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Old April 27th, 2009 #21
confederate
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Default lay-offs? what lay-offs?

...."One place recent graduates can look for work is the U.S. government. The government has postings for more than 40,000 open slots right now and expects to increase hiring employees straight from college."


something telling with all the lay-offs in recent months that the government is the only "growth industry" in this country. and, what it tells is not good at all.
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Old May 9th, 2009 #22
Mike Parker
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[College: holding pen for the unemployed.]

Obama Proposes Unemployed Get Grants for More Education, Training

The president was outlining steps Friday to help the unemployed pursue education and training while keepign their unemployment benefits.

On the same day a new report showed the pace of layoffs is slowing, President Obama outlined new aid to the jobless that allows unemployed workers to get more education and training while keeping their jobless benefits and directs the government to help pay for that training.

"Our unemployment insurance system should no longer be a safety net, but a steppingstone to a new future," Obama said Friday. "It should offer folks educational opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have" and give them skills they need to "get ahead when the economy comes back."

At the beginning of his speech, Obama noted the Labor Department report released Friday that showed the economy lost another 539,00 jobs in April, saying it will take months, maybe even years, to pull out of the recession.

"Although we have a long way to go before we can put this recession behind us, the gears of our economic engine are slowly beginning to turn," Obama said, noting that consumer spending and and home sales are stabilizing while construction spending is up for the first time in six months.

"Of course, that's no solace to those who have lost their jobs, or to the small business owners whose hearts break at letting long-time employees go," he said.

The $787 billion economic recovery package Obama signed into law in February gave states billions of dollars to provide 26 extra weeks of benefits for the unemployed who want job training. Twelve states have already expanded their benefits and 20 more states are expected to do so.

But the law kept in place a rule that forced people to give up their unemployment check if they stopped looking for work and decided to go back to school.

The administration noted Friday that when unemployed workers decide to return to school, they also don't qualify for federal grants because eligibility is based upon the previous year's income.

A senior administration official said that will be changed so that unemployed workers will be able to get Pell Grants for education and colleges will be able to increase financial aid packages without facing audits. Beginning in July, the maximum Pell Grant will be boosted by $500, to $5,350.

According to the White House, money provided in the stimulus bill and through the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a new $2,500 tax credit for four years of college tuition, would be made permanent, providing $200 billion in scholarships and credits over the next decade.

The president's proposed 2010 budget also would "ensure the Pell Grant continues to grow steadily by making it an entitlement."

The president was making the announcement hours after the government reported that the economy shed 539,000 more jobs in April, driving the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, the highest level since late 1983. It was the fewest jobs lost in six months. March's unemployment numbers were also revised upward from 663,000 to 699,000.

Obama has also directed Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Education Secretary Arne Duncan to implement the changes. Both departments also have launched a new Web site, http://www.opportunity.gov, to help get the word out to the public.

States will be told to send letters to every unemployment recipient describing available training opportunities and financial support.

Obama is also going to ask Americans to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training so that the U.S. will have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009...lp-unemployed/
 
Old May 15th, 2009 #23
Mike Parker
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The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses

by (?) Alan Charles Kors, Harvey A. Silverglate

Quote:
The authors of this broadside, both civil libertarians, regard campus speech codes against racist, sexist or homophobic language, as well as multicultural "diversity education" programs, as coercive "academic thought reform." Political correctness at U.S. colleges and universities, they maintain, has led to the emergence of a "shadow university" as administrators, dormitory advisers and officers of student life treat students not as individuals, but as embodiments of abstract groups. Traversing a minefield of thorny issues with passionate conviction, Kors, a University of Pennsylvania history professor, and Silverglate, a criminal defense attorney, charge that the "political and cultural left" is today the worst abuser of the principles of open, equal free speech. They argue that a double standard prevails, whereby self-appointed progressives censor voices deemed offensive to women, feminists, gays, ethnic or racial minorities, while these same "progressives" condone equally offensive speech directed against conservatives, religious Christians and others. What distinguishes this outspoken contribution to a contentious national debate already clotted with combatants is the authors' scathing campus-by-campus tour, documenting what they see as repressive speech codes, sweeping notions of sexual harassment and arbitrary disciplinary hearings against students and faculty that lack due process protection. The authors' well-nigh absolutist defense of robust free speech?even when its content is viciously racist or otherwise hateful?guarantees that their brief will be controversial.
Quote:
The famous University of Pennsylvania "water buffalo" case is here. MIT puts in a fairly impressive showing, notably our decision to pay administrators to watch porn movies to decide whether they were obscene. Under this policy, proposed in 1984, Dean James Tewhey prosecuted an MIT undergrad for showing Deep Throat, a film held by the Massachusetts courts to be acceptable under Cambridge's community standards. Under MIT rules, the undergrad, Adam Dershowitz, was not entitled to legal representation before the MIT Committee on Discipline (COD). However, he could bring a relative, so he asked his uncle, Alan Dershowitz, to come down the street from Harvard Law School. This resulted in an acquittal for young Dershowitz and some changes in MIT policy. COD hearings would no longer be open to the student press, students would no longer be entitled to bring a relative, and it would henceforth be forbidden to tape-record proceedings.
Quote:
Kors is a scholar and Silverglate is a civil rights lawer. So the book differs from what a journalist might have written in the provision of philosophical and legal underpinnings for all of the newsworthy cases. Most interestingly, the roots of speech limits on campus are traced back to Herbert Marcuse (the only philosopher ever to appear on the cover of TIME Magazine). Marcuse argued that as long as society was oppressed by the powerful, free speech does not help the weak. True toleration and liberation could only be achieved by withdrawing "toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the gorunds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medicare care, etc."
Amazon.com: The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses: Alan Charles Kors, Harvey A. Silverglate, Press The Free: Books Amazon.com: The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America's Campuses: Alan Charles Kors, Harvey A. Silverglate, Press The Free: Books
 
Old June 21st, 2009 #24
Alex Linder
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[In times of trouble, nonessentials fade. College is one of them.]

The Universities in Trouble

By Andrew Delbanco

Pioneering Portfolio Management: An Unconventional Approach to Institutional Investment
by David F. Swensen

Free Press, 408 pp., $35.00
Tearing Down the Gates: Confronting the Class Divide in American Education
by Peter Sacks

University of California Press, 376 pp., $24.95
Creating a Class: College Admissions and the Education of Elites
by Mitchell L. Stevens

Harvard University Press, 308 pp., $25.95
Fulfilling the Commitment: Recommendations for Reforming Federal Student Aid in Brief
by Sandy Baum, Michael McPherson, and others

Spencer Foundation/College Board/Lumina Foundation for Education, September 2008, available at www.collegeboard.com
Trends in College Spending: Where Does the Money Come From? Where Does It Go?
by Jane V. Wellman and others

Delta Cost Project/ Lumina Foundation for Education, January 2009, available at www.deltacostproject.org
1.

Since the financial meltdown began to accelerate last summer, the world has changed utterly for colleges and universities just as it has for everyone who had not been stashing cash under the mattress. Along with failing banks, auto manufacturers, and insurance companies, universities have been making headlines—especially those whose gigantic endowments (Harvard's was approaching $40 billion before the crash) have sharply declined. Last year, politicians and pundits were complaining about the unseemly wealth of such institutions. This year, alumni are getting e-mails from beleaguered presidents assuring them that Alma Mater will somehow ride out the storm.

The headlines tend to focus on the collapse of institutional investments, which, indeed, has been spectacular. No one quite knows how much has been lost. Led by the example of Yale's chief investment officer, David Swensen, whose Pioneering Portfolio Management is described by the chair of the Yale investment committee as "the best book ever written on managing institutional investment portfolios," endowment managers had been shifting large sums toward illiquid assets such as private equity partnerships, which typically require periodic infusions of fresh capital, and whose current market value is virtually impossible to assess. This and other versions of "an unconventional approach to institutional investment" (the subtitle of Swensen's book, first published in 2000 and recently reissued in revised form) worked very well during the boom years, bringing home double-digit returns.

[much more]
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22673
 
Old June 21st, 2009 #25
psychologicalshock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leshrac View Post
Funny that no major discovery was/is made by people who get their "key".

Fact is 99.9% of major discoveries are/were made by people who were shit on by "the official, state-sponsored" "scientists".
Pulling statistics out of your ass has been a long time activity of your's I see.
 
Old June 22nd, 2009 #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psychologicalshock View Post
Pulling statistics out of your ass has been a long time activity of your's I see.
Now THAT was a much needed post. Face it, college is bullshit and you just hate us for having realized it sooner than you (if at all).

Alex's latest post in this thread just goes to show it's nothing but crap and that these people who love to market themselves as "the best" are just incompetent fools.

