Thursday, January 31, 2008

Where does the NEA spend money?

Joanne Jacobs posts on NEA generority:

"... the big money went to state initiatives to increase state education spending and boost the minimum wage or to defeat a measure to limit state spending."

It isn't all about the students. With the NEA it is all about the teachers.

Technorati tags: children, public school, public education, education

The secret to success

The Education Wonks has the secret to success:

"Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success."

Technorati tags: success, education

A couple selections from Reddit

Anya Kamenetz writes about Harvard's recent decision to cut tuition for low-income families. I had not realized that Harvard had a $35 billion endowment. Anya Kamenetz also mentioned on her blog Generation Debt that students who work at McDonalds can get college credit in the UK.

One of the justifications for public schools is that without government support the poor would never get educated. A recent study in India, Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya challenges this claim.

Technorati tags: parenting, children, public school, public education, education

The Carnival of Space is up - from Australia

This week's Carnival of Space is hosted by Sean Welton at Visual Astronomy, from down under Australia.

Technorati tags: ,

This could prove interesting

Paul Jacobs at Common Sense writes:

"Good news for political bloggers and other practitioners of non-mainstream media.
The Freedom of Information Act has been expanded. Apparently, it means that uncredentialed folks will have an easier time learning what the dadblasted government has been up to.
The expansion gives agencies just 20 days to comply with information requests. If there’s foot-dragging, we’ll be able to point to this law and say, 'Hey, it’s been 20 days! Where’s that info I requested, Mr. Stonewalling Bureaucrat?'"

I haven't had a need to ask for "secret" information. Maybe now I should ponder and see if I can come up with something.

Technorati tags: public, government, information

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Carnival of Education is up

This week's Carnival of Education is up at Creating Lifelong Learners.

If you would like to submit to the next Carnival of Education, go here.

Technorati tags: education,

Positive homeschooling press, I'd love to see a national version of this poll

A recent article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal may be a sign that public schools are in danger:

"A survey concluding that only a small percentage of Nevada residents would send their children to public schools if they had other options was called a warning to educational leaders that the state public education system is not meeting the needs of parents or their children.

Just 11 percent of Nevada residents who responded to a recent survey on educational issues said they would send their children to public school if they had the freedom to choose any available option, according to the survey of 1,000 Nevada residents for the Nevada Policy Research Institute and the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice that was released Tuesday.

Nearly half of respondents, 48 percent, would choose a private school, 23 percent would select a charter school and 15 percent would opt for home schooling. Three percent chose a virtual school for their children."

Two points jumped out at me:

1) Only 11% trusted public schools.

2) And 15% would go for homeschooling.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, public school, public education, education

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Great lines from "50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School" by Charles Sykes

As I was reading 50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School I kept writing down page numbers when I came across a good thought or interesting observation. Here are some of my favorites:

p.17 In talking about the self-esteem movement Charles writes "Ask yourself if it is better to feel good about your swimming abilities, or to actually know how to swim."

p.63 In response to teenagers who want to save the world Charles quotes P. J. O'Rourke who said "Everybody wants to save the earth; nobody wants to help Mom do the dishes."

p.67 "The Habit of blaming other people for your problems is easily acquired and difficult to shake."

p.73 "A willingness to be offended at the smallest slight is not a sign of superior consciousness -- it is a decision to be a whiner and an emotional bully."

p.90 "There's something ironic about the number of people who are careful to put only low-fat, sugar-free, vegan, whole-grain, organic food into their months and who then turn around and pump raw sewage into their heads."

p.112 Bill Swanson CEO of Raytheon said "A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, or to others, is not a nice person."

p.121 Charles ridicules government attempts to fix obesity. "Apparently we're also supposed to assume that youngsters who tune out millions of parents, blow off thousands of gym teachers, and ignore the incentives of being attractive to the opposite sex will somehow listen to the federal government."

p.133 Charles took his family to Gettysburg. He wondered "How in God's name did they ever make this boring? How did our schools decide this wasn't worth teaching and that if it was worth teaching, it should be taught badly, carefully gutted of anything that might capture the imagination of children?"

p.144 "If you have any friends who resent your success, you should recognize this obvious fact: they aren't really your friends in any sense of the word."

If these sound interesting, check out my review of the book.

