Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 26, 2016
Independent Journal Review reports on yet another sign of the disintegration and political tampering in education by the higher-education industry. According to the report, George Washington University has changed its requirements for history majors, no longer requiring a course in US History to earn the degree.
GW joins approximately one third of the top US universities in omitting the American history requirement, according to the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). ACTA President-elect Michael Poliakoff correctly says of this radical direction:
“Historical illiteracy is the inevitable consequence of lax college requirements, and that ignorance leads to civic disempowerment. A democratic republic cannot thrive without well-informed citizens and leaders. Elite colleges and universities in particular let the nation down when the examples they set devalue the study of United States history.”
It would be bad enough if universities the US history requirement to make way for courses they felt were more important for students, irrespective of how ludicrous that conclusion would be. No, instead their motivation is far more sinister. Progressives at universities understand that history teaches lessons that affect graduates’ conclusions and then ultimately future policy decisions that could inhibit the radical Left’s political agenda.
Besides irresponsible curriculums, the cost of services universities offer, i.e. education, are out of control. While in a free market consumers would ultimately demand improvement and more efficiency, governmental intervention through financing and funding programs has allowed consumers to be pillaged. This is another example of damage to society as a result of crony capitalism
Posted in Education, Radical Left | Tagged: America, American history, George-Washington-University, History, University | 1 Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 9, 2014
Academia is supposed to be a place where ideas can be debated and studied openly so that open minds can come to informed conclusions. Unfortunately, in many colleges today that is not the case. Instead, Leftist professors use positions of power to intimidate and indoctrinate those they are supposed to teach in order to pursue their own political agendas. While this has been going on for decades, today’s inexpensive video recording technology has exposed this travesty.
Dr. Blake Armstrong of South Texas College, Weslaco, Texas, is a psychology professor who was recently caught red-handed pursuing his Leftist agenda. Knowing that his remarks were political and not educational, Armstrong asked students not to “tell anybody” about his so-called lecture. However, one student flipped on a video phone camera saving the professor’s inappropriate lecture for cyberspace, as posted below. Armstrong’s Tea Party bashing comments included:
“In 1931, which was really interesting, the Nazis — people were kind of tired of them. They’ve been around since 1920, 11 years now. They’ve won seats — they’re like the tea party! That’s such a good example,” and “but in the sense of how they politically came to power, there’s a good analogy there. That eventually people realized, ‘Oh, these Nazis are a bunch of nuts,’ ‘These tea party people are a bunch of nuts.’ I mean, the analogy really is a good analogy.”
It is fair to disagree with the Tea Party’s Libertarian views as well as its strict interpretation of the Constitution. However, to compare them to Nazis is not meant to spur intellectual discussion, but rather demonize some Americans in an effort to thwart legitimate debate. This is all too often the goal of liberal academia.
Many industries are today being revolutionized and made less expensive for consumers through new technologies. The higher education industry has so far avoided this mainly due to governmental interference whose manipulation of student debt (loans) has allowed the inefficiencies to continue. This is why cost of higher education increase has outstripped inflation for decades. It has resulted in the current aggregate student debt exceeding $1 trillion, an amount greater than all consumer credit card debt. This unsustainable economic path will soon be a controlling factor for Progressive educators, such as Blake Armstrong. Students will start demanding real education that betters their lives, rather than accepting police indoctrination. However, since Dr. Armstrong likely never took Econ 101, he is oblivious to the unstoppable forces of supply and demand that will ultimately act to curtail lame educators such as he.
Posted in Education | Tagged: academics, Armstrong, Liberals, Nazi, South Texas College, Tea Party, Texas, Weslaco | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 6, 2014
A few weeks ago Campus Reform went to Harvard University and asked students who they felt was the greater risk to the world; the United States or ISIS. Some indicated that the US was the greater threat and claimed that American policies were responsible for the creation of radical Islamic movements such as ISIS. Some Harvard students then followed up on this “study” creating their own video questionnaire and found similar responses, videos posted below.
Harvard University is renowned as perhaps the most famous and supposedly intellectual colleges in the United States. The skills exhibited by some of the students in the videos bring into questions these conclusions.
It is remarkable that students from this prestigious University believe the United States responsible for radical Islam and the infighting within its subgroups. Had these students studied world history instead of the phony academics that make up much of today’s college curriculums they would have been taught that the Sunni–Shia divide that is led to so much conflict within the Islamic world began shortly after the death of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed in 632 with infighting over the secession to the Prophet. They would also learned that this conflict began over 1100 years before the founding of the United States.
Posted in Education, Islam | Tagged: Harvard, ISIS, Islam, Peace, Shia, Sunni, UNited States, US | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 1, 2014
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a nonprofit advocate for college/university accountability has issued a critical report on the efficacy of college or university degrees in the United States. The report concluded:
- Examples of weaknesses include that graduates do not know: 1) the US congressional term length, 2) what the Emancipation Proclamation was, 2) or the lead Revolutionary War general at Yorktown.
