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BETA VOL. I,  NO. 3                NOVEMBER 2015


T O P  S T O R I E S....  

Misery at  Mizzou—and at Yale, Princeton & Harvard.... An  Oregon massacre.... Religious violence and meaning....  The big lie of social science research....  Diversity challenges... More student debt.... Culture wars are back.... a Yik Yak murder,  a memo to Jimmy Carter,  and more.

College Finances The “other” college debt. MORE


Student Debt  To declare bankruptcy or not to declare bankruptcy.  MORE


What’s in a Name? Millions of dollars at stake.  MORE


Governance Systems Must Change  Start with a 50-year-old book.  MORE


U. of Phoenix  No more recruiting on military bases.   MORE


Cracking down on Accreditors  SF Community College gets some payback.  MORE


College Scorecard The feds try to assess the value of a diploma.  MORE


Arne Duncan Quits Now what?   MORE


P U B L I C   T R U S T  | Holy Grail of Social Science Research  Maybe not so holy.   MORE


A Campus Comeback for Religion and Meaning  David Brooks and Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.  MORE


EMERGENT ORDERS | Governance Issues at All Corners  From Carnegie Hall to Beijing.  MORE


Home Schoolers They do better on tests.  MORE


Memo to Jimmy Carter Why we need a federal department of education.   MORE


Uncle Sam Spam  The feds are sending out so many emails.....   MORE


Are the Culture Wars Back? A(nother) misinterpretation of E.D. Hirsch.  MORE


MOOC Mania Reigns The Internet genie is out of the bottle.   MORE


A Big Win for Google Court upholds `fair use’ scanning.   MORE








Hate Speech v. Free .... Speech  The headlines say it all: Yale’s Little Robespierres, The New Intolerance, Mizzou Mob Rule, A Generation That Hates Free Speech.   While growing increasingly belligerent about campus racism and sexual assault,  are college students also becoming increasingly intolerant. A new student movement seems to want to scrub campuses clean of words and ideas they don’t like. They rail at microaggressions,” demand “trigger warnings,” and call for disinviting controversial speakers to campus events.  The trend, according to The Atlantic, is “disastrous for education—and mental health.” The last month featured a rash of campus controversies that forced college trustees and administrators to reexamine the role of college as a forum for free thought:


  • At Wesleyan University, a group of students and faculty demanded that the college defund the campus newspaper because of an op-ed piece in the paper questioning the Black Lives Matter movement. The paper “neglects to provide a safe space for the voices of students of color” say the petitioners.
  • Columbia University removed Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” from a required core course syllabus after students objected to the work’s accounts of rape.
  • A group of Yale administrators encouraged students not to wear offensive Halloween costumes and when another administrator dissented from that advice, some students called for her head.
  • At Cardiff University in Wales students petitioned the college to bar Germaine Greer from speaking because of her views on transgender women.
  • Princeton is considering removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from various campus sites because of the former president’s (an alumnus) racist views

In an editorial in The Hartford Courant, Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth wrote that “punishment, if successful, can have a chilling effect on future expression.” And Todd Gitlin, a former 60s radical and now professor at Columbia, while giving a nod of empathy to students “rightly pained by the racist and sexual abuse still shockingly common into the 21st century,” characterized much of the current student unrest as “widespread and bristling feeling of acute vulnerability followed by attacks on those who disagree.”  Said Alan Dershowitz, the famed Harvard civil rights professor, about the student protests: "They may want superficial diversity, because for them diversity is a code word for 'more of us.' They don't want more conservatives, they don't want more white students, they don't want more heterosexuals." TO THE TOP


Further Reading:


Colleges' Big Fail: Protecting Feelings, But Not Speech (Real Clear Politics)


Purdue Adopts “Chicago Principles” to Protect Free Speech (Chicago Tribune)


Cultural Sensitivity and Halloween Costumes (New York Times)


Notable & Quotable: Unfree Speech on Campus (Wall Street Journal)


The Slow Fade of Academic Freedom (Minding the Campus)


Academia’s Rejection of Diversity (New York Times)


Athletic Department Backs Black Football Players on Boycott (Wall Street Journal)