In any given field, the "college professors" are usually the ones who were so mediocre they couldn't even get an assistant job in the field they're supposed to 'teach'. Think they'll produce smart students ? Wake up...

Edit: Ok ok, once in a while you might find some competent guy who likes to teach but i'm willing to bet it's no more than one in a hundred.
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Last edited by Leshrac; June 22nd, 2009 at 02:28 AM.
 
Old June 28th, 2009 #27
Alex Linder
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Is a college degree worthless?

The higher incomes that college education brings may not make up for the savings it consumes or the debt it adds early in the life of a typical student.

By Jack Hough, SmartMoney

The four-year college degree has come to cost too much and prove too little. It's now a bad deal for the average student, family, employer, professor and taxpayer.

A student who secures a degree is increasingly unlikely to make up its cost, despite higher pay, as I'll show. The employer who requires a degree puts faith in a system whose standards, you'll see, are slipping. Too many professors who are bound to degree teaching can't truly profess; they don't proclaim loudly the things they know but instead whisper them to a chosen few, whom they must then accommodate with inflated grades. Worst of all, bright citizens spend their lives not knowing the things they ought to know, because they've been granted liberal-arts degrees for something far short of a liberal-arts education.

I'm not arguing against higher learning but for it -- and against the degree system that stands in its way. If that offends, read on, then post a comment at the bottom of this page.

Sometimes things we believe for good reason our whole lives turn out one day to no longer be true, because circumstances have changed. In 2007, for example, I argued, to the anger of many, that renting had come to make more financial sense than homeownership. House prices have since fallen 27% nationwide, wiping out recent buyers who had less than that in equity.

With college degrees, I don't want to persuade families not to buy. I want to explain the injustice of the system and introduce a better alternative.

College grads start out behind

Consider two childhood friends, Ernie and Bill. Hard workers with helpful families, each saves exactly $16,594 for college. Ernie doesn't get accepted to a school he likes. Instead, he starts work at 18 and invests his college savings in a mutual fund that tracks the broad stock market.

Throughout his life, he makes average yearly pay for a high school graduate with no college, starting at $15,901 after taxes and peaking at $32,538. Each month, he adds to his stock fund 5% of his after-tax income, close to the nation's current savings rate. It returns 8% a year, typical for stock investors.

Bill has a typical college experience. He gets into a public college and after two years transfers to a private one. He spends $49,286 on tuition and required fees, the average for such a track. I'm not counting room and board, since Bill must pay for his keep whether he goes to college or not. Bill gets average-size grants, adjusted for average probabilities of receiving them, and so pays $34,044 for college.

He leaves school with an average-size student loan and a good interest rate: $17,450 at 5%. The $16,594 he has saved for college, you see, is precisely enough to pay what his loans don't cover.

Bill will have higher pay than Ernie his whole life, starting at $23,505 after taxes and peaking at $56,808. Like Ernie, he sets aside 5%. At that rate, it will take him 12 years to pay off his loan. Debt-free at 34, he starts adding to the same index fund as Ernie, making bigger monthly contributions with his higher pay. But when the two reunite at 65 for a retirement party, Ernie will have grown his savings to nearly $1.3 million. Bill will have less than a third of that.

How can that be? College degrees bring higher income, but at today's cost they can't make up the savings they consume and the debt they add early in the life of a typical student. While Ernie was busy earning, Bill got stuck under his bill.

My example is a crude one. I adjust neither wages nor investment returns for inflation, resulting in something of a wash. I don't take out for investment taxes, since it would take Ernie only a few years to move his starting sum into a tax-shielded retirement account, and both savers could add to such accounts thereafter. I assume 2007's income-tax distribution holds despite pending changes that will shift it in favor of Ernie's lower income. I'm comparing only savings, not living standards. Bill will presumably be able to afford nicer things than Ernie along the way.

But maybe not: I assume that Bill completes college in four years. More than 40% of students who enter a bachelor's program don't have a degree after six years, according to Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, whose book "Going Broke by Degree" sounded an alarm over college costs in 2004.

Crucially, I also assume college-educated Bill will earn what his peers did in bubbly 2005, when bloated real-estate and stock prices stoked consumer spending, producing unusually large corporate profits and loose lending, and sending banks grabbing after grads at premium pay. The bubbles have since popped, and banks have shrunk.

"The economic downturn has worsened the cost problem," Vedder says. "There will be many more people for whom costs will exceed benefits."

Some students will get a better-than-average deal. They'll get more aid or end up in higher-paying jobs. (SmartMoney recently attempted to predict which degrees win the highest salaries relative to their cost.) But far too many will lose money.

It's crass, you might think, to reduce education to a financial decision. An educated citizenry is healthier, more tolerant, more politically engaged and more fulfilled than an ignorant one. But I refer above to degrees, not education. The two are not the same, even if policymakers talk as though they are.

Degrees are poor proof of learning
Students want jobs and respect. Degrees bring both. Employers, meanwhile, want smart, capable workers. A degree is a decent enough proxy for intelligence, but we want it to be more than that. We want degrees to mean that students have learned the foundations of human knowledge: literature, chemistry, physics, composition, metaphysics, psychology, economics and so on. If we didn't, we'd replace degrees with inexpensive vocational exams.

* College for half-price

Charles Murray, a fellow at American Enterprise Institute, calls for just that in a recent book, "Real Education." He argues that too many kids who lack the ability to complete a liberal-arts education are being pushed into four-year liberal-arts schools, because there's a steep societal penalty for not getting a degree. Schools, in turn, have made their degree programs easier. Murray provides a sample of courses that students used to fulfill core degree requirements at major universities in 2004, including History of Comic Book Art (Indiana University), History and Philosophy of Dress (Texas Tech University) and Campus Culture and Drinking (Duke University). He documents not only falling standards but rampant grade inflation.

He's not alone. In 2005, the Department of Education created a commission to study the college system and recommend reforms. A year later, the Spellings Commission (named for then-Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings) reported a long list of shortcomings, including "a remarkable absence of accountability mechanisms to ensure that colleges succeed in educating students." It found "disturbing signs" that degree earners "have not actually mastered the reading, writing and thinking skills we expect of college graduates." Literacy levels among college graduates, the commission noted, fell sharply over the 12 years ending in 2003.

Harvard, a case study
To be sure, Harvard graduates are bright. They were bright when they got accepted. Last year, Harvard's undergraduate school accepted a record-low 7.9% of the record-high number of students who applied. Of these, 97% will earn degrees, and most will rightly go on to win plum jobs and coveted spots in graduate schools.

But universities are meant to teach, just as hospitals are meant to heal. A hospital that turned away the sickest 92% of patients would have little cause to celebrate the recovery of the rest. Harvard, though, is called America's finest college by U.S. News & World Report.

"There's almost a tyranny to it," says Ohio University's Vedder. "Somehow a good college has become one that turns people away."

High cost isn't a coincidence but a necessary outcome. The way to keep a thing valuable is to keep it scarce, so prestigious schools accept few. Government affordability initiatives -- grants, loans, tax breaks and the like -- puff up buying power against constrained supply, ballooning prices and creating the opposite of affordability. In the 10-year period ending in 2005, increases in tuition and fees outpaced inflation by 36% at private colleges and 51% at public ones.

* Graduate from Harvard debt-free

Harvard's own charter, engrossed on parchment in 1650, says nothing about keeping knowledge scarce. It simply promises, in welcoming language for the time, "the education of the English and Indian youth of this country." I single out Harvard because it's iconic, not because it's more guilty than its peers. How sad that elite schools are reduced to machines that cull the bright from the dull and charge mightily to brand them for success -- which these students would have achieved anyhow, because they're bright.

A more inclusive four-year degree isn't the answer; the degree itself often obstructs learning. Consider the laid-off sales clerk who wishes to pursue a college education in hopes of finding a better job. If he wants to go to a name-brand school he must study for and take an admissions test and apply. He must also file a financial-aid application as long and complex as a tax return. He then must wait and cross his fingers. If accepted by the school, he must wait again for the right part of the academic calendar to come around and hope that the classes he wants aren't full. Suppose all goes well. He'll be sitting in front of a teacher a good 18 months after first deciding to learn. What folly.

As I write this, Google is putting every book ever written online. Apple is offering video college lectures for free download through its iTunes software. Skype allows free videoconferencing anywhere in the world. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and many other schools have made course materials available for free on their Web sites. Tutors cost as little as $15 an hour. Today's student who decides to learn at 1 a.m. should be doing it by 1:30. A process that makes him wait 18 months is not an education system. It's a barrier to education.

