Education

Prices are information

It’s no secret. In recent years, there has been a growing concern over colleges and universities increasingly relying on adjunct professors to teach a large portion of their classes. ​​According to some reports, roughly 75 percent of instructors teaching college-level classes in the U.S. are not on a tenure track and more than half of all faculty hires are part-time and paid next to nothing. One report found that nearly 25 percent of adjuncts rely on public assistance programs, with 40 percent unable to afford basic household expenses.

So, there are too many people around with PhDs who want to teach college.

The answer is to have fewer people doing PhDs. Go get some other job.

Proper apprenticeships

At 18 I left school with two A-levels and became an articled clerk studying to be a chartered accountant – at 21 I qualified as an associate, a fellow at 25.

More of this please. For there’s a very limited number of things which require a degree to be able to do. Being an academic is one of them. Other than that, well, teacher, nurse, social worker, lawyer, accountant, even engineer, why?

Scottish education

For centuries now Scotland has been generally regarded as having a better school system than England.

Scotland could scrap exams and instead give 16-year-olds school graduation certificates
National 5s could be scrapped and replaced with a certificate or diploma as reliance on written exams leaves UK ‘vulnerable to disruption”

All good things come to an end, eh?

Great idea

So here is my big idea to boost the GDP of this country: radically reduce the size of the university sector and with it the proportion of young people taking degrees. How radical? Cutting it in half would be a good start.

Yep.

a cull of lecturers and professors, buildings and all facilities in universities.

There is that slight problem though. We know how bureaucracies react. They’d cull all the engineering and leave themselves only with the grievance studies departments.

Inherent?

By now Sandra Oh’s hive of devoted fans have likely binged all six episodes of her new Netflix dramedy, “The Chair.” As Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim, the newly appointed chair of the English department of a small liberal arts school called Pembroke, Oh’s meteoric rise comes at a time of scandal and uncertainty for her department, and it doesn’t help that she’s a woman of color subject to the racism and misogyny inherent to academia.

Well, if it’s inherent:

inherent
/ɪnˈhɪər(ə)nt,ɪnˈhɛr(ə)nt/
Learn to pronounce
adjective
existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute.

Then we’d better abolish academia in the name of equality then, hadn’t we?

Actually, I thought we’d already done that given the output of the modern universities…..

But that’s not what we’re trying to find out

After a week of GCSE and A-level results, we are in danger of missing the big point – our assessment system is not fit for purpose. It ruins the last four years of school on a narrow, stressful, unfair and badly designed exam merry-go-round. So, before we revert to flawed pre-Covid exams, now is the time for radical change.

The results of teacher assessments, we are told, is “grade inflation” but perhaps they actually reflect grade reality – the reality of what a child has learned in that subject over time, rather than merely what they can recall in that highly pressured moment in an exam hall.

Being able to find the triangle in a hypotenuse is not what we’re wondering whether pupils can manage. What we are trying to do is sort and rank the kiddies into those who would benefit from an academic training and those who would not.

You know, societal resources are scarce and all that, appropriate tools for the job, who will have the most value added to their innate skills and talents by what sort of training?

We don’t, in fact, give a toss what they’re learned. Near all of it is lies to children and has to be unlearnt by the second year of any – whether vocational, academic or properly hands on – system of adult training.

The entire point is the sort and rank function.

I would hire a brighter building manager

Prof Chen-Wishart, an expert in contract law, described how an incident a few weeks ago prompted her to become more vocal on the issue of race and launch a social media campaign. She said that as she was entering her office in the Law faculty, a building manager asked her who she had an appointment with.

When Prof Chen-Wishart told him that she was the dean of the faculty, the manager said he “forgot” and proceeded to follow her to her office.

Amusing.

The claim though is that this is because of race or skin colour. Hmm, well, how often are white folks asked? Maybe it really is racism but at least we should ensure we’ve the necessary data to find out.

Entirely true

Rhodes funded a race-blind scholarship. I am more comfortable with that than with wondering whether I got my position because of diversity quotas. Equally, Victorian and Edwardian patriarchy was in many ways still better than the conditions girls and women currently endure in several African countries. On the virtue-signalling scale, some causes definitely score higher than others.

One of the problems with modern Britain is that this sounds odd coming from the pen of a British academic.

