Monday, November 12, 2012

Uneducated People Share Simplistic Graphic About Education, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

You may have seen this graphic floating around the internet. I have no clue where it comes from, but wouldn't recommend visiting whatever "" is, which has been watermarked on this version:

Hah! Those dumb conservatives, they all vote for Mitt Romney. And they're dumb. Well, now that we've all confirmed our elitist preconceived biases about conservatives, it's off to the wine bar to celebrate eh?

Not so fast. Pretty much every exit poll shows very little correlation between education and electoral outcomes. Here are the graphics that accompany CNN's exit polling on education.

There is only one category here that correlates with level of education: postgraduates. President Obama won those who didn't attend high school, those who didn't attend college, and postgraduates.

Here's a news flash: Obama won the election, so he won slightly larger percentages of everyone. In fact, as education level increases, tendency to vote for President Obama decreases until you get to the postgraduate level. This is largely unsurprising when you consider that one of President Obama's major supporter groups - teachers' unions - consists almost entirely of members who have some sort of postgraduate education.

This sort of infographic is the kind of lazy attempt at snarky humor that actively misinforms people. And it's embarrassing to draw conclusions here - there is nearly a zero level of correlation between formal education and electoral choice.


Note for statisticians:  This is a very good example of why "ecological" correlations (correlations among grouped data) have to be treated with caution

British tuition fees hike 'may have benefited poorer students'

The gap in university participation between rich and poor students has narrowed since the introduction of higher tuition fees in England in 2006/07, according to a new report.

Students from poorer backgrounds may have benefited from the introduction of higher university tuition fees in England, according to a new study published today.

The gap in higher education participation between those from wealthy and deprived backgrounds has narrowed rapidly since the 2006-07 student finance regime changes, which saw the tuition fees cap rise from £1,000 to £3,000 per annum.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report, this could be because the new fee regime was more generous to poorer students and hit those from richer backgrounds relatively harder.

"Contrary to the beliefs of many, the new HE [higher education] finance regime introduced in 2006-07 was actually significantly more progressive than the system it replaced," the report says.

It adds: "We cannot say for sure that this change in [university participation] arose as a consequence of the new HE finance regime, but it was coincident with it and we cannot explain it using the other characteristics that we observe in our data."

Only 18 per cent of state school students from the most deprived backgrounds attended higher education in 2009-10, compared with 55 per cent of those from the least deprived backgrounds - a gap of 37 percentage points.

But according to the report that gap had fallen from 40 percentage points just five years earlier, due mainly to a sharp increase in the number of pupils from deprived backgrounds applying for university.

The gap has in fact been diminishing throughout the last decade, but the process 'accelerated somewhat' after the tuition fees cap was increased in 2006-07, according to the report.

Claire Crawford, the author of the report, said: "This experience in 2006-07 provides some hope that the drop in university applications observed this year - following the most recent increase in tuition fees - may not herald the start of a longer term fall in participation rates."

However, NUS president Liam Burns said: "Top-up fees were in marked contrast from the current government's decision to increase the cap on tuition fees to £9,000 which, far from providing additional income, was used as a spurious justification by ministers to remove almost all public funding from universities and to substitute it with debt loaded onto the shoulders of individuals."

Students starting university this September faced another tuition fees hike, with the cap now set at £9,000 per year.

The IFS report cites studies concluding that poorer students became better off under the 2006-07 fees regime than its predecessor because the fees are means tested, and because student loans are only payable above a certain earnings threshold after graduation and can eventually be written off.

Bursaries and grants are also available to university students based on household income.

But the studies point out that poor students will only benefit if they fully understand the implications of the regime and aren't 'debt averse'.

The report also notes that increased university participation among poorer students has been partly driven by a 'catch up' in attainment earlier on in the education system.

The proportion of young people with at least 2 A-levels also rose more quickly among poorer students over the last decade, for instance.

  A separate report also published by the IFS today criticises the new National Scholarship Programme - introduced this year to replace previous bursaries for disadvantaged students - for being too complex.

The report also criticises the variation in bursaries available from different universities under the new regime. It found Russell Group universities offering more generous financial support than lower-ranked institutions.


Shock, horror!  Speaker at Australian Catholic college fails to honour politically correct custom

He paid a tribute to the real founders of a college instead of the imaginary Aboriginal founders.  He said nothing at all about Aborigines but saying nothing was to insult them!

Non-Australians will find this hard to follow but in Leftist and particularly academic Australian circles, big meetings such as graduation ceremonies begin these days by acknowledging the fact that Aboriginal tribes used to live on the land concerned.  The pretence is that the meeting is held only with permission of the "traditional owners" of the land  -- which is of course complete garbage.  They have no title to it at law at all

A leading Sydney barrister and senior counsel at the trouble-plagued St John's College has sparked outrage after mocking the Aboriginal community at an official dinner at the University of Sydney.

Jeffrey Phillips, SC, stood in the college's 150-year-old Great Hall and, in front of more than 250 staff, students and guests, paid tribute to the "traditional custodians of this place" whom he identified as being the "Benedictines who came from the great English nation".

The comment was made in the presence of several indigenous students, one of whom has lodged a formal complaint and, according to senior staff, remains "deeply traumatised".

Mark Spinks, a respected member of Sydney's Aboriginal community and chairman of the Aboriginal men's group Babana, said: "How disgusting, how disgraceful, how disrespectful are those comments. I am outraged and I am disturbed. For that to have been said at the university, in a room full of students, I am almost speechless."

Last night, the University of Sydney's vice-chancellor, Michael Spence, condemned Mr Phillips' remarks. He said: "The university is very proud of the fact that it stands on land where indigenous peoples have been teaching and learning for many thousands of years before us and we acknowledge this publicly whenever we can."

Mr Phillips graduated from the college more than three decades ago but today he is back and, on occasions, reliving the good old days. The students appointed him as patron of the student club in 2009 and he is always a phone call away. He drinks and sings with them at formal dinners. He invites a select group to long lunches and "networking" events in the city, including a recent cigar and whisky appreciation night. He helps to find work for the law students of the college and hosts an essay competition each year, with a prize of $500.

Yesterday, Mr Phillips said his comments had been taken out of context, adding that he had sent the upset student a letter.

"It is a great pity that my speech was misinterpreted by one student," he said in a statement. "The speech was not intended, nor delivered in any way to disrespect or mock indigenous people. On the contrary, the speech had an important message of forgiveness and tolerance.

Neither the rector, Mr Bongers, nor anyone else present at the speech complained. In fact, the Rector personally thanked me warmly for my speech. Whilst I apologised to the student, as she had been offended, it is important, especially in an environment of vigorous debate, such as a university, that simple misunderstandings by one student not be blown out of proportion."


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