Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Four articles, one for each Horse of the Apocalypse:

NY Times: A Very Interesting Idea  (about getting two years of college while still in high school)
The school, a fascinating collaboration between Bard College and the city’s Department of Education, was founded in 2001 as a way of dealing, at least in part, with the systemic failures of the education system.
How about the systemic failure of American society to value education?  Maybe we should turn the Cartoon Network into an education channel and let Spongebob take over.

Wall Street Journal: A Lament for the Class of 2010
Economists theorize that this may be that very rarest of things—a generation that does not do as well financially as the generation that spawned it.
Are these the same ones who came up with credit swaps?  Is this prediction based on some new doomsday derivative you guys are cooking up and haven't told us about yet?

NY Times: End of the University as We Know it (from 2009)
The division-of-labor model of separate departments is obsolete and must be replaced with a curriculum structured like a web or complex adaptive network. Responsible teaching and scholarship must become cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural. 
Yay! No more department meetings!  We'll have complex adaptive network...uh...seances?

The American Scholar: The Disadvantages of an Elite Education (from 2008)
The first disadvantage of an elite education [...] is that it makes you incapable of talking to people who aren’t like you.
Sorry, what?

Update: Three more I found this morning, ruining the whole horse metaphor.

CNN Money: Why Universities Should Hate the iPad
If students embrace textbooks on the iPad, college bookstores may lose their shirts. 
Is income from textbooks really the most important consideration? Is that enough reason to "hate" the technology?

NYTimes: The Value of College
As it happens, though, labor economists have spent years trying to answer this exact question, devising careful studies to see whether students actually benefit from college. The answer, in a nutshell, is that they do. This is a nice example of Occam’s Razor: the simplest explanation is often the correct one.
 These are the real learning outcomes.

Chronicle: Spending on Political Influence by For-Profit Colleges (subscription required)
For-profit college groups are significant players among all educational organizations in their use of campaign contributions to curry favor in Washington, a Chronicle analysis shows.
And where does the money come from?  Oh, yeah, PELL grants and government-sponsored student loans.  It's a nice little feedback loop.

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