Don’t Know Much About History

I made note yesterday of a survey which showed that two-thirds of Americans could not identify a single member of the Supreme Court. While that’s perhaps not a cause for concern, there is  another survey out there that makes me wonder if universal suffrage is such a great idea: A recent poll gauging U.S. knowledge […]

Is the U.S. a Democracy?

The Texas Board of Education recently approved new social studies standards and, as you might have heard, they are controversial. I have been following the controversy, ahem, religiously, and I oppose pretty much everything they are doing. But, I thought a couple of the changes they made were improvements. For one thing, they added Milton […]

A Bit More On Education Reform

In an earlier post, I ended by saying I had a specific model in mind for reform and it’s based on the Chugach School District in Alaska. They won a Malcolm Baldridge Award for improving student performance. Unfortunately, I don’t have the original links from when I wrote about this a few years ago and […]

Academic Labor Market Exploitation

Atlantic business and economics editor Megan McArdle wonders, “Why Does Academia Treat Its Workforce So Badly?” This might seem a ridiculous question, given that most people think professors are overpaid, underworked prima donnas who can never be fired.  But she cites Peter D.G. Brown‘s recent Inside Higher Ed piece explaining that, if it was ever […]

Education Reform

Since the Republicans are bereft of ideas these days, I have one for them: get rid of the Department of Education. Now, I know what you are thinking, that’s an old idea. It is, but if the Republicans sold it and implemented it the same as welfare reform they might have something. For instance, if […]

Do-It-Yourself Virtual Universities?

Anya Kamentz has written a new book titled DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education.  She gives us a taste of the argument in a piece for TAP: Since 2001, a growing movement — from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, and hundreds of other universities worldwide to insurgent bloggers and […]

Jeb Bush: Still Running Florida?

AP’s Martin Merzer notes that it seems that Jeb Bush, who left Florida’s governorship four years ago, still seems to be running the show. Ease class-size limits — check. Cut corporate income taxes — check. End tenure for new teachers and link teacher raises to student performance — check (for now). All of those measures, […]

College Educated and Unskilled

Economist Arnold Kling points to some federal earning statistics of people who graduated college ten years ago and  concludes that we’re graduating far too many people with essentially worthless degrees: Major average income 25th percentile not in grad school 25th percentile Humanities 23791 11900 15600 Social Science 23361 9840 18000 Life Science 20120 0 17500 […]

Is Karl Rove Conservative?

Reagan apostles Craig Shirley and Donald Devine take to the WaPo editorial page to argue that Karl Rove is not a conservative. From William F. Buckley Jr. to Barry Goldwater to Ronald Reagan, the creators of the modern conservative movement always taught that excessive concentration of power in government leads inevitably to corruption and the […]

Grade Inflation in Education Colleges

It’s common knowledge that “grade inflation,” the lowering of standards that leads to ever-higher student grades for the same performance, is rampant.  Matthew Denhart and Christopher Matgouranis note that, “It has been estimated that there has been at least a 0.1 percent increase in average student GPA in every decade since the 1950s. In 1991, […]

Radical Center: Friedman’s Fantasy

For a really bright fellow who spends a lot of time talking to cabbies and world leaders, Tom Friedman has a remarkably naive view of how the world works.   His latest brainstorm is a “Tea Party of the radical center.” My definition of broken is simple. It is a system in which Republicans will be […]

Degree Mills and Credentialing

It seems that “Chris Oleyte, the Army Aviation and Missile Command’s Director of Readiness used a fake diploma to secure a promotion and catapulted up the chain of command.” Furthermore, “there were six other AMCOM employees touting bogus credentials at taxpayer expense.” Further, Redstone Arsenal apparently “allows civil servants to enter data on to their […]

Washington Post Earnings Brought Down by Washington Post

The Washington Post company had a surprisingly good year in 2009: The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO) today reported net income of $91.2 million ($9.78 per share) for the fiscal year ended January 3, 2010, up from $65.8 million ($6.87 per share) for the fiscal year ended December 28, 2008. Net income for the fourth […]

The Ant Tribe

Is education really the key to a bright economic future? That may not be the case in China: Reporting from Beijing – Six months after graduating from university, Guan Jian was unemployed and living in an 8-by-8-foot rented room on the fringes of this sprawling capital. His quarters were so hastily built that the landlord […]

Higher Ed Salaries

GW English prof Margaret Soltan approvingly cites Seattle Times reporter Nicole Brodeur‘s column chiding the University of Washington for paying its president and provost large salaries during a time of budget cuts and tuition hikes.  She likes this line in particular: We pay [UW president Mark Emmert] more than he could ever possibly need, while […]

Quote of the Day – Degree Mill Edition

“I’m afraid that the ease with which these outfits hand out diplomas is matched only by the disappointment of their graduates when they find out how little their degrees are actually worth.”  – Barmak Nassirian, associate executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers in Washington He’s talking about the rise […]

Academic Specialization and the Cult of Irrelevance

Stephen Walt laments the hyper-specialization of the social sciences: One of the more unfortunate trends on contemporary social science has been a growing “cult of irrelevance,” a set of implicit standards that encourages smart young scholars to write more and more about less and less for fewer and fewer readers. The principle of academic freedom […]

Obama Cabinet’s Limited Private Experience

Nick Schultz points us to this interesting graphic on the private sector experience of presidential cabinets: The chart “”includes secretaries of State, Commerce, Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Labor, Transportation, Energy, and Housing & Urban Development, and excludes Postmaster General, Navy, War, Health, Education & Welfare, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security—432 cabinet members in all.” If this […]

Queer International Studies

Laura Sjoberg informs us that she is working to form a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, and Allies Caucus of the International Studies Association .

Cognitive Dissonance on the Lessons to be Learned from China

Time features an article on the “Five Things the U.S. Can Learn from China” that I can only characterize as surreal. Here are the five lessons: Be Ambitious Education Matters Look After the Elderly Save More Look over the Horizon For the details you’ll just have to read the article. On ambition, the article’s author, […]

American Opportunity Myths

Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins have written a piece for Brookings titled “Five Myths About Our Land of Opportunity.”  None of it’s new to those who’ve paid much attention to these things in recent years. What’s interesting, though, is the seeming contradiction in Myths 1 and 4. 1. Americans enjoy more economic opportunity than people […]

Obama’s Schoolchildren Speech

President Obama is set to address the nation’s schoolchildren next week, presumably to propagandize them into his evil agenda of turning the country into Communist Russia (pronounced “roo-shuh”) and offing granny to save money on health care just as they do in his native Kenya. There are even instruction manuals to enlist the support of […]

SAT Scores and Family Income

A debate is raging in the blogosphere about this graph, which shows that “Generally speaking, the wealthier a student’s family is, the higher the SAT score.” Alex Tabarrok gets us up to speed on the debate thus far: Greg Mankiw pointed out that the effect is unlikely to be purely causal because there may be […]