Posts Tagged ‘education’

Scholarship

March 3, 2017

I received an email about a scholarship opportunity to forward to our students.  It was worth a few thousand dollars and required an essay, transcript and a few letters of recommendation.

I knew quite a few students who could use the money, and were worthy of a scholarship of this size.  Hard working, capable students.

However, as I continued reading the requirements I saw that none of these students qualified.  Was there a minimum GPA?  Sure, yet all of the students I could name met this requirement.

Instead, the students that come to mind were eliminated because they were not Hispanic.

Morally speaking, an individual or an organization should be allowed to give money to whomever they choose, regardless of whatever stupid reason they choose.  However, you have to wonder about someone who is willing to give money to someone based on their bloodwork and heritage.

I deleted this email.  This organization will not receive my support.  If they wish to choose their candidates based on non-essentials such as race, my students are too good to be involved in such an organization.

Thank you for reading my post.

The State of Education

February 10, 2017

At the local, state and federal levels, I think everyone in education is freaking out over the new president.  Between the executive orders and the budget cuts, the fear is that many programs are on the chopping block.

There are so many little grants to help the students, and some of them actually do.
Some of the programs benefit students, but is that important?

It is a little calloused, I realize, but I have been watching the waste in the schools for some time.  One school buys all of the students back packs filled with school supplies each school year.  At first glance, this seems like a great idea.  Students who may come from financially disadvantaged homes will now have school supplies at no cost. Yet, by week 2, the pencils are all broken, the paper turned to spit wads, and the  calculators missing.  The backpacks end up being left in the hallways.  By week 3, it’s all gone.

I have been a tutor for quite some time.  As a tutor, I can hep the students on their math homework.  Instead, most kids don’t bother to ask for help.  They don’t keep their old tests to study what was missed, they often skip their homework.

The best thing about these budget cuts is that students will have to learn to be more independent and responsible for their own education.

Students will have to keep track of their pencil, or they won’t have one.  Students will need to learn to take advantage of the opportunities they get- as they will have fewer of them.

 

Corruption in Universities

May 19, 2016

I am not yet prepared to discuss the name of my university- the one where I work.  However, it has come to my attention that it is incredibly corrupt. I have seen hints of it in the past, but I saw it for the first time personally the other day.

On Monday, I received notice that I no longer had an office.  Or a lab.  All in all, our department lost around 80% of its space during a Friday meeting.  I received an angry email asking why there was still stuff in these spaces.  We were supposed to leave these spaces in 2017 when another department is scheduled to move, but suddenly, we don’t have them anymore.  An hour later, I got an email threatening to “surplus” everything that was left.

Could it be retaliation?

Two years ago, we had a professor who caught a certain administrator’s daughter cheating (again).  This professor (who won professor of the year that year) was planning to fail this student.   However, he was untenured, and was denied tenure instead.

This year, that same administrator was running for the position of president, as the current president planned to retire. At least one professor from our department was on the search committee.  He was not selected (there were some REALLY good candidates), and now, in spite of increased enrollment, we lose space.

Now, I head to work to tell high school students to study hard and do well in school so that, what?  If they have a relative working at the National Labs, they get a free pass, but otherwise, there are no jobs?  Many of our graduates have no jobs- and they have engineering degrees!

Intel is laying off even more people than initially announced.  It was the biggest private employer of technical folks in the state.  Instead, they are disguising how many people are gone- in addition to the layoffs, they have forced quite a few into retirement.

It’s all a fraud.  All of it.  Education, schooling, college. It’s really just welfare for PhD’s.  I’m currently using my master’s dipoma in engineering as a door mat, as it is from this university.  It’s worth more as a door mat than as a diploma.

I want it all to crash down so that it can be rebuilt.  It just involves displacing 500 years of inbreeding and the meth that plague this state.

I don’t think that will happen.  Perhaps the only honest path for me, rather than lying to students about jobs and futures and potential is to quit and work an honest, real, fast-food job.

Letters of Recommendation

May 13, 2016

I recently read an article about a professor who agreed to give a letter of recommendation to a student, only to turn around and deny the letter at a later date.  This happens often; a student was productive, but then fell by the wayside later on, and the letter would no longer  be representative of the student’s performance.  However, in the case of this article, the professor learned that the student was getting a concealed carry permit. You can read her cowardly essay here, if you can stomach her whining.

I’m not saying the professor has to write a letter of recommendation.  Nobody can force a professor to write one.  Besides, who wants a letter of recommendation that was written by coersion instead of genuine approval?   However, I would like to call attention to several things:

1.  If you said you would write a letter, then change your mind, you owe the student an explanation.  You deserve for them to be angry at you, especially if he or she was counting on that letter for admission to graduate school or for a job recommendation.
2.  If you are willing to rescind such an offer on political basis, you should consider how a student’s politics affect your interactions with them.  Are you grading fairly?  Are you answering his or her questions?  If you are not, fix it.  Or perhaps pursue another career.

