Why They Sent Ahmed To Juvie

Multiculturalism eliminates any shared sense of rules beyond an ever increasing tangle of bureaucratic doctrines. The administrators who sent him to a detention center were almost certainly following strict rules about how to respond to students bringing unidentifiable electronic devices into school — those rules having been created by hysterical liberals terrified by the acts of terror committed by youths addled by prescription drugs and seeking a glorious death with huge media attention.

In order to make room for Ahmed, Jamal, J’miriquoi, Running Bear, Jorge, and Moonbeam, we subject all of them — including lil’ Johnny the racist cracker — to the same set of regulations, because we see all of them as potential malefactors to be treated uniformly by a blind system.

Source: Why They Sent Ahmed To Juvie – Henry Dampier

Rote memorization plays crucial role in teaching students how to solve complex calculations

Memorizing the answers to simple math problems, such as basic addition or the multiplication tables, marks a key shift in a child’s cognitive development, because it helps bridge the gap from counting on fingers to complex calculation, according to the new brain scanning research.

The progression from counting on fingers to simply remembering that, for example, six plus three equals nine, parallels physical changes in a child’s brain, in which the hippocampus, a key brain structure for memory, gradually takes over from the pre-frontal parietal cortex, an area of higher order reasoning.

In effect, as young math students memorize the basics, their brains reorganize to accommodate the greater demands of more complex math. It is a gradual process, like “overlapping waves,” the researchers write, but it clearly shows that, for the growing child’s brain, rote memorization is a key step along the way to efficient mathematical reasoning.

via Math wars: Rote memorization plays crucial role in teaching students how to solve complex calculations, study says.

How The New Deal Ruined The Arts

Poetry is an industry. It has always been an industry. It is something that people do. Writing poetry is work. You may be paid for this work in money, or you may be paid in the esteem of your peers, or you may be paid only in your own satisfaction. But you are paid.

Before the New Deal, poets were paid either in the esteem of their peers, or in book royalties. …

Here is the way poetry works now. The business is teaching. The currency is the book. Now that Tryfon Tolides has a book, and one published by Penguin at that (rather than, say, Dirt River Press), he can get a teaching job. His teacher, Karr, has “made” him. …

When I say “teaching job,” of course I don’t mean eighth grade. With a Penguin book, Tolides is qualified to teach creative writing anywhere that has an opening. Of course openings are scarce these days, because everyone with an IQ over 95 is going to college and the system simply cannot be expanded. …

… one ascends in the poetry world exactly the same way that one ascended in the Soviet intelligence services: by joining the right clique and remaining loyal to it. It is a pure pyramidal patronage system.

… There is simply no independent pool of taste. There is only a vast river of books released by an endless stream of careerists. …

And worse, what these careerists seek is not even good filthy money. Teaching poetry is an abominable career. Unless you are ridiculously lucky, your students are subhuman morons, your pay is laughable, your prospect of tenure is nonexistent.

However, you are paid with something that no money can buy, the social status of poet. And no one – and I mean no one – in the world looks down on a “published poet.” …

What a pathetic and contemptible system! These people are nothing but bureaucrats. And the situation is only getting worse.

via Unqualified Reservations: Tryfon Tolides: an almost pure empty poetry.

If You Have A Job, You Work Almost One Hour Per Day To Fund Public Schools

1) Revenues collected by governments for public education in the United States totaled $593.7 billion. About $261.4 billion came from local sources, $258.2 billion from state sources, and $74 billion from federal sources.

2) That’s about $1,922 from each and every American.

3) Or $2,531 from each adult, 18 and older.

4) Or $4,567 from each non-farm American worker on a payroll.

5) That amounts to 11.4 percent of the average worker’s salary, or $2.20 per hour.

6) The average American employee thus works almost one hour every day to fund public schools.

7) It would take the entire salary of 14,842,500 employees to pay for U.S. public schools, equivalent to the entire retail trade workforce.

via Seven Not-So-Fun Facts About the Costs of Public Education « The Greenroom.