Technorati tags: Charles Sykes, parenting, children, public school, public education, education

Book review: 50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education by Charles Sykes

Charles Sykes is a radio talk show host out of Milwaukee. He has written several books.

In 50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School: Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education Charles takes up the challenge to counter act the weak education that students get in public schools. The focus is not algebra lessons or history facts, but lessons about life that so few public school graduates seem to have even heard of, let alone learned. As a sample here are the first five rules:

1: Life is not fair. Get used to it.
#2: The real world won't care as much as your school does about your self-esteem. It'll expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself.
#3: Sorry, you won't make sixty thousand dollars a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a company car. You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a designer label.
#4: You are not entitled...
#5: No matter what your daddy says, you are not a princess...

Here are the full fifty.

This book is written to teenagers. With each rule Charles explains what the rule means and why they need to learn it. The book reads quickly. It is entertaining. There are fun stories, and thoughtful observations. My 13-year-old daughter read and liked it.

One of the main themes of the books is encouraging teenagers to think about long term consequences. Don't do something stupid just because at the moment it seems OK, or it seems you can get away with it.

Another main theme is encouraging teenagers to treat others with respect. Treat your parents with respect because they have sacrificed so much to raise you. Treat you family with respect because they love you. Treat everyone with respect because it is the right thing to do.

Charles Sykes is pretty hard on teachers and especially public schools. He writes that some of the problem is because teachers get tenure. I was surprised that so few tenured teachers ever get fired. In California over five years out of 220,000 only 62 teachers were dismissed. Over a seven year period in Illinois out of 100,000 tenured teachers only 44 were dismissed. On page 36 Charles writes:

"The paradox here is that we have entrusted the preparation of young people who will enter an increasingly competitive world to people who have effectively insulated themselves from the consequences of failure."

There were a lot of other good observations and thoughts. Here are a few of my favorites.

This book is good for teenagers, and for parents. I think some times parents are hesitant to establish rules and to enforce them. This book will help remind parents why they need to be parents.

Technorati tags: Charles Sykes, parenting, children, public school, public education, education

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - Leaving a Legacy

Tiffany is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling at Life on the Road.

She works the entries around various ways as parents and homeschoolers we can leave a legacy.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

A few selections from

I enjoyed Barbara Reinhold suggestions on how to Hire Great People: 10 Simple Rules.

Warren Buffett enumerates some of the reasons he is investing in other currencies: Why I'm not buying the U.S. dollar. I liked his story of Squanderville and Thriftville. I don't have a crystal ball, but I do think we are in for some hard times. I disagree with his solution, more government red tape is not the answer. Countries will figure out how to game the system. The answer is people need to save more, invest more and cut back on frivolous purchases.

The LEGO Brick turned 50 yesterday. There is a list of facts about Legos. I was surprised to learn there are 55,600 LEGO videos on YouTube.

(Hat tip:

Technorati tags: Hire people, Warren Buffett, Lego

Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books is up

Saturday was rushed and I forgot to mention that Semicolon hosted her weekly Review of Books. There are a hundred links!

Technorati tags: ,

In education more is always better, right?

Matthew Ladner of the The Goldwater Institute writes in Ready, Shoot, Aim! about an attempt in Arizona to double the number of college graduates:

"Governor Janet Napolitano called for the doubling of the number of college graduates by 2020 in her 2007 state of the state address and paying the tuition for students who graduate high school with a B average. How fast can you say grade inflation?"

As Dr. Ladner writes, there are many bad ideas wrapped up in this simple proposal. Here are a couple:

1) Grade inflation. As the book The Greatest Management Principle Ever points out that which gets rewarded gets done. We've already had significant grade inflation over the last thirty years. It use to be that a "C" was the average grade.

2) Today we already have many college graduates working at jobs that don't need a degree. More is not always better.

I hope this idea gets dropped soon. Otherwise the people in Arizona will be funding another increase in spending on education, but there will be little benefit.

Technorati tags: public school, public education, education

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Carnival of Family Life is up

This week's Carnival of Family Life is being hosted at Confessions of a Novice.

To sumbit to the next carnival click on this carnival submission form.

Technorati tags: , ,

Letter to the editor

I found this letter to the editor in my local newspaper.