The liberal press has eaten this story up.  They mention this professor’s bravery in the matter.  I wonder what they’d say if a professor refused to write a letter of recommendation on other political bases, besides one they supported. Perhaps instead, a professor decided to retract an offer to write a letter for a student who had an abortion.  Or perhaps one who participated in the Occupy Wallstreet movement.  Would that professor be considered brave?

Both of those examples are examples of professors who are cowards.  As a professor, your job is to objectively grade and recommend students into the real world.  If you are incapable of doing so, you are not brave.  You are a fraud.

Taxes

February 26, 2016

I completed my taxes this week.  No, I don’t feel patriotic.  Thankfully, I’ll get a refund this year.

Am I being hypocritical by working in the public sector and then denouncing taxes?  Isn’t that biting the hand that feeds me? No.  I am morally opposed to taxes.  However, they are not going away any time soon, especially not because I am posting on my own politics blog.  Because of this, it is my job to turn those tax dollars into the best investment I can in my power.  I consider myself very good at my jobs.

Furthermore, the problem of tax-funded industries (such as education and transportation) often leads to other problems.  Instead of running an efficient business, one where inefficiency is punished by a decreased bottom-line, and perhaps the failure of the business, a tax-funded business is allowed to run at a loss.  For example, the schools are expected to run at a loss; and nobody cares. Instead of finding ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of education, we are allowing it to stagnate by letting it run at a loss.

In the case of transportation, I hear plenty of people discuss privatized roads as a total disaster, full of inconvenient and expensive toll-booths and so on.  In reality, the many toll-booths, inefficiencies in traffic laws, poor maintenance of too many roads, and so on is really only possible in the subsidized economy.  A private company would see a ton of toll booths as a giant expense.  Perhaps instead, they would come up with some other way of tracking your usage of the road, or perhaps go to a subscription-based program.   I admit that I am not an entrepreneuer in this field, so I don’t know what is the most efficient way.  I do know that the days of repairing the same roads over and over again (regardless of their conditions), the days of toll booth operator unions defending drunk toll booth operators, and so on would not be permitted by a free economy.

Thank you for reading my late-night rant.

The Statist Mind and Education

September 3, 2013

If you weeded through the news about Syria, you might have caught a story like this. In essence, Obama wants to find a way to lower college costs, and is developing a rating system for funding.

On the surface, this might not bother you. If not, read it again and notice this line, “outlined plan to institute a rating system to measure metrics such as graduation rates…”

Under such a system, funding would come from what percentage of students graduate in a set amount of time. This is already happening at the state level in many states- and it is frightening.

The problem with a system that promotes graduation rates over everything else is that the pressure is on professors to pass as many students as possible. Don’t fail anyone, or reduce the number of people failing. Cater to the students to keep them in the school, regardless of whether or not these students should be in college at all.

One can hope the proponents of this system are simply naive, thinking that professors will be able to reach more people, and graduate more scientists, doctors and engineers. One would have to be incredibly naive to think that this would not result in grade inflation.

Why does grade inflation matter? Does it matter that a professor bumps a few “F” grades to a “D” so that a few students can graduate? Does it matter if the quality of education decreases, if it means that the quantity of graduates is higher?

Ask yourself that question the next time you hear of an industrial disaster, such as the BP American Refinery Explosion. Ask yourself if the answer to this problem is MORE engineers, or BETTER engineers. Ask yourself if it is more important that we not damage anyone’s self esteem by failing them, or more important that we do not have factories exploding.

Why the statist mind would prefer MORE engineers lies deep within their philosophy, and manifests itself in many ways. The statist mind views everyone as a cog. If we have more cogs, we have more cogs. To them, engineering work, medical work, scientific work- that’s all just training. It’s not a mindset, it’s environment. If we take a subset of 30 people, we can train all of them to be engineers or janitors. It doesn’t matter. They fail to recognize a creative human mind, capable of creating new things or solving difficult problems.

You can hear this in their chants:

They talk of wage differences between the rich and poor. Ultimately, they want a janitor to make the same amount of money as a doctor. After all, it’s all in their training, not in their ability.

They talk of needing more doctors to implement Obamacare (and claiming they aren’t retiring as it becomes reality). Their solution- get more people through medschool. Which people? Any. It doesn’t matter who. Just get some people wearing stethoscopes and white coats. Then they are doctors, right?

They talk of certain groups of people never “being given a chance” to invent, create, or run a business. They miss that it takes a creative mind to invent, create or run a business- and that (typically) nothing was given to them.

The most extreme will even talk of “everything has already been invented.” The first time I saw this was in a very old newspaper clipping, perhaps 1880s. Since then, we’ve developed refrigeration, radio communication (including TV), automobiles, computers, the atomic model, vaccines, and a million other things you can name. They miss that it took a creative mind- a special kind of mind- to envision what had not existed.

Do you want to know why a high school diploma is worthless today? Because you’ve taken all achievement from it. Everyone gets it. Do you want to know why suicides are up, in spite of efforts to stop “damaging” self-esteem? You’ve taken away achievement, which is the only thing which self-esteem can be built.

Destroy achievement, destroy America.