Monday, June 24, 2013

Google Has Started Hiring More People Who Didn’t Go To College

After years of looking at the data, Google has found that things like college GPAs and transcripts are almost worthless in hiring. Following these revelations, the company is hiring more and more people who never even went to college.In an interview with The New York Times, Google’s Senior Vice President for People Operations Laszlo Bock revealed that the number of degree-less hires has trended upwards as they’ve stopped asking for transcripts for everybody but the most recent graduates. 

“What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well,” Bock said. “So we have teams where you have 14 per cent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.”

Bock’s critique of higher education goes beyond debunking the GPA as a hiring metric. He says the academic setting is an artificial place where people are highly trained to succeed only in a specific environment.

“One of my own frustrations when I was in college and grad school is that you knew the professor was looking for a specific answer,” Bock says. “You could figure that out, but it’s much more interesting to solve problems where there isn’t an obvious answer. You want people who like figuring out stuff where there is no obvious answer.”

After two or three years, performance at college is “completely unrelated” to performance at Google, because the skills you learn are so different and you change so much, Bock says.

Of course, most of Google’s hires are still college graduates.

After all, college is still the surest way of learning advanced engineering and other stuff that gets you a job at Google. A college degree still provides some guarantee of intelligence and commitment. And at the end of the day, people with a college degree are far more highly employed and make more money than those who don’t graduate.   


California Schools to Train Kids to Sell ObamaCare

The Los Angeles Unified School District will use a state grant to train teens to promote ObamaCare to family members. Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, announced grants of $37 million on May 14 to promote the nationally unpopular law.

LAUSD will receive $990,000. The district listed as a primary outcome for its project, “Teens trained to be messengers to family members.”

Covered California spokeswoman Sarah Soto-Taylor said staff have not questioned this goal. 

“We have confidence that the model LA Unified brought to the table will be successful in reaching our target population, which includes family members of students,” she said.

LAUSD will also use tax-paid staff to promote ObamaCare through phone calls to students’ homes, in-class presentations, and meetings with employees eligible for ObamaCare’s taxpayer-covered healthcare, the grant award says.

Unpaid Propagandizers

The district listed adult education students, part-time, and contract employees as its target population. Teens will be trained to be messengers not to those groups, but to their own families, to get more people enrolled in taxpayer-subsidized healthcare.

If the project is successful, Los Angeles families can expect more use of students to push government-preferred messaging.

“Teens are part of a ‘pilot’ program to test whether young people can be trained as messengers to deliver outreach and limited education to family and friends in and around their homes,” said Gayle Pollard-Terry, a LAUSD spokesman, in an email. “Teens will be educating adults that they already know (e.g., family or friends) and not other adults.”

‘Paid in the Rear’

Grant recipients like LAUSD will be held accountable by the state for fulfilling their promised activities for outreach, said Larry Hicks, another LAUSD spokesman.

“At a minimum, grantees will be required to submit to Covered California monthly, quarterly, and annual reports on their activities and progress towards agreed upon outcomes. If project benchmarks are not met, grantees may be required to submit additional ad hoc reports upon Covered California’s request. Grantees will also be required to report any proposed adjustments to their approved outreach and education plan using the information management system… Additionally, field monitors will be assigned to grantees to verify their progress,” Hughes said.

Pollard-Terry said the district is familiar with running grants like this one and federal ones of similar size: “This grant is ‘paid in the rear,’ so the funding will come based on performance. The district front-funds positions and we have the ability to start using existing staff for the most part.”


Eminent Victorians dropped from history curriculum in British U-turn

Eminent figures from the Victorian era including William Gladstone, Benjamin Disraeli and Florence Nightingale are set to be removed as compulsory elements of the new history curriculum for schools after a U-turn by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary.

The pair of prime ministers and the “Lady with the Lamp”, who tended to victims of the Crimean War, figured prominently in a planned shake up of history teaching unveiled by Mr Gove earlier this year in an attempt to ensure children had a solid grasp of Britain’s past.