Stop all funding of public schools

The final solution to the massive problem of public schools destroying our children is to make private schools and home schooling affordable for parents in general. This must be done if we are to save our children from the criminally perverted shattered lives produced by the government gulags euphemistically referred to as "public education" in our country. The essential solution is to eliminate all government funding and controls over private education so the educational standards can be what the parents want, not what the government wants. Government standards in public schools are so low, depraved and outright criminal that back in my day (1950s) these standards would have warranted massive police raids by Eliot Ness. We cannot allow this to continue and expect our country to survive. We must encourage private schools and home schooling by every private means and further enact legislation to exempt the parents of children in private schools or in home schools from all taxes going to support public education, which is only fair.

Sed Nemechek

I'm all for letting everyone, not just parents with children in private school or homeschool, opt out of fund government schools. It seems unfair to expect all your neighbors to pay for the education of your children. It is like deciding to have a baby and then going door to door and extorting money from your neighbors.

A few years ago, a friend of mine had a sign in her yard supporting a local bond measure for schools. I almost couldn't bring myself to speak to her. She was helping steal money from my family. I was greatly relieved when she took the sign down.

I would happily donate the funds I now pay in taxes for school to a scholarship fund for private/homeschool.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, public school, public education, education

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Tiffany will be hosting the next Carnival of Homeschooling at her blog Life on the Road. Here is her invitation.
Please consider sending in a post.
As always, entries are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.
Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Friday, January 25, 2008

Book review: Our First Revolution by Michael Barone.

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the Founding Fathers. They led a set of separate colonies to form The United States of America. The original 13 colonies were individual states or nations which initially agreed on very little. It was not an easy job to form a republic which has provided a foundation for great changes in the world, mostly good I believe.

One of my favorite books about this period is David McCullough's biography of John Adams. We hear so much of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. I knew of John Adams, but didn’t know much about him. Several years ago a friend at church recommended the book and so I picked it up. It was hard to put down.

Our First Revolution: The Remarkable British Upheaval That Inspired America's Founding Fathers” by Michael Barone goes back to 90 years before the American Revolution. The author argues that the Glorious Revolution of 1688 was critical in how the founding fathers thought about the rights of Englishmen, and thus the Glorious Revolution was really our first revolution.

The book starts off with broad strokes of history, covering major events in the early 1600s in central and northern Europe. This was a time of the Catholic counter revolution. In 1590 about half of Europe was Protestant. By 1690 only about a fifth of Europe was Protestant. Many nations were led by dominating kings, for example Louis XIV. As King of France he ruled the richest country in Europe with 20 million people. William of Orange wanted to keep the United Provinces Protestant. He dedicated much of his life to thwarting the attempts of Louis XIV to extent the power of the Catholic Church and of France.

Michael Barone explores in detail the leaders of England and the Netherlands. In the 1640s England had killed Charles I, and then grudgingly brought his son Charles II back as king. Charles II was a relaxed king who didn’t want to rock the boat.

His brother James II took over after Charles died. James was Catholic in a 98% Protestant England. He wanted to convert the nation. The nation didn’t want to be converted. He tried to manipulate the government organizations by determining who voted. He put in Catholics as officers in the army and as judges. Finally several people asked William of Orange, whose wife was next in line, to come take over. William jumped at the chance and invaded, but a war never happened. The majority of Englishman sat back to see what would happen. Most of the rest joined William’s side and James II quickly realized he was history, and escaped to the continent.

Our First Revolution” is well written. I read the book in just a couple hours. I learned a lot. The book was hard to put down. If you enjoy early American history, then check out this book. I strongly recommend it.

Technorati tags: , , Michael Barone, Glorious Revolution

A good quote from Life Without School

Life Without School has a lot of great articles.

Learning to Write in Our Own Way had this quote:

"When you dare to think out of the box, the box goes away."
- Anonymous

Kind of profound.

Technorati tags: creativity, imagination

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Laurel Springs School video contest winners

Late last year Laurel Springs School a Video Contest. Children were suppose to answer the question "Why do YOU think Homeschool is Cool?" Here is the press release announcing the winners.

Hazel Newlevant was the grand prize winner:

Here are the other winners. They are all pretty cool, and amazing. I will show them to my daughters.