Race Wasn't the Only Issue at University of Missouri (Wall Street Journal)


University of Missouri Protests Spur a Day of Change (New York Times)


For Comedians, Shows on Campus Are Often No Joke (Wall Street Journal)


The Limits of Free Speech (The New Yorker)


The Power of Speech (New York Review of Books)


Cultural Sensitivity and Halloween Costumes (New York Times)


Harvard Fraternity Makes Fun of Sorority Videos (Washington Post)



Saving the Liberal Arts.... Discussions of college’s purpose abound. Does one go to college to pursue a utopian ideal of deep, critical thinking or to get a good job? Princeton dean Jill Dolan suggests doing both. But what happens if your good-faith pursuit of the liberal arts leads you to “a deficient knowledge base”? asks Jesse Saffron of the Pope Center. What happens when liberal arts courses bring in too much popular culture? According to an ACTA report that graded schools’ liberal arts curricula, UC- Berkeley received an “F” for its general education because of too many trivial courses--one example, “Vampires and Other Horrors in Film and Media,” which fulfilled the American Culture, Governance, and History requirements at UC Davis—and too few courses in literature, composition, American history, foreign language, mathematics, economics, and science. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

The Humanities Need a Course Correction (Wall Street Journal)

The Future of History (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Artists, Athletes, and Governing Boards: Who Plays and Who Wins? (Trusteeship)

Shakespeare in Modern English? (New York Times)

A Facelift for Shakespeare (Wall Street Journal)

Sub-standardized Testing (Hoover)

Grow Up! (Harvard Magazine)

Lecture Me. Really (New York Times)

Liberal Arts for Conservative Minds (Wall Street Journal)

Love, Dad: A Letter to My College-age Son (City Journal)

The Looming Gamification of Higher Education (Chronicle of Higher Education)

A 40-Year-Old Idea: Higher Education's Next Big Thing (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Unprincipled on Principle (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Deadly Progressivism (First Things)

The Future of Humanities: Reading  (Humanities)

Do College Sports Really Need the NCAA?
... While money and academics continue to dominate the university athletics arena, Michigan State has announced a pilot program in which so-called “club” sports, like lacrosse and fencing, would be staffed by medical professionals, as is the practice for sports governed by the NCAA. If successful, the program could give the college sports world an idea of what athletics sans the NCAA would be like. At the same time, the National Labor Relations Board reversed a decision by one of its regional officials declaring football players at Northwestern University employees of the institution and thus entitled to organize. And a new documentary short , “The Big Game: College Football Stealing Your Future,” argues that despite popular perceptions, the vast majority of college football programs actually lose money—an average of $11 million a year. Still, universities continue to cut faculty while hiring “star” coaches, and spend nearly seven times on athletics as they do on academics—$92,000 per student athlete vs. $13,600 per student on education, according to Education News. The genie is certainly out of the bottle. A group of former college athletes is appealing a three-judge panel ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which upheld NCAA rules prohibiting payments to student athletes. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:


Rolling in Cash, Crimson Tide Lifts All Boats (New York Times)




Full Campus Diversity Still Elusive .... Whether in a college president’s speech, a New York Times’ column, or a foundation’s report, college diversity—and how to increase it among studentsand faculty—continues as a hot topic. Vassar President Catharine Bond Hill says that the U.S. lags behind other nations in college enrollment – now just 44 percent of high school graduates. “Twenty-five years ago, we were top in the world [for participation] -- now we are not even in the top 10; we’re at number 12” said Professor Hill, a former World Bank economist. She attributed much of that drop to America’s failure to enroll its Hispanic students in college—only 20 percent do, compared to 59 percent of Asian Americans. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says the high percentage of Asian-Americans in college is due to a culture of hard work and intact families. There are efforts, however, to close the ethnic gaps. Kristof colleague Frank Bruni praised a new web-based application from 80 of the top U.S. colleges that includes features to aid low-income students. And an organization called Jobs for the Future is creating programs to incentivize high schools without AP courses to offer them. As for teachers, the National Journal highlights the paucity of faculty of color in the U.S. saying only 3 percent of the entire U.S. population has PhDs and of that 5.9 are African-Americans and 5.4 are Hispanic. Ideas for increasing those groups include on-campus mentoring programs and a top-down commitment to diversity hiring. Recently Susan Taffe Reed who landed the directorship of the Native American Program at Dartmouth “said she would use her [former] role as president of the Eastern Delaware Nations to help Indian students adjust to life at the Ivy League school.” There’s only one problem: various tribal officials say she is not from a state or federally recognized tribe and are protesting her appointment. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

