Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Good article on the cost of education in America

Paula Bolyard has a good post on Why Does It Cost So Much to Educate a Child in America?  She has a lot of numbers and helpful graphs.  I especially liked this graph she used from the Cato Institute:


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Public school enrollment is plummeting in North Carolina because of school choice

It is nice to have more data on the condition of public schools.

Public school enrollment is plummeting in North Carolina because of school choice reports:

If you want to see how parents act when the government stops forcing an educational monopoly on them, look to North Carolina.

Nearly 20 percent of students are attending something other than a traditional public school, where attendance is falling “rapidly,” according to The News & Observer.

The rush toward charter, private and even home schools is largely due to the Republican takeover of the Legislature in 2010.

Lawmakers have since removed the 100-school cap on charter schools (it’s up to 185 as of this fall), created a $4,200 voucher for low-income families and two programs for special-needs kids to get out of public schools (where they are often treated poorly), and even made it easier for non-parent adults to teach homeschoolers.

Charter schools have grown by twice as many students as public schools have lost since the 2014-15 school year ....

As a monopoly Public Schools have little incentive to change.  There are so many problems with public schools it is hard to know where to start.  When parents are given options many of them will put their children in some other venue. 

I predict even more parents will pull their children from public schools as they see how well things are going for their friends and neighbor's children.

Hat tip:  Instapundit

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Maybe online college education is starting to take off

A College Prices Its Online Programs 60% Less shares what may be the beginning of the end for college education:

Berklee College of Music’s online program, priced at just over a third of tuition for the Massachusetts institution’s face-to-face degree offerings, raised eyebrows when it got off the ground in 2013. Conventional wisdom that online programs require more resources to produce had taken hold, and pricing models that favor online students were few and far between.

Five years later, Berklee remains an anomaly in higher ed, as most institutions continue to charge the same or more for online programs as for their face-to-face equivalents. Some arguments hinge on a philosophical belief that online education should be valued equivalently to face-to-face programs, while others emphasize the significant financial burden of designing and launching online courses from scratch.

In the face of a shifting landscape, Berklee has held firm. Online tuition for a bachelor's degree will go up half a percentage point this fall, from $1,479 per course ($59,160 for a 40-course degree program) to $1,497 per course ($59,880 total), but it still remains more than 60 percent less than face-to-face tuition -- $171,520. In the last few years, on-ground tuition has increased by a few thousand dollars while online tuition has stayed the same, widening the gap between the two even farther, according to Debbie Cavalier, Berklee’s senior vice president of online learning and continuing education.

As of fall 2017, Berklee Online's undergraduate enrollment stood at 1,138 students, up from 244 just two academic years earlier. Though Cavalier’s team had worried early on that the online program would cannibalize existing offerings, campus enrollment has instead increased from 4,490 undergraduates in 2013 to 4,532 in 2017, even as online has grown more popular.

For decades the cost of higher education has climbed twice as fast as inflation.  This can't continue. 

Online education is a via option which may replace brick and mortar colleges.

Hat tip: TaxProf Blog

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Looks like California AB 2756 was defeated

Homeschool Lessons in Civics: How To Kill a Bill reports:

Nearly 1,000 people spoke in opposition. They were homeschool children, mothers and fathers from all corners of state, including Fresno. All they were allowed to say was their name, affiliation and view on the bill. Some kids told the committee they “suppose” the bill, meaning they opposed it.

I like the last line in this article Homeschool Supporters Crush Plans for Greater Oversight:

In the end, the bill died. None of the committee members even called for a vote.

There is no problem with homeschooling in California.  As Committee member Kevin Kiley the Turpin case was an outlier.  It is bad policy to create new laws to address a one time event.

I'm glad the bill was soundly defeated. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

Californian homeschoolers - please call your representatives

In response to horrific situation of the 13 Turpin children some California legislators are looking at tightening the laws governing homeschooling in California. This is just one event in a decade.  Hundreds of thousands of homeschoolers should not be treated as potential criminals.

Please call your representatives and members of the California State Assembly Committee on Education and tell them AB 2926 and AB 2756 are both bad ideas.

And then ask your family and friends to all call.

For more information:

You can read the current text of AB-2756 and AB-2926.

