Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Melange Post

Do most US students have too much homework?
Homework horror stories are true for a small group of students, but most U.S. students aren’t working harder than in the past, according to Brookings’ 2014 Report on American Education. Nine-year-olds are more likely to have homework — usually less than an hour’s worth — but the workload hasn’t changed much for older students. Only 7 percent of 13-year-olds and 13 percent of 17-year-olds say they spent more than two hours on homework on the previous day...

Most parents say their children get the right amount of homework. Of those who disagree, more say their kids get too little than too much. “The homework horror stories . . . seem to originate from the very personal discontents of a small group of parents,” Brookings concludes.
Next year I'm not going to require students with A's, B's, or even C's to submit homework. Each "progress report period" I'll determine who needs to start submitting homework and who will no longer have to. Most of my students are college-bound seniors, they should be able to handle this.


A few years ago a local Native American university closed up shop.  Now comes word that a Northern California Latino university will do the same:
America's first full-term, accredited university focused specifically on Latinos will close its doors at the end of the academic calendar next year. The National Hispanic University in San Jose, Calif. announced on Thursday that its run is over, after recent online initiatives failed to improve its finances...

The National Hispanic University was founded in Oakland, Ca. in 1981 as a two-classroom college, by Stanford education professor B. Roberto Cruz, who wanted to boost the number of Latinos in California enrolled in full-term universities. NHU was modeled after historically black colleges, like Spelman College, but for Latinos. When it gained accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 2002, it was the first and only Latino four-year college to do so.

But trouble lay ahead for NHU. The university was acquired four years ago by Laureate Education, Inc., a for-profit college management company, after reductions in government financial aid for liberal arts students forced the NHU to stop enrolling new students several years ago...

One of the reasons for the failure of that initiative, according to Ato, is that "Online education doesn't work for Latinos. It doesn't work for them because they haven't been prepared with the computer skills that are required." While, in general, Latinos in the U.S. are "ahead of the digital curve" and very tech-savvy, segments of the Latino population -- especially the Latinos NHU was trying to serve -- are still on the other side of the digital divide.
As a student who is pursuing a graduate degree online, I call BS on that excuse.  One doesn't need to do much more than turn on the computer and fire up a web browser to take an online class.  I wonder what specific skills he's suggesting that "segments of the Latino population" are lacking.

But here's the far more interesting question--if a racially-focused university can't remain operational in California, where can such a university stay open?


The Instapundit on the Obama Administration and the press:  You want to understand the Obama Administration? Think Nixon with fewer scruples and less patriotism.
New York Times reporter James Risen, who is fighting an order that he testify in the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer accused of leaking information to him, opened the conference earlier by saying the Obama administration is “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” The administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting,” Risen said, to “create a path for accepted reporting.” Anyone journalist who exceeds those parameters, Risen said, “will be punished.”
I actually support the administration's position in this case! The Constitution grants "press freedom" but it doesn't guarantee anything to the (institutional) press that it doesn't guarantee to all the rest of us. In general I don't support shield laws, either.


The Democratic Party has been a disaster for black Americans:
As one of the relatively few people (percentage wise) to have spent more than a decade on both sides of our political divide, and also to have participated personally in the civil rights movement in the South in the sixties, I am going to say something that will be extremely controversial to liberals, indeed make them hate me.  Given all those years I spent on the two sides, I have observed liberals to be vastly more racist than conservatives and libertarians.

It isn’t even close...

The roots of this divide are not just the obvious Freudian projection — those who accuse you of something evil are usually the ones perpetrating it. That’s true enough. But it’s far more than that. The Democratic Party has been waging a War on Black People since the Great Society of 1964-65 (actually for far longer than that) that has reached horrifying proportions in our time. That nearly 73 percent of African Americans are currently born out of wedlock, 67 percent living in single parent homes, is nothing short of disastrous with yet more disastrous auguries for the future.

And all this during the administration of our first black president. The level of hypocrisy is astronomical.

To be fair, at first this war was unconscious. I know. I was very much a supporter then. In fact, I remained so for much longer than I should have. But after a while, as the Great Society programs, ratified under both political parties, failed to accomplish what was intended with the social conditions of African Americans actually growing worse, I finally arose from my lethargy to wonder why this was happening.

The answers weren’t that complicated. All these social welfare programs, affirmative actions, etc. were a signal to African Americans that they were inferior, that somehow they couldn’t make it without help...

Meanwhile, plenty of African Americans succeeded without this dubious “help,” because, quite clearly, they realized they didn’t need it and went on with their lives. Motivating the supposed “help” the others were getting were two factors: 1. liberal white racism and 2. a desire on the part of the Democratic Party to turn African Americans into a class that would vote for them perpetually, something that party has clearly succeeded in to the complete detriment of African Americans, if we believe even part of all the depressing statistics.

So how do we counter this? First of all, by calling out the true racists, not the fake ones.
And this post discusses how to make (hypocritical) liberals live up to their own standards--that's one of Alinsky's rules, you know.


Paul Henry said...

I am curious as to how you plan to input homework as a grade for those students who are not required to submit. As an AP History teacher who has read your blog for several years I value your thoughts and practices. I would love to be able to communicate via email if possible.


Ellen K said...

A basic premise of raising any child is that if you do not allow them to learn the difference from success and failure, they will never achieve success. Current educational trends would have teachers play safety net for ESL and SpEd students. Some of the modifications and accommodations make imparting knowledge dubious if not completely impossible. Currently I have a 16 year old student who's mother insists the child bring home every project and assignment so that the student can "fix" it. In reality what is happening is that I get perfectly type essays and projects that the student can't even begin to explain the project to me. This parent is handicapping her child far beyond the child's own limitations.

maxutils said...

Please don't do this. i've tried it; everyone thinks the y can't and no one can. Math hw is not the problem. It's English. you know what my daughter needs to do every night? read about 40 pages a night, fine, But, on top of that she needs t o take notes. Not jus t any notes though. Each needs to refer to each particular paragraph. It must contain a summary, a list of words they don't know, regardless of their aren't any. A title for their one paragraph summary. then, reflective though for that paragraph full of notes ...I swear to god, i want to strangle the entire idiotic english department. Especially one, but...your hw is not the issue. keep doing what you do.