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The prestige of undergraduate colleges largely depends not upon what their students learn in college but upon what their students were before they get to college (e.g., their SAT/ACT admissions test scores.

One nonprofit group has sponsored the College Learning Assessment Plus test to do assessments on freshmen and seniors to see if they get better at critical thinking skills during their time at the college.

The WSJ filed freedom of information requests at a bunch of public colleges and got data back on 68 colleges. From the Wall Street Journal:

Freshmen and seniors at about 200 colleges across the U.S. take a little-known test every year to measure how much better they get at learning to think. The results are discouraging.

At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table, The Wall Street Journal found after reviewing the latest results from dozens of public colleges and universities that gave the exam between 2013 and 2016.

At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years.

The University of Texas at Austin had the best freshmen test scores of the 68 public colleges in the WSJ database. But, senior Longhorns scored worse than freshmen.

Some of the biggest gains occur at smaller colleges where students are less accomplished at arrival but soak up a rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum.

The test seems to be biased in favor of schools with weak freshmen classes.

Here’s the WSJ’s data on the 68 colleges.

Perhaps the most impressive performance among the 68 was Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which has a strong freshmen class initially and they improve significantly over the 4 years to score the highest on the senior CLA+ test.

That seems plausible. Cal Poly SLO has a reputation as a tough, serious school for tough, serious students.

For prospective students and their parents looking to pick a college, it is almost impossible to figure out which schools help students learn critical thinking, because full results of the standardized test, called the College Learning Assessment Plus, or CLA+, are seldom disclosed to the public. This is true, too, of similar tests. …

Tests such as the CLA+ can be used to fulfill a mandate by accreditors for schools to show that they are trying to assess and improve the education they provide.

The CLA+ measures critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving and writing because it demands students manipulate information and data in real-world circumstances that require different abilities. It has been lauded by a federal commission that studied higher education.

The test has detractors. It is hard to completely untangle cause and effect in something as complicated as improving critical-reasoning skills and as broad as a college education. And students don’t always try their hardest when they take the exam, since there is little at stake for them.

Colleges where students perform poorly say it is unfair to draw sweeping conclusions from a single test. They argue that students from different colleges shouldn’t be compared because freshmen have widely varying abilities. Some prestigious schools say their schools don’t show much improvement between the first and fourth years because their students are so accomplished when they arrive that they have little room to improve.

Or maybe UT-Austin’s students spent all four years partying on Sixth Street?

Colleges where students perform well on the test say it is an accurate gauge of their academic programs.

The CLA+ requires students to use spreadsheets, newspaper articles, research papers and other documents to answer questions, make a point or critique an argument. …

The biggest point gain came at Plymouth State University, a college in New Hampshire with about 3,600 undergraduate students. Plymouth State seniors in 2014 had an average CLA+ score of 1,185 points, which was 178 points higher than the average freshman score at Plymouth of 1,007. The school’s total count, or “value-added score” — which includes factors such as graduation rates — put Plymouth near the top in the 95th percentile of schools that took the test in 2014.

Plymouth State in New Hampshire presumably lets in a lot of white slacker kids and then does a good job with getting them not to slack off as much.

There is also probably a selection effect in that colleges with undistinguished freshmen classes like Plymouth have higher dropout rates, so their seniors are a subset of their better freshmen, whereas UT Austin probably has a low dropout rate.

The CLA+ is not sweeping the world of higher education. Most colleges don’t give the test and the ones that do try to keep it secret.

Another potential way to do value-added analyses would be to link test scores from high school, such as SAT/ACT, to test scores among graduates, such as GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc. A third party sworn to secrecy could match scores from different organizations based on Social Security Number. This is kind of like how Raj Chetty is allowed to use IRS 1040 tax returns data. The IRS does the matching for him of parents’ income in the 1990s to the income in the 2010s of children whose SSNs had been listed as dependents on their parents’ returns in the 1990s. So, he can’t look up, say, Donald Trump’s income in 1999, but he probably has that number somewhere in the data he’s working with.

Another value-added approach would be to count publicly available information on high achievers and their undergraduate colleges and compare it to the SAT/ACT scores reported by these colleges for their freshmen class to USNWR.

For example, Reed College, an ornery, independent-minded liberal arts college in Portland that is an unusual combination of hippie culture and tough academics, claims that it is very good at producing future college professors (although it is one of the few colleges that doesn’t cooperate with USNWR, so maybe this isn’t a good example). You can find the names and titles of most college professors in the United States online and where they got their Bachelor’s degrees. So, does Reed produce a lot of professors relative to their freshmen class size and SAT/ACT scores?

Writing code to scrape this data off professors’ CVs would be a lot of work, but it could be done. I wouldn’t be surprised if it wouldn’t be that hard to get the undergraduate colleges of everybody who has passed the bar exam or has become a certified doctor. That information is probably publicly available.

Some problems with this kind of backward looking analysis are that it wouldn’t be very up to date. We could tell if, say, Reed has graduated a lot of future professors or doctors or lawyers over the last, say, 50 years, but the data might start getting kind of sparse for smaller colleges for recent years.

 
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  1. Is development of “critical thinking skills” the sole, or even most important, reason for higher ed? It seems to me that training in a chosen field is the more significant source of added value (for students with a modicum of self-direction).

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    • Replies: @guest
    Training for a chosen field was tacked-on late in the college game, not counting particular lines of work like clergyman, doctor, and lawyer. College really is a waste of time generally for vocational training.

    What college was always for was keeping track of and promoting a culture's general knowledge, on the one hand, and cultivating a ruling intellectual class, on the other. First in the church, now mostly as drones in the Managerial State. For a while it was about training gentlemen and maintaining the old class system. Since the modern von Humboldt or Prussian era, if you will, it's been about training professionals of the new enlightened class. But now it's mostly about giving adult kids something to do while they pretend to be grown up.

    None of which has much of anything to do with whether Sally or Johnny will get their money's worth. If they get hooked into the ruling class, then it'll be worth it. Education is neither here nor there as regards that. There will be people who get a real education, but colleges aren't designed for them. Unless they go on to be academics, but few do.

    Colleges have to keep adding things on to justify the ever-changing circle of the types of people who attend. Career, experience (i.e. sex and drugs), diversity, whatever. But I don't think anyone buys it.

    , @markflag
    And if that field is "Gender Studies and Film." Not a ton of added value there.
    , @Pat Boyle
    I am now and have always been highly skeptical of the value that higher education adds to the students. If there is some value the more interesting question seems to be - is that value increasing or decreasing. We have lately increased our societal investment in higher education greatly. Apparently on the theory that the world is changing and it is more important now than before to keep up.

    But is that true?

    The world is certainly changing faster and faster than ever before but does that mean that kids need more college or less?

    I used to teach part time at Diablo Valley Community College. It was a fun place to teach. I taught many different classes there and at several other colleges and junior colleges. I taught mostly computer science classes.

    One day a student approached me to ask me about the field of information systems. My day job was supervising units of programmers and various computer system specialists. He asked me about the market for RPG coders. I was stuck. RPG was a totally obsolete system in the real world by then. I only knew about it from history books. I had worked in several organization and coded in many languages but I knew no RPG and I didn't know of any place that still used it.

    I learned that the school had made a deal with IBM. IBM would give the school a mini computer and in return they promised to train so many students in RPG (an IBM technology). They were contractually bound to steer kids into this totally obsolete technology for a set number of years.

    The student who approached me wondered why everything he read in the press or saw in the book stores was about other technologies like micro computers and database systems. It put me in an awkward position. So I went to the administration and offered to teach a class in Java. This was when Java was just emerging. I didn't actually know Java but any damn fool could see that it would soon be important. But they turned me down. They had been burned on the RPG deal and several others so they just froze in place.

    The last time I taught Novell I announced that Novell was dying and they should look elsewhere for a career. The class was stunned. Students need guidance but many academics are even less well oriented toward the job market than the students.
    , @Bard of Bumperstickers
    Agreed. They should arrive at college already in possession of well-developed critical-thinking abilities.
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  2. songbird says:

    I think a lot of kids and parents are just shopping for a name to put on the CV and know it.

    How many people applying to a particular college believe college is a scam? Compared to those who graduate? Who are in the workforce ten years? Those are numbers I’d like to see collected and released.

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  3. HI says:

    Colleges add value in some ways, are neutral in others, and subtract value in others. CS classes taken by a CS major add value. Marxist (gender/ethnic) studies classes taken by a gender studies major subtract a bit of value, since the student is likely to end up in a menial job so will not have a significant impact. Marxist studies classes taken by a future leader subtract a lot of value, since they will undermine a larger organization or deprive the organization of a potential leader.

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  4. Plymouth State College is close to the White Mountains. Many of the students presumably work at ski areas such as Loon Mountain. I knew one that did. The Ski Industry and the College Industry are closely related in the fact that younger people are important. The Ski Industry is losing young people and the College Industry relies on young people. The beer drinking industry is intertwined with both, awkwardly then obliviously.

    Waterville Valley is a ski area nestled in an out of the way place somewhere between Loon Mountain and the Kancamagus Highway, Plymouth State College is a bit to the south.

    The governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu, was involved in the business group that purchased and ran Waterville Valley. I never saw it in winter, but I have bicycled into and out of the valley. One way in is on paved roads and the way out is downhill on gravel. 30 to 40 mph all the way down, winding as you go, fun!

    Plymouth State College has changed its name to Plymouth State University, but I will call it what it was when I knew somebody that went there. Plymouth got a traffic circle — or a roundabout if your a Brit — and it went to their heads. Now they want to be known as a university instead of a college.

