Monday, December 12, 2011

Does anybody even watch CSPAN?

It's been around for a while, CSPAN is the cable option that permits everyone to watch certain public affairs proceedings on TV (generally not live, but usually within a day or two.) You can watch a number of proceedings live online too, the website is chalk full of resources.

Schools are certainly using the resources and options available through the CSPAN option.

But I'm curious how many people other than the odd house mom (this is a satirical over generalization) gunning for a particular lobby group, actually watch CSPAN on tv at home?

100 million have the option on their tvs, but I bet a fraction of that # even knows the channel exists. Too bad, because there's nothing like a rousing committee meeting to bide the afternoon siesta. .....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Racial Profiling in Admissions in California

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have restored racial and ethnic preferences for admission to California’s public colleges and universities. Bill, SB 185, was in effect an attempt to undo what California voters accomplished in 1996, when they passed Proposition 209, the measure that amended the state’s constitution to read:

The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

This isn't the first attempt to rescind the proposition.

This bill would authorize the University of California and the California State University to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions, to the maximum extent permitted by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 31 of Article I of the California Constitution, and relevant case law.

Universities continue to work towards creative enrollment procedures to draw students from a variety of backgrounds into higher education. Others prefer to work with the distinctions of being intentional with identifying racial differences.

What are your thoughts on the attempts to re-introduce racial profiling in enrolment?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NAS Challenges Public Race-Based Admissions

The National Association of Scholars, along with others, filed an amicus brief with the High Court stating public universities violate the Constitution if they use applicants' race as a factor to decide on admissions.

The particular case in question stems from a University of Texas student Abigail Fisher who was denied admission to UT-Austin based, as she suggests, the university's admissions policy that screens applicants for racial background (she's Caucasian). UT-Austin considers an applicant's race, with favoritism for African-Americans and Hispanics.

"Judging applicants to a public university on the basis of their skin color isn't just unfair, it is unconstitu­tional," said Sharon L. Browne, a principal attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation. "Teaching students that they are defined not by their hard work, but by their skin color, violates core concepts of equal opportunity and core principles of the Equal Protection Clause."

On one hand you want a racially diverse group, initially rulings that permitted this type of 'discrimination' did so with the intent of increasing diversity in the classroom and attempting to enable? under privileged students to access post-secondary programs.

Conversely, race is not always an accurate determinant for diversity. Skin color does not necessarily imply very different socio-economic or even cultural backgrounds.

According to Browne applicants who are most discriminated against by UT-Austin's policy are Asians. "Admissions statistics bear this out," said Browne. "Asian Americans need an average SAT score of 1,322 to be admitted, compared to 1,193 for Hispanics.

Your thoughts?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Drop school, opt for business and mentorship

Is the solution to America's post-secondary problem the opposite of packing more students into four year degree programs?

The founder of Paypal seems to think so. He's also putting his money where his mouth is, hand picking students, giving them a two year salary and letting them loose to innovate. All of this in lieu of school. The result? We'll have to wait and see, but it bears to note that the time of four year degrees from a prestigious university can in the least be replaced with ambitious entrepreneurship.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Three Cups of Tea to Burst into a Million Little Fibers?

The pertinent question for academia is whether assigning the book for first year students should be halted despite the books message. If it's inaccurate should it be pulled from entry level courses that don't seek to discuss the controversies?

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Climate Change

18 climate alarmists have clanged their bells to the point that the world (less the major polluters India and China) has taken notice to a warming globe.

That link is undersigned by a number of additional scientists who in fact believe the exact opposite: that tsunamis and catastrophic events won't be hitting our shores because of lcimate change.

Here's what 'I think' since it is a blog.

We should always be conscious of our decisions when purchasing goods and services. We should also strive to do the best we can to protect our environment since it's both good for business, efficient to have less waste, and pays attention to future generations.

We shuoldn't teeter to the opposite end of the spectrum of climate change fear which is total apathy (in many respects we already have that with Joe Schmoe).

having said that, it's true that for a while the state of our environment, the supposed wild climate swings (look at all that snow!) is perhaps blown out of proportion. We're damaging our earth, but we're not going to poison ourselves anytime soon. We should strive for better goods (demanding less from nations who don't care like India and China) before we seriously cripple our own economies for doing what amounts to a drop in the bucket.

It may sound a bit conceited, but lets' face the facts, facts that have escaped us from the climate debate for some time (where the loudest braying donkey gets all the attention).

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Robert Birgenau Links Tucson Shootings to Dream Act Failure

UC-Berkeley chancellor Robert J. Birgenau linked the fatal shootings in Tucson with the failure of Congress to pass the Dream Act, which would legalize that status of certain illegal aliens.

“I believe that it is not a coincidence that this calamity has occurred in a state which has legislated discrimination against undocumented persons,” wrote Birgenau. “This same mean-spirited xenophobia played a major role in the defeat of the Dream Act by our legislators in Washington, leaving many exceptionally talented and deserving young people, including our own undocumented students, painfully in limbo with regard to their futures in this country.”

He also mentioned,
“climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated.”

The push to reign in violent rhetoric from pundits and politicians has reached a feverish temperature. However, is there a direct link between the two (rhetoric and violence?)

I think any right minded academic would easily acknowledge the fact words incite hatred and hatred leads to violence (didn't MLK jr Day just pass?)

However, to make the direct link between Tucson and the Dream Act? That's a tougher sell.

Let's use the momentum from the tragedy to improve our discourse. Pointing fingers to specific bills won't help.

The NAS had this to say about Birgenau:

The California Association of Scholars finds this statement improper and incompetent. It demeans the office which Birgeneau holds and the institution which he serves.

...Birgeneau is more concerned with political advocacy than with educational policy.

Reasonable people don't suggest those who disagree with him are xenophobes.

The only problem is, reasonable people require other reasonable opponents in order to have a functioning debate.

In our political climate reason is quickly being consumed by raw emotions....

Was Birgeneau right in his statement? Your thoughts?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cry About Tuition?

What can students REALLY do about tuition hikes? Every year students in college or university face tuition hikes. Some just small, others huge.

Tactics used by administration is to announce a massive hike like 20% in the Fall, and then unroll something around 5% the following year.

Alas, higher education will forever have a 'higher cost'. In the grand scheme, education at graduate levels are heavily subsidized by the state. Do you think tuition of 10-40K / student (or more) can really cover all the expenses to run the academy?

Here to stay, higher tuition, coupled with higher taxes, higher medical costs,

but you get a chance to make a higher salary.....hopefully.