

Whenever for-profit education deformer (um, I meant “reformer” — no I didn’t) and adviser to Republican governors Michelle Rhee finds herself in trouble — a situation that is increasingly common as the owners of the national media outlets finally get over their bonding with Ms. Rhee over their shared hatred of unions and start noticing the fudging of facts and data, even in her own life history — her reaction of choice is to try to distract with a volley of twenty-seven-tits-for-a-tat attacks. She or her surrogates don’t bother to address the issue — likely since they know that they can’t win on an honest and strictly factual accounting thereof — so instead they play “Kill the Messenger“.

Case in point: The rapid-fire shillery of her chief mouthpiece, former DNC and Obama campaign functionary Hari Sevugan, who in essence spent most of Friday going berzerk on Twitter screaming EVILUNIONSEVILUNIONSEVILUNIONSREDRUMREDRUMREDRUM over and over until his fingers turned blue. Here’s a small sample:

@HariSevugan: is the outrage directed at @m_rhee selective at people aft is paying to attack or will it be directed here too

@HariSevugan: Smart piece on the lack of disclosure by a political operative paid by the AFT to attack @m_rhee.

@HariSevugan: .@asherhuey I assume U, and New Partners, also believe that POTUS who invited Pstr Hybel to intro him is also “legitimizing” anti-gay stnces

@HariSevugan: .@asherhuey or WJC or Bono for speaking at the conference – bigots too? or is that just reserved for folks the AFT doesn’t like?

@HariSevugan: .asherhuey – attacks on rhee, but silent on obama & wjc for same ties is conspicuous. anything to do w/ u/new partners being paid by aft?

@HariSevugan: Still wtng for @asherhuey to call 4 POTUS to aplgze for “lgtmzng” anti-gay beliefs by asoctng w/Rev Hybels, or is criticism only for @m_rhee

@HariSevugan: relatedly, still waiting for @asherhuey to disclose his and his employer, new partners, $$$ ties to the AFT

Here is the news that Hari Sevugan and Michelle Rhee are trying to smother in this Gatling-Gun approach to perception management:

Eyebrows were raised this week when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz suddenly and quietly backed out of leadership summit at a suburban Chicago megachurch. Some wondered if Schultz’s move was linked to public outcry over the church’s position on curing homosexuality and their former affiliations with the “ex gay” group Exodus International.

Schultz has not confirmed his reasons for skipping the event, but Gina Woods, Director of Executive Communications for Starbucks told the Huffington Post he is holding off on any public events until September following an elective neck surgery. The cancellation comes amid allegations that the firing of an openly gay Starbucks employee at a Long Island location was discriminatory.

Now, those angry about Schultz’s planned appearance are criticizing education advocate Michelle Rhee for her participation.

Rhee, former chancellor of D.C. public schools and founder of the PAC StudentsFirst, remains on the docket and is scheduled to address the conference late Friday morning.

It was later confirmed by the Rev. Bill Hybels of Willow Creek that Schultz did indeed skip the event because of the church’s stances on homosexuality and “curing” gayness, which Hybels says aren’t anti-gay.

Go look at Sevugan’s Twitter feed for the past four days. Notice that the words “Starbucks” and “Howard Schultz” are nowhere to be seen. Would that be because omitting those words makes it easier to pretend that the furor over the Willow Creek event was something ginned up out of thin air by the folks on Michelle Rhee’s enemies list?

Posted in charter schools, education | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The Tice Tribune Strikes Again, This Time On Teaching

Posted by Phoenix Woman on March 22, 2011

The War on Teachers is in full swing over at the Tice Tribune. Marshall Tanick (via Rob Levine over at The Cucking Stool) has the details:

The editorial told only half of the story, and got that part wrong. As the attorney for the prevailing principal, I feel obliged to correct those mistaken impressions…

…The court ruled against the superintendent because she consciously and deliberately bypassed the notice and hearing requirement for no apparent reason, stripping Murphy of significant job responsibilities that she carried out well for many years…

The editorial opined, as did the school district in the lawsuit, that the reassignment was a mere trifle because Murphy retained her same salary….[but] The law currently defines a “demotion,” which triggers a right for a notice and hearing, to consist of a “reduction in rank,” defined as a diminution of duties or a decrease in compensation. Both occurred in this particular case.

The principal’s duties were changed from overseeing a facility and its staff to more menial duties, including lunchroom supervision. The offense in this case was not merely a matter of modifying a “title,” as the editorial suggested, but a major reduction of the educator’s role that could affect her if seeking a job elsewhere as well as promotional opportunities internally.


Posted in education, GOP/Media Complex, StarTribune, The smear industry | 3 Comments »

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