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  5. A post about skiing and then a post about Plymouth State in the same day?!? Are you intentionally high fiving your northern NH readers?!?

    Plymouth State is interesting to see on this list because a similar “Directional” school, New Hampshire Tech, placed #1 on the Brookings Institute’s Most Value Added 2 year School in America

    http://nhpr.org/post/brookings-institution-calls-nhti-nations-most-value-added-2-year-college#stream/0

    So, New Hampshire is doing something right, or New Hampshire is good at gaming metrics. Frankly neither would surprise me

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    In MA, college administrators get huge pay increases when the state school changes its name from college to university.
    , @Marty T
    New Hampshire is pretty great except for their high binge drinking and opioid abuse rates.
    , @E. Rekshun
    So, New Hampshire is doing something right


    Another post a couple of days ago discussed retirement. I'm hoping to retire in about five years, spending June - Aug. in Hampton, NH and the rest of the year in FL, oceanfront.

    I knew a couple of guys that went on to successful Big-4 accounting partnerships after graduating from UNH.

    NH's conservatism and individualism has been under attack for the past twenty years from liberal MA immigrants. Well over half my MA graduating high school class eventually moved to NH.
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  6. IHTG says:

    “Trump’s Judicial Picks Are Keeping Republicans Happy—and Quiet”: https://newrepublic.com/article/143227/trumps-judicial-picks-keeping-republicans-happyand-quiet

    In a rare show of competency, he’s tapped five times as many judges as Obama had at this point—and conservatives are delighted.

    Read More
    • Replies: @res

    In a rare show of competency
     
    Grudging respect is an improvement.
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  7. Luke Lea says:

    “So, does Reed produce a lot of professors relative to their freshmen class size and SAT/ACT scores?”

    I went to Reed in the early 1960′s. Back then the attrition rate was roughly 2/3rds so if you only count graduates I bet the ratio was high. It was basically a feeder school for graduate programs.

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  8. res says:

    Looks like CalPoly SLO is making an effort to push this test to its students. Includes practice and an acknowledgement of top scorers.

    https://academicprograms.calpoly.edu/cla

    I know some CalPoly grads. Not super intellectual types, but solid people I would be happy to work with.

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    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Thanks. A little practice and a pep talk can help with a low stakes test.
    , @Anon 2
    A friend of mine from San Luis Obispo who
    has lived near the CalPoly campus for decades
    tells me that practically all the houses in the vicinity
    of the campus have been taken over by students.
    30 years ago the partying used to start Friday
    nights, 10 years ago - Thursday nights. Now, he says,
    they're starting their revelry Wednesday nights, at least
    based on the number of screaming girls, and of the students
    occupying the middle of the street in front of his house.
    He's always wondering what are they doing to those girls
    that they scream so much. I say, "Don't you know anything
    about women? Screaming means they're having a good time.
    In my experience most women don't feel they're alive unless they're
    experiencing intense emotions."
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  9. Luke Lea says:

    More on Reed college back in the late 1950′s and early 1960′s (before drugs):

    It was unusual in that its sole criterion for admission seemed to be SAT scores. The result was that it had the highest average scores at the time, even higher than the Ivies. Also remarkable was that the average verbal score was higher than the math, even though it was strong in math and science (there was free exchange with CalTech).

    So how smart were the students? Not terribly. There were very few real geniuses. I think they all went to Harvard. Plus there were a lot of seriously maladjusted nerds, which is what you get when you don’t select for much besides test scores. Hence the extraordinary attrition rate.

    Looking back I would say it had a one star faculty, a two star student body, and a three star curriculum.

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    • Replies: @Benjamin I. Espen
    My mother was the school nurse at Reed in the late sixties. She has some really interesting stories about Reed after drugs.
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  10. When my son ran for the School Board in his Ohio town he was the only candidate or sitting board member that could read a financial statement. Not so hard to believe then than that college seniors can’t interpret a data table. Union trade apprenticeships are still a great way to spend three, four or five years and you get paid while you learn a trade.

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    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    I've come to accept that it is a fact of life that most people--even well educated, highly paid people--can't read financial statements, i.e., they are financially illiterate.

    I don't blame them though, for even though it is not particularly difficult to grasp the basics, almost no one teaches the easily graspable basics, so in practice the only people who can read financial statements are people who were business majors of some kind.*

    I suspect that I could impart the essentials of financial statements in a single day to anyone of average or better intelligence who wants to learn. It's really not that difficult. Much of formal accounting courses is spent on arcana, obscure cases and exercises in tedium.

    *Although, in grad school, I was surprised to encounter undergrad accounting and finance majors who could barely read financial statements. Maybe that's just because modern colleges suck though.

    , @Charles Erwin Wilson

    When my son ran for the School Board in his Ohio town he was the only candidate or sitting board member that could read a financial statement.
     
    Yes, electing sheep to shepherd the interactions between the wolves and the lambs is a foolish strategy. Of course, if you are a wolf, things couldn't be better!

    If you want to improve outcomes, things are not so good.

    But please extend my gratitude to your son. We need him on the school board.
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  11. res says:

    It was pretty easy to cut and paste the data into an Excel spreadsheet. If anyone has ideas for alternative metrics or analyses we could investigate them.

    The data seems helpful for making an effort to fit students to colleges.

    As Steve observed, CalPoly SLO does well with a fairly strong freshman intake. I am particularly impressed by only 3% of seniors scoring basic or below (combined).

    Plymouth State looks like it does a good job with a fairly weak freshman class. It would be helpful to know what kind of attrition there is though to be sure they are making students better and not just weeding out. It seems to me having a measure of attrition is necessary to make this data more meaningful.

    Here are the CLA+ National Results for 2015-2016 if anyone wants to follow up in more detail.
    cae.org/images/uploads/pdf/CLA_National_Results_2015-16.pdf
    Some methodological information:

    GROWTH ESTIMATES
    CAE calculates two types of growth estimates for participating schools: effect sizes and value-added scores.
    Effect sizes characterize the amount of growth that is evident across classes based on mean differences in CLA+ scores. They do so by subtracting the mean freshman score from the mean score of the sophomores, juniors, or seniors, and dividing this amount by the freshman standard deviation. This report only considers freshman-to-senior effect sizes.
    While effect sizes measure growth between freshman year and subsequent years within an institution, value-added scores relate that growth meaningfully to the growth of students across other colleges and universities. A simple comparison of the average achievement at all schools would fail to account for the many ways that students differ from each other on factors unrelated to their institutions and would therefore present some institutions in a more favorable light than others.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Benjamin I. Espen
    I copied everything into a spreadsheet and ran a scatterplot matrix. At least from the WSJ data, I didn't see anything super interesting. Maybe that is why colleges don't talk about this test: there is nothing interesting here.

    I'll look at the PDF and see if anything more can be learned.
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  12. @res
    Looks like CalPoly SLO is making an effort to push this test to its students. Includes practice and an acknowledgement of top scorers.
    https://academicprograms.calpoly.edu/cla

    I know some CalPoly grads. Not super intellectual types, but solid people I would be happy to work with.

    Thanks. A little practice and a pep talk can help with a low stakes test.

    Read More
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  13. res says:
    @IHTG
    "Trump’s Judicial Picks Are Keeping Republicans Happy—and Quiet": https://newrepublic.com/article/143227/trumps-judicial-picks-keeping-republicans-happyand-quiet

    In a rare show of competency, he's tapped five times as many judges as Obama had at this point—and conservatives are delighted.
     

    In a rare show of competency

    Grudging respect is an improvement.

    Read More
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  14. @res
    It was pretty easy to cut and paste the data into an Excel spreadsheet. If anyone has ideas for alternative metrics or analyses we could investigate them.

    The data seems helpful for making an effort to fit students to colleges.

    As Steve observed, CalPoly SLO does well with a fairly strong freshman intake. I am particularly impressed by only 3% of seniors scoring basic or below (combined).

    Plymouth State looks like it does a good job with a fairly weak freshman class. It would be helpful to know what kind of attrition there is though to be sure they are making students better and not just weeding out. It seems to me having a measure of attrition is necessary to make this data more meaningful.

    Here are the CLA+ National Results for 2015-2016 if anyone wants to follow up in more detail.
    cae.org/images/uploads/pdf/CLA_National_Results_2015-16.pdf
    Some methodological information:

    GROWTH ESTIMATES
    CAE calculates two types of growth estimates for participating schools: effect sizes and value-added scores.
    Effect sizes characterize the amount of growth that is evident across classes based on mean differences in CLA+ scores. They do so by subtracting the mean freshman score from the mean score of the sophomores, juniors, or seniors, and dividing this amount by the freshman standard deviation. This report only considers freshman-to-senior effect sizes.
    While effect sizes measure growth between freshman year and subsequent years within an institution, value-added scores relate that growth meaningfully to the growth of students across other colleges and universities. A simple comparison of the average achievement at all schools would fail to account for the many ways that students differ from each other on factors unrelated to their institutions and would therefore present some institutions in a more favorable light than others.

     

    I copied everything into a spreadsheet and ran a scatterplot matrix. At least from the WSJ data, I didn’t see anything super interesting. Maybe that is why colleges don’t talk about this test: there is nothing interesting here.

    I’ll look at the PDF and see if anything more can be learned.

    Read More
    • Replies: @res
    Thanks for posting that! I like your choice of plots. How did you add graduation rates? I see the info under the college name. Did you scrape the page text rather than cutting and pasting?

