Wednesday, November 25, 2020

I felt a disturbance in the force - Colleges Have Shed 10% Of Their Employees Since The Pandemic Began

This is a pretty big shift in higher education.

Colleges Have Shed 10% Of Their Employees Since The Pandemic Began links to: Chronicle of Higher Education, Colleges Have Shed a Tenth of Their Employees Since the Pandemic Began which reports:

September, the traditional start of the fall semester, saw the continuation of historic job losses at America’s colleges just as they sought some return to normalcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Preliminary estimates suggest that a net 152,000 fewer workers were employed by America’s private (nonprofit and for-profit) and state-controlled institutions of higher education in September, compared with August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which calculates industry-specific employee figures. The net number of workers who left the industry from February to September now sits at around 484,000.

It took ten months to lose 10% of the employees.  To put this in perspective, it took about 11 years for the same number of employees to be hired.

It will be interesting to see how the next couple years ago.  I think there is a decent chance higher education could lose another 10%, especially since people are starting to look for new ways to get an education.

Hat tip: Instapundit


Monday, October 19, 2020

Freshmen Enrollment Is Down 16% This Fall

Freshmen Enrollment Is Down 16% This Fall links to a post at the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center which reports:

Enrollment picture worsens, with more colleges reporting data. Roughly one month into the fall semester, undergraduate enrollment is running 4.0 percent below last year’s level, and the upward trend for graduate enrollment has slipped to 2.7 percent. Overall postsecondary enrollment is down 3.0 percent as of September 24. Most strikingly, first-time students are by far the biggest decline of any student group from last year (-16.1% nationwide and -22.7% at community colleges).

That is amazing.  

There was a chart with some details, breaking down the decline in enrollment by type of college and age group.  Those ages 21 to 24 entering public four year colleges declined by a whopping 40%.

Hat tip: Instapundit



Thursday, October 08, 2020

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Has homeschooling hit a tipping point?

 Reason argues Homeschooling Hits a Tipping Point.  The article starts with:

With the public school year underway nationwide—or else delayed beyond its normal start by labor actions and fearful policymakers—families getting an eyeful of what classes mean this year aren't impressed by what they see. Even as school resumes, localities across the country report that parents are pulling their kids out to take a crack at one or another approach to home-based education. Nationally, the percentage of children being homeschooled may double, to 10 percent, from the figure reported in 2019.

"As COVID-19 continues to disrupt schools in the U.S., parents of school-age children are significantly less satisfied than they were a year ago with the education their oldest child is receiving," Gallup recently reported of its survey results. "While parents' satisfaction with their child's education has fallen, there has been a five-point uptick (to 10%) in the percentage of parents who say their child will be home-schooled this year."

Aware that many schools are teaching children remotely, Gallup was careful to specify that its homeschooling question referred to children not enrolled in formal school. So the survey seems to reveal a real increase in the ranks of families taking on responsibility for the education of their own children.

It is really exciting that the number of homeschoolers is around 10%!!!

Hat tip: Instapundit

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Huge spike of new homeschoolers in Texas

 This is exciting: Parents Withdrawing Students From Texas Public Schools To Home-school Increases 400 Percent.  The article starts with:

The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), which processes requests for families pulling their children out of public schools, reported a 400 percent increase in withdrawals for August leading into the 2020-2021 school year, compared to August of 2019.

The August numbers follow a record-setting month in July where their online process saw a 1,500 percent jump from July last year.

This could be the start of a new era in homeschooling!

Hat tip: Instapundit.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

NHERI - article: Big Growth in Homeschooling Indicated This “School Year”

 The National Home Education Research Institute just published an article on Big Growth in Homeschooling Indicated This “School Year”.