Asian-Americans and Stereotypes (The New York Times)

What Makes a Good and Fair College Student Body? (Wall Street Journal)

Harvard’s Chinese Exclusion Act (Wall Street Journal)

A Rallying Cry To Bolster Black Colleges (Book Review) (Washington Post)

Black Colleges Offer Rewards for Those Who Finish (Wall Street Journal)

Welcoming Transgender Students (Chronicle of Higher Education)

The Sexual Orientation Wars Continue (National Review)

No Evidence of Bias at Princeton (Princeton Alumni Weekly)

No Bias at Princeton (Letter from Office of Civil Rights)

The Hard Untruths of Ta-Nehisi Coates (C0mmentary)

Commentary by Ta-Nehisi Coates (The Atlantic)

“The March of Foolish Things,” interview with Thomas Sewell (Wall Street Journal)

The Diversity Light Turns to Mascots (New York Times)









After One Campus Is Attacked, Others Start to Adapt .... Even before a shooter killed nine people at an Oregon community college on October 1, higher education leaders had added mass shootings to the list of hazards—joining fires and bombings, earthquakes, and tornadoes—for which they must prepare, whilefaculty are increasingly worried about handing out bad grades. To adapt to this new world, schools are initiating various systems, including automatic locking mechanisms for dormitory and classroom doors, tracking software for students and teachers, and police force drills with faculty and staff members. The Oregon shooting set off another round of debate about America’s gun culture, begun just hours after massacre by President Obama , who said, “The United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun-safety laws -- even in the face of repeated mass killings.” The New York Times’ Frank Bruni called a new law in Texas allowing concealed guns on university campuses “perverse and nonsensical.” In California, which has some of the strictest firearm restrictions in the nation, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation placing a ban on the ability to carry a concealed handgun at colleges and schools, becoming the 20th state to ban firearms on campus. Concealed weapons, however, are still legal in eight states, including Oregon. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

Cops’ Contested Role (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Fear (New York Review of Books)


New Initiative Aims to Double the Number of Students Studying Abroad .... The world may be going global, but less than 10% of U.S. undergraduate students study abroad (compared with 37 percent of German students), Inside Higher Ed reports. Now, more than 350 U.S. colleges have signed on to the Generation Study Abroad initiative, which seeks to double American study abroad enrollment, to about 600,000, by the end of the decade. TO THE TOP


Fraternities on the Hot Seat .... On U.S. campuses fraternity controversies abound. Four former University at Albany-SUNY students have been charged in the hazing death of a 19-year-old student in November 2014. At Wesleyan University, the party is over for fraternity houses. A year after the college mandated that fraternities with campus houses had to go coed, no on-campus frat houses remain, causing bitter debate between the university and alumni, donors and students who oppose the school’s stance. Meanwhile, a coalition of national fraternity and sorority groups has hired former Trent Lott, the former Republican Senator from Mississippi, to lobby on behalf of the Safe Campus Act, a bill that would prohibit colleges from punishing a student for sexual assault unless police have also been notified of the alleged crime. Finally, while campus administrators keep their eyes on traditional (mostly white) fraternities, violent acts of hazing at Asian-American fraternities are falling under the radar. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

Harvard Fraternity Makes Fun of Sorority Videos (Washington Post)