    I thought your graduation rates vs. freshman/senior scores plots were interesting. In particular, looking at outliers gives some good information. For example:

    High graduation rates with low senior scores (especially low and declining) seems like a good marker for an undemanding program.

    Low graduation rates with decent senior scores seems like a sign of a demanding program. That could be good or bad depending on the student.

    Decent graduation rates with low (but improving) freshman scores seem like a good match for less capable students.
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  15. a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument

    I wonder what fraction of journalists know cohesive from coherent

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    • Replies: @res
    Good question. Both versions are meaningful (and I think I understand the basic difference, but not sure if there are specialized meanings), but I would probably have used coherent. A quick search indicates "cohesive argument" is used in some circles. Google Ngrams shows the coherent version has 10x the frequency in books.
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  16. george says:

    American poverty is moving to the suburbs

    https://qz.com/1001261/american-poverty-is-moving-to-the-suburbs/

    https://www.theatlas.com/charts/ByMe8WPGZ

    according to the chart between 1989 and 2011 poverty grows from being 18 million and majority urban to 30 million and majority suburban. Which I take to mean immigration although it is left unsaid.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    It's probably a combination of things:

    • mass low-skill immigration,
    • AFFH-ing ghetto denizens into the suburbs,
    • indigenous WWCs getting their incomes and home values annihilated by the above two items.

    , @Random Dude on the Internet
    A lot of gardeners, nannies, and people who want to pollute "good schools" with their awful, poorly supervised children in a longshot hope that they can get their act together to go to a decent university. Lots of Section 8 housing popping up in these areas too, based on the suburbs in the city that I live in currently.
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  17. Lot says:

    For many decades, the bottom-ranked colleges in the USA by student quality were entirely HBCUs. These days the list contains more and more once-respectable Cal-State colleges which have large Mexican and Muslim student populations.

    For this particular test, three of the bottom five schools on the “seniors with below basic schools” measure of Cal-State schools. The other two are a HBCU and a “historically Indian” college.

    Cal State LA’s 2013 freshman class of 3,021 had 98 non-hispanic whites, or 3.2%.

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    • Replies: @International Jew
    Sad. And the typical journalist's reaction would be, "We must bring these Latinos' performance up, lest America's technological dominance become imperilled."
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Lot, an article last week in the Sacramento Bee said 75% of black males in California HSs tested below state standards in math and reading. Who teaches at HBCUs?
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  18. @Lot
    For many decades, the bottom-ranked colleges in the USA by student quality were entirely HBCUs. These days the list contains more and more once-respectable Cal-State colleges which have large Mexican and Muslim student populations.

    For this particular test, three of the bottom five schools on the "seniors with below basic schools" measure of Cal-State schools. The other two are a HBCU and a "historically Indian" college.

    Cal State LA's 2013 freshman class of 3,021 had 98 non-hispanic whites, or 3.2%.

    Sad. And the typical journalist’s reaction would be, “We must bring these Latinos’ performance up, lest America’s technological dominance become imperilled.”

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  19. Is it even possible to teach critical thinking skills?

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Pseudo, often when there is an employment test or advancement test that requires critical thinking, as in "What do you do next if B occurs after A?", the test results are tossed as being biased or racist. Teacher tests in NYC and Fireman tests in Buffalo and New Haven are examples.
    , @Charles Erwin Wilson

    Is it even possible to teach critical thinking skills?
     
    Of course it is. Unless you insist that learning critical thinking skills is uniform among all pupils.
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  20. I’m surprised the CLA+ scores don’t generally decline; after all, colleges strive mightily to extinguish the capacity to reason:

    1. Communication with my Chinese dormroommate is limited to pidgin, and she prefers to socialize with other Chinese, in their language.
    …therefore Diversity is strength!

    2. We’re more likely to die of old age, than of a terrorist attack.
    …therefore we have nothing to fear from Muslim immigrants.

    3. The football team has gang-raped another co-ed.
    …therefore we need a tribunal to prosecute boys who misinterpret a girl’s voluntarily removing her clothes and getting into his bed.

    4. The Bible condones slavery.
    …therefore everything in the Bible is worthless.

    5. Hitler said, “We shall make Germany great again”.
    …therefore Trump is a fascist.

    6. Somalis have a hard life in Somalia.
    …therefore we must bring them to America.

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    • Agree: prole, Kyle McKenna
    • Replies: @Immigrant from former USSR
    I was upset not seeing MIT in the list. To my humble knowledge it is a pretty good University.
    , @bored identity
    You were overly gentle when you decided to let it go at # 6.



    Nice list, though.
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  21. Daniel H says:

    What on earth is going on at the Citadel? 30% of freshman with below basic skills and 29% of seniors with below basic skills. Do all Citadel graduates get officer’s commissions? We are in trouble if they do, unless these statistics are flawed.

    Ohio State holds up.

    I always knew that Connecticut state schools were shit. Party schools.

    Excepting Cal Obispo and Cal Long Beach the Cal state schools don’t hold up that well. These statistics indicate that that they are not horrible, but not excellent either. All the good students want to get into the Cal state University system.

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  22. dr kill says:

    I don’t understand why the major area of study for American college kids is any concern of mine. My wife and I have paid for our four children to attend real universities (FSU, PSU, Tulane) , not some bullshit Northern Arizona or Southern New Hampshire Evergreen State or Brown, on our own dime. I wish the cost was less, but a deal is a deal.

    I’m not bragging or complaining, I’m stating that I feel a 4 year degree is an essential ingredient in modern life. Pay, or don’t pay, but get the degree.

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    • Replies: @Benjamin I. Espen
    I'm always taken off-guard by how easily my alma mater comes to mind when the subject of substandard education comes up. In the short story The Therapist by Jeffery Deaver in one of Neil Gaiman's collections, the crank psychologist who comes up with the idea of 'nemes', vicious little emotions that possess us like Dawkin's selfish genes, of course has a degree from Northern Arizona University.

    I am reminded of the time long ago when I was sitting in the Phoenix Country Club with the head of the NAU philosophy department. We had been dispatched to the boondoogle at the PCC [some awards banquet] in the hopes of convincing some of the bright Arizona high school graduates that year to attend NAU. While we were chatting at dinner, Dr. Nietmann started telling me that you could tell the quality of a school just by it's name. Anything with a direction in it's name was by definition sub-standard, at least in comparison to the other schools in a state.

    Accordingly, he advocated changing the name of NAU to Arizona Polytechnic [something Arizona State eventually stole for one of its extended campuses], as NAU was and is a competent technical school. Unsurprisingly, we did not succeed in our mission. The brightest Arizona high school graduates tend to leave the state for more prestigious schools, and the ones who stay tend not to pick NAU.
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  23. res says:
    @Benjamin I. Espen
    I copied everything into a spreadsheet and ran a scatterplot matrix. At least from the WSJ data, I didn't see anything super interesting. Maybe that is why colleges don't talk about this test: there is nothing interesting here.

    I'll look at the PDF and see if anything more can be learned.

    Thanks for posting that! I like your choice of plots. How did you add graduation rates? I see the info under the college name. Did you scrape the page text rather than cutting and pasting?

    I thought your graduation rates vs. freshman/senior scores plots were interesting. In particular, looking at outliers gives some good information. For example:

    High graduation rates with low senior scores (especially low and declining) seems like a good marker for an undemanding program.

    Low graduation rates with decent senior scores seems like a sign of a demanding program. That could be good or bad depending on the student.

    Decent graduation rates with low (but improving) freshman scores seem like a good match for less capable students.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Benjamin I. Espen
    I just copied the data from this page. Graduation rates were the right-most column there.

    I was also wondering whether you might be able to determine whether a program was challenging by some combination of score improvement and low graduation rate, but I would want to double-check against other possible explanations before putting too much weight on it.
    , @saxo
    Deviation from the regression line
    GradRate = 0.124*CLASenior - 86.03; p=1.05e-09

    Demanding University
    zscore ExpectedRate GradRate SeniorScore University
    -2.39 53.87 31.0 1128 University of Texas at San Antonio
    -1.76 64.79 48.0 1216 University of New Mexico
    -1.67 58.96 43.0 1169 CUNY - The City College of New York
    -1.51 58.46 44.0 1165 University of Missouri-St. Louis
    -1.43 54.62 41.0 1134 University of Texas at Arlington

    Few Graduates Left Behind
    zscore ExpectedRate GradRate SeniorScore University
    1.5 69.62 84.0 1255 University of Georgia
    1.78 42.96 60.0 1040 Eastern Illinois University
    1.79 45.94 63.0 1064 Keene State College
    1.81 55.73 73.0 1143 Ramapo College of New Jersey
    2.73 42.96 69.0 1040 Citadel
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  24. guest says:
    @Clark Westwood
    Is development of "critical thinking skills" the sole, or even most important, reason for higher ed? It seems to me that training in a chosen field is the more significant source of added value (for students with a modicum of self-direction).

    Training for a chosen field was tacked-on late in the college game, not counting particular lines of work like clergyman, doctor, and lawyer. College really is a waste of time generally for vocational training.

    What college was always for was keeping track of and promoting a culture’s general knowledge, on the one hand, and cultivating a ruling intellectual class, on the other. First in the church, now mostly as drones in the Managerial State. For a while it was about training gentlemen and maintaining the old class system. Since the modern von Humboldt or Prussian era, if you will, it’s been about training professionals of the new enlightened class. But now it’s mostly about giving adult kids something to do while they pretend to be grown up.