Here is the summary:

The nationwide homeschool population has been growing at an estimated 2% to 8% per annum over the past several years (Ray, 2020). However, it appears that state governors’ restrictive lockdowns in response to a perceived health crisis, institutional schools’ responses, and parents’ and children’s experiences with crisis institutional schooling at home during the spring of 2020 will drive an accelerated and notable growth in homeschooling this coming school year. I have been telling the media that my conservative estimate is that there will be a 10% growth in the absolute number of homeschool students during 2020-2021 school year. If 10 percent materializes, that could mean roughly 2.75 million K-12 homeschool students during 2020-2021. Time will tell. 
 Regardless of the change in numbers, many new parents and children will be introduced to and enjoy the many benefits of homeschooling. If they take a reasonable and relaxed approach – and not try to reproduce institutional classroom schooling at home – they will experience a learning environment and educational process that includes more flexibility, parental involvement, customization, social capital, mentoring, value consistency, one-on-one instruction, tutoring, mastery learning, individualization, teachable moments, family time, calmness, safety, academic progress, healthy social interactions, and local community involvement than if they were involved in institutional schooling (Murphy, 2014; Ray, 2017).

It will be interesting to see just how many parents take the plunge.

Dr. Brian Ray (of the NHERI) was recently on MSNBC, with some homeschooling tips in MSNBC and New Homeschool Parents: Don’t Flip Out and Get Stressed. Relax. Covid-19 Tips.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Google may drive the final stake through traditional college education

Google Has a Plan to Disrupt the College Degree explains: Google's new certificate program takes only six months to complete, and will be a fraction of the cost of college.

The article starts with:

"Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It's launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs. 
These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months."

later the article has:

"Google didn't say exactly how much the new courses would cost. But a similar program Google offers on online learning platform Coursera, the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, costs $49 for each month a student is enrolled. (At that price, a six-month course would cost just under $300--less than many university students spend on textbooks in one semester alone.)"

I assume the Google Career Certificates program will be able to scale up without too much trouble.  An important concept in economics is that if other alternatives become available the demand an high priced product will drop, resulting in a push for lower prices.  There are roughly about six million students in American colleges and universities.  If the Google Career Certificates program takes even just 1%, traditional higher education will suffer.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Character

I love this thought:

"Character is doing what is right when nobody is looking."
J.C. Watts


Thursday, July 02, 2020

It will be interesting to see how many people are homeschooling this fall

Homeschool requests overload state government website reports:
Wednesday evening, the website for the N.C Department of Administration’s Notice of Intent to Establish a Home School was not available due to volume.
and
The homeschool movement has grown exponentially in the past two decades in North Carolina, now with more homeschool students than private school students.
I was surprised that more are homeschooling than have their children in private schools.

I think many parents over the last couple months have developed confidence in their ability to teach their children, and recognized many of the problems public schools have these days.

Hat tip: Instapundit

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

How many colleges and universities will survive?

NYU prof: 'Hundreds, if not thousands' of universities will soon be 'walking dead' is a discussion about a point we've talked about several times, that colleges are over priced, and so students will find other ways to get an education.

I did find this thought very sobering:
Approximating that a thousand to two thousand of the country's 4,500 universities could go out of business in the next 5-10 years, Galloway concludes, “what department stores were to retail, tier-two higher tuition universities are about to become to education and that is they are soon going to become the walking dead.”

Hat tip: Instapundit

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Think about where you spend your ounce

Several years ago I came across this quote:
"You say the little efforts that I make will do no good; that they never will prevail to tip the hovering scale where justice hangs in the balance. I don't think I ever thought they would. But I am prejudiced beyond debate in favor of my right to choose which side shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight."
- Bonaro Overstreet
I love this quote.  I try to be involved in the political process.  For decades I've written letters to various state and federal officials.  

Recently I made some postcards via VistaPrint.  These were 5.5 by 8 inches.  They had a picture of the Constitution on the front.  On the back I had:
The Constitution of the United States
Ratified in 1788, the Constitution is the supreme law for the United States of America.  To help prevent tyranny the Founding Fathers crafted a form of government with separation of powers.  The Federal level was broken into three branches:  legislative, executive and judicial.  The responsibilities and powers of the federal government were spelled out in this historic document.
The Preamble of the Constitution is:  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
(Image from: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/downloads)
Previously I had made up a bunch with the Declaration of Independence.  And after these I plan to have an image with the Bill of Rights.

I have sets of postcards where a set will have the address for my Senators, Congressmen or President Trump.  I find it easier to motivate myself to write a couple times a week.  They are sitting there on my bookshelf.  I've already paid the money.  And it is fairly quick to write a short note after reading some news about an issue which I have an opinion.

