Archive for the ‘education’ Category

A breath of fresh air for higher education

Posted: September 27, 2022 by chrisharper in education
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By Christopher Harper

During nearly 30 years in higher education, I saw first-hand the growing problems at colleges and universities.

When I started in the academy in 1994, my colleagues already had a decidedly leftist bent. But other trends took hold. Money flowed out of the classroom into administrative coiffeurs, mainly because the federal government insisted on the changes to fight “racism” and other leftist aims. As a result, the cost of tuition soared.

But U.S. Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has developed a solid solution for many of higher education’s ills.

Here are a few salient facts that Cotton points out in his argument for the Student Loan Reform Act of 2022:

–Almost one-third of college students drop out before graduation. Nearly two in five college graduates regret their major, over 40% of recent graduates are underemployed, and more than half work in fields they didn’t study. Yet, in the past 20 years, tuition prices have risen over 180%, and total student loan debt is now nearing $2 trillion.

–College endowments have grown to over $800 billion in value—with Harvard and Yale sitting on over $70 billion of untaxed wealth. Colleges use their massive fortunes not to serve their students but to pay for bloated bureaucracies. Between 1976 and 2018, total student enrollment increased by just 78%, while the number of college administrators ballooned by 616%.

The federal government’s guarantee of virtually unlimited student loans is the primary cause of this disconnect. In return for issuing trillions of dollars worth of loans and protecting these loans from bankruptcy, the government demands almost nothing from the colleges.

Here’s how Cotton’s proposal would fix some of these issues:

–It would penalize colleges that leave students in debt from undesirable and unmarketable programs, causing graduates to default years later. The proposal would require that colleges become guarantors of up to 50% of future federal student loans and would fine colleges 25% of the value of future defaulted loans.

–It pressures colleges to reduce the cost of tuition and to stop hoarding large amounts of endowment money. Any university charging over $20,000 a year for undergraduate tuition must gradually eliminate 50% of its administrative staff to qualify for future student loans. 

–The legislation also places a 20% luxury tax on undergraduate tuition above $40,000 and a 1% tax on the wealthiest private college endowments. The revenue raised from these taxes would go toward workforce education to help the majority of Americans who don’t have a college degree.

The legislation also requires universities to implement policies protecting campus diversity of thought. It would protect free speech and ban all forms of racial discrimination as a condition of participation in the federal student loan program.

As Cotton puts it: “This will lessen the grip left-wing ideologues have on college campuses and ensures their academic environments no longer impedes the intellectual growth of all students.”

If Cotton’s proposal becomes law, I might be convinced to come out of retirement!

Education during Covid: A failing grade

Posted: September 6, 2022 by chrisharper in education
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By Christopher Harper

The catastrophe of closing schools during Covid became even more apparent as data provided information about the impact of those decisions.

The average scores for 9-year-olds declined the most on record in math (seven points) and in reading since 1990 (five points, according to the National Center for Educational Progress. See https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/highlights/ltt/2022/

The 2020 tests were administered shortly before pandemic lockdowns and school closures, so this year’s results show how students have weathered those two years.

NAEP, a congressionally mandated program overseen by the U.S. Department of Education, administered the assessments from January to March 2020 and 2022, respectively. The group tested about 7,400 9-year-old students from 410 schools in 2022, and 92% of the schools assessed this year were also tested in 2020. 

Results were even worse for lower-income and minority students. Math scores fell by 13 points for black students and eight points for Hispanics compared to five points for whites. Reading scores for low-income students fell twice as much as for others.

Simply put, school closures cost American kids a lot, and it is unlikely that the next few years will close the gap significantly.

Peggy Carr, the commissioner of the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, expressed concerns about the findings in a statement announcing the results.

“There’s been much speculation about how shuttered schools and interrupted learning may have affected students’ opportunities to learn,” Carr wrote. 

