Friday, February 25, 2011

Random Bullets of Friday

  • Over at The Chronicle, Thomas Hart Benton is right about "A Perfect Storm in Undergraduate Education." He cites lack of preparation, grade inflation, a culture that doesn't value education, etc., as things that people like Arum and Roska just might want to consider when they're thinking about why undergraduates aren't showing more improvement.
  • In an online-learning related topic, Idaho has a plan for educational success:
    • give high school students laptops;
    • fire 750 teachers;
    • increase class sizes;
    • require that students take at least two online courses.
    Because who needs a teacher when you have the Internet, right? Everything research studies have shown about online courses suggests that mature, motivated students succeed the best at them, and that describes teenagers well, don't you think? (I'm not throwing stones at teenagers, but "mature and motivated" doesn't describe me at 15--how about you?) Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna wants you to know that this has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the for-profit K-12 online learning companies that are heavy contributors to his political campaigns.


Arbitrista said...

Education policy is depressing, just depressing, never more so than now.

Anonymous said...

Despite the questions raised by legislators who have been teachers, this ridiculous plan made it through Idaho's state house. Then again, what can one expect of a state board of ed who reacts to a faculty "no confidence" vote in the president of what they claim is the flagship U by disbanding the Faculty Senate at the request of, yep, the pres in question? I taught in several other parts of the country that have, let us say issues, with education, including Texas. But I was shocked by how little value the average citizen places on education here. The disconnect between grand, new plan and actual research into whether it will work is stark, and those who try to point to the research are the ones who are "out of touch." In the town I live in, the local school budget was cut 25% this year, after a 9% cut last year that even affected administrators. How is handing out free laptops supposed to offset the effects of deep-seated teacher despair and equally deep-rooted community disdain?

undine said...

It is depressing, Arbitrista.

Anon, this is eloquent: "How is handing out free laptops supposed to offset the effects of deep-seated teacher despair and equally deep-rooted community disdain?" And a minor practical issue: Do those laptops come with paid Internet access for the students? If they don't, then how are the students supposed to do their online work? If it's at school, wouldn't it be more effective to have an actual teacher teach them the material? I guess this is pie-in-the-sky idealism.

Anonymous said...

ARRRRRRrrrggggghhh. If the children are our future, we're all screwed.

(word verification: gicare)