There's a better way
The system must change before students are made poorer, society grows less equal, the bright are left ignorant and "college" comes to mean a four-year pajama party intruded upon by the occasional group discussion on gender studies. The answer is to relieve schools of the job of validating knowledge and return them to a role of spreading it. Colleges should no more vouch for their own academic competence than butchers should decide for themselves whether their meat is USDA prime.

The Spellings Commission recommended that government push colleges to "develop interoperable outcomes-focused accountability systems designed to be accessible and useful for students, policymakers and the public, as well as for internal management and institutional improvement." Unencrypted, that means schools should figure out a way to prove what students have learned, beyond the say-so of their degrees. The commission was correct on what's needed. It was wrong on who should do it.

We need a national standard for certifying what students have learned. The easiest way is to simply test independently for course knowledge and compile the results on standardized knowledge transcripts.

We do similar testing now. Students at 1,400 colleges (about a third of such U.S. institutions) can get credit for courses by passing tests created by the College Board. (Participating schools generally restrict the number of tests students may use toward degrees.) There are 34 subjects, including calculus, biology, U.S. history, business law and Spanish language. Tests cost $70. Guide books cost $10. There are 1,300 test centers on college campuses.

Perhaps these tests are comprehensive enough, and perhaps they're not. I'm not qualified to say. The nation's professors are, and they should take up the task of defining this new national standard, even at a threat to their own power, because in truth, a teacher forced to amicably promote the few when he should be boldly teaching the many is robbed of power.

I can only guess what this knowledge transcript would look like -- something like a résumé or credit report, perhaps. I picture a scrawny tree drawn on a page, with the branches representing the fields of learning and the student tasked with extending them. Perhaps vocational certificates would be listed, too. Maybe, once the tree reached a prescribed fatness, we'd call the student a bachelor of arts. But employers could select whatever tree shapes suited them, and college would no longer be a degree-or-nothing affair. Learning would be available everywhere and at a moment's notice, and would be rewarded right away.

This knowledge transcript would care nothing about where a student had learned, how much he spent or how long he took. It wouldn't care whether he was 12 or 60 when he proved he knew algebra or how many times he failed before succeeding, or whether he knew important people. Employers would have better proof of what students knew. Policymakers, too. Students wouldn't pile on debt. They wouldn't be misled by a college degree into believing they knew more than they did. They'd become true stewards of their own lifelong education.

Universities, I'm guessing, would look much the same. Students would always want to go on long learning sabbaticals at places with top teachers and well-appointed classrooms, and to be around like-minded people for collaboration, sports, fellowship and, not nearly least, mating. But schools would have to truly compete on price and teaching excellence. They'd no longer be able to charge students high prices just because of their ability to confer on them high pay. They'd teach as many students as would learn, since doing so would strengthen their brands, not dilute them. Whisperers would once again profess, and we'd all be better for it.

Jack Hough is an associate editor at SmartMoney and the author of "Your Next Great Stock: How to Screen the Market for Tomorrow's Top Performers."

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com...worthless.aspx
 
Old June 28th, 2009 #28
Alex Linder
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Is a college degree worthless?

The higher incomes that college education brings may not make up for the savings it consumes or the debt it adds early in the life of a typical student.

By Jack Hough, SmartMoney

The four-year college degree has come to cost too much and prove too little. It's now a bad deal for the average student, family, employer, professor and taxpayer.

A student who secures a degree is increasingly unlikely to make up its cost, despite higher pay, as I'll show. The employer who requires a degree puts faith in a system whose standards, you'll see, are slipping. Too many professors who are bound to degree teaching can't truly profess; they don't proclaim loudly the things they know but instead whisper them to a chosen few, whom they must then accommodate with inflated grades. Worst of all, bright citizens spend their lives not knowing the things they ought to know, because they've been granted liberal-arts degrees for something far short of a liberal-arts education.

I'm not arguing against higher learning but for it -- and against the degree system that stands in its way. If that offends, read on, then post a comment at the bottom of this page.

Sometimes things we believe for good reason our whole lives turn out one day to no longer be true, because circumstances have changed. In 2007, for example, I argued, to the anger of many, that renting had come to make more financial sense than homeownership. House prices have since fallen 27% nationwide, wiping out recent buyers who had less than that in equity.

With college degrees, I don't want to persuade families not to buy. I want to explain the injustice of the system and introduce a better alternative.

College grads start out behind

Consider two childhood friends, Ernie and Bill. Hard workers with helpful families, each saves exactly $16,594 for college. Ernie doesn't get accepted to a school he likes. Instead, he starts work at 18 and invests his college savings in a mutual fund that tracks the broad stock market.

Throughout his life, he makes average yearly pay for a high school graduate with no college, starting at $15,901 after taxes and peaking at $32,538. Each month, he adds to his stock fund 5% of his after-tax income, close to the nation's current savings rate. It returns 8% a year, typical for stock investors.

Bill has a typical college experience. He gets into a public college and after two years transfers to a private one. He spends $49,286 on tuition and required fees, the average for such a track. I'm not counting room and board, since Bill must pay for his keep whether he goes to college or not. Bill gets average-size grants, adjusted for average probabilities of receiving them, and so pays $34,044 for college.

He leaves school with an average-size student loan and a good interest rate: $17,450 at 5%. The $16,594 he has saved for college, you see, is precisely enough to pay what his loans don't cover.

Bill will have higher pay than Ernie his whole life, starting at $23,505 after taxes and peaking at $56,808. Like Ernie, he sets aside 5%. At that rate, it will take him 12 years to pay off his loan. Debt-free at 34, he starts adding to the same index fund as Ernie, making bigger monthly contributions with his higher pay. But when the two reunite at 65 for a retirement party, Ernie will have grown his savings to nearly $1.3 million. Bill will have less than a third of that.

How can that be? College degrees bring higher income, but at today's cost they can't make up the savings they consume and the debt they add early in the life of a typical student. While Ernie was busy earning, Bill got stuck under his bill.

My example is a crude one. I adjust neither wages nor investment returns for inflation, resulting in something of a wash. I don't take out for investment taxes, since it would take Ernie only a few years to move his starting sum into a tax-shielded retirement account, and both savers could add to such accounts thereafter. I assume 2007's income-tax distribution holds despite pending changes that will shift it in favor of Ernie's lower income. I'm comparing only savings, not living standards. Bill will presumably be able to afford nicer things than Ernie along the way.

But maybe not: I assume that Bill completes college in four years. More than 40% of students who enter a bachelor's program don't have a degree after six years, according to Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, whose book "Going Broke by Degree" sounded an alarm over college costs in 2004.

Crucially, I also assume college-educated Bill will earn what his peers did in bubbly 2005, when bloated real-estate and stock prices stoked consumer spending, producing unusually large corporate profits and loose lending, and sending banks grabbing after grads at premium pay. The bubbles have since popped, and banks have shrunk.

"The economic downturn has worsened the cost problem," Vedder says. "There will be many more people for whom costs will exceed benefits."

Some students will get a better-than-average deal. They'll get more aid or end up in higher-paying jobs. (SmartMoney recently attempted to predict which degrees win the highest salaries relative to their cost.) But far too many will lose money.

It's crass, you might think, to reduce education to a financial decision. An educated citizenry is healthier, more tolerant, more politically engaged and more fulfilled than an ignorant one. But I refer above to degrees, not education. The two are not the same, even if policymakers talk as though they are.

Degrees are poor proof of learning
Students want jobs and respect. Degrees bring both. Employers, meanwhile, want smart, capable workers. A degree is a decent enough proxy for intelligence, but we want it to be more than that. We want degrees to mean that students have learned the foundations of human knowledge: literature, chemistry, physics, composition, metaphysics, psychology, economics and so on. If we didn't, we'd replace degrees with inexpensive vocational exams.

* College for half-price

Charles Murray, a fellow at American Enterprise Institute, calls for just that in a recent book, "Real Education." He argues that too many kids who lack the ability to complete a liberal-arts education are being pushed into four-year liberal-arts schools, because there's a steep societal penalty for not getting a degree. Schools, in turn, have made their degree programs easier. Murray provides a sample of courses that students used to fulfill core degree requirements at major universities in 2004, including History of Comic Book Art (Indiana University), History and Philosophy of Dress (Texas Tech University) and Campus Culture and Drinking (Duke University). He documents not only falling standards but rampant grade inflation.

He's not alone. In 2005, the Department of Education created a commission to study the college system and recommend reforms. A year later, the Spellings Commission (named for then-Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings) reported a long list of shortcomings, including "a remarkable absence of accountability mechanisms to ensure that colleges succeed in educating students." It found "disturbing signs" that degree earners "have not actually mastered the reading, writing and thinking skills we expect of college graduates." Literacy levels among college graduates, the commission noted, fell sharply over the 12 years ending in 2003.

