"Bad Writing Costs Businesses Billions"

I won't defend the $ estimate, but I could defend the diagnosis. And this is the beginning of a solution:

Of all the serious problems in the American workplace, this one is the most solvable. And we can solve it one company, one culture, one worker at a time.

The first step is to adopt what I call “The Iron Imperative” in everything you write: treat the reader’s time as more valuable than your own. To embrace it means that every time you send an email or write a document, you must take a moment to structure it for maximum readability and meaning. We are lazy; we’d rather save our own time than someone else’s. But writers who adopt The Iron Imperative stand out in the workplace for clarity and efficiency, and are more likely to get ahead. Workplace cultures that adopt it will reduce their poor writing tax.

"L.A. Unified's affordable housing units fill up, but not with teachers"

This week's bulletin from the land of You Can't Make This Stuff Up.

In the mid-2000s, in the midst of a housing boom, the Los Angeles Unified School District realized that skyrocketing rents were fueling teacher turnover.

Nearly half of all new teachers in some neighborhoods were leaving the district after three years. L.A. Unified was pouring millions of dollars into training new hires, only to watch them pick up and go.

Two below-market apartment complexes were built on unused district land and a third is under construction. Today, both are fully occupied. But not one L.A. Unified teacher lives in them.

"Are We Teaching Composition All Wrong?"

In my experience this is so, so true:

In 10 years of teaching writing, I have experimented with different assignments, activities, readings, approaches to commenting on student work — you name it — all to help students write coherent prose that someone would actually want to read. And as anyone who keeps up with trends in higher education knows, such efforts largely fail. . . .

First, a simple truth: Students do not revise. This cuts to the very heart of how most of us teach composition. . . . 

Weak drafts remain weak; stronger drafts get slightly stronger, but not by much.

"Faculty Voter Registration in Economics, History, Journalism, Law, and Psychology"

This goes a considerable way toward explaining why higher education today--particularly among the "elite" institutions--is the way it is:

We investigate the voter registration of faculty at 40 leading U.S. universities in the fields of Economics, History, Journalism/Communications, Law, and Psychology. We looked up 7,243 professors and found 3,623 to be registered Democratic and 314 Republican, for an overall D:R ratio of 11.5:1. The D:R ratios for the five fields were: Economics 4.5:1, History 33.5:1, Journalism/Communications 20.0:1, Law 8.6:1, and Psychology 17.4:1. The results indicate that D:R ratios have increased since 2004, and the age profile suggests that in the future they will be even higher. We provide a breakdown by department at each university. The data support the established finding that D:R ratios are highest at the apex of disciplinary pyramids, that is, at the most prestigious departments.

Link via Marginal Revolution.

"Free college isn’t the solution: How the push for 'college for all' sets up students to fail"

So true.

The problem with the “free college” idea is, however, not merely financial. It also reinforces the myth that college is appropriate or even possible for all students. That myth already has destructive consequences for both the quality of higher education and for some of the students caught up in what has become a multi-billion dollar hoax.

As unrealistic as it is, the idea that everyone should attend college has been embraced by Americans. By 1992, 95 percent of high school seniors said they planned to go on to college — even though half of them lacked even basic 9th grade math and verbal skills. These aspirations, however, had dramatic real-world consequences: In 1979 fewer than half of high school graduates enrolled in college. By 2012, that number had soared to more than two-thirds, and even with the dumbed-down curricula and inflated grades, many of them would have a rude encounter with reality.