The Yik Yak Investigation .... The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights is investigating whether the University of Mary Washington created a sexually hostile environment by failing to promptly address threats of rape and murder made against students on a popular social media site named Yik Yak; a campus feminist who was harassed on the app was later found strangled to death. The case is just one of many in the ongoing debate over sex and sexual assault on campuses. Hans Bader, a senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, analyzes how the “No Means No” mantra of previous generations became “ Yes Means Yes”—the idea that partners need to obtain explicit consent before proceeding with a sexual encounter—and how a recent New York Times article inadvertently revealed the “stupidity” surrounding the movement. How to handle allegations of sexual assault on college campuses is often viewed as a battle of rights between conservatives (who are concerned with the rights of the accused) and liberals (who focus on the rights of victims). But the deeper issue, according to Bradford Richardson and Jon Shields, is the anything goes policies on many campuses. The two researchers studied more than 1,300 colleges and universities and found that while reports of sexual assault have been climbing at all types of colleges , assault rates are 3.1 to 4.4 times higher at the most permissive schools than at “dry” campuses that ban alcohol or prohibit opposite-sex overnight guests in residence halls. Pomona College and the University of San Francisco are the first schools to adopt the Callisto reporting system, named after a figure from Greek mythology who survived a sexual assault by Zeus and was later transformed into a powerful bear. According to the Washington Post , it allows victims of sexual assault to create secure, time-stamped records of their attacks and alerts authorities only if another person uses the system to report the same assailant.



Keeping Track of College Finances .... Moody’s recent college prediction brings a chill to the air: by 2017 fifteen public and non-profit colleges will close each year, compared to the current rate of five per year. Melissa Korn and Aaron Kuriloff tell this tale of woe in the Wall Street Journal as they tell us that colleges looking to tap the bond market for low interest rates may face difficulties, especially those that are small, not well-known and financed primarily by tuition. A poster child for this scenario is Roseman University of Health Sciences in Henderson, NV, which had its debt downgraded last February by Standard & Poor’s. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

Problems Mount for the “Other” College Debt (Wall Street Journal)

Build it and They Will Come (New York Times Magazine)

How Do College and University Endowments Work? (NACUBO—YouTube video)

Stress Testing: How Can You Ensure Your Institution's Fiscal Health? (Trusteeship)


And Then, There’s All That Student Debt .... The Pope Center’s George Leef, in an ominously titled “The Biggest Myth About Student Loans” essay, warns that even though the common thinking about student loans is that they cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, the fact is—they can be! While the college loan bankruptcy is rare, he believes that taxpayers will be the ones to pay. Disagreeing is George Capelli, a Wharton professor, who warns in his new book, “Will College Pay Off?” that whether or not taxpayers pay the debt, bankruptcy will follow the debtor for life. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

Game of Loans: Will College Pay Off? (Wall Street Journal)

Why Student Debtors Go Unrescued (New York Times)

Recent College Grads Doubt College Worth (Wall Street Journal)

Wells Fargo Under Investigation on Student Loans (Wall Street Journal)

The Law School Debt Crisis (New York Times)

Corinthian Colleges Ordered to Pay Damages to Students (Wall Street Journal)

The Profit Crackdown Widens (Center for American Progress)

Repayment Rates Show New Depths for Student Debt (New York Times)

A Debt Setup That’s Failing the Students (New York Times)

Supreme Court May Take on Student Debt (Bloomberg Business)

-The Official Docket (Supreme Court of the United State)

Why Congress Should Think Twice Before Killing Grant Program (EdCentral)

Letting Perkins Loans Expire is Poor Policymaking (Education News)

Obama Announces Significant FAFSA, Financial Aid Changes (Education News)

Starbucks College Achievement Program Working (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Here’s Why Tuition Keeps Rising (Minding the Campus)

Free College for All Is Not the Best Way to Expand Access (Pope Center)

Tuition is Not the Main Obstacle to Student Success (Education Next)

Over 80 Top Colleges to Use New Online Application Portal (Education News)

College Applications, Parental Exasperations (Wall Street Journal)




What’s In a Name? ... Regardless of the time-honored tradition of naming schools after benefactors (Harvard, Stanford …), students at the former Brooklyn Polytechnic School of Engineering are bristling at its name change to NYU Tandon School of Engineering (thanks to a $100 million gift from NYU trustee Chandrika Tandon). Despite the fact that the school has changed its name six times since its founding in 1856, according to Mike Vilensky of The Wall Street Journal, the protesting students fear the removal of the word “polytechnic” will diminish the prestige of their degrees. Meanwhile, in upstate New York, the small, private Paul Smith’s College will keep its name and forfeit $20 million that Joan Weil Weill, wife of financier Sanford I. Weill (Citibank, etc.), was going to give the college if it would change its name to Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College. The Board of Trustees agreed, but the will of the school’s founder, Phelps Smith, stated that the school was to retain that name in perpetuity – and a judge agreed. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