    None of which has much of anything to do with whether Sally or Johnny will get their money’s worth. If they get hooked into the ruling class, then it’ll be worth it. Education is neither here nor there as regards that. There will be people who get a real education, but colleges aren’t designed for them. Unless they go on to be academics, but few do.

    Colleges have to keep adding things on to justify the ever-changing circle of the types of people who attend. Career, experience (i.e. sex and drugs), diversity, whatever. But I don’t think anyone buys it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon 2
    One thing that we never tell the students colleges
    are for is to keep as many 17-to-22 year-olds as possible
    out of the labor market so they don't compete for jobs
    with adults. The government likes it because it reduces
    the official unemployment rate. I never mention this to
    my students - some may know it already, and most have
    plenty of time to become cynical on their own. The prefrontal
    cortex doesn't become fully mature until the age of 25, so from
    this point of view colleges (apart from STEM) are basically
    babysitting institutions where we keep the students and give
    them something to do (underwater basket weaving would do
    just fine) while waiting for their brains to mature.

    If they entered the company of adults too early, they might
    damage our institutions, but they can damage colleges like
    Evergreen State all they like. The worst that can happen is that
    the college will lose enrollment, lose state funding, and go private.
    No harm done. About 1-2% of college students develop serious
    mental illness. If this happens in college, again the harm to the
    wider society is minimized.
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  25. Jack D says:

    It strikes me that the better the student to begin with the less room there is for improvement. And better colleges attract better students so the results of this survey are meaningless.

    For example, I know a student who attended high school B . She scored a 740 on her math SAT when she was 12 and five years later she “only” got a 780 (1 wrong answer can drop you 20 pts). So you could say that there was very little value added in her HS math program (but you’d be wrong since she learned calculus, linear algebra, etc. – stuff that they don’t even test on the SAT) or else you could say that there was very little room for improvement. And maybe hypothetical student B goes from a 200 to a 400 at high school X so it appears that HS X is better than HS B (at HS X they double your score!) but most people would prefer HS B to HS X.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Stephen R. Diamond
    Ceiling effect. A harder test is needed.
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  26. res says:
    @International Jew

    a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument
     
    I wonder what fraction of journalists know cohesive from coherent...

    Good question. Both versions are meaningful (and I think I understand the basic difference, but not sure if there are specialized meanings), but I would probably have used coherent. A quick search indicates “cohesive argument” is used in some circles. Google Ngrams shows the coherent version has 10x the frequency in books.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Santoculto
    Cohesive: Logic
    Coherent: Understandable/ logic again?

    Both with very similar meanings.

    The problem of this words is that they tend to have excessively broader concepts or we need to blame people to overuse them or because they misunderstood them.

    Paradox and paradigm?

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  27. guest says:

    “to measure how much better they get at learning to think”

    I like the low bar, there. Not how much they learned, nor whether they got better at thinking, nor even how they learned to think better, but how much better they got at learning to think. What an educrat way to look at it. They go from trying to figure out how to make kids learn, to talking about learning to learn. Eventually, I imagine we will read articles about daring new theories to make kids learn to learn to learn to learn to learn better.

    Not that you can’t learn to think better, or even learn to learn better. But shouldn’t an 18 year-old have learned how to learn by then? What were his 12 previous school years about? When do they ever get to the part where they’re actually instructed? To the education establishment, they’re always still baking. They’re never ready to be taken out and taught something, besides being taught how to be taught.

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    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    It strikes me that in my grandparents' generation, getting only an eighth grade education was pretty typical. Yet these people had better taste in books, music and entertainment that today's college graduates, and I dare say their workaday arithmetic was better too. Nationally, the country of eighth-grade graduates won WWII and went to the moon, as I think Steve has remarked.

    Today we spend twice as much time and probably 20 times as much capital and yet the result is inferior. Such colossal failure and waste is surely the harbinger of some oncoming reckoning.
    , @Rosamond Vincy
    I met someone who taught what she called "Meta-Cognition," a technique guaranteed to give most people writer's block. To her students' credit, they trashed her on "Rate My Professor." Unfortunately, they did so in some of the poorest prose I have ever witnessed, which may point to low initial ability on their part, but also points to little effort to improve basic mechanics on her part.
    Apparently, she also bullied other female academics all through Grad School--for being insufficiently feminist, of course. They are the ones who discussed--out of her hearing--her poor results, which she has never acknowledged.
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  28. guest says:

    “The test seems to be biased in favor of schools with weak freshman classes”

    It would have to be. College students should come prepared to know how to think. Though you could always be better at learning things, learning how to think is remedial. That is, if you’re not going to bother learning, say, strict logic, null-A philosophy, or whatever it is 99% of college kids will never touch.

    I’m not a teacher, but I could probably manage to teach an illiterate how to read, or at least nudge one on his way. I could teach grammar. Maybe I could teach arithmetic. The three r’s are the biggest Learn to Think tools our civilization possesses. So what I’m saying is maybe we should except people who never heard of books or numbers into higher education. Then we’d really see some progress.

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  29. To maintain eligibility for Federal Student Aid (FSA) Congress could require colleges to not only administer the CLA+ test but make the figures public on there web sites. In a very small way, this could be poke back at colleges continuing to cater to SJW’s.

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  30. markflag says:
    @Clark Westwood
    Is development of "critical thinking skills" the sole, or even most important, reason for higher ed? It seems to me that training in a chosen field is the more significant source of added value (for students with a modicum of self-direction).

    And if that field is “Gender Studies and Film.” Not a ton of added value there.

    Read More
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  31. Shaq says:

    Sort of OT: Bob Dylan

    I just came across his Nobel Prize speech. Impressive – Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and the Odyssey inspired him. I did not see that coming….

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/dylan-lecture.html

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    • Replies: @dr kill
    A 900 thousand dollar speech. Good for him. He is my hero.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Notice, though, that he mentions he read them all in grammar school. That makes me suspect that, like Trump (whose alleged favorite book is All Quiet on the Western Front), he hasn't read many books since.

    That said, it was an entertaining and disarming speech. He sounds a little like George Thorogood in One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer.
    , @CJ
    Impressive – Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and the Odyssey inspired him. I did not see that coming….

    I read all three of those in high school (1965-1969). The last two were required reading on the curriculum, as was the Iliad. Moby Dick I read on my own, but it was studied in many American high schools at the time. We also were assigned some poems by Dylan Thomas, the likely source of Bob's stage name. Dylan would have been exposed to all of that in Minnesota public schools in the 1950s.

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  32. Forbes says:

    This discussion sounds like a replay of the advocacy by teachers’ unions from a few years ago for more funding/higher pay in secondary schools–because they’re teaching ‘critical thinking’ skills. In other words, give us more money because we’re successfully educating students to be college-ready (when in fact, they’re not even ready for the real world of work).

    Now it seems you go to college to acquire these basic job skills–and even then, apparently, the results aren’t particularly clear or obvious.

    It used to be that high school provided basic job skills–formerly called the three Rs. (In hindsight, it was four Rs because it was rigorous, as compared to today.) And it used to be that you went to college for a ‘higher education’ and for preparation for professional or graduate education, e.g. engineers, doctors, lawyers.

    In 1960, 10% of HS graduates went to college. Now 50%+ of HS graduates go to college, and it’s far from clear that those incremental college students are academically inclined or capable of college-level studies. And the result appears to be millions of college educated bartenders, waiters, baristas, and retail clerks.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Forbes, sorry state of affairs but in many big cities barely 50% or less graduate from HS.
    , @The Practical Conservative
    In 1960 about 20% of first-time mothers were college attending or completing, which is striking given that less than 10% of women graduating high school were college attending then. You want to know why we have a college fixation, you might consider that aspect and that it was nearly 60 years ago. Currently a supermajority of first births are to college attending mothers, particularly white non-Hispanic ones.

    College since the postwar era was and is trade school with pretensions for men and marriage protection/guarantee for women and increasingly also trade school for them too.
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  33. Kyle McKenna [AKA "Mika-Non"] says:

    Most people disparage college because most people went to crappy colleges. They extrapolate lavishly from their personal experience–after all, most people share it. We have over 2,000 colleges and universities, a few dozen of which are even selective.

    People console themselves with the Hollywood version: “brand-name” colleges are just places where rich kids make connections with other rich kids. If you believe that, it’s much easier to justify your own trajectory.

    Meanwhile, this quote indicates that most of these colleges are doing what they’re supposed to:

    test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years

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    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Mika-Non wrote:

    Most people disparage college because most people went to crappy colleges.
     
    I did my Bachelor's at Caltech and graduated in the top 5 percent. I did my Ph.D. at Stanford.

    Caltech is certainly academically rigorous, so much so that it may have demoralized more of the students than it inspired.

    Stanford? Let's just say I was not all that surprised by their admission of Ziad Ahmed after his stupid "#BlackLivesMatter" stunt. I have long regretted having done my Ph.D. at Stanford, given the ethical climate I observed among the faculty and administrators, a climate nicely illustrated by Ziad Ahmed's admission.

    Would I recommend that kids go to Stanford for their Bachelor's? Well, the piece of paper has cachet, it's in Silicon Valley, and the weather's not bad (aside from occasional pea-soup fog).

    Aside from that...

    Dave Miller in Sacramento
    , @Dahlia
    Thanks for your perspective (and PhysicistDave reply was excellent, too). It's not one I've heard before, and as a mom thinking about college a lot these days, I greatly appreciate it. Something tells me you're right.

    What I've long seen from talking to disappointed people in real life, conversations and articles ruminated over in the Steveosphere, and now the community college my daughter attends for Dual Enrollment, is that college is *supposed* to launch a student into a higher class...

