Friday, November 27, 2009

College is a waste of money right now

It's quite amazing that the bias in favor of college continues to survive against mounting evidence that it is a bad investment for many young people and their parents. At the top of intelligence scale, most would-be college students would clearly be better off avoiding college in favor of joining a start up, founding their own company or simply pursuing intellectual pursuits outside of the traditional four-year college.

At the bottom of the intelligence scale, the would-be students would be far better learning a trade without accumulating tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. Even middling students would probably be better off seeking a profession that is not irrationally closed off to those without a college degree.

"In this environment, opportunity cost trumps tradition. For many undergraduates and parents, the cost of going to college is now far greater than the supposed benefits," a new story on Minyanville reports. More from Minyanville:

“College costs -- along with living and medical costs -- are rising, and salaries are going down right now,” Managing Director of Formula Capital and Wall Street Journal columnist James Altucher said. “College graduates don’t have the same benefits as they did 30 years ago.”

Parents should beware of their child’s intentions. Many students want to spend their parents’ money -- it’s their last chance to go all out... “If a student wants to go back to school in their 20s, when they’ve made some money, traveled, and matured a bit, then go ahead,” Altucher said. “But a parent shouldn’t have to spend $50,000 a year for their kid to go to frat parties all day long.”


Saving Private Casimer

by Mike Adams

Last Monday night, I spent an evening at my favorite cigar store with several good friends. We were laughing and carrying on as usual when a man came slowly walking in relying heavily on a cane he held with his left hand. He had a cast on his right wrist and a “World War II Veteran” cap on his head. As he passed in front of me I said “Good evening, young man.” He laughed and told me he was 83.

As soon as the veteran said he was looking for two Romeo and Juliets my friend Frank jumped up and opened the door to the humidor to help him find his cigars. A couple of minutes later, the veteran emerged with two cigars, which he plopped down beside the cash register as he reached for his wallet.

As soon as I saw his wallet I tapped him on the shoulder and said “No World War II veteran pays for his cigars in this shop.” I was about to reach for my own wallet when my friend Carl “The Chocolate Chaplain” Byrd shouted “put them on my tab.” The veteran shook my hand and thanked us all before turning and slowly walking towards the door.

After taking a few steps our new friend stopped and turned around. I saw a tear rolling down his left cheek just before he spoke with a voice that cracked with emotion. He said “I get awfully choked up when someone thanks me for my service. It means a whole lot to me.” I told him we all loved him for what he did for us. Carl got up and threw his arms around the man and hugged him before he turned around and struggled to work his cane towards the door.

After our veteran friend was gone the conversation went in an entirely different direction. We stopped trying to one-up each other. We even stopped exchanging insults, which is a favorite pastime at Brookelynn Cigars. We spent the rest of the evening telling stories about our uncles and grandfathers who served in World Wars I and II.

Someone mentioned that the last known veteran of World War I died just last year. We suddenly realized it wouldn’t be long before the veterans of World War II are gone as well.

When I woke up Tuesday morning and turned on my computer I noticed I had over 700 emails in my inbox. I had published an internet column at midnight before I went to bed. The column was about a kid named Kevin Casimer at Purdue University. Kevin was offended because a library science professor named Bert Chapman had talked about the economic costs of homosexuality on his personal blog. So Kevin started a petition to have him fired for “offensive” speech.

My response to Kevin was pretty simple: I used my column to invite people to put their names on a petition to expel Kevin Casimer for intellectual intolerance.

I was only kidding but, apparently, many people thought it was a good idea. I had not previously received more than 600 emails in a day - and that was only when Rush Limbaugh read one of my columns on his radio show. To put things in perspective, the column on Kevin Casimer was the 595th I’ve written since 2003. I had never received over 700 email responses to a column in just one morning

Before I could even get to those 700 morning emails I received another 700 that afternoon. And I have received several hundred - with some variation of “Expel Kevin Casimer” in the subject line - every day since I ran the column. By contrast, Kevin Casimer has succeeded in collecting about five dozen signatures.

One cannot understand fully the strong reaction to Kevin Casimer’s arrogance without reflecting upon the meaning of the scene in Brookelynn Cigars. People are upset to see the passing of our greatest generation. But they are equally upset to see them replaced by our weakest and most arrogant generation to date. I know that every generation of adults thinks the current generation of teenagers and younger adults is the worst. But someone has to be right.

So I am sending a proposal to President France A. Cordova of Purdue University asking her to expel Kevin Casimer. But I’m also asking her to let him back in contingent upon his completion of a simple research project.