I just noticed that you can see all the videos entered to the contest.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

The Carnival of Space is up - the detective version

This week's Carnival of Space is pretty amazing. It is going to be hard to top. Sam Wise of Sorting Out Science has the adventures of Shorty Barl, private eye. The story is fun to read, and links to a ton of posts on space.

Technorati tags: ,

Olivia St. John tells nosey bureaucrats: "Bug Off!"

Olivia St. John makes a great point in her column Bug Off!

In response to the recent tragedy of Banita Jacks killed her four children, Olivia makes the point that this was not about homeschooling. We made the same point last week.

Olivia continues by pointing out all the crimes and problems with public school.

She concludes by mentioning a study by Dr. Brian Ray then writes:

In fact, the examination determined that the "degree of state control and regulation of homeschooling is not related to academic achievement."
In other words, home education is highly effective without a government nanny at the door. Professor Stevens was correct when he said homeschoolers place "very high value on parental autonomy."
So to all the bureaucrats interested in implementing ever-more intrusive and unnecessary state watchdog groups over homeschool families, I can speak for us all.

Bug Off.

(Hat tip: HomeschoolBuzz)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children

Do Hard Things

Alex and Brett Harris of The Rebulution have written a book called "Do Hard Things." It is due out in April of 2008. They are looking for endorsements. They have posted part of the book online. If you like what you read they are asking for you to send them an email at alex [at] therebelution [dot] com.

I've printed off the 33 pages for my oldest daughter. She has read parts of 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens. I'll see what she thinks of this book.

Technorati tags: parenting, children, education

My heart pains for the poor parents

A Google Alert provided a link to 13-year-old's mom sues school over his suicide. In short a young boy struggled with public school. The mother, Heidi Mikell , homeschooled him for a year and a half. He seemed to be doing better and wanted to go back to public school, so the mother relented. He returned in seventh grade, but fairly quickly felt like the teachers didn't want him there. It isn't clear why from the article.

His obituary (second one down) implies that his parents may have been divorced or seprated.

A sad, sad conclusion to a short life.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, public school, public education, education

Another really, really bad idea

Once upon a time, getting an education was considered a privilege. Then is was a right. Now it is a paying job. I wonder who is paying for this wonderful little experiment?

Georgia After-School Program Will Pay Students to Study

The program, called "Learn & Earn," is being offered to 40 students from Creekside High and Bear Creek Middle schools in Fairburn. The program will give students $8 an hour to study after school.

The privately funded program also will offer cash bonuses to students who improve their in-school performance.

This reminds me of the book Punished by Rewards which argues that rewards undermine motivation and kill the love of learning.

I'm outraged that entitlement thinking has brought us to this. Why don't they teach children that learning is its own reward and that they should pay their own way?

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, public school, public education, education

A list of 50 homeschooling blogs

I got an email pointing to this list of 50 Homeschooling Blogs. It is a good list. There were a numbe of blogs I hadn't seen before.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You have five days to submit an image(s) to the image contest

The first phase of the contest for Carnival of Homeschooling graphics is drawing to a close. All images need to be submitted by the 28th of January. I didn't announce a time, so we'll go with midnight PST on Monday the 28th.

As a reminder, here are the rules.

Here is where you enter a small image(s).

Here is where you enter a medium image(s).

Here is where you enter a what ever size image(s).

Several great images have been submitted. Thank you.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Other homeschooling carnivals

Carnivals are a great way to get exposure for your blog. I am very pleased with how the Carnival of Homeschooling has grown over the last two years.

If you are looking for more exposure for your blog, check out these other homescholing Carnivals:

The Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is a fairly new blog carnival and has grown quickly. It comes out once a week. The most recent edition is at The Educational Life. You can submit to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival via this entry form.

A Thomas Jefferson Education blog carnival comes out about once a month. The most recent edition is at Trinity Prep School. You can submit to A Thomas Jefferson Education blog carnival via this entry form.

Unschooling Voices is also a monthly carnival. The most recent edition is at An Unschooling Life. You can submit to Unschooling Voices via this entry form.

I'm not aware of any other active homeschooling carnivals. If you know of one, please let me know.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, blog, children, Blog Carnival

Another benefit to blogging

Almost two years ago I noticed that our blog was becoming an extension of my memory. When I find interesting information that I think others might enjoy I'll mention it on our blog. And it seems at least once or twice a week I'll go back to my blog to dig up a reference or some link.

