Sunday, September 25, 2005


They just MIGHT get around to sacking all the propagandists and hiring some real teachers

UC administrators gave the long-term financial rundown to the system's governing Board of Regents at their meeting Wednesday, saying the need and demand for a UC education is going up at a time when state funding continues to decline. Since 1984, California has increased spending for prisons by 126 percent and boosted spending on K-12 education by 26 percent. But spending on higher education dropped 12 percent, said Bruce Darling, UC senior vice president for university affairs.

Early signs of trouble include a student-faculty ratio that has risen above the goal of 17.6:1 to roughly 19:1 and staff and faculty salaries that have fallen behind comparable institutions, said Larry Hershman, UC's budget director.

Meanwhile, student fees have increased sharply in recent years, now approaching $7,000 a year including various campus fees. However, UC is still cheaper than other major public institutions and increases in financial aid have kept percentages of low-income students high, Hershman said.

Some regents were frustrated by the presentation, saying they're familiar with UC's state funding slide and want to see more solutions. "Our plan, it appears, is that we whine a lot about the inability of the Legislature to fully fund," said Regent John Moores, who questioned whether UC's long-term strategy is "hoping that something magic is going to happen."

"We cannot rely on the state as we have in the past," said Darling. "We're going to face some very stark policy choices."

More here


Post lifted from the Barone blog. See the original for links

American society has many islands of excellence—and many islands of mediocrity. Some of them can be found on the same turf, the campuses of our hundreds of colleges and universities. Among the islands of excellence are the mathematics and physical and biological science departments—the best in the world. Among the islands of mediocrity, or worse, are the schools of education, the institutions through which most of our public school teachers go.

Don't just take my word for it. Take the word of Arthur Levine, dean of Columbia University's Teachers College since 1994 (he's retiring next July), and of Al Sanoff, a former colleague at U.S. News & World Report, who is now the project manager of Teachers College's Study of Schools of Education Project [PDF]. Here's an article that describes the gist of Levine's first report, on the preparation of principals and administrators, issued last March. Money quotes:

"Arthur Levine is president of Teachers College at Columbia University and author of the report. He says graduate education programs suffer from irrelevant and incoherent curriculum, low admissions requirements and academic standards, weak faculty, and little clinical instruction. In fact, Levine adds, many programs are doing little more than dishing out higher degrees to teachers who are trying to qualify for salary increases.

"According to Al Sanoff, the study's project manager, even at elite universities across the U.S., colleges of education need to improve significantly. While he and the other researchers were able to identify some strong graduate education programs around the country, he notes, none that they found in America could be described as exemplary."

"None that they found in America could be described as exemplary." That's dynamite. I haven't gone through the full report yet, but I plan to do so. I have long suspected that education schools do more harm than good, and I have been fortified in my suspicions by reading Rita Kramer's Ed School Follies: The Miseducation of America's Teachers, E. D. Hirsch Jr.'s The Schools We Need: And Why We Don't Have Them, and Diane Ravitch's Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform. When I have asked teachers of my acquaintance what they gained from education school courses, the most positive response I've gotten was, "It wasn't a total waste of time." But all this came from people outside the education school establishment. Arthur Levine is at the center of this establishment. Teachers College is ranked number four on U.S. News's survey of graduate schools of education, behind only Harvard, UCLA, and Stanford.

Do we need education schools at all? That is a question I've been asking for some years, and I'm going to look at the Teachers College reports with that in mind. The 1910 Flexner Commission, sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, called for closing most American medical schools and for organizing the rest along the lines of rigorous scientific principles. Over the following decade or so, its writer Abraham Flexner, financed generously by John D. Rockefeller, put its recommendations into practice, and American medical schools are clearly the best in the world. (See pages 491-93 of Ron Chernow's splendid Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. for a brief account.) Are Arthur Levine and Al Sanoff laying the groundwork for a similar restructuring of our schools of education?


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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