I encourage you to think about where you spend your ounce, and to look for ways to make it two ounces, or more.  We live in crazy times.  It is good to be involved.


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

My daughter will not be returning to school this fall

We learned yesterday that the university my youngest daughter has been at the last two years will not be having students on campus this fall.  The whole world is still in flux and I think there is a good chance things will change at least once in the next couple months, and maybe a couple times.

There are a number of movements or changes in our society which seem kind of sudden, but in looking back you can see hints leading up to the change.  Little changes keep adding up until there is a tipping point and BOOM!!!  Then the world shifts and life is different.

Post-pandemic, four-year colleges need to change — or face extinction talks about this. The article points out that because of the Coronavirus lots of parents and students are asking these questions:
Students and their families are asking tough questions. Should we pay full tuition for classes taught online? On the other hand, are crowded lecture halls really the best way to learn? And what is that degree really worth, anyway?
For now we'll hang loose and look at options.

Monday, May 04, 2020

More evidence of seismic shift in higher education - huge decline in enrollment

Colleges Face 15%-20% Drop In Enrollment; S&P Lowers Credit Rating Of 25% Of Colleges shares details from a Wall Street Journal article:

"Schools should expect a 15% decline in enrollment next fall and a $45 billion decline in revenue from tuition, room and board and other services, according to the American Council on Education, the nation’s largest advocacy group for colleges and universities. Some administrators say those projections are too rosy."

Colleges Could Lose 20% of Students reports on a recent survey which found:

  • Ten percent of college-bound seniors who had planned to enroll at a four-year college before the COVID-19 outbreak have already made alternative plans.
  • Fourteen percent of college students said they were unlikely to return to their current college or university in the fall, or it was "too soon to tell." Exactly three weeks later, in mid-April, that figure had gone up to 26 percent.
  • Gap years may be gaining in popularity. While hard to track, there are estimates that 3 percent of freshmen take a gap year. Since the pandemic, internet searches for gap years have skyrocketed.
  • College students do not like the online education they have been receiving. To finish their degrees, 85 percent want to go back to campus, but 15 percent want to finish online.
This huge.  A one year decline of this magnitude will probably cause some colleges to fail. 

Hat tip: Instapundit

How are you handling the Quarantine?

I hope everyone is doing OK.

We are doing fine.  It is a little weird finally living Ground Hog Day.

I enjoy how some people are dealing with the quarantine, like:


Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Interesting article about homeschooling and the coronavirus

I found Harvard Law Prof Calls for Ban on Homeschooling, Saying It's 'Dangerous' to Leave Children with Their Parents 24/7 interesting. 

Paula Bolyard writes about how some in government are worried that having 56 million students being homeschooled and may be moving to try to outlaw homeschooling.

I think she is right to be worried. 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Is this how your conference calls are going?

All of us are at home are doing video conference calls these days. 

If you are also, you might find this funny:


Thursday, April 16, 2020

Will the Coronavirus pop the Higher Education bubble?

Early in our blog we often talked about a possible seismic change in higher education.  This was heavily driven by the fact that the cost of higher education has been climbing twice as fast as inflation, for decades.  This can not continue forever.  As Instapundit often points out: something that can't go on forever, won't.

In a 2009 post I started with:

"I have blogged in the past about the problem of rising cost of a college education. In a nut shell the cost of college education has climbed twice as fast as inflation for decades. It has gotten to the point that a college education is not an economic benefit for many."

Today Instapundit had a link to an article by Michael Barone titled Colleges and universities threatened by COVID-19.  The article explores some of the ramifications on colleges as students spend more and more time away from their classes.

Near the end of the article Michael Barone shares a line from Heather Mac Donald had written in City Journal:

"Students and their parents may start to ask why they should pay astronomical fees for a campus experience if they can get the same instruction over the web."

I think there is a good chance that this year will be the turning point where more and more families push for cheaper alternatives to getting higher education.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas, and share this thought from Howard W. Hunter:

“This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. ...Give a soft answer... Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. .... Welcome a stranger…. Speak your love and then speak it again.”