    The Bargain: for four years, and lots of debt, very young adults get to attend a resort* where they will study and get good grades. In return, they will move up at least one class higher than the one they were born into.

    It's obvious how this was arrived at as the many conversations here at Steve's have teased out: indoctrination and mass delusion about the benefits of college (everyone should go); the ballooning of student debt to accomplish this; the young adults *really* wanting a good time and luxury and now have the $$$ to incentivize the schools; hyper grade-inflation from reality meeting the Keep-the-customer-happy ethos.

    *Steve has talked a lot about the selling of amenities... I saw a junky white board with bad writing advertising "Cappuccino and Massages" at my daughter's community college a few months back (same one where I saw ghetto trash having sex in the parking lot)...I was so shocked, I took a picture. Oh, and food trucks. Even in the late 90s when the student debt fiasco was well under way, this would have been unthinkable.
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  34. As you are correctly implying, the point of college isn’t to add value.

    The most famous, successful Reed alumnus is Steve Jandali Jobs

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    • Replies: @Autochthon
    Steve Jandali was not an alumnus of Reed College. He was a matriculant and a drop-out (and many other unimpressive things besides).
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  35. @res
    Thanks for posting that! I like your choice of plots. How did you add graduation rates? I see the info under the college name. Did you scrape the page text rather than cutting and pasting?

    I thought your graduation rates vs. freshman/senior scores plots were interesting. In particular, looking at outliers gives some good information. For example:

    High graduation rates with low senior scores (especially low and declining) seems like a good marker for an undemanding program.

    Low graduation rates with decent senior scores seems like a sign of a demanding program. That could be good or bad depending on the student.

    Decent graduation rates with low (but improving) freshman scores seem like a good match for less capable students.

    I just copied the data from this page. Graduation rates were the right-most column there.

    I was also wondering whether you might be able to determine whether a program was challenging by some combination of score improvement and low graduation rate, but I would want to double-check against other possible explanations before putting too much weight on it.

    Read More
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  36. It’s not much use to employers. They want to know how good the graduates are, not how much better they got.
    I went to Oxford, it was terrible, I felt dumber when I left than when I started. Whereas the University I teach at takes in many students of limited ability and does a great job helping them fulfil their potential. In many cases the transformation in three years is amazing.

    But employers are still going to want the Oxford grad.

    Read More
    • Replies: @fenster
    I agree employers are concerned with end product at graduation and not the process but that is from the POV of the employer. Students come at the question from the other end and so rightly ought to be concerned whether a given college is more likely than the next to make them look better to prospective employers. After all there are all kinds of employers out there and not that many Oxford grads.

    So one needn't disparage Harvard too much if it is only a credentializing machine since its graduates, being very smart, will be smart enough and attractive enough to make their way. The problem for such high-end credentializing factories is that they may be leaving social benefits on the table if they fail to push their students to higher levels, and are able to maintain their reputations by being 'excellent enough."

    But for the many who are not at that level there still ought to be a role for adding value.

    I'd theorize, too, that if there are students who don't need value-added and there are students who can use value-added that there may be a third bucket of students that may never get the hang of critical thinking. Some low college scores may reflect that, and not that the colleges are doing a poor job.

    Last, I'd note that there are a number of comments here that seem to be overly suspicious about "critical thinking", as if it is some odd specialty, or perhaps even an artifact of the postmodern university. It's a pretty meat and potatoes thing in this day and age for anyone who would aim to work with words, numbers or ideas.

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  37. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Graduate business schools have, for years, compared salaries before and after graduation as a way of calculating their ROI. You could probably do something similar by comparing college graduates’ salaries with that of their parents, reduced by some constant to reflect the difference between early and late career average salaries.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Dave, here in the Northeast, teachers' unions have driven salaries so high that a teacher today probably makes four or five times what their parents made, same for firefighters. You can get a teaching degree at most state colleges.
    , @Ivy
    B-School before and after change is Gelt by Association!
    , @Kyle McKenna
    Do you really think the only reason people engage in higher education is to increase their salaries? It may hold true for business schools, and even law schools, but it's hardly the purpose of college. Or (to quote Peter Cook) perhaps I'm very old-fashioned.

    Separate from this is the fact that many of us deliberately choose professions which don't pay very well, for reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with money. Some people, granted, can't understand this. But it will also skew the results of any analysis such as you propose.

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  38. “…unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table…”

    Who cares?

    As long as Moronials continue to mumble not so softly while carrying a big stick- they’ ll be fine.

    Quality of evidence for this statement breaks charts on daily basis.

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  39. @Lot
    For many decades, the bottom-ranked colleges in the USA by student quality were entirely HBCUs. These days the list contains more and more once-respectable Cal-State colleges which have large Mexican and Muslim student populations.

    For this particular test, three of the bottom five schools on the "seniors with below basic schools" measure of Cal-State schools. The other two are a HBCU and a "historically Indian" college.

    Cal State LA's 2013 freshman class of 3,021 had 98 non-hispanic whites, or 3.2%.

    Lot, an article last week in the Sacramento Bee said 75% of black males in California HSs tested below state standards in math and reading. Who teaches at HBCUs?

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    • Replies: @Kyle McKenna
    Keep in mind that the 'better' colleges offer full scholarships + living expenses and stipends to negro students who are at least capable of stringing words together into a sentence. They cherry-pick the few capable ones and the selection effect cascades downward throughout the collegiate pecking order. HCBUs are totally unable to compete, not being anywhere near as well-financed.
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  40. @Buffalo Joe
    When my son ran for the School Board in his Ohio town he was the only candidate or sitting board member that could read a financial statement. Not so hard to believe then than that college seniors can't interpret a data table. Union trade apprenticeships are still a great way to spend three, four or five years and you get paid while you learn a trade.

    I’ve come to accept that it is a fact of life that most people–even well educated, highly paid people–can’t read financial statements, i.e., they are financially illiterate.

    I don’t blame them though, for even though it is not particularly difficult to grasp the basics, almost no one teaches the easily graspable basics, so in practice the only people who can read financial statements are people who were business majors of some kind.*

    I suspect that I could impart the essentials of financial statements in a single day to anyone of average or better intelligence who wants to learn. It’s really not that difficult. Much of formal accounting courses is spent on arcana, obscure cases and exercises in tedium.

    *Although, in grad school, I was surprised to encounter undergrad accounting and finance majors who could barely read financial statements. Maybe that’s just because modern colleges suck though.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Almost, thank you for your reply. School Board members approve spending large sums of money, in Buffalo for example, nearly a billion per year. You would hope that they knew where the money went.
    , @Ed
    I'm actually stunned at the number of recent college grads in finance and accounting disciplines that don't know how to use excel. Don't know vlookups or pivot tables. I mentioned this to coworkers and they thought it was ok. Since maybe the courses don't require it.

    I still find it baffling.
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  41. @Pseudonymic Handle
    Is it even possible to teach critical thinking skills?

    Pseudo, often when there is an employment test or advancement test that requires critical thinking, as in “What do you do next if B occurs after A?”, the test results are tossed as being biased or racist. Teacher tests in NYC and Fireman tests in Buffalo and New Haven are examples.

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    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    Any test that gets tossed as racist almost certainly has some predictive value.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    Periodically, you hear pundits lament the poor quality of American infrastructure. One journalist tweeted about being stuck in an NYC subway car this week, when the power went out and the train was stuck for an hour or something until another train pushed it into the next station. You never hear any of them make the connection between our lousy infrastructure and quality of government administration, and our lack of rigorous standards due to political correctness.
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  42. @dr kill
    I don't understand why the major area of study for American college kids is any concern of mine. My wife and I have paid for our four children to attend real universities (FSU, PSU, Tulane) , not some bullshit Northern Arizona or Southern New Hampshire Evergreen State or Brown, on our own dime. I wish the cost was less, but a deal is a deal.

    I'm not bragging or complaining, I'm stating that I feel a 4 year degree is an essential ingredient in modern life. Pay, or don't pay, but get the degree.

    I’m always taken off-guard by how easily my alma mater comes to mind when the subject of substandard education comes up. In the short story The Therapist by Jeffery Deaver in one of Neil Gaiman’s collections, the crank psychologist who comes up with the idea of ‘nemes’, vicious little emotions that possess us like Dawkin’s selfish genes, of course has a degree from Northern Arizona University.

    I am reminded of the time long ago when I was sitting in the Phoenix Country Club with the head of the NAU philosophy department. We had been dispatched to the boondoogle at the PCC [some awards banquet] in the hopes of convincing some of the bright Arizona high school graduates that year to attend NAU. While we were chatting at dinner, Dr. Nietmann started telling me that you could tell the quality of a school just by it’s name. Anything with a direction in it’s name was by definition sub-standard, at least in comparison to the other schools in a state.

    Accordingly, he advocated changing the name of NAU to Arizona Polytechnic [something Arizona State eventually stole for one of its extended campuses], as NAU was and is a competent technical school. Unsurprisingly, we did not succeed in our mission. The brightest Arizona high school graduates tend to leave the state for more prestigious schools, and the ones who stay tend not to pick NAU.