Colleges a boon to Local Economies (Wall Street Journal)

Do Businesspeople Make Good University Presidents? (The New Yorker)

Corporate Influence on College Curricula (Inside Higher Ed)

Why American Education Needs a David Cameron (Daily Beast)

Expectations Mount for Trustees in Higher Education (New York Times)


Higher Education Is Changing, and So Must Its Governance Systems .... George Leef, director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, reviews Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education by William G. Bowen and Eugene M. Tobin. He likes it. The coauthors, both former college presidents (Princeton and Hamilton, respectively), argue that while “nimbleness” is the compelling modern demand, every issue facing today's colleges and universities are freighted by a century-old system of governance. Perhaps trustees can learn something from Uber, the new app that “allows amateurs with cars to compete with licensed taxi drivers and owners,” according to a Washington Monthly report on the use and abuse of college adjuncts. If Uber drivers can be employees, argues Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society, then why not adjuncts. While some professors still enjoy the benefits of tenure, she tells the Monthly, “many of their colleagues make up the proletariat of the ivory tower, with no hope of advancement, abysmal wages and no job security.” Meanwhile, two new proposed government regulations in wage and hour law—one that would dramatically increase the number of employees eligible for overtime pay—could have a “seismic” impact on college finances, says Lawrence White, vice president and general counsel at the University of Delaware, writing in Trusteeship magazine. Finally, a less seismic proposal by a small group of University of Chicago faculty have revived the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors in an effort to get faculty more of a say in administrative decisions.TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

The Greatest Book About American Higher Ed (Chronicle of Higher Education)




Defense Department Regs for U. of Phoenix May Have Domino Effect .... Apollo Education Group, the parent company of University of Phoenix, saw its shares fall 18 percent in the wake of sanctions placed on it by the Department of Defense (DoD). In October the DoD prohibited Phoenix from recruiting on military bases because it did not seek the proper permission to either do the recruiting or use the military logo on replicas of the military’s “challenge coins,” tokens the military distributes for excellent work. Phoenix is also under investigation for its aggressive recruiting and deceptive marketing tactics in part because 8 percent of University of Phoenix’s revenue comes from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). All this has spurred the Department of Education and Defense to coordinate their efforts to take a closer look not just at University of Phoenix but also at career and for-profit colleges in general. The VA wants to add features to the online comparison tool for schools that it developed that would flag schools that are under investigation, being sued or have reached a settlement. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

The Closing of a Newsroom's Mind (Wall Street Journal)

Conflict of interest in SEC investigation of ITT (Politico)

Keep gainful employment rule out of spending bills (Dear Members of Congress letter)

Trust Busting Higher Ed (Wall Street Journal)

Criticism of the University Of Phoenix Is Undeserved (Wall Street Journal)

The For-Profit-School Scandal (The New Yorker)


Cracking Down on College Accrediting .... The accrediting commission that once threatened to shut down City College of San Francisco is now fighting to stay alive, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, and a California task force says it’s time for the state’s 113 community colleges to seek new accreditors. In a 274-page report released in August, the task force accused the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of caring more about regulatory minutiae than about helping colleges improve. Amid pressure from politicians and college leaders, City College got a reprieve while the ACCJ is now vowing to be more transparent and to increase public involvement at its meetings. Across the country, accreditors may soon face greater scrutiny as outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan (see TK story below) prepares to unveil a package of proposals aimed at forcing colleges that receive federal money to improve graduation rates and to provide students with job skills. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

Federal Watchdog Eyes Accreditor (Insider Higher Ed)