Recently I've started using our blog for a juke box. During lunch, or sometimes when I'm home working, I'll bring up White and Nerdy or The Day The Routers Died. We've shared The Homeschool Family, Momsense and now Pachelbel Bedtime with dozens of our family and friends.

Today I dug up Ghost Riders in the Sky. I heard this song long ago. It is a haunting song with a powerful message. It seems like few songs today try to teach children to be good, or even that there are moral certainties.

I'll add Johnny Cash's version to the blog. He does a great job:

Technorati tags: Johnny Cash

Book reivew: Rainbow's End by Vernor Vinge

Vernor Vinge is one of my favorite Science Fiction authors. He popularized the term singularity. My only complaint is he is not very prolific. I wish he would write more. If you'd like to know more about Vernor Vinge, check out this interview or this interview.

Rainbow's End is set in 2025, down in San Diego where Vernor lives. The story revolves around an elderly man who goes back to high school to learn how to use the advance technology. Robert Gu had been a famous poet. He had Alzheimers, which gets cured. He has missed all the changes in technology. We are introduced to much of the technology through Robert's experience.

The plot rotates around secret spy stuff. A company has contracted with the university to copy all of the books in the library up into the internet. The process will destroy the books. Several people are opposed to this. Robert gets caught up in the intrigue.

Vernor extrapolates current trends in technology and paints a world rich with possibilities. It will be interesting to see in 2025 how close his predictions came to reality.

If you enjoy Science Fiction, give Rainbow's End a read. I think you'll enjoy it.

Technorati tags: Rainbow End, Vernor Vinge

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Go West, young man

Millions of bloggers generate way too much content to keep on top of it all. It has been awhile since I've checked out Paul Graham's essays. I first came across one of his essays years ago when he explains Why Nerds are Unpopular. If you were interested in academics in high school, and you haven't read this essay, stop now and go read it.

Another favorite Paul Graham essay of mine is his essay on Good and Bad Procrastination. He makes the point that there are an infinite number of things we can do. The trick is focusing on the things that are important. You have to procrastinate, just make sure to procrastinate the stuff which is not important.

This evening Janine put our fifteen month old foster care boy down and took the girls out for a trip to Borders. I was catching up on some blogs I hadn't read for awhile and read a recent Paul Graham essay.

Over a year ago Paul pointed out a consequence of Moore's Law. Moore's Law was an observation by Gordon Moore that the price and performance of computer chips was fairly steady, and dramatic. This led to minicomputers, and then PCs. When PCs first came out they were expensive and didn't do much. Now they are cheap and do a hundred times more work. Paul's point is that cheap computers means startups are much cheaper. My first job out of college was at a startup. We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars for computers. Now people can afford to buy the hardware themselves and self fund their own startup.

The Future of Web Startups builds on this theme. Given that startups are cheaper, Paul explores some of the ramifications. One is there will lots more startups. If many can fund themselves, more and more will take a risk and try a new venture. And Paul sees a huge change in the Venture Capital business.

The 1800s was a century of huge changes. One of the most dramatic was the westward expansion across the continent. In 1800 the United States was bottled up along the Atlantic, by 1900 the continent had been crossed and tamed. In 1851 John Soule coined the phrase "Go West, young man." Horace Greeley popularized this. The youth of America were encouraged to take a risk and strike out on their own. For generations the ideal American had been the rugged individualist, a competent individual who took care of his own problems.

A dominant theme of the 1900s was the rise of large corporations. The economies of scale worked to draw people together.

Now the pendulum is swinging back the other way. If you have teenagers, children in college, or offfspring about to strike off on their own, encourage them to consider doing a startup. Great technology is now fairly cheap. It can be applied to all facets of business. There are plenty of new opportunities still waiting to be found. The time may never be better.

Technorati tags: opportunity, Paul Graham

Spunky may be taking another blogging break

Spunky has announced that she may be taking a another blogging break.

And she'll "in a live (via phone) radio interview with Phyllis Shlafley at 10AM (EST)" on February 2nd.

I wish Spunky and her family the best.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

This looks like fun

Phil at A Family Runs Through It shows where his children recently slept.

We'd have to travel a ways to do this. Our part of California never gets snow.