However, he has been forced to redraft the plans in the wake of a campaign of opposition from teachers and prominent academics which saw the proposals branded “insulting and offensive”.

More emphasis will now be placed on world history rather than a concentration on British events and figures. The new draft is understood not to insist on the study of a range of figures, also including Clive of India, Isaac Newton and Baroness Thatcher, all of whom featured in the original proposals.

Winston Churchill, however, will still feature as a compulsory element of the new-look curriculum after the wartime leader won a late reprieve. An education department source said: "There will still be a strong narrative of British history."

The latest revision of the plans is now awaiting the approval of David Cameron and Nick Clegg, Mr Gove has signalled. Schools are likely to be given more freedom in what to teach, while the planned history curriculum for primary schools is being scaled down.

Instead of being forced to learn about Newton and Christina Rossetti, the Victorian poet, five-to-seven year olds may learn about more modern figures - including Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet, and Rosa Parks, the US civil rights activist.

Secondary school pupils, meanwhile, may learn about Charles Darwin along with lessons on immigration and Islamic history.

The first draft of the history curriculum, published in February, was backed by some historians, including Anthony Beevor, Niall Ferguson and David Starkey. Others, however, panned it.

Simon Schama, speaking at the Telegraph Hay Festival last month, attacked it even though he had been a member of the group which helped the Department for Education (DfE) draw it up. He dubbed it “Insulting and offensive,” “pedantic and utopian”, and accused Mr Gove of constructing a “ridiculous shopping list.”

Malorie Blackman, the new children’s laureate, said the original proposals were “dangerous” and warned that pupils could become “disenchanted with education” if they felt what they were being taught was not relevant.

Under the first draft, children aged between seven and 11 were expected to be taught British history in chronological order, from the Stone Age up until the Act of Union in 1707 - with a series of 48 bullet points mapping out compulsory events and personalities for teachers.

History for secondary school pupils aged between 11 and 14, meanwhile, was to cover the period between 1707 and 1989.

A new draft presented to history teachers by civil servants sees extra topics from world history included while the prescriptive bullet-point regime has been turned into a series of suggestions.

The original plan said five-to-seven year olds should be taught the “concept of the nation”. This appears to have been dropped - with a new section suggesting they should be taught about “changes within living memory.”

Pupils in key stage 2 (those aged between seven and 11) and key stage 3 (between 11 and 14) will under the latest plans have to be taught a world history topic and “local history” alongside learning about British events and personalities. Primary school pupils could learn about “early Islam” or the culture of Benin in west Africa.

The Crusades, meanwhile, could be studied by younger secondary-school children.

Clive of India appears to have been dropped after Prof Schama described him as a “sociopathic, corrupt thug” who would be a compulsory part of a curriculum which was like “1066 and all that, but without the jokes.”

Other figures no longer expected to be compulsory for key stage 2 children include Newton, the scientist who formulated the theory of gravity, Christopher Wren, the architect of St Pauls’ Cathedral, Adam Smith, the Scottish philosopher and economist, and Olaudha Equiano, the anti-slavery campaigner. A list of prime ministers, including Thatcher, Gladstone, Disraeli and Clement Attlee no longer features.

Churchill was removed from the late draft - but sources said he would definitely be in the final version of the curriculum after last-minute discussions between ministers.

One of the few personalities included in the new draft is Charles Darwin, who laid the foundations of the theory of evolution. Instead of specifying major historical figures, teachers will be told to focus on topics including World War II, the “development of the British Empire” and the slave trade. The imperialistic sounding phrase “Britain and her empire” has been replaced with “the British Empire”.

For primary-school children, Newton and Nightingale are not expected to feature in the final version of the curriculum - and neither are Rossetti and Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Victorian engineer.

However, Armstrong, Parks and Berners-Lee are set to be mentioned, along with LS Lowry, the artist famous for his paintings of stick-like people, and Emily Davison, the sufragette.


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