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    • Replies: @dr kill
    Once upon a time, when our kids were negotiating the Dade County Public School system, I was still listening to WLRN, the public radio station in MIA, sponsored by the DCPS. Every other wednesday, and might still be happening, ( no more PBS for me ) , the school board meetings were aired live. It amazed me how many of the upper staff at DCPS had a PhD from NAU. I think there was a small scandal involving the on - line crap even then. You should be very proud of all the PhD Eds your alma mater has cranked out.
    , @dr kill
    Dear Sir, I was wrong to include your school in my flippant list of losers.. The DCPS elites all use the University of Northern Colorado for their PhD scams. Again, I'm sorry.
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  43. SLO puts a real emphasis on the fact that it has the highest 4 year graduation rate of any California State University. It is a lot cheaper if your son or daughter can sprint through college. Add in AP classes that can give can give you a quarter of class credits but also a leg up when applying for impacted classes because you have a Junior standing v. Sophomore, etc. If you want to go to school for 6 years, you should be getting a Masters.

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    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    It is a lot cheaper if your son or daughter can sprint through college.

    A family friend spent her last two years of high school attending college classes at the local community college at no cost, and graduated on the same day with her high school diploma and A.S. degree in hand. She earned her BS Biology two years later at age 20 at the flagship university. But has spent the past three years working at a low wage job in a biology lab and unsuccessfully trying to get into vet schools across the country.
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  44. @Luke Lea
    More on Reed college back in the late 1950's and early 1960's (before drugs):

    It was unusual in that its sole criterion for admission seemed to be SAT scores. The result was that it had the highest average scores at the time, even higher than the Ivies. Also remarkable was that the average verbal score was higher than the math, even though it was strong in math and science (there was free exchange with CalTech).

    So how smart were the students? Not terribly. There were very few real geniuses. I think they all went to Harvard. Plus there were a lot of seriously maladjusted nerds, which is what you get when you don't select for much besides test scores. Hence the extraordinary attrition rate.

    Looking back I would say it had a one star faculty, a two star student body, and a three star curriculum.

    My mother was the school nurse at Reed in the late sixties. She has some really interesting stories about Reed after drugs.

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    • Replies: @Luke Lea
    "My mother was the school nurse at Reed in the late sixties. She has some really interesting stories about Reed after drugs."

    When Ken Kesey and his merry pranksters came to town, that was all she wrote for Reed College.
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  45. @Forbes
    This discussion sounds like a replay of the advocacy by teachers' unions from a few years ago for more funding/higher pay in secondary schools--because they're teaching 'critical thinking' skills. In other words, give us more money because we're successfully educating students to be college-ready (when in fact, they're not even ready for the real world of work).

    Now it seems you go to college to acquire these basic job skills--and even then, apparently, the results aren't particularly clear or obvious.

    It used to be that high school provided basic job skills--formerly called the three Rs. (In hindsight, it was four Rs because it was rigorous, as compared to today.) And it used to be that you went to college for a 'higher education' and for preparation for professional or graduate education, e.g. engineers, doctors, lawyers.

    In 1960, 10% of HS graduates went to college. Now 50%+ of HS graduates go to college, and it's far from clear that those incremental college students are academically inclined or capable of college-level studies. And the result appears to be millions of college educated bartenders, waiters, baristas, and retail clerks.

    Forbes, sorry state of affairs but in many big cities barely 50% or less graduate from HS.

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    • Replies: @Joe Schmoe

    in many big cities barely 50% or less graduate from HS.
     
    That is still higher than in the 1960's.
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  46. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang
    A post about skiing and then a post about Plymouth State in the same day?!? Are you intentionally high fiving your northern NH readers?!?

    Plymouth State is interesting to see on this list because a similar "Directional" school, New Hampshire Tech, placed #1 on the Brookings Institute's Most Value Added 2 year School in America

    http://nhpr.org/post/brookings-institution-calls-nhti-nations-most-value-added-2-year-college#stream/0

    So, New Hampshire is doing something right, or New Hampshire is good at gaming metrics. Frankly neither would surprise me

    In MA, college administrators get huge pay increases when the state school changes its name from college to university.

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    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    In MA, college administrators get huge pay increases when the state school changes its name from college to university.

    Same thing in FL. About four years ago, the state legislature authorized all the community colleges to grant BA and BS degrees, and they all got renamed as "State Colleges."
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  47. @Dave Pinsen
    Graduate business schools have, for years, compared salaries before and after graduation as a way of calculating their ROI. You could probably do something similar by comparing college graduates' salaries with that of their parents, reduced by some constant to reflect the difference between early and late career average salaries.

    Dave, here in the Northeast, teachers’ unions have driven salaries so high that a teacher today probably makes four or five times what their parents made, same for firefighters. You can get a teaching degree at most state colleges.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Sure Joe,

    But you'll also have plenty of baristas bringing the average down. So it should all even out.
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  48. @International Jew
    I'm surprised the CLA+ scores don't generally decline; after all, colleges strive mightily to extinguish the capacity to reason:

    1. Communication with my Chinese dormroommate is limited to pidgin, and she prefers to socialize with other Chinese, in their language.
    ...therefore Diversity is strength!

    2. We're more likely to die of old age, than of a terrorist attack.
    ...therefore we have nothing to fear from Muslim immigrants.

    3. The football team has gang-raped another co-ed.
    ...therefore we need a tribunal to prosecute boys who misinterpret a girl's voluntarily removing her clothes and getting into his bed.

    4. The Bible condones slavery.
    ...therefore everything in the Bible is worthless.

    5. Hitler said, "We shall make Germany great again".
    ...therefore Trump is a fascist.

    6. Somalis have a hard life in Somalia.
    ...therefore we must bring them to America.

    I was upset not seeing MIT in the list. To my humble knowledge it is a pretty good University.

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  49. @Almost Missouri
    I've come to accept that it is a fact of life that most people--even well educated, highly paid people--can't read financial statements, i.e., they are financially illiterate.

    I don't blame them though, for even though it is not particularly difficult to grasp the basics, almost no one teaches the easily graspable basics, so in practice the only people who can read financial statements are people who were business majors of some kind.*

    I suspect that I could impart the essentials of financial statements in a single day to anyone of average or better intelligence who wants to learn. It's really not that difficult. Much of formal accounting courses is spent on arcana, obscure cases and exercises in tedium.

    *Although, in grad school, I was surprised to encounter undergrad accounting and finance majors who could barely read financial statements. Maybe that's just because modern colleges suck though.

    Almost, thank you for your reply. School Board members approve spending large sums of money, in Buffalo for example, nearly a billion per year. You would hope that they knew where the money went.

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    • Replies: @Almost Missouri
    You would hope that, yes, but the vast record of expensive non-accomplishment tends suggest otherwise. Exhibit A: CLA+ scores.
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  50. @International Jew
    I'm surprised the CLA+ scores don't generally decline; after all, colleges strive mightily to extinguish the capacity to reason:

    1. Communication with my Chinese dormroommate is limited to pidgin, and she prefers to socialize with other Chinese, in their language.
    ...therefore Diversity is strength!

    2. We're more likely to die of old age, than of a terrorist attack.
    ...therefore we have nothing to fear from Muslim immigrants.

    3. The football team has gang-raped another co-ed.
    ...therefore we need a tribunal to prosecute boys who misinterpret a girl's voluntarily removing her clothes and getting into his bed.

    4. The Bible condones slavery.
    ...therefore everything in the Bible is worthless.

    5. Hitler said, "We shall make Germany great again".
    ...therefore Trump is a fascist.

    6. Somalis have a hard life in Somalia.
    ...therefore we must bring them to America.

    You were overly gentle when you decided to let it go at # 6.

    Nice list, though.

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  51. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Plymouth State has a great weather site that Drudge usually links to when some storm is brewing or we are going through a heat wave or deep freeze.

    vortex.plymouth.edu

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  52. @Buffalo Joe
    Pseudo, often when there is an employment test or advancement test that requires critical thinking, as in "What do you do next if B occurs after A?", the test results are tossed as being biased or racist. Teacher tests in NYC and Fireman tests in Buffalo and New Haven are examples.

    Any test that gets tossed as racist almost certainly has some predictive value.

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  53. @george
    American poverty is moving to the suburbs
    https://qz.com/1001261/american-poverty-is-moving-to-the-suburbs/

    https://www.theatlas.com/charts/ByMe8WPGZ

    according to the chart between 1989 and 2011 poverty grows from being 18 million and majority urban to 30 million and majority suburban. Which I take to mean immigration although it is left unsaid.

    It’s probably a combination of things:

    • mass low-skill immigration,
    • AFFH-ing ghetto denizens into the suburbs,
    • indigenous WWCs getting their incomes and home values annihilated by the above two items.

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    • Replies: @kaganovitch
    Nah, it's soil erosion. The magic dirt topsoil is being eroded by wind , flooding etc.
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  54. HA says:

    There’s an underlying assumption here that the value of a degree should be based on how much learning was required to earn it. That is a commendable notion, but it increasingly seems quaint.

    A study of MBA programs indicated that only a few of the top-ranked schools boosted the average lifetime earnings over and above the costs of the degree.

    I’m guessing a similar calculus (however badly calculated) applies to undergraduate programs. While it is true that learning about spreadsheets and data tables is more practical than learning the meaning of words like “patriarchy”, “heteronormative” and “intersectionality”, the latter shibboleths can be used to extort generous amounts of grants and other funding, and some universities are better at connecting students with that largess than others.

    At least, that’s the underlying assumption that they are making. To the extent it, too, is naive and incorrect, well, what do you expect from people who can’t be bothered with spreadsheets and data tables, and instead choose to make a career out of spouting jargon?

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  55. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Sailer bait…http://deadspin.com/baltimores-famous-national-chess-champion-isnt-a-nation-1795900338

    The lede is so obliterated you have to go in to the comments to find it, but a wise one will realize the story right away.