I don't think my daughters would be very excited to try it. My youngest is the most adventuresome right now. She might be willing to join me.

Technorati tags: snow, cool

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

I recently read IT'S LIKE, YEAH, WHAT, YOU KNOW ..AND THAT. The article claims teens in the UK are becoming more illiterate. I thought, yes another sign of the decline of education.

The article started with:

"TEENAGERS use just 20 words for a third of everything they say, research reveals."

and goes on to say that Tony McEnery, a Linguistics professor at Lancaster University, reported that teenagers use fewer words for everyday speech. Here are the top twenty words: "You, I, The, And, It, A, To, Yeah, That, What, No, In, Know, He, Of, It's, Oh, Is, Like, On."

I did a little search on the internet and came across a rebuttal. Mark Liberman of Language Log claims Britain's scientists risk becoming hypocritical laughing-stocks, research suggests. The basic point is even highly educated people use the same words about 30% of the time.

I dug around the internet a bit and found this Word Frequency Counter. I copied in our posts for the month of December, 2007. Janine and I wrote just under 10,000 words, with 2017 different words. Here are our top twenty:

"the, to, a, of, and, is, in, this, for, education, i, by, home, children, homeschooling, school, post, carnival, that, are"

These words make up 28% of our posts.

One lesson here is that the news can be wrong, or at least misleading.

But then you already knew that, right?

Technorati tags: media, language

Do you have unusual reasons for homeschooling?

Trail Mix is looking for more reasons to homeschool. She is up to 55 reasons and would like to get to 60. Here are the first 55 reasons.

If you have an unusal reason for homeschooling, go leave it as a comment.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

The Carnival of Homeschooling is up - the American Literature Edition

Alasandra is hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling.

She weaves a huge selection of posts around favorite books from American Literature.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education,

Monday, January 21, 2008

When you are in any contest ...

From Dan Galvin's Thought For The Day mailing list:

When you are in any contest,
you should work as if there were-
to the very last minute- a chance to lose it.
This is battle,
This is politics,
This is anything.
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

Technorati tags: life

Too many Ph.Ds

This news story appeals to my sense of absurdity. So we don't have enough full time teaching jobs for PhD graduates. So, let's recruit more PhD candidates and then hire the PhD graduates to teach the classes. Makes perfect sense.

Analysis: Universities Overproduce Ph.Ds

College students are getting a raw deal, a recent New York report asserted. The problem is they're taking too many classes from part-time, or adjunct, professors.

But that same report unwittingly revealed something about how higher education is more culpable than it likes to admit when it comes to creating the problem.

The issue is a huge one in higher education far beyond New York, with about half of the nation's college faculty now on part-time contracts. Adjuncts are cheaper for colleges, but they often lack the time and resources for focused teaching, and research shows students' performance suffers if they are taught by part-timers too often.

In its report last month, a 30-member commission called for New York's state (SUNY) and city (CUNY) systems to alleviate the over reliance on adjuncts by hiring 2,000 more full-time faculty for their 87 campuses.

But just one page away, the report also called for adding at least 4,000 new doctoral students.

There's a connection between those numbers that deserves more attention.
This is not that complicated. It is easy to see the effects of "supply and demand."

In many fields, there are already too many Ph.Ds awarded for the full-time academic posts available, creating a surplus of likely jobseekers. That pool becomes adjuncts, who command wages and benefits so low that universities find them irresistible hires.

"It's not uncommon to have a disconnect like this in higher education, in which people are both concerned about the difficult career prospects being faced by recent Ph.D. graduates and concerned there aren't enough Ph.D. students," said Michael Teitelbaum, of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

The ideas, he said, "often don't get connected. It's puzzling."

It is shocking to see how much academia types are disconnected from the real world.

Here are a few other examples that illustrate the disconnect:

All whites are racist

Go off to college and forget what you knew (And pay money to do this)

The coming revolution in higher education

Technorati tags: college, university, tuition, homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, education

A million lines of code

This post goes a little astray for our normal focus of homeschooling, education and family.

As a software engineer I enjoyed Jack Ganssle's explanation of A Million Lines of Code. A Line of Code is a measurement frequently used in software development. A line of code is one instruction, the basic foundation of a program.

(Hat tip:

Technorati tags: software development

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Are public schools teacher focused rather than student focused?