Harvard, a case study
To be sure, Harvard graduates are bright. They were bright when they got accepted. Last year, Harvard's undergraduate school accepted a record-low 7.9% of the record-high number of students who applied. Of these, 97% will earn degrees, and most will rightly go on to win plum jobs and coveted spots in graduate schools.

But universities are meant to teach, just as hospitals are meant to heal. A hospital that turned away the sickest 92% of patients would have little cause to celebrate the recovery of the rest. Harvard, though, is called America's finest college by U.S. News & World Report.

"There's almost a tyranny to it," says Ohio University's Vedder. "Somehow a good college has become one that turns people away."

High cost isn't a coincidence but a necessary outcome. The way to keep a thing valuable is to keep it scarce, so prestigious schools accept few. Government affordability initiatives -- grants, loans, tax breaks and the like -- puff up buying power against constrained supply, ballooning prices and creating the opposite of affordability. In the 10-year period ending in 2005, increases in tuition and fees outpaced inflation by 36% at private colleges and 51% at public ones.

* Graduate from Harvard debt-free

Harvard's own charter, engrossed on parchment in 1650, says nothing about keeping knowledge scarce. It simply promises, in welcoming language for the time, "the education of the English and Indian youth of this country." I single out Harvard because it's iconic, not because it's more guilty than its peers. How sad that elite schools are reduced to machines that cull the bright from the dull and charge mightily to brand them for success -- which these students would have achieved anyhow, because they're bright.

A more inclusive four-year degree isn't the answer; the degree itself often obstructs learning. Consider the laid-off sales clerk who wishes to pursue a college education in hopes of finding a better job. If he wants to go to a name-brand school he must study for and take an admissions test and apply. He must also file a financial-aid application as long and complex as a tax return. He then must wait and cross his fingers. If accepted by the school, he must wait again for the right part of the academic calendar to come around and hope that the classes he wants aren't full. Suppose all goes well. He'll be sitting in front of a teacher a good 18 months after first deciding to learn. What folly.

As I write this, Google is putting every book ever written online. Apple is offering video college lectures for free download through its iTunes software. Skype allows free videoconferencing anywhere in the world. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and many other schools have made course materials available for free on their Web sites. Tutors cost as little as $15 an hour. Today's student who decides to learn at 1 a.m. should be doing it by 1:30. A process that makes him wait 18 months is not an education system. It's a barrier to education.

There's a better way
The system must change before students are made poorer, society grows less equal, the bright are left ignorant and "college" comes to mean a four-year pajama party intruded upon by the occasional group discussion on gender studies. The answer is to relieve schools of the job of validating knowledge and return them to a role of spreading it. Colleges should no more vouch for their own academic competence than butchers should decide for themselves whether their meat is USDA prime.

The Spellings Commission recommended that government push colleges to "develop interoperable outcomes-focused accountability systems designed to be accessible and useful for students, policymakers and the public, as well as for internal management and institutional improvement." Unencrypted, that means schools should figure out a way to prove what students have learned, beyond the say-so of their degrees. The commission was correct on what's needed. It was wrong on who should do it.

We need a national standard for certifying what students have learned. The easiest way is to simply test independently for course knowledge and compile the results on standardized knowledge transcripts.

We do similar testing now. Students at 1,400 colleges (about a third of such U.S. institutions) can get credit for courses by passing tests created by the College Board. (Participating schools generally restrict the number of tests students may use toward degrees.) There are 34 subjects, including calculus, biology, U.S. history, business law and Spanish language. Tests cost $70. Guide books cost $10. There are 1,300 test centers on college campuses.

Perhaps these tests are comprehensive enough, and perhaps they're not. I'm not qualified to say. The nation's professors are, and they should take up the task of defining this new national standard, even at a threat to their own power, because in truth, a teacher forced to amicably promote the few when he should be boldly teaching the many is robbed of power.

I can only guess what this knowledge transcript would look like -- something like a résumé or credit report, perhaps. I picture a scrawny tree drawn on a page, with the branches representing the fields of learning and the student tasked with extending them. Perhaps vocational certificates would be listed, too. Maybe, once the tree reached a prescribed fatness, we'd call the student a bachelor of arts. But employers could select whatever tree shapes suited them, and college would no longer be a degree-or-nothing affair. Learning would be available everywhere and at a moment's notice, and would be rewarded right away.

This knowledge transcript would care nothing about where a student had learned, how much he spent or how long he took. It wouldn't care whether he was 12 or 60 when he proved he knew algebra or how many times he failed before succeeding, or whether he knew important people. Employers would have better proof of what students knew. Policymakers, too. Students wouldn't pile on debt. They wouldn't be misled by a college degree into believing they knew more than they did. They'd become true stewards of their own lifelong education.

Universities, I'm guessing, would look much the same. Students would always want to go on long learning sabbaticals at places with top teachers and well-appointed classrooms, and to be around like-minded people for collaboration, sports, fellowship and, not nearly least, mating. But schools would have to truly compete on price and teaching excellence. They'd no longer be able to charge students high prices just because of their ability to confer on them high pay. They'd teach as many students as would learn, since doing so would strengthen their brands, not dilute them. Whisperers would once again profess, and we'd all be better for it.

Jack Hough is an associate editor at SmartMoney and the author of "Your Next Great Stock: How to Screen the Market for Tomorrow's Top Performers."

http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com...worthless.aspx
 
Old June 28th, 2009 #29
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Excellent article. (couldn't 'rep-message' )
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Old July 9th, 2009 #30
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POINT OF VIEW

Will Higher Education Be the Next Bubble to Burst?

By JOSEPH MARR CRONIN and HOWARD E. HORTON

The public has become all too aware of the term "bubble" to describe an asset that is irrationally and artificially overvalued and cannot be sustained. The dot-com bubble burst by 2000. More recently the overextended housing market collapsed, helping to trigger a credit meltdown. The stock market has declined more than 30 percent in the past year, as companies once considered flagship investments have withered in value.

Is it possible that higher education might be the next bubble to burst? Some early warnings suggest that it could be.

With tuitions, fees, and room and board at dozens of colleges now reaching $50,000 a year, the ability to sustain private higher education for all but the very well-heeled is questionable. According to the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, over the past 25 years, average college tuition and fees have risen by 440 percent — more than four times the rate of inflation and almost twice the rate of medical care. Patrick M. Callan, the center's president, has warned that low-income students will find college unaffordable.

Meanwhile, the middle class, which has paid for higher education in the past mainly by taking out loans, may now be precluded from doing so as the private student-loan market has all but dried up. In addition, endowment cushions that allowed colleges to engage in steep tuition discounting are gone. Declines in housing valuations are making it difficult for families to rely on home-equity loans for college financing. Even when the equity is there, parents are reluctant to further leverage themselves into a future where job security is uncertain.

Consumers who have questioned whether it is worth spending $1,000 a square foot for a home are now asking whether it is worth spending $1,000 a week to send their kids to college. There is a growing sense among the public that higher education might be overpriced and under-delivering.

In such a climate, it is not surprising that applications to some community colleges and other public institutions have risen by as much as 40 percent. Those institutions, particularly community colleges, will become a more-attractive option for a larger swath of the collegebound. Taking the first two years of college while living at home has been an attractive option since the 1920s, but it is now poised to grow significantly.

With a drift toward higher enrollments in public institutions, all but the most competitive highly endowed private colleges are beginning to wonder if their enrollments may start to evaporate. In an effort to secure students, some institutions, like Merrimack College near Boston, are freezing their tuition for the first time in decades.

Could it get worse for colleges in the coming years? The numbers of college-aged students in the "baby-boom echo," which crested with this year's high-school senior class, will decline over the next decade. Certain Great Plains and Northeastern states may lose 10 percent of the 12th-graders eligible for college. Vermont is expected to lose 20 percent by 2020.

In the meantime, online, nontraditional institutions are becoming increasingly successful at challenging high-priced private colleges and those public universities that charge $25,000 or more per year. The best known is the for-profit University of Phoenix, which now teaches courses to more than 300,000 students a year — including traditional-age college students — half of them online. But other competitors are emerging. In collaboration with an organization called Higher Ed Holdings--which is affiliated with Whitney International University, owner of New England College of Business and Finance, where one of us is president and the other a trustee--some state universities have begun taking back market share by attracting thousands of students to online programs at reduced tuition rates. One such institution is Lamar University, in Texas, which has seen its enrollment mushroom since working with Higher Ed Holdings to increase access to some of its programs.

