Monday, May 19, 2014

NRU mostly education, long *sorry*

Fascinating article about the harm of using conspiracy theories as a tool for learning critical thinking.  I wish that the authors and the newspaper would have provided a link to the studies on which they based their reasoning.  However, I am not surprised by the finding. Now, if I could only get someone to do the research on what watching FOX news does to people's health as well as their outlook on the world.

I am glad that UC is finally looking, at the urging of the governor, at community college transfer rates, where they come from and where they go to.  I hope that this first cursory look at the issue is not the only look they will take at the issue.  It is a complex issue that is greater than just where people transfer -- it also involves the way that community colleges are funded, their varied and sometimes contradictory missions and the kind of counseling that these complexities breeds.

I am glad that someone is looking at the *test prep* issue within K-12.  Follow the money dear reporters and see how corporate interests are at the heart of the testing fiasco we all now bow down to in K-12 education.  For those who went into this with clean hearts, you know who you are, it is time to look at what 10+ years of testing has wrought within the educational systems.  The grim reports out from the NAEP should be ample quantitative proof that none of the goals we hoped for have been met.  Back to the drawing board on accountability -- and lock the corporate hounds out this time -- to see what we can do to fix this mistake.

And on news about the other failed experiment, charters, this NYTimes piece looks at the charters in NYC and the way that these so-called incubators are not producing healthy remedies for the schools that need them most.  It is sad for me to see that the only things that charters have bred successfully are competition and resentment.

I wasn't going to feature a piece on suspensions in a nearby city (coincidentally the same city where my father and his siblings were educated) -- the headline gave these pieces of info: overall suspensions down, suspensions of Latino students up.  In the article, the author points to the discrepancies in the number of students served and the number of students suspended by sub-group, but there is no analysis provided - beyond some self-serving "those kids" statements from one of the board members.  All I could think of while I read it was that some things never change.  I didn't want to dignify the lackluster article with a mention.

And then, I read this piece on Holder's commencement speech.  I so wish that our president had seen his way to let Holder do what he could have done as attorney general.  Holder is the very opposite of the first "Latino" AG that I was so ashamed of.  I guess I can only hope that this speech will go viral ... it deserves much more attention than most of the drivel that is *viral* -- no, it's not a cat video.  Here is the text of the speech.  The Christian Science Monitor was the only place I could find video - and it is not the right speech, just one minute from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund marking the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Ed.  There is something very wrong with the world when you can't find the video of this kind of speech, but the cat videos are on everyone's fb page.  UGH.

Finally, because I am posting this first thing tomorrow morning, I am going to go ahead and include this piece about *trigger alerts* and college campuses.  I was ambivalent about posting this because it is difficult to take a position on it.  I rant and rave about many things, and there are pieces of this that are cringe worthy, but I think there is an important piece to this puzzle that is not being discussed.  It was not difficult for many to take a stand -- but I am conflicted.  As someone who has spent some time of late on a college campus, I can attest to the cry baby syndrome and the real sensitivity issues still ignored on campuses.  So, here it is ... yes, these students are adults, but in an era when we have seen so many school's become the targets of senseless violence, why would we not consider this issue?  The many people coming down against these students take a very cavalier position on the sensitivity -- especially when we are encouraging so many veterans, many with combat experience, to come to campus.  We want their money but not their issues?  Um... wasn't there a deluge of headlines about the fact that sexual assault on campus is *still* not taken seriously on campuses?  PTSD as a result of trauma is part of the world that we live in ... and looking for a solution should not be spat on.  I will admit that I did not read all the *recommendations* so I cannot attest to the viability of taking all the sensitivities into account -- but what I heard was a group of students asking that professors simply bring to the syllabus a note when triggers might happen.  I don't see how that inhibits a professor -- it may force someone to consider what others might find difficult to deal with -- and if we have to think about others' feelings, would that be the worst thing in the world?  It may take more time and thought -- isn't that what we are at the university to do?

I read a blog -- and occasionally they post *trigger warnings* - it doesn't stop the blogger from writing what she (invariably it is a woman's voice on this blog) wants to write; it doesn't stop me from reading any content.  Where is the harm? Where is the foul?  I think it gives the reader/viewer the opportunity to prepare mentally for the content or to decide that he/she cannot be prepared for this at this moment.  I think that is helping people take personal responsibility -- I don't think that it is removing responsibility, I don't think it is making people weak or insinuating any responsibility on others.  Ok ... that's enough ... it's off my chest...

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