Mark Weiss of Trust The Children has a good post in When My Lectures Don't Equal Your Learning. He starts off recounting a recent experience at a US Post Office, with the typical poor service, and contrasts that with how many stores will jump through hoops to give their customers great service.

The then draws the analogy to education. He observes that too often teachers think they have presented the information in some reasonable way, but don't always check to see if the students have learned.

There are some good thoughts; it is worth reading the whole post.

Technorati tags: parenting, children, public school, public education, education

Politics and public education

The Texas Ed Spectator reports on a sad story in Texas in Because they don’t like it. In short some school districts started using:

"... Everyday Mathematics books in kindergarten through sixth grade at 19 schools with low math scores during the 2000-01 school year. By the end of the year, only two of those schools still had low scores; a year later, none of them did, said Camille Malone, DISD’s director of mathematics."

Sounds good doesn't? The children weren't learning, the schools decided to going with "Everyday Mathematics" and there is a huge change, suddenly students who were lost are now getting it and make great progress.

Now the politics get in the way. The Texas state Board of Education has rejected the math books. There is a huge politic issue on can local schools pick their textbooks. The issue seems to be much more political than educational.

Read the whole post for more information.

A couple decades ago homeschoolers use to be attack for not being "professional" and thus not capable of teaching their children. In contrast even if the teachers are capable, often they are not allowed to effectively teach the students.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, public school, public education, education

Humor: The dad version of Momsense

This is pretty funny:

(Hat tip: Wittingshire)

If you haven't watched Momsense, it is just as good.

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The Carnival of Space is up

The Carnival of Space this week is at Colony Worlds.

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Will the Writer's Strike help destroy Hollywood?

In the last couple weeks I've come across several articles about how the internet is threatening television and the growing populartiy of YouTube. Almost from the begining of the internet people have wondered about downloading movies and being able to watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it.

We may have finally crossed a tipping point.

Roger L. Simon writing for Pajamas Media speculates that the New Media will Destroy Hollywood. Roger opens with:

"Deep into the Writers’ Strike of ‘07-‘08 – four major studios have just canceled dozens of television writers’ contracts for the next season – increased rumblings have been heard that the real issue at stake is not the representation of animation and reality show writers or even the vaunted problem of writers’ online percentages. It is something far more apocalyptic – the future of Hollywood itself.
New media is poised to destroy the entertainment industry, as we know it.

People as diverse as television writer Rob Long and Internet guru Marc Andreesen are talking about the end of Hollywood – and they have a point. Several, in fact.
Netscape’s Andreesen wrote extensively on his blog in November about how Hollywood - or more specifically movie and television writers, directors and producers - should emulate Silicon Valley and become entrepreneurial. And that this inevitable revolution has only been hastened by the writers’ walkout

Roger's point is the longer the writer's strike goes on, the more writers will turn directly to the internet to sell their content. For decades companies in Hollywood have been able to control distribution. The internet is changing all this. I've been surprised by how many television shows are also available on the internet. My wife frequently watches The Medium the next day, when she has time, and without so many commercials.

Computers and the internet is changing the distribution equation. Now anyone with a good PC and access to the internet can post their own entertainment.

Ed Driscoll wondered if CNN was scared. I wonder if Hollywood is scared.

Technorati tags: television, blogs, hollywood

More on Diversity vs. Math

I enjoyed this interview with Jay Greene by Michael F. Shaughnessy. Michael seems to interview almost anyone connected with education. He even interviewed me.

This interview focused on a recent article which reported that most Education Colleges and Universities have many more courses on multiculturalism than math. We mentioned this earlier this week. Jay Greene explains that one of the reasons for this focus is:

"One of the six standards that NCATE requires for accreditation is entirely devoted to diversity. Education schools that de-emphasize these social goals risk losing their accreditation."

Research like this shows how unprepared are so many public school teachers. It also explains why so many sharp teachers get fed up and quit. They can see through "diversity training" classes and recognize them as brainwashing sessions.

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, public school, public education, education

Reminder - send in a post for the next Carnival of Homeschooling

Alasandra will be hosting the next Carnival of Homeschooling. She plans to use an American Literature theme.
Please consider sending in a post.
As always, entries are due Monday evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time.
Here are the instructions for sending in a submission.

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