Moreover, increases in federal financial aid and state scholarships have been unable to keep up with the incessant annual increases in tuition at traditional four-year colleges. For example, Congress has raised the Pell Grant limits from $4,731 to $5,350 a year by scrubbing the federal loan programs of bank subsidies thought to be excessive. But $5,350 pays for only about four to six weeks at a high-priced private college.

A few prominent universities, including Harvard and Princeton, have made commitments to reduce or eliminate loans for those students from families earning less than $75,000 or even $100,000 a year. But the hundreds of less-endowed colleges cannot reduce the price of education in that fashion. It is those colleges that are most at risk.

What can they do to keep the bubble from bursting? They can look for more efficiency and other sources of tuition.

Two former college presidents, Charles Karelis of Colgate University and Stephen J. Trachtenberg of George Washington University, recently argued for the year-round university, noting that the two-semester format now in vogue places students in classrooms barely 60 percent of the year, or 30 weeks out of 52. They propose a 15-percent increase in productivity without adding buildings if students agree to study one summer and spend one semester abroad or in another site, like Washington or New York. Such a model may command attention if more education is offered without more tuition.

Brigham Young University-Idaho charges only $3,000 in tuition a year, and $6,000 for room and board. Classes are held for three semesters, each 14 weeks, for 42 weeks a year. Faculty members teach three full semesters, which has helped to increase capacity from 25,000 students over two semesters to close to 38,000 over three, with everyone taking one month (August) off. The president, Kim B. Clark, is a former dean of the Harvard Business School and an authority on using technology to achieve efficiencies. By 2012 the university also plans to increase its online offerings to 20 percent of all courses, with 120 online courses that students can take to enrich or accelerate degree completion.

Colleges can also make productivity gains by using technology and re-engineering courses. For the past 10 years, the National Center for Academic Transformation, supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, has helped major universities use technology to cut instructional costs by an average of 40 percent while reducing the number of large course sections, graduate teaching assistants, and faculty time on correcting quizzes. Grades have increased, and fewer students have dropped out. Meanwhile, students have a choice of learning styles and ways to get help online from either fellow students or faculty members. That "transformation" requires a commitment to break away from the medieval guild tradition of one faculty member controlling all forms of communication, and to give serious attention to helping students think and solve problems in new formats.

The economist Richard Vedder of Ohio University, a member of the federal Spellings Commission, offers more radical solutions. He urges that university presidents' salaries include incentives to contain and reduce costs, to make "affordability" a goal. In addition, he proposes that state policy makers conduct cost-benefit studies to see what the universities that receive state support are actually accomplishing.

Fortunately, some other forces are at work that might help save higher education. The federal government recently raised significantly the amount of money that returning veterans might claim to pursue higher-education degrees, so it reaches at least the level of tuition and fees at many public universities.

In addition, the rest of the world respects American higher education, and whether studying at a college here or an American-based one abroad, the families of international students usually pay in full. The number of international students could rise from 600,000 to a million a year if visa reviews are expedited; the crisis of September 11, 2001, temporarily reduced the upward trajectory of overseas enrollments in American colleges. Accrediting agencies could also develop standards to expedite the exporting of American education into the international market.

But colleges cannot, and should not, rely on those trends. Although questions about the mounting prices of colleges have been raised for more than 30 years and just a few private colleges have closed, the stakes and volume of the warnings are mounting. Only during a critical moment in economic history can one warn of bubbles and suggest that the day of reckoning for higher education is, in fact, drawing near.

Joseph Marr Cronin is the former Massachusetts secretary of educational affairs, and Howard E. Horton is the president of New England College of Business and Finance.

Section: Commentary
Volume 55, Issue 37, Page A56

http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i37/37a05601.htm
 
Old July 15th, 2009 #31
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Obama Touts Community College

Today, President Obama is set to unveil a plan to provide $12 billion to community colleges. Given the emphasis on the President's other priorities like health care and cap and trade, education has received little press coverage thus far. Although some might debate whether the federal government ought to continue to ramp up its spending, if it's determined to do so, I think it's hard to argue against an initiative like this.

Fox News' White House blog has, by far, the most informative take on this new imitative that I found. So check that out if you want more detail. According to Fox, this spending would be part of the 2010 budget. It will be spent over 10 years.

Reuters also reports on Obama's plan, and explains his likely rationale through a report that his economists issued on Monday:

"Well-trained and highly-skilled workers will be best positioned to secure high-wage jobs, thereby fueling American prosperity," the report said.

"Occupations requiring higher educational attainment are projected to grow much faster than those with lower education requirements, with the fastest growth among occupations that require an associate's degree or a post-secondary vocational award," it said.

For a while now I've been an advocate for encouraging community college as an alternative to four-year college, for young people who might not have career goals where a four-year degree is necessary. If this funding makes community college a more attractive alternative for some, then I think that's a good thing. A step like this shouldn't affect anyone best suited for four-year college, as that's still generally an option after completing a 2-year associate's degree.

A few months ago, I attended a roundtable discussion at the National Association of Manufacturers. Training to obtain more skilled workers in the U.S. was one of their top priorities. In the current educational climate, it seems that most high school students either seek four-year college or nothing, giving little thought to community college or vocational schools. That's a problem for manufacturing, as skilled jobs are in high demand within the manufacturing industries where the U.S. still competes.

This initiative might also help the President in another way. If more people are pursing their associate's degree, in a bad economy, that lowers unemployment. Students are not considered unemployed. So over the next few years, which will be tough, with more Americans sitting in community college classrooms, the employment picture will look better. That's not entirely smoke and mirrors, however. Once the economy starts to really grow again, that might be just in time for some of those freshly minted community college graduates to take advantage of new jobs in a better market.

http://business.theatlantic.com/2009...ty_college.php
 
Old July 22nd, 2009 #32
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Student Loans: A Bitter Financial Lesson

Borrowing to get academic degrees looks to have been a risky investment for a generation of students mired in debt and facing a jobs shortage

By Emily Schmitt

Where I grew up, it's in bad taste to talk about your personal finances. But with the financial woes of governments, companies, and ordinary people making headlines just about everywhere you look these days, it's about time we had an honest discussion about the great big money mess of 2009.

So let's talk about student debt.

For me, it was necessary to go into debt to get an education. In my undergraduate years, I tried to accrue as little debt as possible. I worked two jobs while maintaining a full course load at University of Wisconsin-Madison. But when I was accepted to New York University to study business journalism last fall, I faced a real hurdle. How was I going to pay for it? I had no parental support and I was going into a professional degree program, for which there is little funding available from the university or other sources. With numerous hands eager for a slice of the financial aid pie, chances are slim that you'll get a piece.

A couple of months before I moved East, I examined my finances. I had two options: first, not to go to grad school; and second, to fund most of my education with student loans. NYU ain't cheap. My tuition runs upwards of $15,000 per semester.

Most graduate students borrow tuition

I was fully aware of the consequences of going tens of thousands of dollars into debt to pay for school. But with no alternatives, I took out the loans. With the stroke of a pen, I indebted myself to Sallie Mae over what today feels like an eternity. (It's actually around 10 years.)

Now multiply my experience by millions. As college tuitions rise, so too, do student debt loads. The average yearly cost of a private four-year college in 2008-2009 was $25,143, an increase of 5.9% from the year before, and $6,585 for a four-year public school, up 6.4% from 2007, according to the College Board. With tuition levels as high as they are, many students have no alternative but to fund their schooling with loans. The percentage of graduate students borrowing money for a master's degree in 2007-2008 was about 55%—86% for those seeking a professional degree, according to the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS).

That's just one part of the story. Students are carrying credit cards to meet other expenses. In 2008, 84% of undergraduates had at least one credit card and half of all college students had four or more cards, according to the Project on Student Debt. Of course the study doesn't say who makes the payments on the plastic, the parents or the students. But with the average outstanding balance on graduate student credit cards sitting at about $8,000, the debt burden carried by young adults can be debilitating.

For Meghan Sharp, these statistics are all-too real. The 29-year-old graduate student in landscape architecture at University of California-Berkeley funds 100% of her $11,000-a-year tuition with student loans. On top of that, she carries about $18,000 in credit card debt. Sharp got her first credit card when she was 18 while a freshman at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. Matriculating students were given information about on-campus resources, university paraphernalia, and an unexpected lesson in personal finance: a credit-card kit.

Still paying for long-gone items

How convenient. It's situations like this—credit card companies plying their wares to people who typically don't have jobs or substantial assets of their own—that should inspire fury in twentysomethings. It's part of the reason why so many of us carry so much debt. My first credit card, which I applied for during my sophomore year in college, was sent to me by the UW-Madison alumni association. Madison mascot Bucky the Badger smiles at me each time I buy a plane ticket home.

