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October 16, 2014

"The 15 Best Colleges In America, According To People Who Work In Finance"

Duke improves significantly from the main ranking.

October 14, 2014

"Learn Economics Online Using These 33 Free University Courses"

I can't vouch for any of these courses, but they could well be useful.

October 08, 2014

"U.S. campus 2014"

Jack Jolis and Iowahawk absolutely nail it. (Too short and too perfect to excerpt.)

October 01, 2014

"Why Academics Stink at Writing"

Steven Pinker smacks some of the more egregious problems in "academese". 

Enough already. Our indifference to how we share the fruits of our intellectual labors is a betrayal of our calling to enhance the spread of knowledge. In writing badly, we are wasting each other’s time, sowing confusion and error, and turning our profession into a laughingstock.

September 30, 2014

"Top Ten Things Parents Hate About Common Core"

I don't agree with everything--on #5, I think kids need a lot more "workforce-prep mentality" from the schools and on #8, lots of things make little kids cry, including the current curriculum--but for both supporters and opponents of Common Core there's food for thought here

And see also former engineer, now math teacher, Cynthia Walker's piece, "Un-Common, Not Core".

I predict that if we continue implementing Common Core, average students will drop out of math as early as they are allowed.  Even math-bright students will hate math.  Tutoring companies will proliferate to serve wealthy families.  The educational gap between rich and poor will widen.  If we want to destroy math and science education in this country, keep Common Core.

September 29, 2014

"U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks Gets Free Speech Very Wrong"

As complete and razor-sharp a takedown of a prominent person as I've seen in a while.

Pardon my incivility, Chancellor Dirks, but I don't give a shit whether you wish to honor an ideal; I care whether you will comply with the law. If you don't, you should be compelled to do so at the point of a lawsuit. You will find litigation rather uncivil.

Link via Mike Munger.

September 23, 2014

"What Wellesley learned when it stopped giving out so many A's"

Good, nontechnical summary of what a recent paper in the professional economics literature (Journal of Economic Perspectives, Summer 2014) reported. 

Related: "Princeton and Wellesley May Re-inflate Grades".

September 22, 2014

"Learning another language? Don’t bother"

Foreign language fluency for native English speakers is rapidly becoming a lousy investment because of 1) big, rapid improvements in machine translation and 2) the diffusion around the world of English. But there are supposedly cognitive benefits.

"The Downside of Giving Every Student a Laptop"

I believe it

A new study suggests the policy may be doing more harm than good. It finds public school students in North Carolina who gain their first regular access to a home computer between the fifth and eighth grades experience “a persistent decline in reading and math test scores.”

In their analysis of data from 2000 to 2005, economist Jacob Vigdor and his colleagues warn that, for disadvantaged youngsters, the positive impact of having access to online instruction “may be negated by counterproductive use of computers, particularly by students in unsupervised home environments.”

Makes L.A.'s initiative seem all the more dopey: "Supt. Deasy's early and avid support of iPads under intense scrutiny".

September 18, 2014

"Common Core’s Five Big Half-Truths"

Frederick Hess of AEI whacks common core some.

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