- Few colleges today mandate core subject courses such as U.S. government, history or economics. (This may help explain the incompetence of the current President.)
- Only 18% of colleges require an American history course to graduate with only 13% requiring a foreign language and a mere 3% one in economics. (It is likely that these Progressive educators fear that an economics education would out the incompetent fiscal management of our government.)
- Whittier College, a liberal arts institution in Southern California was graded an F because it required only one core course; composition. This school had no requirement for courses in literature, language, government, history, economics, math or science. Incredible! Two other of the 98 schools that received F’s were Wesleyan University, Connecticut and Brown University, Rhode Island.
- Only 23 schools received grades of A’s from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni with one being Christopher Newport University in Virginia that required students to take core courses including literature, language, government, history, economics, math or science.
A recent book titled “Academically Adrift” followed a group of freshman who graduated between 2009 in 2010. It concluded that the followed students studied only an average of five hours per week. In addition, for 2013 30% of the group earned less than $30,000 annually in full-time jobs. While it is hard to justify a college degree based on results, these results are understandable given the low quality of the offered education.
There is a growing chorus questioning the value of a college or university degree. At the same time the cost of the education has skyrocketed faster than the rate of inflation, a direct result of governmental subsidizes for the cost/borrowing for tuition. This broken system should have been repaired long ago, but power of the education industry circumvented repairs. However, as with any free lunch, there are always consequences and changes that intervene and stop the cycle. Two currently attacking the education industry include poor economic conditions and job market, and the Internet that will move much education online causing significant financial damage to bricks and mortar schools.
As competition for students increase with the education industry encountering the new economic realities, schools that supply real educations will survive with feel-good institutions becoming irrelevant.
Posted in Education | Tagged: College, core-courses, curriculum, University | 2 Comments »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on October 1, 2014
Marc Bernstein was a New York state superintendent of schools for two decades. His op-ed Where All the Teachers Are Above Average in the Wall Street Journal this week offered a chilling indictment for one of country’s largest school system.
According to Bernstein, New York State has released its teacher evaluations that ranked 95% of its teachers as “highly effective” or “effective”. Of the remaining, 4% were considered “developing”, with only 1% listed as “ineffective” for the 2012 school year. These percentages are incredible given that over half of New York State’s students in grades 4 through 8 were not proficient in reading or math skills in statewide tests.
How does this huge disconnect between the way New York teachers are graded and the outcomes with students? According to Bernstein, this comes from New York’s poorly formed laws and a school culture that obviates honest teacher evaluations. For example, 60% of teacher evaluation in New York State is subjective, based on classroom observations that must be first agreed upon at the local level with teachers’ unions. 20% of the evaluation should be more objective measurements of math and reading skills, however they too must be agreed upon between local school systems and their teachers’ unions. Adding insult to injury, New York’s largest school system, New York City, was not included in the evaluations because it’s union would not agree to language in their contract concerning the reporting of evaluation data.
Like teachers, school administrators are eligible for lifelong tenure in New York prior to three years of experience. This tenure protects unproductive teachers and administrators and Bernstein suggests removing it for administrators and having tenure review for teachers. Both suggestions are no-brainers, but have little chance of being implemented given the political power of teachers unions.
Our children and greater society will continue to suffer until real competition is injected into America’s public education systems. The sad irony is that the most efficient school systems are located in the larger cities that include a disproportionate amount of minorities and disadvantaged children. The poor education they receive is the largest impediment for these children to succeed in American society.
Posted in Education, Unions | Tagged: administrators, New York, review, state, Teachers, Unions | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on September 21, 2014
Reason.com published some incredible and scary figures relating to student debt including:
- In-state tuition has increased in some states from about $3k annually in 1991 to over $10k last year.
- Private college tuition in 1983 cost about $18.5K, but by 2013 climbed to about $41K annually.
- Between 2008 and 2013 the average tuition/fees at public four-year colleges/universities increased by 19% above the rate of inflation during that five-year period. During the same period, private colleges/universities increased by 14%, which was larger than the 9% increase for the previous five years.
The trend is unsustainable and has led to significant damage to younger Americans. For example, between 2004 and 2013 there is been a 400% increase in student loan debts to $1 trillion. During this same period the New York Times reports that there has been an 8% decrease in home ownership among 25-34-year-olds.
The $1 trillion educational debt saddled on younger Americans will be a drain on overall economic growth for years to come. This demographic is generally a significant consumer, but will need to pay off debt rather than spend on other goods and services.
The educational debt bomb is a direct result of governmental intervention in higher education. The government subsidized and guaranteed student loans irrespective of ability or willingness of individuals to repay them. In addition, the easy loan policies removed incentive to students to study fields that would result in better paying jobs.
