Making America Great Again Isn’t Just About Money and Power – The New York Times

No, it’s about education.  Here is my comment.

Op-Eds like this are insightful, well thought out, and well argued, but – and it’s a gigantic “but”, with a gigantically hard solution – what proportion of today’s voters will ever hear this argument, or even understand it if they did? And why?

Let’s skip the obvious answer to the first question and get to the second one: why can’t they understand?

The answer is easy if you have been a professor for over three decades, paying attention, and care.

Starting at about the end of Johnson’s presidency – whose “Great Society” I also support – our system of higher education has become so corrupted that it sends people with little education out to teach. (To see exactly how that happens, see my blog inside-higher-ed .)

One thing the Johnson Administration did wrong was to trust people in higher education to not be “just like the rest of us” (to paraphrase Mark Twain). Thus, they didn’t do the hard work of ensuring accountability.

Jefferson wrote that, without educating the common people, power will fall into the hands of charlatans; that in a democracy, only the education of the common people can protect us. We better start working on that before it is too late.

Source: Making America Great Again Isn’t Just About Money and Power – The New York Times

Wash. Post Columnist Asks “Is a college degree the new high school diploma?”

Here is the link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/01/13/is-a-college-degree-the-new-high-school-diploma-heres-why-your-degrees-worth-is-stagnant/?utm_term=.de10fc02531b#comments I wrote, As a former math professor, I can … [Continue reading]

Just Grade, Please.

Turning college into a zero-sum game hurts their chances of succeeding after graduation. Source: Why We Should Stop Grading Students on a Curve Here's my take. I’m a former math professor. From my experience, all of this fuss about grading is … [Continue reading]

The US productivity puzzle – This Financial Times’ Article Implies That Most Economists Miss a Critical Factor

The dramatic slide in US productivity will be one of the defining features of the next president’s economic inheritance. Yet when it comes to diagnosing the causes of the slowdown, or coming up with cures, there is little consensus among … [Continue reading]

You Sure You Got That?

And now for a little humour. This is from a book by one of the most famous fly fishermen of all time. You don't have to know anything about fishing; just pay attention to the math. "...to know what...size tippet to use, divide the size of the … [Continue reading]

What Does the Graph Reveal?

In a novel experiment, the Education Department announced Tuesday up to $17 million in loans and grants for students to undergo training at eight entities that aren’t traditional colleges. Source: Obama Administration to Fund Nontraditional Training … [Continue reading]

Is a Ph.D. Holder a Qualified Ph.D.? Not Always

As the supply of doctorate holders grows and their academic job prospects dwindle, schools take steps to help graduates find work beyond the academy. Source: Job-Seeking Ph.D. Holders Look to Life Outside School My comment. Advice from a retired … [Continue reading]

Frank Bruni Recognizes the “Customer” Mentality

"...It’s not only at Stanford and at Ivy League and Ivy­like schools that students have gone from being competitors to clients. That’s a shift that’s occurred over recent decades and over the last decade in particular at scores if not hundreds of … [Continue reading]

What Does the Syllabus Really Tell You? And How to Find Out What is Really Taught.

A reader looked at this year's syllabus for the course that I wrote about in A Tale Out of School. The reader commented that there was nothing wrong with what this year's syllabus covers.  Let's look deeper and ask what covers means. For those who … [Continue reading]