Too Many College Graduates, Not Enough Jobs For Them

Nearly half of working Americans with college degrees are in jobs for which they’re overqualified, a new study out Monday suggests.

The study, released by the non-profit Center for College Affordability and Productivity, says the trend is likely to continue for newly minted college graduates over the next decade.

Vedder, whose study is based on 2010 Labor Department data, says the problem is the stock of college graduates in the workforce (41.7 million) in 2010 was larger than the number of jobs requiring a college degree (28.6 million).

That, he says, helps explain why 15% of taxi drivers in 2010 had bachelor’s degrees vs. 1% in 1970. Among retail sales clerks, 25% had a bachelor’s degree in 2010. Less than 5% did in 1970.

Does anyone find this surprising? When you subsidize something, you get more of it, whether or not it makes sense. When the government made it easy to get a loan for a house, people started buying more houses, even when they couldn’t afford one. When the government made it easy to get a loan for college, people started going to college more, even when there was no market payoff for doing so. Government subsidies lead to misallocations of capital because the distorted the emergent information system of prices. The housing bubble burst; the education bubble is going to as well. Via Study: Nearly half are overqualified for their jobs.

Lecture at home, homework at school: Teachers flip for ‘flipped learning’ class model

Under the model, teachers make eight- to 10-minute videos of their lessons using laptops, often simply filming the whiteboard as the teacher makes notations and recording their voice as they explain the concept. The videos are uploaded onto a teacher or school website, or even YouTube, where they can be accessed by students on computers or smartphones as homework.

For pupils lacking easy access to the Internet, teachers copy videos onto DVDs or flash drives. Kids with no home device watch the video on school computers.

Class time is then devoted to practical applications of the lesson — often more creative exercises designed to engage students and deepen their understanding. On a recent afternoon, Kirch’s students stood in pairs with one student forming a cone shape with her hands and the other angling an arm so the “cone” was cut into different sections.

“It’s a huge transformation,” said Kirch, who has been taking this approach for two years. “It’s a student-focused classroom where the responsibility for learning has flipped from me to the students.”

I love this. It reminds me of the fictional schools in Michael Flynn’s “Firestar” (although in that novel, the students dedicated two hours at school at the end of the day to finish homework). Via Teachers flip for ‘flipped learning’ class model – Yahoo! News.

The Voodoo Sciences: The Difference Between “Data” and “Evidence”

Go to any U.S. university. You will hear lamentation and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Washington has become unfeeling and stupidly refuses to support higher education: don’t those idiots on the Potomac know that education is a investment in the future? Don’t they know that human resources are our most valuable resources, that public higher education is necessary preparation for a democratic future? That we must invest in the future?

But now wander about the campus, and look at how our typical university allocates that all-important investment dollar. You will find that the “social science” departments are far larger than the “hard sciences,” and indeed have more students than are enrolled in liberal arts. You will find that even in states with tens of thousands of unemployed teachers, the Department of Education is among the very largest departments on campus.

The social sciences will be large and important departments, with many members of faculty and much classroom space. One wonders what it is that graduates in the social sciences are prepared to do. It must be an important skill; we are spending a large part of our scarce but all-important investment funds to acquire it. Oddly enough, though, we’re not training so many engineers and scientists, physicists and mathematicians. Why?

But of course the answer is well known. In most universities, our education investment funds are allocated by entering freshmen. They go to a kind of oriental bazaar, where they are seduced into choosing a major; the number of majors then determines the department’s share of the university’s budget funds. It does seem an odd way to allocate an important resource.

One might suppose a better way: that the legislature, or other public authority, determine the number of engineers, biologists, physicists, medicos, sociologists, etc., that might reasonably be required in the future, and allocate public funds among the departments accordingly. Students wishing to declare various majors could do so; but when the number that the taxpayers will support is exceeded, the next student to enroll in that major gets to pay tuition accordingly. If tax-supported higher education is an investment–and what other theory justifies sending the tax collector, policeman, and eventually the public hangman to extort the funds from the taxpayers? — then might we have some care in the way that investment is allocated? The present scheme looks like a bad parody invented by an inept science fiction writer. Who’d believe it if it weren’t happening?

