Monthly Archives: May 2015

Why technology will never fix education

In 2004, I moved to India to help found a new research lab for Microsoft. Based in Bangalore, it quickly became a hub for cutting-edge computer science. My own focus shifted with the move, and I began to explore applications of digital technologies for the socioeconomic growth of poor communities. India struggles to educate its […] … learn more→

Reverting to the slave economy

A recent column by Noam Chomsky on The Death of American Universities touches on a few of the concepts in higher education in my blog, but also mentions a theme of modern society, one that hasn’t been seriously investigated. That theme? We’re turning into a slave economy. For most of human history, societies were based […] … learn more→

What’s the “value added” of a College degree?

In a recent release titled “Beyond College Rankings,” Jonathan Rothwell, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, examined the “value added” of two- and four-year colleges in the United States. In doing so, Mr. Rothwell assessed the difference in the expected economic success of alumni and the actual outcomes of graduates. The conclusions are based on […] … learn more→

Skip the department meeting

In a controversial recent essay, Emily E. VanDette recounted how a search to fill a tenure-track position — that increasingly rare object of legend — ultimately failed because the non-tenure-track faculty insisted on having a voice in the search and a vote on the hire. The column did not accuse the non-tenure-track faculty members of […] … learn more→

How Public Colleges use merit aid to compete in the out-of-state student arms race

The University of Alabama’s dominance on the football field is legendary. The Crimson Tide’s success comes from aggressive recruiting around the country. Last year’s recruiting class included 27 players from 15 states, many of whom were four- or five-star prospects. What most people don’t know is that the University of Alabama takes the same intense […] … learn more→

Competence, performance, and climate

Noam Chomsky’s distinction between competence and performance has been controversial in linguistics and psycholinguistics for 50 years. The proponents of generative grammar presuppose it and rely on it, and have tried explaining the distinction many times, often unsuccessfully. I recently came across a neat way to encapsulate it that comes not from a linguist but […] … learn more→

Professor gives Christian a hard time…admin doesn’t care.

So, last time around, we saw a professor give a student zero after zero on writing assignments, in an era of higher education where it’s extraordinarily rare to give out such grades. It’s very clear the professor has an agenda of indoctrination into his own particular mythology, one I won’t honor with a discussion of […] … learn more→

Have I got “advice” for you…

I want you to imagine that you are going to build a fence. You have a wide choice of potential materials and style. Well and good. But you haven’t build a fence before, so where do you go for some advice? You can: (1) go to someone who has built a fence – yes one […] … learn more→

Professor unfairly treats a Christian…admin pleased?

Previously we had a professor fail an entire class because of their cheating and wildly disrespectful behavior…admin stepped in and will pass the students, because administration feels the professor is being unfair. Ok, the professor was being unfair…but that actually is how it works. As a great counterpoint, I would like the gentle reader to […] … learn more→

Students are opting out of testing. How did we get here?

“Opt Out,” a civil disobedience movement against state-mandated testing in elementary and secondary education, is growing rapidly across the United States. Last year, Opt Out protests occurred in about half the states. This year, the movement has found support across all 50 states. In New York state alone, the number of students opting out has […] … learn more→