• The Decline of Meritocratic Upward Mobility

    by  • July 19, 2013 • 0 Comments

    I’ve just been informed that an article that synthesizes some of the main points of this blog for the Fall 2013 issue of Perspectives on Political Science will also be picked up for The Future of Liberal Education, ed. Tim Burns (Routledge, 2014). Tim rocks as an editor/pitch-man!

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    Books on Tape

    by  • November 20, 2012 • 0 Comments

    The real problem with the online revolution in education isn’t that it threatens to destroy higher education. It is that the success of that revolution reveals how thoroughly higher education has already been abandoned.

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    We Don’t Need No Grade Inflation

    by  • September 27, 2012 • 0 Comments

    A friend of mine pointed me to Chris Blattman’s interesting discussion on the question of grade inflation, specifically, why we should stop opposing it. The argument boils down to refuting one reason for resisting great inflation, QED. We tend to differentiate our grades into four or five piles, and what difference does it make...

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    Liberal Education for Liberal Democracy

    by  • September 12, 2012 • 1 Comment

    In 2009, the Independent Institute held an essay contest to choose its Sir John M. Templeton fellows on the question, Which virtues contribute the most toward achieving freedom, and how can the institutions of civil society encourage the exercise of those virtues? This question was prompted by Benjamin Franklin’s remark, “Only a virtuous people...

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    Self-Esteem and Learning

    by  • September 7, 2012 • 1 Comment

    As anyone with a little bit of experience in the classroom will tell you, the university today is a far different place than it was even a decade ago. As the faculty remain the same while a new crop of students is perennially coming up, we look to the students to account for this...

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    Students as Consumers

    by  • June 26, 2012 • 0 Comments

    Within academia, suggestions that we are treating students as consumers are almost invariably negative, usually associated with suggestions that we are watering down the curriculum. Outside of the ivy tower, by contrast, there are calls for having universities behave more like businesses. The for-profit college model explicitly treats students as consumers, the idea being...

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    Grade Deflation?

    by  • June 24, 2012 • 0 Comments

    USA Today‘s piece really needs no comment. McPaper is advising its readers to take a long, hard look at places that limit the number of As that can be given out, like Princeton. It hurts your self-esteem to get a B, and makes it tougher to get into graduate school. Even the possibility of...

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    Cash Cows and a Liberal Education

    by  • June 19, 2012 • 2 Comments

    Universities may be not-for-profit institutions (for the most part), but their administrative set-up means that they often act as though seeking a profit. After all, good business organization gives people who do not share in the profits of a company an incentive to maximize the company’s profits. If you transfer that same organizational ethos...

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    The Higher-Ed Bubble Myth

    by  • June 12, 2012 • 0 Comments

    The idea that there is a looming higher education bubble, analogous to the subprime mortgage bubble, is the myth that refuses to die. It seems to be just too good a descriptor for it not to describe something, and even people who are ordinarily thoughtful in their choice of words not only use the...

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