For Sharp, the available credit has been dangerous. She says she's probably still paying for things she bought when she was 22—things she no longer has. She also knows her decision to live by herself last year, paying $1,200 a month in rent, hasn't helped. "I will probably try to find a roommate or a cheaper place this fall," she says. "I guess this falls in the category of changes I'm making to deal with my debt."

To be sure, students should also look in the mirror when searching for someone to blame for their credit problems. Many make questionable choices. But not all students accrue debt to maintain comfortable lifestyles. Katie Fleischman, a third-year doctoral student in educational and counseling psychology at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, faced extra expenses when she considered attending graduate school. As a survivor of malignant bone cancer, the 28-year-old had to pay $800 a month to extend her health insurance coverage through COBRA. To fund her coverage, tuition, and living expenses, she borrowed more than $20,000 during her first year in graduate school.

Unlike many twentysomethings, she couldn't forgo medical coverage. "Being a cancer survivor, I had to continue my coverage. But my health would have had to outweigh my education," she says.

Degrees lose investment value, too

Ultimately, the reason for putting yourself in hock to Sallie Mae or other student lenders is to obtain the grail: an undergraduate or graduate degree. It's an investment in your future—the ticket to a comfortable existence.

Just look at how most investments have been performing lately.

Everyone from our college professors to our financial aid officers assured us that student loans were "good debt" because our educations would be long-term, steadily appreciating assets—unlike, say, a car. But if an education is an investment that appreciates, there should be the prospect of a solid return.

Instead the mountains of student loan debt have an unsettling parallel to another one-time boom market: real estate. Like those who took out big mortgages to fund their "can't miss" investments in pricey McMansions—only to find those homes suddenly dropping in value—those of us who took out student loans to pay for pricey degrees now find our prospects of securing well-paying jobs with comfortable lifestyles shrinking every day.

I've accepted this reality. But if I sought an education to add value to our society through my work as a journalist, I'd like at least to be able to pay off my loans with a reasonable interest rate—not the 5% to 8% I face today. (The Federal Reserve is currently lending money to the no-doubt-deserving likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley at around 0%.)

And I'd like to believe what a professor recently told me, as I sat in his office appealing for more financial aid: My master's degree will ensure that I'll get a well-paying job and my loans will pay for themselves.

But that's not looking likely, especially in my chosen field. There's no certainty that I or my classmates will get jobs, especially well-paying ones.

As bailouts are doled out left to right, and stimulus packages are unwrapped to the tune of billions of dollars, spare a thought to the debt-ridden student. And for those of you who were able to get their educations in a far less expensive era, please don't lecture us about our irresponsibility in going into hock for what we were told was a necessity. After all, we'll likely be the ones funding your Social Security.

Emily Schmitt is a graduate student in business journalism at New York University. She holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wisconsin. Before attending college, Schmitt worked in health care.

http://www.businessweek.com/investor...pStories_ssi_5

Last edited by Alex Linder; July 22nd, 2009 at 03:22 PM.
 
Old August 8th, 2009 #33
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The top colleges are dominated by jews. Jews see college not as a place for the disinterestd pursuit of truth, but as a place to dominate, settle scores, and pursue their loxist agenda.

Says E. Michael Jones, who has written a book about the jewish takeover of Notre Dame, the university was created by Catholics but destroyed by Talmudic jews.


I was once invited by the Orestes Brownson group, a conservative Catholic organization on campus, to speak on Jan Zizka and the Hussites. When the date of the talk approached I started getting concerned phone calls from the student who was the organization’s president informing me that the organization had mysteriously run out of money and couldn’t pay me for my talk. After assuring him that the Orestes Brownson society could pay me out of next year’s budget (which they never did), I showed up to give my talk and discovered the real reason for the phone calls, namely, Professor Elliot Barkey, the Jewish professor who was the faculty moderator for this organization. Why was a Jewish professor the moderator for the conservative Catholic organization on campus? Well, because you can take the Jew out of the Cheka, but you can’t take the Cheka out of the Jew. Barkey had put pressure on the student to have me canceled, and when that failed he decided to show up for my talk. His silence during the talk continued during the question and answer period afterward. Then after everyone had left the room, he dragged the student moderator back into the room and behind closed doors claimed that I had my facts wrong and was an anti-Semite. I was reminded of Joseph Pfefferkorn, zealous Jewish convert in Germany who ran afoul of Reuchlin and the humanists, and his lament, “A fat Jew has sat on my books!” Barkey sat silent during my entire talk and the question and answer period afterward. If he knew of any factual errors in my talk he could have pointed them out, and we could have discussed them in the open forum that academe is supposed to be. But instead the inner Jew triumphed and in the end Barkey reverted to type and attacked me behind closed doors by picking on an undergraduate who knew even less about the Hussites than Barkey himself.

If this were an isolated incident, we could ascribe it to defective personalities, but the pattern is too big to ignore. The main problem is that, ultimately, the university, like the fine arts academy, is not a Jewish institution, and Jews can only thrive there if they redefine what goes on there to suit their Talmudic proclivities. The converse of this would be money-lending, where Christians, as in the case of the Calvinists in Holland and Geneva, could only succeed by imitating Jews. As a result of this mismatch, academe became a jungle in which the ruthless Jews drove out professors of principle, including other Jews who refused to go along with the agenda of organized Jewry. Jews have been formed by centuries of Talmudic influence to see academe as a place when they can settle ancestral scores. They don’t get mad; they get even. Their attempt to have Professor Kevin MacDonald ousted from his position at California State University at Long Beach is just one more instance of the same tendency to turn academe into an institution where the main point is settling scores, not the disinterested pursuit of the truth.


http://vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=98836
 
Old August 12th, 2009 #34
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Strapped colleges keep leaders in luxury


The home of Drew G. Faust, Harvard University president. (Jonathan Wiggs/ Globe Staff)

By Tracy Jan
Globe Staff / August 12, 2009

From the many windows of her stone mansion, MIT president Susan Hockfield enjoys a commanding view of sailboats gliding along the Charles River. When Northeastern president Joseph Aoun steps outside his five-story brick town house, he finds himself just across the street from Boston Common.

Their counterparts at other private colleges reside in luxury as well, many on centuries-old estates surrounded by well-tended gardens and lawns cared for by loyal staffs. The homes, many provided by universities as part of their presidents’ compensation, are the ultimate perk in this college-rich region, but one that increasingly appears to represent a bygone era.

Now the opulence risks standing out amid frozen faculty salaries, widespread layoffs, and slashed programs. While the houses often serve an important ceremonial role and it is questionable how much money could be saved by their elimination, the very mention of them has elicited low-level grumbling on campuses and anxiety among university officials over the Globe’s request to tour them.

“It seems terribly unfair that people who are being laid off can’t even afford to make their modest mortgage payments, while people at the top are living in luxury,’’ said Desiree Goodwin, a Harvard library assistant who has seen dozens of workers lose their jobs across campus. “They’re not really being open about the kind of lifestyle they’re trying to maintain while making these cuts.’’

Goodwin acknowledges she’s never had the occasion to set foot in Elmwood, the 1767 home of Harvard president Drew Faust. The pale yellow 12-room Colonial and its carriage house sit behind a white fence on Cambridge’s Tory Row, where wealthy families loyal to the crown lived before the revolution.

The interiors of these homes remain a mystery even to many on their respective campuses. And when a reporter requested entry into eight of the residences, many of which do not pay property taxes to their municipalities, the doors to all but one remained resolutely closed.

Some schools’ public relations teams expressed concern that it wouldn’t look good to show off their presidents’ luxury quarters amid penny-pinching times. Those thoughts also crossed the mind of Wellesley president Kim Bottomly, but she ultimately concluded, “We have nothing to hide.’’

Last week, she opened her estate to a reporter and a photographer, even allowing a glimpse at her bedroom, which overlooks Lake Waban.

“I’m living here as a custodian of history,’’ Bottomly said of the 1854 home where Wellesley’s founders resided. “I’m proud to be able to show off the first building on campus.’’

Her colleagues were not as open. MIT and Harvard reported that their presidents simply were “not around.’’ The presidents of Tufts and Boston universities should be afforded a measure of privacy, said their spokespersons.

Details about their accommodations, scattered among the posh neighborhoods of Brookline, Newton, Cambridge, and Boston, could only be gleaned from public records, historical documents, university publications, interviews with those who have had the privilege of entering, and from sizing them up from the street.

Aoun’s 184-year-old Beacon Hill dwelling, which the school purchased in 2006, has “excellent feng shui,’’ according to an article in Northeastern’s alumni magazine. The 9,000-square-foot town house, located 2 miles from the university’s Roxbury campus, has four bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms, a wood-paneled library, and two service pantries.