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    • Replies: @Amanuensis
    I loved the comment about the kid going to school at Roland Park Elementary, judged to be Baltimore's best. I'm sure he is, but there's no way he lives in RP. The number of AA kids somehow shoe-horned into that school is amazing. Roland Park is filled to the brim with expensive homes and people who work for Johns Hopkins, law firms, etc.

    Meanwhile, the area has 5 or 6 private schools - Bryn Mawr (girls), Gilman and Boys Latin (boys only), Roland Park Country School (girls), Friends (mixed & Quaker - the lefty choice!), and Cathedral of Mary Our Queen (Roman Catholic). Parents in all manner of vehicles converge on the area in the morning and afternoon.

    It's iSteve on display every day.
    , @Triumph104
    The US Chess Federation needs to stop holding meaningless competitions at a national championship.

    I don't play chess, but last month I attempted to look at the results on the USCF website in hopes of finding an up and coming player to follow. The categories were so confusing that I gave up.
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  56. @guest
    "to measure how much better they get at learning to think"

    I like the low bar, there. Not how much they learned, nor whether they got better at thinking, nor even how they learned to think better, but how much better they got at learning to think. What an educrat way to look at it. They go from trying to figure out how to make kids learn, to talking about learning to learn. Eventually, I imagine we will read articles about daring new theories to make kids learn to learn to learn to learn to learn better.

    Not that you can't learn to think better, or even learn to learn better. But shouldn't an 18 year-old have learned how to learn by then? What were his 12 previous school years about? When do they ever get to the part where they're actually instructed? To the education establishment, they're always still baking. They're never ready to be taken out and taught something, besides being taught how to be taught.

    It strikes me that in my grandparents’ generation, getting only an eighth grade education was pretty typical. Yet these people had better taste in books, music and entertainment that today’s college graduates, and I dare say their workaday arithmetic was better too. Nationally, the country of eighth-grade graduates won WWII and went to the moon, as I think Steve has remarked.

    Today we spend twice as much time and probably 20 times as much capital and yet the result is inferior. Such colossal failure and waste is surely the harbinger of some oncoming reckoning.

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    • Agree: Travis
    • Replies: @Random Dude on the Internet
    It's because we decided that we needed to lower the bar so that way bottom performers (i.e. minorities) could graduate. So it's been a race to bottom to minimize the level of hurt feels. The same is going on for undergraduates, graduates, etc.

    Spending more for less is just one of the many wonderful things about our multicultural society.
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  57. Ivy says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Graduate business schools have, for years, compared salaries before and after graduation as a way of calculating their ROI. You could probably do something similar by comparing college graduates' salaries with that of their parents, reduced by some constant to reflect the difference between early and late career average salaries.

    B-School before and after change is Gelt by Association!

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  58. Anon 2 says:
    @res
    Looks like CalPoly SLO is making an effort to push this test to its students. Includes practice and an acknowledgement of top scorers.
    https://academicprograms.calpoly.edu/cla

    I know some CalPoly grads. Not super intellectual types, but solid people I would be happy to work with.

    A friend of mine from San Luis Obispo who
    has lived near the CalPoly campus for decades
    tells me that practically all the houses in the vicinity
    of the campus have been taken over by students.
    30 years ago the partying used to start Friday
    nights, 10 years ago – Thursday nights. Now, he says,
    they’re starting their revelry Wednesday nights, at least
    based on the number of screaming girls, and of the students
    occupying the middle of the street in front of his house.
    He’s always wondering what are they doing to those girls
    that they scream so much. I say, “Don’t you know anything
    about women? Screaming means they’re having a good time.
    In my experience most women don’t feel they’re alive unless they’re
    experiencing intense emotions.”

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    • Replies: @Jenner Ickham Errican

    STATLER
    A friend of mine from San Luis Obispo has lived near the CalPoly campus for decades. He’s always wondering what are they doing to those girls that they scream so much.

    WALDORF
    Don’t you know anything about women? Screaming means they’re having a good time. In my experience most women don’t feel they’re alive unless they’re experiencing intense emotions.

    (BOTH) DOH HOHOHOHOHO !!!
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6I_dKUYyI4
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  59. guest says:

    By the way, everyone’s always talking about “critical thinking skills” and suchlike, but I really have no idea what those are. I had assumed they’re referring to formal logic, skepticism, dialectics, the scientific method, and so forth. You know, the rules of being a rational person.

    I’m beginning to think it’s just selective open-mindedness. They pretend it’s a mighty and intricate edifice they build within you over time. But really it’s something you swallow all at once. Quite aside from the fact that the educated elite and the output of the universities-proper appear to be making things up as they go–and no one’s acting consistently rational, if such a thing even exists–Critical Thinking has the feel of a religion to me. A closed-off, self-justifying system that never need prove itself in practice.

    Of course, you won’t be able to put everything into practice. You have to take people’s word for things as you learn. No one can rebuild all of Western Civilization inside their own heads. What’s to stop you from being gullible and buying into untruths? Nothing, ultimately. But Critical Thinking does, says Critical Thinking.

    What’s to convince me that what I learn critically isn’t just old-fashioned dogma in new clothes? That’s what universities are for, partly: to convince you that the stuff they veritably ordered you to believe was believed in by your own choosing. Hence all the methods and theories and systems.

    Critical Thinking is at best a sort of Higher Debunking. You tear down what you don’t think fits. But you have to believe in something. Universities don’t produce nearly as many nihilists as they should. So you arbitrarily debunk this and uphold that. Sometimes against your feelings and interests, but mostly with. Unless you have a change of heart, which always happens beyond reason.

    I find it suspicious that the most highly educated are also the most credulous people on earth when it comes to some things. There are a million variations on the saying, “so stupid only an intellectual would fall for it.”

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    • Replies: @dr kill
    In my great experience, critical thinking is only found in men who have successfully supported their own dreams with their own hands. Small business people. If you get a W 2, it ain't you.
    , @kihowi
    If anything, critical thinking is harmful for your chances of getting anywhere. Every ability you need to succeed is either too complicated to build up from scratch and check for inconsistencies, or too instinctive to think about at all. The only thing critical thinking buys you is a lot of chances to fuck up. Real critical thinking is an expensive hobby for people who are already comfortably well off and can take the hit, or a calling for those who are willing to pay the poverty price.
    , @The Last Real Calvinist

    Critical Thinking is at best a sort of Higher Debunking. You tear down what you don’t think fits. But you have to believe in something. Universities don’t produce nearly as many nihilists as they should. So you arbitrarily debunk this and uphold that. Sometimes against your feelings and interests, but mostly with. Unless you have a change of heart, which always happens beyond reason.

     

    'Critical thinking' in the leftist university is best understood as a gnostic 'awakening'. You're right in that it takes no time or effort -- how long does it take be become 'woke'?

    But then this new lens (more like a blinder, really) of 'critical thinking' can be applied to every aspect of a student's life, with tediously predictable results.

    It's the opposite of education.

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  60. @Buffalo Joe
    Almost, thank you for your reply. School Board members approve spending large sums of money, in Buffalo for example, nearly a billion per year. You would hope that they knew where the money went.

    You would hope that, yes, but the vast record of expensive non-accomplishment tends suggest otherwise. Exhibit A: CLA+ scores.

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  61. guest says:

    I should add that every time I’ve experienced an intellectual breakthrough was when I actually learned something, some fact or set of facts. That is, when I got to the substance of learning, not the form or style of it. When I was instructed in something.

    Granted, I can’t remember not being able to read or do basic math. Those skills were almost certainly my greatest leaps forward. And I haven’t picked up many systems or methods since primary education. I tried to learn formal logic and grammar, I’ve studied various philosophical schools and dabbled in religions. At various times I’ve applied myself to thinking like a historian, thinking like an economist, thinking like a psychologist, etc. But it never amounted to much.

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  62. @Forbes
    This discussion sounds like a replay of the advocacy by teachers' unions from a few years ago for more funding/higher pay in secondary schools--because they're teaching 'critical thinking' skills. In other words, give us more money because we're successfully educating students to be college-ready (when in fact, they're not even ready for the real world of work).

    Now it seems you go to college to acquire these basic job skills--and even then, apparently, the results aren't particularly clear or obvious.

    It used to be that high school provided basic job skills--formerly called the three Rs. (In hindsight, it was four Rs because it was rigorous, as compared to today.) And it used to be that you went to college for a 'higher education' and for preparation for professional or graduate education, e.g. engineers, doctors, lawyers.

    In 1960, 10% of HS graduates went to college. Now 50%+ of HS graduates go to college, and it's far from clear that those incremental college students are academically inclined or capable of college-level studies. And the result appears to be millions of college educated bartenders, waiters, baristas, and retail clerks.

    In 1960 about 20% of first-time mothers were college attending or completing, which is striking given that less than 10% of women graduating high school were college attending then. You want to know why we have a college fixation, you might consider that aspect and that it was nearly 60 years ago. Currently a supermajority of first births are to college attending mothers, particularly white non-Hispanic ones.

    College since the postwar era was and is trade school with pretensions for men and marriage protection/guarantee for women and increasingly also trade school for them too.

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    • Replies: @guest
    But as colleges get more and more chickified and the eligible man-well dries up, they'll have to look elsewhere for baby daddies. Or they'll become dried-up, bitter, old hags.
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  63. guest says:
    @The Practical Conservative
    In 1960 about 20% of first-time mothers were college attending or completing, which is striking given that less than 10% of women graduating high school were college attending then. You want to know why we have a college fixation, you might consider that aspect and that it was nearly 60 years ago. Currently a supermajority of first births are to college attending mothers, particularly white non-Hispanic ones.