“Our own data reveal the pandemic’s toll on education in other ways, including increases in students seeking mental health services, absenteeism, school violence and disruption, cyberbullying, and nationwide teacher and staff shortages.”

While the Biden administration praised its efforts to reopen schools and toss money at the problem, it’s worth noting that states that voted for Donald Trump did much better in reopening schools. 

Schools in Trump states reopened 75% of the time, while those that voted for Biden reopened 37% during the 2020-2021 academic year, according to the education nonprofit The 74. 

Also, Democrats widely condemned Trump and Republican governors like Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., for aggressively pushing school reopenings in the fall of 2020. 

“Floridians deserve science-based action from Gov. Ron DeSantis,” Biden said prior to the 2020 election. “While other large states continue to take strong, urgent, and sweeping action to stop the spread of COVID-19, Florida has not.”

The recent results do not include a breakdown by state, but it will be interesting to see how much better Florida did than the national results.

American Federation of Teachers chief Randi Weingarten, who pushed shutdowns, tried to forget this ever happened with her statement on Twitter: “Thankfully after two years of disruption from a pandemic that killed more than 1 mil Americans, schools are already working on helping kids recover and thrive. This is a year to accelerate learning by rebuilding relationships, focusing on the basics.” 

She and her union had to back down from extending closures even more after parents went ballistic in many locales. See https://www.the74million.org/article/analysis-amid-growing-parent-backlash-teachers-unions-keep-trying-to-rewrite-school-reopening-history/

Just for the record, I taught online classes for nearly two decades. The problem wasn’t online vs. the classroom. The problem was that most of my colleagues had no training and no understanding of how to teach online. If teachers are properly prepared to teach online, surveys show that students do slightly better online than in the classroom.

Nevertheless, as this school year begins, it’s readily apparent that things won’t return to normal any time soon. Students must make up two years of declining knowledge over the next eight years through 12th grade. That’s going to be tough!

Good News and Bad News for kids in DC

Posted: August 28, 2022 by datechguy in education

The Good News for kids in DC is that facing a backlash the mayor of Washington DC has decided to let kids who have not gotten the COVID 19 vaccine attend DC schools this fall rather than excluding them from a public education

The Bad news for kids in DC is that facing a backlash the mayor of Washington DC has decided to let kids who have not gotten the COVID 19 vaccine attend DC schools this fall rather than excluding them from a public education that is substandard at best and destructively and irredeemably woke at worst.

Given what we’ve seen from teachers unions and public education I’m becoming increasingly convinced that until there is a radical overhaul of our public school system keeping our kids away from public schools, particularly in deep blue cites and states is an act of kindness.

Until parents on the local level decide to take back their schools you are better off keeping the kids out and getting private tutors to teach the basics of reading, writing and math rather than sending kids to be babysat and taught that only racists keep boys out of the girls bathroom, that the US is some kinds of evil plot by people who think their fundamental job is to groom your kids for others pleasure.

I’ve been teasing this material for a while but as we get closer and closer to peak societal collapse let’s get this stuff out there:

We’re all experiencing race

Yes because that’s the thing that shapes you

Ah the Gender and violence circle that’s what’s keeping the kids down.

Spin the wheel of oppression round and round

You can’t tell kids how they’re oppressed without a worksheet.

race the power of illusion

It’s amazing how strong an illusion can be

You know a lot of immigrants from Africa might disagree with this.

Social identity wheels, just put people in a slot

And let us not forget the Gender box

the circles

And the pyramid

What does all this add up to two things:

  1. People who are told they are going to fail will invariably meet their expectations.
  2. It’s easier to give kids an excuse for your failure to teach them then it is to actually do the job.

You might wonder why people who are into teaching would go along with this, but if you are a teacher who is failing this is a godsend, it’s not your fault that they fail, it’s the system.

Nothing is more dangerous than an excuse.

I ask the parents of Lawrence, is this what you want for your kids? Is this what you’re paying for?