Causation Matey, causation

The value of a GCSE has been revealed for the first time, as an official analysis shows that every higher grade is worth an extra £23,000.

For the first time, researchers at the Department for Education (DfE) have quantified the link between better exam results at age 16 and earning potential.

They calculated that pupils who achieve just one grade higher in a GCSE subject will go on to earn an average of £23,000 more over their lifetime.

And students who secure one grade higher than their peers in each of their nine subjects can expect to earn an extra £207,000 before they retire.

It’s rather more likely that those who have the brains and application – the second possibly being the more important – to do the work to get the higher grades will earn more. The higher grades therefore being a signal of the brains and application, not themselves the cause of the higher earnings.

Straining mightily to plop a higher grade into the latrine of life isn’t causing the higher incomes……

The rich are different

A millionaire businessman bought a boarding school in order to abuse pupils on his country estate, a court heard.

Brian Martin, 71, sexually abused a boy and girl boarder after appointing himself “Provost” of the £37,000-a-year Queen Ethelburgers School, near Harrogate, North Yorks.

Poorer nonces simply have to go work as teachers at such schools.

Just for the avoidance of doubt, no this is not a claim that such teachers are nonces. But it’s obviously true that some nonces have become such teachers.

Err, no

School classroom layouts are “shaped by colonisation”, Britain’s biggest teaching union has claimed in new guidance.

The National Education Union (NEU) suggests that curriculums, the design of school classrooms and the structure of their daily routines have colonial roots.

The 450,000-member union says there is an “urgent” need to “decolonise” every subject and every stage of the school curriculum, especially since last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and the Covid-19 pandemic.

The standard layout of teacher at the front, pronouncing, with pupils ranged in front of them, is medieval, not colonial times. It comes from the expense of a book. So expensive that there would only be one, for a class, which is then read from with the students taking notes or trying to memorise.

Since the invention of printing there are reasons to ponder on whether this is still the right way to be doing things. But colonialism ain’t one of them.

Cool!

Half of UK university students think degree is poor value for money

This being the point of charging them, to encourage these thoughts. At which point we should double the fees again so as to end up with only 25% of the current lot – so about 12% of the age cohort – thinking they’re reasonable value and thus going. Which is about the right number, 10 to 15% of the age cohort……

So let’s go sort this out

Robert Reich on what ails America:

We overlooked that our educational system left almost 80% of our young people unable to comprehend a news magazine and many others unprepared for work.

OK, so how do we cure that? There’s no shortage of money in the K-12 system*. Must be the way it’s spent therefore.

So, what, kill the teachers’ unions first?

*As an example, Baltimore, which is no one’s poster boy of a fine system, spends more per pupil, on a PPP adjusted basis, than Finland does. And Finland is considered perhaps the best school system in the world by the usual suspects.

If only Alan Coren were here

Rape as a weapon should be taught in schools, says Sophie, Countess of Wessex

His feuilletons often would start with a headline then misunderstood to cause a flight of fancy. Or perhaps we should invoke the Monty Python bit of the sex lessons at school.

We’re going to teach rape at school are we? The use of rape as a weapon? Who gets to be the rapee, who the rapist, in the classroom demonstrations?

Well, actually, you know…..

Prof Lee Elliot Major, who advises the Government on social mobility issues, said: “The incredible academic success of a select few elite schools shines a stark light on the national social mobility challenges we face.

“There is no reason why we shouldn’t have candidates for Oxbridge colleges and other highly selective universities from every one of the thousands of schools across the country.”

There are two possible reasons why we might not.

1) Pupils self-select into those academic style schools that teach or Oxbridge levels. Or parents select, or the system of bursaries does, or the system does.

2) The vast majority of schools in the country are shit.

We can even propose a test to sort through these two possibilities. If those bemoaning the selectivity now start to argue that those good at getting into Oxbridge schools must be abolished then that’s an admission that we must kill good schools because the rest are shit.

Given that is what is usually proposed now we know.

This is wonderful

Prof Wale Adebanwi, another signatory, is the Rhodes Professor of Race Relations. The professorship was created in the early 1950s, following a donation from the then Rhodesian Selection Trust, who requested it be named in memory of Cecil Rhodes.

There’s actually a Rhodes Professor of Race Relations? At Oxford?

That the current holder is demanding the removal of the statue is just icing