College Scorecard Not Quite Making the Grade .... The Obama Administration’s new tool, Scorecard, will give you the graduation rates of many—but not all—U.S. colleges as well as median salaries of the schools’ graduates ten years out. James Stewart, in this round-up article from the New York Times, quotes Times colleague Frank Bruni, who has written a book on the college admission process, saying, “It’s a classic example of confusing causation and correlation.” Those salary numbers may not mean much; they also don’t match up with another such rating, “Payscale,” which has produced different, and higher, numbers. U.S. News has a well-known ranking system that doesn’t even include future pay.  TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

The Feds Won’t Rate My College (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Schools Lose Ground in International Rankings (Education News)


Mixed Reviews For Arne Duncan .... Damned if he did, damned if he didn’t and damned with faint praise. Those were the assessments of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan after he announced he would be stepping down at the end of the year. Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, concluded that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan “is a likable man who drips with passion and sincerity,” but who was dismissive of Congress, launched a war on for-profit schools and “manufactured hysteria over a supposed wave of campus rape” – a summation prompted by Duncan’s surprise resignation announcement on October 2. While praising his replacement, former New York State Commissioner of Education John King, a Wall Street Journal editorial opined that Duncan’s achievements were “overshadowed by his unwillingness to fully take on the union-backed status quo.” Meanwhile, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, praised Duncan for “providing $100 billion in emergency education aid” with the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and for bringing needed emphasis on career and technical education, but criticized him for being too focused on testing. King, who hails from Brooklyn, lost both parents as a child, but went on to attend Harvard and says, "Teachers are the reason I am alive.”



Further Reading:

Now We Know Who Loves Duncan and King (Diane Ravitch blog)

Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Step Down in December (Wall Street Journal)

The Best Videos of Arne Duncan Playing Basketball (Chronicle of Higher Education)





P U B L I C   T R U S T





Doubting the Holy Grail of Social Science Research .... Can you trust what you read in psychology literature? Perhaps not, according to some 270 researchers working as the Reproducibility Project. Gathering 100 studies from three psychology journals, the RP researchers set about to redo the experiments to see if they could get the same results and discovered that “a large portion of replications produced weaker evidence for the original findings....” The Weekly Standard’s Andrew Ferguson said that “​the most alarming, shocking, devastating, and depressing thing​” about RP’s findings “is that anybody at all was surprised. The warning bells about the feebleness of behavioral science have been clanging for many years.” TO THE TOP


Religion and Meaning on Campus .... New York Times’ columnist David Brooks says that the “careerist” milieu on contemporary college campuses appears to be waning and a swing to educating “the whole student,” spiritually as well as academically, is increasing. While whole-student education isn’t new–after all, as Brooks says, many a college started out as religious-based--it has gone out of fashion. But now, “Institutes are popping up—with interdisciplinary humanities programs and even meditation centers,” he says. The key is to discuss religion and morality by being inclusive and offering a wide swath of spiritual and theological ideas. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, author of “Not in God’s Name,” which examines the violence in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, echoes Brooks in a Wall Street Journal essay, writing that “religion has returned because it is hard to live without meaning.” Perhaps Sacks’ book should be required reading on college campuses. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

Schools for Wisdom (New York Times)

The Decline and Fall of Congress (Wall Street Journal)

An Apostle to the Intellectuals (Wall Street Journal)

The Wonder-Wounded Harold Bloom (New York Review of Books)

The Secularization of Higher Education (Books and Culture)

What Ails the Academy? (Harvard Magazine)

Featured Books”

Michael M. Crow and William B. Dabars, Designing the New American University

Kevin Carey, The End of College

Frank Bruni, Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be

Lani Guinier, The Tyranny of the Meritocracy

The Man Who Wrote the Greatest Book on Higher Ed (Chronicle of Higher Education)




E M E R G E N T   O R D E R S




Governance Issues .... Challenge all human institutions, from Carnegie Hall as a non-profit, the Mormons as a church, academic journals as publishers, even the United States and China as nations. TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

Carnegie Hall Taps Interim Head (Wall Street Journal)

Storm at Carnegie Hall (New York Times)

Three from Utah Join Mormon Board (Wall Street Journal)

The Future of Peer Review (Chronicle of Higher Education)

Activists Hit Block on German Boards (Wall Street Journal)