Here is a link to the HSLDA on the issue.

Links from Google.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us

I am currently working my way through The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us.  It is a good book.  Years ago I had a post about the opaque gorilla.  You can watch the video here.

As part of sharing the video with a friend at work I came across a similar video:




Even knowing that it is a trick I expect you'll be surprised.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

How to improve your Situational Awareness

There is a lot of crazy stuff happening these days.  I think it helps to be more aware of our surroundings.

I enjoyed this post:

How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne

Hat tip:  Instapundit

Monday, April 24, 2017

Interesting thought: You Are Richer than John D. Rockerfeller

I like this article:  You Are Richer than John D. Rockerfeller.

The author makes the point that life is much, much better today than a hundred years ago, even for a billionaire.


(Hat tip: Instapundit)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Lab on a chip is getting closer to reality

I first blogged about a Lab on a Chip technology over eight years ago in Soon will we be taking a daily blood test with our vitamins?

I am excited to see that this is getting closer to reality.

Printed ‘lab on a chip’ costs a penny and catches disease early reports that scientists are getting closer to making this real.  The article starts with:

Your diagnostic kit is downloading. A “lab on a chip” system costs less than a penny to make and can test cell samples for diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and cancer.

The technology could help with early detection of diseases in the developing world, where lack of access to equipment can lead to late diagnosis. “You can use it anywhere, as long as you have a printer,” says Rahim Esfandyarpour at Stanford University, who led the team that created the chips.

Each chip consists of a clear silicone chamber that houses a sample of cells for testing and a reusable electronic strip. The electronic strip can be printed onto flexible sheets of polyester using a regular inkjet printer and conductive nanoparticle ink. Users can download different designs for the strip, which let it test for different things. The whole printing process takes just 20 minutes.

I think this will be a huge benefit to health care.  There are so many diseases which can be treated when caught early.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Article on homeschooling: Documentary Redefines 'Success' for Homeschoolers in Common Core Age

Documentary Redefines 'Success' for Homeschoolers in Common Core Age is a nice article on homeschooling.

It starts with:

In a Common Core world where education is driven by college and career readiness mandates, incessant testing, and social and emotional learning, one independent filmmaker tackles the education establishment in a new documentary, Self-Taught, which zeroes in on how home school kids turn out, explores what defines “success,” and bucks the narrative pounded into parents’ heads that children cannot thrive outside the conventional institutionalized school system. 

The documentary marks filmmaker Jeremy Stuart’s second foray into examining the growing home school trend. His 2014 piece, Class Dismissed, chronicled the journey of a Los Angeles area family, disenchanted with public education’s increasing standardization, teaching to the test, insurmountable mounds of homework, and the resulting burn-out. It led them to pull their two daughters out of the El Segundo Unified School District and navigate the unknown terrain of homeschooling. The film was well-received. It screened in the U.S. and in more than 10 countries.


Here is a trailer for the first film Jeremy produced:


The rest of the article is worth reading.

Monday, October 24, 2016

six-word formula for success

Another from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:


I can give you a six-word formula for success:
Think things through – then follow through.”

-(Eddie Rickenbacker)

Monday, October 17, 2016

When deciding between saying something or doing something

I like this thought from Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

There is little to say that has not been said.
But there is much to do that has not been done.”

-(R. Earle Atkinson)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Another reason to read: Yale Study: People Who Read Live Longer Than Those Who Don’t

I found this encouraging: Yale Study: People Who Read Live Longer Than Those Who Don’t.

One of the findings was:

"Further, our analyses demonstrated that any level of book reading gave a significantly stronger survival advantage than reading periodicals. This is a novel finding, as previous studies did not compare types of reading material; it indicates that book reading rather than reading in general is driving a survival advantage."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Study finds: Universal Preschool May Do More Harm than Good

Research Review: Universal Preschool May Do More Harm than Good starts with:

A growing body of empirical evidence suggests that universal preschool programs fail to improve a range of outcomes for participants. New studies of large-scale preschool programs in Quebec and Tennessee show that vastly expanding access to free or subsidized preschool may worsen behavioral and emotional outcomes. In the absence of compelling evidence that subsidized preschool provides an important public good, the subsidies should be reduced, not increased. Policymakers should recognize that expanding subsidies for preschool is unnecessary, provides no new benefits to low-income parents, and would create a new subsidy for middle-income and upper-income families, while adding to the tax burden for Americans.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Fascinating: More children homeschooled than in private school, in North Carolina

I find this fascinating - In One State, More Children Homeschool Than Attend Private Schools. Why That Shouldn’t Shock You.  The article starts with:

In North Carolina, the number of homeschoolers has now surpassed the number of students attending private schools.
That statistic may seem shocking if you’ve been a stranger to the growth of the homeschooling movement, which has rapidly increased in recent decades.
In 1973, there were approximately 13,000 children, ages 5 to 17, being homeschooled in the United States. But according to the National Center for Education Statistics, as of the 2011-2012 school year, that number has grown to almost 1.8 million or approximately 3.4 percent of the school age population. Other sources report numbers well over 2 million.
In the Tar Heel state alone, homeschooling has increased by 27 percent over the past two years.

It will be fun to see what other states cross the boundary over the next couple years.

(Hat tip Joanne Jacobs)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Time To Talk by Robert Frost

I was recently introduced to A Time To Talk by Robert Frost.  I like this thought about the importance of priorities and friendships.

When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, What is it?  
No, not as there is a time to talk. 
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground, 
Blade-end up and five feet tall, 
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.


Friday, April 22, 2016

A new space drive?

It would be really cool if this were true.  The Curious Link Between the Fly-By Anomaly and the “Impossible” EmDrive Thruster:

About 10 years ago, a little-known aerospace engineer called Roger Shawyer made an extraordinary claim. Take a truncated cone, he said, bounce microwaves back and forth inside it and the result will be a thrust toward the narrow end of the cone. Voila … a revolutionary thruster capable of sending spacecraft to the planets and beyond. Shawyer called it the EmDrive.

Shawyer’s announcement was hugely controversial. The system converts one type of energy into kinetic energy, and there are plenty of other systems that do something similar. In that respect it is unremarkable.

The conceptual problems arise with momentum. The system’s total momentum increases as it begins to move. But where does this momentum come from? Shawyer had no convincing explanation, and critics said this was an obvious violation of the law of conservation of momentum. 

Shawyer countered with experimental results showing the device worked as he claimed. But his critics were unimpressed. The EmDrive, they said, was equivalent to generating a thrust by standing inside a box and pushing on the sides. In other words, it was snake oil.

Since then, something interesting has happened. Various teams around the world have begun to build their own versions of the EmDrive and put them through their paces. And to everyone’s surprise, they’ve begun to reproduce Shawyer’s results. The EmDrive, it seems, really does produce thrust.

An update: Some German researches say the drive could get us to the moon in four hours!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Space Access - The moon has moonquakes

I am at Space Access for the next couple days.  I won't be blogging about it as much as I have in years past.  One thing I learned today that I found interesting is that the Moon has moonquakes.

NASA reports:

There are at least four different kinds of moonquakes: (1) deep moonquakes about 700 km below the surface, probably caused by tides; (2) vibrations from the impact of meteorites; (3) thermal quakes caused by the expansion of the frigid crust when first illuminated by the morning sun after two weeks of deep-freeze lunar night; and (4) shallow moonquakes only 20 or 30 kilometers below the surface.

The first three were generally mild and harmless. Shallow moonquakes on the other hand were doozies. Between 1972 and 1977, the Apollo seismic network saw twenty-eight of them; a few "registered up to 5.5 on the Richter scale," says Neal. A magnitude 5 quake on Earth is energetic enough to move heavy furniture and crack plaster.

Furthermore, shallow moonquakes lasted a remarkably long time. Once they got going, all continued more than 10 minutes. "The moon was ringing like a bell," Neal says.

On Earth, vibrations from quakes usually die away in only half a minute. The reason has to do with chemical weathering, Neal explains: "Water weakens stone, expanding the structure of different minerals. When energy propagates across such a compressible structure, it acts like a foam sponge--it deadens the vibrations." Even the biggest earthquakes stop shaking in less than 2 minutes.

I find this mind boggling, quakes that go on for hours.