After all, college officials say, presidents need a place to host visiting dignitaries, entertain wealthy donors, and welcome students and neighbors.

In her home’s industrial-sized kitchen, Bottomly introduced her house manager, who oversees cleaning, maintenance, and event preparation, and her chef, who has cooked for Wellesley presidents for 31 years.

The house is grand, for sure, but also homey, including a stuffed platypus and bunny on her Shaker-style bed. French doors open onto a terrace with views of a rose garden and the lake where Bottomly and her husband kayak. A public walking trail runs through the backyard.

“It’s really like having a summer home,’’ Bottomly said of the gray clapboard house atop a hill.

Bottomly throws university events on the average of twice a week during the school year. She also invites 10 professors for informal weekly discussions around the fireplace. At one end of the living room is a grand piano that students play during parties.

Nationally, 28 percent of public and private college presidents live in university-owned housing, and another 20 percent receive a housing allowance, according to the most recent survey conducted by the American Council on Education. In Massachusetts, most public university chancellors receive a housing stipend.

Robert Atwell, president emeritus of the council and author of a book on presidential compensation, said college presidents may be reluctant to showcase their homes during a recession because “there’s an image issue here: presidents living in splendor.’’

At some private colleges, the longstanding tradition of free housing also extends to senior administrators, including provosts, deans, and even former presidents. College officials were reluctant to divulge how much it costs each year to house their leaders, and said that any savings, other than an outright sale, would be minimal, given the need to maintain and staff a space for entertaining luminaries. In some cases, the home was donated, making a sale impolitic.

Some have suggested, however, that presidents could take a pay cut to reflect the free housing they’re receiving.

Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz lives 4 miles from his university’s Waltham campus, on a sprawling lot in a hilly Newton neighborhood. The six-bedroom stucco home, encircled by hemlocks, oaks, and blue spruce trees, was selected by the university’s first president for its spacious grounds and privacy.

BU houses its president, Robert Brown, in an imposing Brookline mansion built of puddingstone in 1851. University officials say Brown has a housekeeper, but no chef, and BU, which bought the house in 1994, pays taxes on the five-bedroom home, assessed at $5.3 million.

Across the river, Tufts president Lawrence Bacow resides in a red brick Georgian-style house built in 1938, where he regularly invites students for breakfast after his training runs with them for the Boston Marathon. Those who have been there say it’s comfortable and warm, more “Better Homes and Gardens’’ than “Architectural Digest.’’

At MIT one afternoon last week, a recent graduate in neuroscience peered over a concrete wall at the president’s garden. There was a small fountain, a barbecue grill, and a bronze statue of a beaver (MIT’s mascot). The former student, who did not want his name published, said he spent his four years at MIT living in a dorm that overlooks Hockfield’s riverfront home.

But he’s never been inside the Gray House, as it’s known. Nor have any of his friends, although MIT officials insist that students are regularly invited.

“The youngest person I’ve seen in there has white hair,’’ he said.

Tracy Jan can be reached at [email protected].

http://www.boston.com/news/education...yle/?page=full
 
Old August 20th, 2009 #35
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M.I.T. Calls Academia's Bluff

by Gary North

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has begun the most revolutionary experiment in the history of education, stretching all the way back to the pharaohs. It now gives away its curriculum to anyone smart enough to learn it. It has posted its curriculum on-line for free. These days, this means a staggering 1900 courses. This number will grow.

This is proof to the academic world that MIT regards its program as the best, and dares any other institution to prove otherwise, where everyone can see and compare. The free site validates the MIT T-shirt: HARVARD: Because not everyone can get into MIT."

MIT has publicly stiffed its main rival for the title of the best science university on earth. That rival is the California Institute of Technology. CalTech will forever play catch-up to MIT on-line. It will be "We, Too On-line University."

Students around the world can see for themselves that MIT has what it takes to be the best. They can test drive the entire curriculum.

Top students all over the world still want to attend MIT. They want a diploma that has MIT's name on it. The free site does not reduce demand for an MIT diploma. It increases it.

MIT has up-ended several millennia of higher education. Let me explain.

THE NATURE OF THIS REVOLUTIONARY EXPERIMENT

For as long as there have been priesthoods, there has been formal classroom education.

The Egyptian priests had classrooms, lectures, and students taking notes.

The Jews had schools where bright young men came to learn the Hebrew texts and memorize the oral tradition, which began being written down in the second century A.D. This oral tradition was written down centuries later: the Mishnah and the Talmud.

The Classical Greeks had academies. Plato and Aristotle taught young men the rudiments of philosophy.

The Greeks also had medical schools.

These programs were closed to most outsiders. A student had to be accepted. He also had to pay.

In most cases, the information was secret. The student was bound by an oath of secrecy. Here are the opening words of the original Hippocratic Oath.

I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art – if they desire to learn it – without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

The training created a medical guild. The guild functioned as an oligopoly. It kept prices high by restricting access to the training.

This is what the college diploma has always done. It has created a guild that restricts entry by non-certified people. This keeps wages high.

To obtain the diploma, a person must pay money to the trainers. The trainers are located at one center or special regional centers. Journeying to the center adds costs. Quitting a full-time job back home also adds to the expense. Forcing students to attend pre-requisites adds to the cost. Everything is done to screen access to the knowledge.

So, the knowledge does not spread. This is the crucial function of the academic screening system, especially for practical knowledge: healing people and building things.

For the first time in the history of man, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has opened the gates to all comers. It has said, "You won't get certified by us, but you can get the classroom knowledge. If you are smart enough to teach yourself, you will have the knowledge."

MIT has now removed the most important layers of bureaucracy: the layers associated with classroom instruction.

1. The fee to obtain the training
2. The cost of journeying to a training center
3. The pre-requisite system
4. The cost of quitting your job

This has de-mystified the entire guild procedure. It says this: "If you are smart enough, you can master the initial content."

This opens the door for the revival of the local apprenticeship system. Here is where a student masters the non-textbook basics of a field, which are at least as important as the textbook content.

Think of a written account of how to tie a shoelace. Then think of a parent's training: apprenticeship.

There is one remaining price barrier: the high cost of textbooks. But Amazon, eBay, and the many on-line used book sellers let you buy older editions for $20 instead of $150. A textbook one edition behind is 99% effective in every undergraduate major.

The gatekeeping function of the academic guild is now under assault by one of the supreme gatekeepers: MIT.

REMOVING BUREAUCRACY

The next step in the liberation of society is the introduction of certification by examination without diplomas. There would no requirement to attend a school. Just pass the exam.

This terrifies every guild. Smart people could get in just by passing the guild's entry-level exam.

The ultimate breakthrough would be a requirement that every certified member of a guild would be required to pass the guild's entry exam every five years or else lose his official license to practice. That would mean the end of exams that screen for wage reasons rather than for technical reasons. The members would demand easier exams, so that they could pass. More students would pass. Wages would decline.

Finally, there would be a removal of state-chartered systems of professional licensing. It would not be illegal to sell any services at any price.

Combine these, and the bureaucratization of society would end.

If you think, "This is utopian," consider this: MIT has removed the crucial initial layer, which imposes the greatest financial burden.

A student in India who understands English and who has access to the Web can get an MIT education.

If other universities imitate MIT, the world of higher education will be radically changed for the better.

$120,000 DEGREES FROM PODUNK COLLEGE

Let me tell you a story I know first-hand. It happened several years ago.

There is a tiny Christian college – then unaccredited – that has pretensions of being a first-rate Christian university for conservatives. The librarian put a book by a certain historian on its shelves. This scholar had written some unconventional books regarding certain controversial aspects of World War II. This book was not one of them.

Some bonehead faculty member came to him and told him to remove this book. He refused. She then told the administration. The librarian was ordered by the administration to remove the book, because a library-review committee was scheduled to visit the school. This team could revoke the library's accreditation if certain kinds of books or authors with certain views were found on the shelves. The librarian quit, as he should have. The book was then removed.

The administration was bluffed by a bonehead faculty member into committing a preposterous assault on intellectual liberty – removing a book from the library – because of the administration's utter terror in the presence of a committee of librarians.

There was a day when Christians chose death by lions rather than capitulating to the State. That day is long gone. This is the confession of Christian higher education: "Our government-accredited utmost for His highest." Colleges are staffed by certified bureaucrats who have been trained by certified bureaucrats. They grew up in the fear of committees, and this fear never leaves them.

The losers? The students and their parents, who spend $120,000 to earn a degree (if the student graduates) from a low-prestige school that provides a third-rate education. In addition, the school raises another $15,000 a year per student from naïve donors who don't know how third-rate the place is.