I will propose that Kevin Casimer collect the signatures of five dozen World War II veterans. The signature lines will be placed at the bottom of a short questionnaire to be administered by none other than Kevin Casimer. The questionnaire will be comprised of two simple questions:

1) Did you storm the beaches of Normandy or fight any other World War II battle in order to preserve the right of future generations to be comfortable at all times?

2) What are your personal feelings about those who feel that the United States Constitution (that you defended by risking your life) can now be nullified by subjective feelings such as personal offense or discomfort?

I will also ask Purdue University to let Bert Chapman supervise Kevin Casimer as he carries out this important project. And I will ask Purdue to have the project graded by a panel of young veterans attending Purdue University. They, and only they, will be allowed to readmit Kevin Casimer on the basis of the proper administration and interpretation of this important project. Finally, I will ask that Kevin Casimer only be admitted upon the return of a unanimous verdict.

After all, Kevin Casimer is accused of intellectual terrorism. He should be tried before a military rather than a civilian jury.


Leftist brainwashing of future teachers at the University of Minnesota

You must denounce exclusionary biases and embrace the vision. (Or else.)

Do you believe in the American dream -- the idea that in this country, hardworking people of every race, color and creed can get ahead on their own merits? If so, that belief may soon bar you from getting a license to teach in Minnesota public schools -- at least if you plan to get your teaching degree at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus.

In a report compiled last summer, the Race, Culture, Class and Gender Task Group at the U's College of Education and Human Development recommended that aspiring teachers there must repudiate the notion of "the American Dream" in order to obtain the recommendation for licensure required by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Instead, teacher candidates must embrace -- and be prepared to teach our state's kids -- the task force's own vision of America as an oppressive hellhole: racist, sexist and homophobic.

The task group is part of the Teacher Education Redesign Initiative, a multiyear project to change the way future teachers are trained at the U's flagship campus. The initiative is premised, in part, on the conviction that Minnesota teachers' lack of "cultural competence" contributes to the poor academic performance of the state's minority students. Last spring, it charged the task group with coming up with recommendations to change this. In January, planners will review the recommendations and decide how to proceed.

The report advocates making race, class and gender politics the "overarching framework" for all teaching courses at the U. It calls for evaluating future teachers in both coursework and practice teaching based on their willingness to fall into ideological lockstep. The first step toward "cultural competence," says the task group, is for future teachers to recognize -- and confess -- their own bigotry. Anyone familiar with the re-education camps of China's Cultural Revolution will recognize the modus operandi.

The task group recommends, for example, that prospective teachers be required to prepare an "autoethnography" report. They must describe their own prejudices and stereotypes, question their "cultural" motives for wishing to become teachers, and take a "cultural intelligence" assessment designed to ferret out their latent racism, classism and other "isms." They "earn points" for "demonstrating the ability to be self-critical."

The task group opens its report with a model for officially approved confessional statements: "As an Anglo teacher, I struggle to quiet voices from my own farm family, echoing as always from some unstated standard. ... How can we untangle our own deeply entrenched assumptions?"

The goal of these exercises, in the task group's words, is to ensure that "future teachers will be able to discuss their own histories and current thinking drawing on notions of white privilege, hegemonic masculinity, heteronormativity, and internalized oppression."

Future teachers must also recognize and denounce the fundamental injustices at the heart of American society, says the task group. From a historical perspective, they must "understand that ... many groups are typically not included" within America's "celebrated cultural identity," and that "such exclusion is frequently a result of dissimilarities in power and influence." In particular, aspiring teachers must be able "to explain how institutional racism works in schools."

After indoctrination of this kind, who wouldn't conclude that the American Dream of equality for all is a cruel hoax? But just to make sure, the task force recommends requiring "our future teachers" to "articulate a sophisticated and nuanced critical analysis" of this view of the American promise. In the process, they must incorporate the "myth of meritocracy in the United States," the "history of demands for assimilation to white, middle-class, Christian meanings and values, [and] history of white racism, with special focus on current colorblind ideology."

What if some aspiring teachers resist this effort at thought control and object to parroting back an ideological line as a condition of future employment? The task group has Orwellian plans for such rebels: The U, it says, must "develop clear steps and procedures for working with non-performing students, including a remediation plan."

And what if students' ideological purity is tainted once they begin to do practice teaching in the public schools? The task group frames the danger this way: "How can we be sure that teaching supervisors are themselves developed and equipped in cultural competence outcomes in order to supervise beginning teachers around issues of race, class, culture, and gender?" Its answer? "Requir[e] training/workshop for all supervisors. Perhaps a training session disguised as a thank you/recognition ceremony/reception at the beginning of the year?"

When teacher training requires a "disguise," you know something sinister is going on.


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