The real difference between arts and sciences is the difference between data and evidence; and the “social sciences” don’t know one from the other.

When this was put to Dr. Paul Bohannon (5), dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of Southern California, he replied that Mead’s value didn’t lie in her data-gathering. She stretched imaginations and made people think larger thoughts.

Granted this may be true, but it seems more the job of a science fiction writer than a scientist.

The social sciences have made an art of forgetting embarrassing facts. If a fact doesn’t fit the theory, leave the fact for another discipline. Sociology has nothing to learn from anthropology, which has nothing to learn from social psychology. None of these has anything to learn from the mathematics, physics, or chemistry departments.

The poet who believes he knows something of science having taken “Sosh 103” and “Ed Stat” is far more dangerous than ever he would have been if he had remained ignorant.

Meanwhile, novelists have as much right to be called “experts” on human behavior as any social scientist, which is to say we can learn as much about our fellow humans from a good novel as from a sociological treatise; and I know which I would rather read. Similarly, the poet may find beauty in the theory of probability, and will learn something of the difference between data and evidence while studying it; “Stat for Social Scientists” teaches nothing, and is dull in the bargain.

When the social scientists are challenged as unscientific, their usual plea is that their subject matter is very complex and thus the methodology of physical science won’t work. This is an interesting argument, but it would carry more weight if students of social science knew something of physical science’s methodologies. Granted that the “social sciences” have an intrinsically more difficult job; is this any reason to abandon the tools of science?

The article is long but well worth reading in its entirety. Via The Voodoo Sciences.

Death by Degrees (College Degrees, That Is)

No administration has embodied credentialism as thoroughly as the current one. Of Obama’s first thirty-five cabinet appointments, twenty-two had a degree from an Ivy League university, MIT, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Oxford, or Cambridge. No one would advocate staffing the country’s ministries with wealthy imbeciles, as was the custom under George W. Bush; but the President?—?a meritocrat himself?—?has succumbed to what might be called the “complexity complex,” which leads us to assume that public policy is so complicated that you need a stack of degrees to figure it out. But major political questions are rarely complex in that sense. They are much more likely to be complicated, in the Avril Lavigne sense, meaning that they involve reconciling disagreements among competing stakeholders?—?or, as the situation may demand, ratcheting them up.

via n+1: Death by Degrees.

Hipsters On Food Stamps

When we see a welfare mom we assume she can’t find work, but when we see a hipster [on food stamps] we become infuriated because we assume he doesn’t want to work but could easily do so– on account of the fact that he can speak well– that he went to college.  But now suddenly we’re all shocked: to the economy, the English grad is just as superfluous as the disenfranchised welfare mom in the hood– the college education is just as irrelevant as the skin color.  Not irrelevant for now, not irrelevant "until the economy improves"– irrelevant forever. The economy doesn’t care about intelligence, at all, it doesn’t care what you know, merely what you can produce for it.  The only thing the English grad is "qualified" for in this economy is the very things s/he is already doing: coffeehouse agitator, Trader Joe’s associate, Apple customer………………………………………….. and spouse of a capitalist.

Read the whole thing. It is hilarious and insightful. Via The Last Psychiatrist: Hipsters On Food Stamps, Part 1.

Update: Just wait until you get to part 2. Fantastic and terrifying.

Should Tuition Be Lower for STEM, Higher For Other Majors?

Tuition would be lower for students pursuing degrees most needed for Florida’s job market, including ones in science, technology, engineering and math, collectively known as the STEM fields.

The committee is recommending no tuition increases for them in the next three years.

But to pay for that, students in fields such as psychology, political science, anthropology, and performing arts could pay more because they have fewer job prospects in the state.

An interesting thought: if you want more science/technical/engineering/math majors, charge them less. Conversely, charge more for the easier, softer majors. Via A Bunch of Arguments in Favor of Regressive Tuition, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.