There are accredited universities around the world that offer distance-learning programs where a student can earn a liberal arts degree at home in two or three years for $15,000. A student can pay his own way by working as an apprentice to a local businessman. This way, he or she learns a trade. But no. The parents send them off to college for $30,000 a year (after taxes).

Parents who send their children off to Podunk College are behind the technological curve.

First, about half of college freshmen don't graduate, even after six years. Second, those who do graduate enter a job market in which only 20% of graduates can find a non-minimum wage job.

The graduates are four to six years older, minimally educated, have no full-time work experience, and have forfeited four to six years of income. I call this "formally certified stupidity." What would you call it?

A college could easily provide free on-line guides to passing the Advanced Placement, CLEP, and DSST exams to quiz out of the first two years. Total cost: under $2,000 for the exams. That would save parents at least $60,000. The school would provide conservative guidelines for free on-line in PDF. It would also provide free YouTube or Blip.tv video courses.

If the school were interested in educating people, it would do all this. But Podunk College is interested in selling accredited degrees at above-market rates. It is not interested in educating people. This includes all of the "dedicated to furthering God's kingdom" colleges. They are dedicated to furthering their little kingdoms at parents' expense.

If they are really worth the money, they should prove this for free on-line. MIT has. Why not them?

Simple: because they are not worth the money. They know it. The parents don't know it. The illusion must go on.

Could a college make its money by teaching upper division courses on-line for 25% of today's tuition – $5,000 a year instead of $20,000 – with no room and board costs? Yes. Will any of them do this? Of course not. Why not? Because they are in debt up to their ears for educationally unnecessary real estate. They adopted a technologically defunct model before the Web.

There is another reason. If a school's curriculum were 100% on-line for free, every parent, donor, and prospective student could judge the academic quality of the program. There is no interest in doing this. I think the administrators have a sense that their programs are not up to the standards of tax-funded universities.

Their problem is not lack of money and physical plant. Education is about wisdom, self-discipline, highly motivational teachers, and perspective. The problem for these schools is a lack of a distinctive Christian academic worldview.

If parents could see the classroom presentations, they might conclude that the academic content is essentially the same, the perspective is the same, and the cost is far higher than tax-funded education. A prayer before each class is not worth an extra $80,000.

Someday there will be a Christian college aimed at home school graduates that itself is 100% on-line and priced accordingly. In the meantime, parents and students have on-line alternatives for under $20,000, total.

There are several state universities that offer this, most notably Excelsior and Edison State.

Would a college lose its accreditation if it adopted such a program? Not if it played things smart. It could enroll on-campus students whose parents are eager to spend extra money. There are still lots of these parents. Jennie Sue and Billy Bob want to get away from home at their parents' expense for four to six years. They wheedle a free education by pleading a love of classroom education. Peer pressure from other parents reinforce this. "What? Your kid is still at home?"

Would parents enroll their children at an unaccredited college? Maybe not. They, too, grovel at the feet of accreditation committees. But since the graduates of accredited schools can't get decent jobs these days, of what economic value is accreditation?

I am not talking about students who major in a natural science like engineering or chemistry. But hardly any American students do. I am talking about the standard, career-unrelated liberal arts degree.

WHAT DO PARENTS WANT?

The sad fact is this: most parents don't care about education. They care about accreditation. The great German social scientist Max Weber commented on this just after World War I. He wrote this:

If we hear from all sides demands for the introduction of a regulated curricula culminating in specialized examinations, the reason behind this is, of course, not a suddenly awakened 'thirst for education', but rather a desire to limit the supply of candidates for these positions and to monopolize them for the holders of educational patents – [B]ureaucracy strives everywhere for the creation of a 'right to the office' by the establishment of regular disciplinary procedures and by elimination of the completely arbitrary disposition of the superior over the subordinate official. The bureaucracy seeks to secure the official's position, his orderly advancement, and his provision for old age.

Parents seek union cards for their children. But there are so many kids with union cards today that the advantage has disappeared.

What should a wise parent do? Keep the child home and away from the bureaucrats. Get the child apprenticed to a local businessman. Have the child quiz out of the entire B.A.

Add an incentive. The child gets $50,000 in cash – or half the total cost of college – as a graduation present. The child pays for his/her college education. The parent saves a bundle, especially considering how many students drop out. The child gets starting capital. Use it for grad school. Use it for starting a business. Use it for down payments on a few repossessed houses.

Meanwhile, Podunk College gets nothing. This is the way it ought to be until it offers something educationally unique and worth the extra money, or else offers its existing run-of-the mill program on-line for a third of the money that it charges today.

Private, campus-based, wildly overpriced colleges with undistinguished academic programs will survive, but only a handful of them will prosper. They function today as expensive marital matchmaking services. There are cheaper ways to marry off your children. They can to use one of these on-line dating services.

To the parent who says, "I don't want my child being certified by a state university like Excelsior or Edison State or Louisiana State at Shreveport," I respond: "So, you prefer to pay $120,000 to a private college that gained its accreditation only by kissing the hindquarters of a state-licensed accreditation agency?"

There is stupidity and then there is financially suicidal stupidity. Parents display both. The older the child, the more suicidal the stupidity.

Under no circumstances – none – should a family or a student go into debt for college. The average student graduates with $20,000 of debt. This is suicidal. When graduates marry, they are $40,000 in debt. I offer lots of horror stories here:

CONCLUSION

The end of the high-priced university training system is in sight. It may take a generation. These schools are licensed agencies of the state. They will not surrender without a fight. But when the best science university in the world says "Come and get it . . . free!" the other schools have a major problem for justifying secrecy. This response – "We offer a better program than MIT does" – is not likely to be widely believed.

Any college that does not have all of its professors' classroom lectures on-line on YouTube or Vimeo or Blip.tv is saying, loud and clear, "We don't want people to see how incompetent our faculty really is."

Any college that claims to be Christian but which assigns standard secular textbooks and does not publish on-line refutations of these textbooks is saying, loud and clear, "We agree with the textbooks. We charge parents $30,000 a year so their kids can have a prayer before every class – maybe – and a morally safe environment – maybe." I call it Darwinism with prayers.

It is fraudulent. It is corrupt. It is widespread.

Parents, save your money. Have your college-bound children stay at home and pay for their own educations by using AP/CLEP/DSST exams at $60 per course, plus on-line distance education at $100 to $125 per semester unit, plus local apprenticeship with a salary are the way for your children to pay for their own college educations. This takes the risk out of the deal for you. With a 50% drop-out rate, there is huge risk.

If you say, "My child is not smart enough or mature enough to learn on his own," then do not send him off to college. Let him stay home and watch Animal House twice a day until he matures.

August 20, 2009

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com. He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north748.html
 
Old September 2nd, 2009 #36
Leshrac
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Quote:
Would parents enroll their children at an unaccredited college? Maybe not. They, too, grovel at the feet of accreditation committees. But since the graduates of accredited schools can't get decent jobs these days, of what economic value is accreditation?
Brilliant
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Old September 2nd, 2009 #37
Rick Ronsavelle
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street cred (street accreditation)
A series of points you gain within the 12-30 black year old community in order to gain respect:

5 point- Born black
5 point- Born in a single parent home
10 points- Born poor
50 points- Sold 'Hard' drugs.. crack, cocaine, Heroin
65 points- Been shot and survived
75 points- Been shot multiple times and survived
70 points- Gang member of crips or bloods
65 points- Been to prison
40 points- Been to Jail
20 points- Have at least 10 tattoos
20 points- Kicked out of high school or dropped out
20 points- 16 years old and have a baby mama
-75 Points- Born rich
-50 Points- Speak proper English
-60 Points- Have white friends
-5 Points- Born white
-95 Points- Born in a safe neighborhood
-100 Points- No criminal record
-40 Points- Live with both parents
-35 Points- Smile when someone takes your photo
-60 Points- Straight A student
-2000 Points- Born in Utah, Maine, New Hampshire, Montana or Arizona.
"I waz crip cuz, in prison bout 8 years pushing coke but check out them look gunshot wounds I got yo"

"Damm you got street cred yo! you rap?"
----

"I'm from Maine and got a 4.0 from Harvard. My parents are both on the fortune 500 list and are still together"-

"Man, you are wack you don't got now street cred you sucker"

http://www.urbandictionary.com/defin...rm=street+cred
 
Old November 1st, 2009 #38
Leshrac
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I'm in shock. A mainstream exposing a lie ?
 
Old January 6th, 2010 #39
Pennsylvania Man
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http://collegeisforsuckers.com/
 
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