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

I am so glad we were able to homeschool - Educational Earthquake

Barbara Kay starts Educational Earthquake: ‘Disappearing’ the Great Writers From Schools with:

The Greater Essex County District School Board in the Windsor, Ont., area is supplanting its grade 11 literature curriculum, which up to now has featured great writers of the western canon such as Shakespeare and George Orwell, with a year-long program of Indigenous writers. The change has already been effected in eight of the district’s 15 schools.
In the Peel district as well, I am informed by a reader, the same transformation is in progress. It would be na├»ve to assume that these schools will remain anomalies for long. The “disappearing” of dead white European male writers, however magnificent their achievements, may well be normalized across Canada before long.
It is hard to overstate the alarming implications of this educational earthquake. Deliberately withholding Shakespeare from young minds is a form of aesthetic starvation, but depriving them of Orwell is a moral crime. It is from Orwell’s “Animal Farm” that young minds first grasp the nature of totalitarian evil, whether it arises from the left or the right, and understand the preciousness of their freedoms. 

Hat tip: Instapundit

I am so glad we were and are able to homeschool our children.

The Great Writers of past generations were great for a variety of reasons.  Fundamentally they helped us to understand and see the world better.

Not having the great books taught in school will only diminish our children.


Thursday, August 01, 2019

Good article: One Thing Steve Jobs Did at Apple That Will Instantly Improve Your Productivity

This summer my family is having a weekly book club.  We normally hold them on Tuesdays, after dinner, with pie or ice cream!

We've worked through three books and we are on our fourth.  Three of the books are given several weeks.  For example we did 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen Covey in four weeks. 

Today I came across a short article titled: One Thing Steve Jobs Did at Apple That Will Instantly Improve Your Productivity

I highly recommend the article.

In Covey's terms it is about how to stay working on Quadrant II activities.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Space Access 2019 - Saturday afternoon


Here are some notes from the last presentations at Space Access 2019


John R Bucknell on Turbo Rockets - A Paradigm Shift for Space Access
Reviewed some of the challenges with rockets: expensive to build, costly, reusable makes more complex, 
Turbo Rocket - single stage to orbit, air breathing, has a rocket fan blade, would be cheaper
Like to use it to develop cheaper power which drives universal prosperity.  Wants to get below $25 per Megawatt hour.


James Benford on Ultrahigh Acceleration Neutral Particle Beam-Driven Sails
A magsail was proposed to be used to decelerate into a solar system
Magsail need to operate around 4 Kelvin.  Now instead of decelerating into a solar system, could create a neutral particle beam to drive the magsail
Thirty years they had BEAR (Beam Experiment Aboard Rocket) to test this basic concept, the experiment was successful


Gerald D Nordley on Mass Beam Propulsion, An Overview including Jordin Kare's Sailbeam Concept
Reviewed the physics of a mass beam to drive a magsail.  Looking at getting to other stars.  One proposal is to have guiding rings along the way to keep the pellets focused.  


Peter Klupar - Breakthrough Starshot - Plans for a Near-Term Interstellar Probe
There is a Breakthrough Junior Challenge - child 12 to 18 makes a short film about a big idea in science or math, win a $250,000 scholarship
Trying to figure out where is everyone and have several projects.
There is a Breakthrough Listen - use two of the largest telescopes, collecting two petabytes a day
Breakthrough Watch - looking for exoplanets within 15 light years
Breakthrough Starshot - plan to build a small silicon chip, use lasers to push chips to other stars.  Do need to be careful about NOT hitting stuff in orbit around earth.  The trip will be 20 years, take pictures for about 12 to 24 hours, and take years to send the pictures back.  Don’t really know how to send the images back.  There is a big problem with interstellar dust - don’t know what it is, single atoms, bits of dust, small rocks???


Panel: Extremely High-Velocity Propulsion Concepts


A Space 2.0 Business Simulator, open source, crowd funded
Founded 20 years ago, flown 14 flights.  They showed some flights.
OreSat - Oregon’s First Satellite, a CubeSat, high school students can connect and see pictures as Cube Sat goes over Oregon.


Pete Worden, Breakthrough Prize Foundation Chairman, on What We Might Do With A StarShot Capability