Home-schooled Kids Do Better on Tests .... Julia Lawrence of Education News reports that children schooled at home score better on standardized tests–-from 65th to 85th percentiles--compared to an average of only 50 percent for traditionally schooled children. And things could get better. While only 4% of American school-age children are home-schooled, that is a 75% increase since 1999. TO THE TOP


Origins of the Federal Department of Education: Memo to Jimmy Carter .... The Wall Street Journal reproduced a 1978 memo from Jimmy Carter’s chief of staff, Hamilton Jordan, urging the President to make good on his campaign promise to create a separate Department of Education. Perhaps not surprisingly, Jordan’s major arguments focused on the political clout of teacher unions. Wrote Jordan: “The teachers of this country have been our political friends in the past and can be our valuable political allies in the future.”  TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

The President's Bully Pulpit (New York Review of Books)

Obama Seeks Election-Year Wins on Education (Wall Street Journal)

Obama's Telling Moment (New Yorker)

7 Ways the Department of Education Made College Worse (Foundation for Economic Education)


Uncle Sam Spam .... Hoover Institution fellow John Cochrane takes the U.S. government to task for hiring behavioral science academics to analyze the citizenry’s lack of response to government programs. The academics’ proposal is to remind citizens, via email and texts, to do things such as apply for college or stay current on their student loans. Cochrane calls this spam and if it is, why waste time with academics? Hire marketing writers instead. TO THE TOP


Are the Culture Wars Back? ... A review of “I Lost It At The Videostore: A Filmmaker’s Oral History of a Vanished Era” in a recent New Yorker tells us that there’s a lot to learn outside the classroom, but a new critique of E.D. Hirsch’s 1987 classic “Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know,” suggests that the culture wars are back.  TO THE TOP





MOOC Mania Continues, At Least in Number .... The number of massive open online courses continues to soar. In 2011, when one of the first MOOCs debuted at Stanford University, fewer than 10 existed worldwide. The cumulative number of MOOCs didn’t break 100 until the end of 2012. Today, according to a new report, the cumulative number of courses started or scheduled has reached nearly 4,000. Introductory classes in statistics and computer science are among the most popular; business and management courses are also popular. In other technology news, the Online Learning Consortium has announced a new prize competition, with rewards of $10,000 and $100,000, to faculty-led teams and institutions using digital education to improve outcomes for underserved students. And the American Council on Education has unveiled the Alternative Credit Project to help students kick start, or re-start, college through low- or no-cost online courses. Participating schools agree to accept transfer credit for these courses, allowing students to enroll with up to two years of credit toward a four-year degree at an accredited online or traditional college.  TO THE TOP


Further Reading:

U. of Florida Cancels Online Partnership With Pearson (Chronicle of Higher Education)

America’s Ten Most-Innovative College Presidents (Washington Monthly)

MIT to Use MOOCs As “Admissions Test” (Chronicle of Higher Education)

China Turns to Online Classes (New York Times)


Big Win for Google and Fair Use .... The Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Google’s scanning of books for its Google Book Project is fair use, upholding an earlier ruling against the Authors Guild. According to Wikipedia, only out-of-copyright books are scanned in their entirety. TO THE TOP


Using Science to Improve Teacher Training .... Deans for Impact, a national organization composed of two dozen deans of education schools, say its time to remake ed schools by applying cognitive science research to classroom practice, reports education blogger Joanne Jacobs. In a report titled The Science of Learning, the group urges the use of common set of principles, including data-driven improvement, common outcome measures, empirical validation of teacher preparation methods and accountability for student learning.  TO THE TOP


~  E N D  ~


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P U R P O S E  |  Hate Speech v. Free Speech From Missouri to the Ivy League, a battle rages. MORE


Saving the Liberal Arts The fight is on. MORE


Staying in School New programs help. MORE


Does College Need the NCAA? Money and academics collide. MORE


Diversity Still Elusive  But 80 colleges adopt a new application. MORE


G O V E R N A N C E  |

Campus Massacre  Oregon shooting fires guns and violence debate. MORE


Study Abroad Only 10% of undergrads do it.  MORE


Fraternities in Trouble

A hazing murder trial is tip of the iceberg. MORE


Yik Yak Investigation

Social media and murder. MORE