As for the educational industry, it has reaped significant benefit from governmental largess. In addition, this industry’s access to an ever increasing student base that was created by the governmental loan programs allowed the industry to become bloated and inefficient and has been a direct cause of the cost of education increasing more significantly than the inflation rate.
Irrespective of past policy failures, President Obama recommends doubling down on these programs. The President’s proposals include capping student debt repayment at 10% of their monthly income, yet another disincentive to earn more. Not only will this further increase borrowing by this demographic and result in still higher education costs, but it will also cost US taxpayers approximately $11 billion according to Politico. What a perfect calamity. When will they ever learn?
Posted in Education | Tagged: Debt, Education, Increase, Tuition | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on June 23, 2014
California Superior Court Judge Rolf M. Treu made a ruling with broad implications for the education system, teachers and society. The ruling found that teacher tenure violated the State Constitutional civil rights by not offering poor inner-city students equal opportunity for a quality education. In essence, the Judge found that tenure protected teachers at the expense of damaging the quality of education in inner-cities stating:
“Substantial evidence presented makes it clear to this court that the challenged statutes disproportionately affect poor and/or minority students.”
“The evidence is compelling. Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”
Judge Treu specifically criticized California’s inability to fire incompetent teachers stating: “All sides to this litigation agree that competent teachers are a critical, if not the most important, component of success of a child’s in-school educational experience,” and “there is also no dispute that there are a significant number of grossly ineffective teachers currently active in California classrooms.”
The negative reaction from teachers’ unions was immediate with California Federation of Teachers president saying: “We believe the judge fell victim to the anti-union, anti-teacher rhetoric and one of America’s finest corporate law firms that set out to scapegoat teachers for the real problems that exist in public education. There are real problems in our schools, but this decision in no way helps us move the ball forward.”
This is a typical unionists/leftist response, attacking the opposition’s integrity. To accept that there are “real problems” in America’s schools and exonerating teachers unions and their parochial interests from any part of the problem defies logic. The union’s real intent is clear; protect its members irrespective of the needs of greater society.
Tenure in the educational field came into existence to protect teachers with dissenting views from being harassed or fired. Tenure was therefore not for the protection of teachers, who currently in California received ten-year after 18 months of service, but instead for the protection of freely expressed knowledge and its related discourse. The result of tenure, however, has been much different. Not only has it helped incompetent teachers retain jobs, but it has not broaden political views within educational institutions with teaching positions, especially in universities, controlled by the Progressives.
With the decline of many American schools and the poor results graduates have performed in standardized test, the debate about tenure will continue to grow. There can be no more of a justification for teachers’ tenure for job protection than for any other American worker.
In recent decades the judicial system has become activist, inflicting Progressive dogma on society. That activism is now coming full circle with more conservative judges becoming willing to use judicial power to change society. The implications of this activist court are no more dangerous today than they were decades ago. To my friends on the Left, I say what goes around comes around.
Posted in Education | Tagged: California, civil rights, Judge, Rolf, tenure, Unconstitutional, Union | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 16, 2014
During recent interviews at George Washington University, students waxed on about their support for Hillary Clinton, should she run for presidency. However, when asked to share her greatest accomplishment as Secretary of State, the students demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge concerning Ms. Clinton.
As this Blog has proffered in the past, it is a tragedy how the Baby Boomer generation has robbed from younger Americans so we Boomers could live beyond our means. Perhaps an even greater tragedy is how we have robbed even a greater asset from our youth; knowledge and the ability to think. Adding insult to injury, for their pitiful education we have these young Americans go deep into debt.
Posted in Education | Tagged: Clinton, George-Washington-University, GW, Hillary, interview | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 8, 2014
Many Americans are concerned with the dumbing-down and poor results from our education system. America’s ranking in educating its youth has been slipping compared to other countries. We have gone from a system that focused on rewarding achievement to one is more concerned with making every student feel good and the enrichment of the education industry.
Some on the Left suggest that the solution to America’s education problem is to throw more money at the education industry. That response assumes a simple solution to a complex problem and is designed to cut off reasonable debate of alternatives.
One reader sent in a humorous poke at America’s deficient education system with the “funny” below. Trouble is it isn’t so funny!
Evolution in Teaching Math Since the 1950s
1. Teaching Math in the 1950s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?
2. Teaching Math in the 1960s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?
3. Teaching Math in the 1970s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?
4. Teaching Math in the 1980s
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Math in the 1990s
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it’s ok.)
6. Teaching Math in the 2009
Un hachero vende una carretada de madera para $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho?
7. Teaching Math in the 2014
Who cares, just steal the lumber from your rich neighbor’s property. The President says it’s OK anyway cuz it’s redistributing the wealth.
Posted in Education | Tagged: America, Education | Leave a Comment »