    College since the postwar era was and is trade school with pretensions for men and marriage protection/guarantee for women and increasingly also trade school for them too.

    But as colleges get more and more chickified and the eligible man-well dries up, they’ll have to look elsewhere for baby daddies. Or they’ll become dried-up, bitter, old hags.

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    • Replies: @The Practical Conservative
    Those college moms are rarely baby mamas and they send their sons to college. Christian colleges have a distinct lack of mattress girl or sjw type drama. Same for most colleges really. The system is working well for white college mothers since they have most of the white babies and have for decades now.
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  64. Anon 2 says:
    @guest
    Training for a chosen field was tacked-on late in the college game, not counting particular lines of work like clergyman, doctor, and lawyer. College really is a waste of time generally for vocational training.

    What college was always for was keeping track of and promoting a culture's general knowledge, on the one hand, and cultivating a ruling intellectual class, on the other. First in the church, now mostly as drones in the Managerial State. For a while it was about training gentlemen and maintaining the old class system. Since the modern von Humboldt or Prussian era, if you will, it's been about training professionals of the new enlightened class. But now it's mostly about giving adult kids something to do while they pretend to be grown up.

    None of which has much of anything to do with whether Sally or Johnny will get their money's worth. If they get hooked into the ruling class, then it'll be worth it. Education is neither here nor there as regards that. There will be people who get a real education, but colleges aren't designed for them. Unless they go on to be academics, but few do.

    Colleges have to keep adding things on to justify the ever-changing circle of the types of people who attend. Career, experience (i.e. sex and drugs), diversity, whatever. But I don't think anyone buys it.

    One thing that we never tell the students colleges
    are for is to keep as many 17-to-22 year-olds as possible
    out of the labor market so they don’t compete for jobs
    with adults. The government likes it because it reduces
    the official unemployment rate. I never mention this to
    my students – some may know it already, and most have
    plenty of time to become cynical on their own. The prefrontal
    cortex doesn’t become fully mature until the age of 25, so from
    this point of view colleges (apart from STEM) are basically
    babysitting institutions where we keep the students and give
    them something to do (underwater basket weaving would do
    just fine) while waiting for their brains to mature.

    If they entered the company of adults too early, they might
    damage our institutions, but they can damage colleges like
    Evergreen State all they like. The worst that can happen is that
    the college will lose enrollment, lose state funding, and go private.
    No harm done. About 1-2% of college students develop serious
    mental illness. If this happens in college, again the harm to the
    wider society is minimized.

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  65. There are several CUNY colleges on the list, but no SUNY (NY State). Were they not part of the analysis?
    If I had to guess the top SUNY schools according to the “adding value” criteria.: Buffalo, Geneseo, and Maritime College would be my guesses.

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  66. @guest
    But as colleges get more and more chickified and the eligible man-well dries up, they'll have to look elsewhere for baby daddies. Or they'll become dried-up, bitter, old hags.

    Those college moms are rarely baby mamas and they send their sons to college. Christian colleges have a distinct lack of mattress girl or sjw type drama. Same for most colleges really. The system is working well for white college mothers since they have most of the white babies and have for decades now.

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  67. dr kill says:
    @Benjamin I. Espen
    I'm always taken off-guard by how easily my alma mater comes to mind when the subject of substandard education comes up. In the short story The Therapist by Jeffery Deaver in one of Neil Gaiman's collections, the crank psychologist who comes up with the idea of 'nemes', vicious little emotions that possess us like Dawkin's selfish genes, of course has a degree from Northern Arizona University.

    I am reminded of the time long ago when I was sitting in the Phoenix Country Club with the head of the NAU philosophy department. We had been dispatched to the boondoogle at the PCC [some awards banquet] in the hopes of convincing some of the bright Arizona high school graduates that year to attend NAU. While we were chatting at dinner, Dr. Nietmann started telling me that you could tell the quality of a school just by it's name. Anything with a direction in it's name was by definition sub-standard, at least in comparison to the other schools in a state.

    Accordingly, he advocated changing the name of NAU to Arizona Polytechnic [something Arizona State eventually stole for one of its extended campuses], as NAU was and is a competent technical school. Unsurprisingly, we did not succeed in our mission. The brightest Arizona high school graduates tend to leave the state for more prestigious schools, and the ones who stay tend not to pick NAU.

    Once upon a time, when our kids were negotiating the Dade County Public School system, I was still listening to WLRN, the public radio station in MIA, sponsored by the DCPS. Every other wednesday, and might still be happening, ( no more PBS for me ) , the school board meetings were aired live. It amazed me how many of the upper staff at DCPS had a PhD from NAU. I think there was a small scandal involving the on – line crap even then. You should be very proud of all the PhD Eds your alma mater has cranked out.

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    • Replies: @Jack Hanson
    TBF NAU has, from my understanding, a pretty serious natural resources/forestry set of programs, and its PA/Nursing program is pretty stout too.

    Which is pretty much the larger point: Figure/guide out your kid to a major with potential and find a university that has a top program in it. Teenagers are, by and large, retarded and get a Bachelor of Arts in something stupid at a state school before they fight with other graduates for the assistant manager position at the local Chili's. Parents and guidance counselors saying "get a degree in anything!" is part of the problem.

    On a more micro version, its kind of like picking a trade school, where certain schools have undeniable cachet and you stand out by having that imprint on your certification. I went to the best paramedic in the Western US, and I avoided a lot of issues that plagued people who went to Local Program that Takes Your Money.

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  68. dr kill says:
    @Shaq
    Sort of OT: Bob Dylan

    I just came across his Nobel Prize speech. Impressive - Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and the Odyssey inspired him. I did not see that coming....

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/dylan-lecture.html

    A 900 thousand dollar speech. Good for him. He is my hero.

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  69. kihowi says:

    Deciding a college’s value by figuring out whether anybody learns anything is old-fashioned and irrelevant.

    The only sensible question: what does it get you if you can say that you went to it?

    Life doesn’t throw technical questions at you and then advances you automatically like a video game. Success is only decided by your ability to be successful, ie getting into a situation where you make good money, and then holding on to it.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ScarletNumber

    Success is only decided by your ability to be successful
     
    This is the most circular, cynical thing I have read online in quite sometime. Not that it makes it incorrect.
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  70. dr kill says:
    @guest
    By the way, everyone's always talking about "critical thinking skills" and suchlike, but I really have no idea what those are. I had assumed they're referring to formal logic, skepticism, dialectics, the scientific method, and so forth. You know, the rules of being a rational person.

    I'm beginning to think it's just selective open-mindedness. They pretend it's a mighty and intricate edifice they build within you over time. But really it's something you swallow all at once. Quite aside from the fact that the educated elite and the output of the universities-proper appear to be making things up as they go--and no one's acting consistently rational, if such a thing even exists--Critical Thinking has the feel of a religion to me. A closed-off, self-justifying system that never need prove itself in practice.

    Of course, you won't be able to put everything into practice. You have to take people's word for things as you learn. No one can rebuild all of Western Civilization inside their own heads. What's to stop you from being gullible and buying into untruths? Nothing, ultimately. But Critical Thinking does, says Critical Thinking.

    What's to convince me that what I learn critically isn't just old-fashioned dogma in new clothes? That's what universities are for, partly: to convince you that the stuff they veritably ordered you to believe was believed in by your own choosing. Hence all the methods and theories and systems.

    Critical Thinking is at best a sort of Higher Debunking. You tear down what you don't think fits. But you have to believe in something. Universities don't produce nearly as many nihilists as they should. So you arbitrarily debunk this and uphold that. Sometimes against your feelings and interests, but mostly with. Unless you have a change of heart, which always happens beyond reason.

    I find it suspicious that the most highly educated are also the most credulous people on earth when it comes to some things. There are a million variations on the saying, "so stupid only an intellectual would fall for it."

    In my great experience, critical thinking is only found in men who have successfully supported their own dreams with their own hands. Small business people. If you get a W 2, it ain’t you.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    People who start or buy small businesses and stay small are usually people with dysfunctional personalities who can't work for anyone else.

    In reality, small business is a crummy way to make a living. Long hours, enormous stress, high fail rate.

    Apple Computer started as a small business. It didn't stay small. The people with something to really bring to the table either get big, or go broke trying.


    I bought a "hot rod" transmission from a pretty typical "successful small businessman". Guy is high energy, works 60-70 hour weeks, knows every part of about six different American rear wheel drive transmissions off the top of his head. He has four employees, all drag race buddies, and has run a four man shop since the seventies. Outside of transmissions and drag racing he has the educational attainment of a sixth grader. He is completely ignorant of history B.D.G, (Before Don Garlits), art, literature (besides hot rod parts catalogs) , and pretty much everything else. The transmission works great, and the guy is a millionaire, but he really hasn't done all that much for society. His kids are all trailer trash, and when he dies they'll go through the cash and go back to the doublewide.

    His brother is a hoghead for Uncle Warren's toy choo choo set. His oldest daughter is a dentist, his son is a mechanical engineer, youngest girl is at Embry-Riddle. He doesn't have a college degree, but he is well read, has traveled abroad and in general a lot happier person.
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  71. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Buffalo Joe
    Dave, here in the Northeast, teachers' unions have driven salaries so high that a teacher today probably makes four or five times what their parents made, same for firefighters. You can get a teaching degree at most state colleges.

    Sure Joe,

    But you’ll also have plenty of baristas bringing the average down. So it should all even out.

    Read More
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  72. kihowi says:
    @guest
    By the way, everyone's always talking about "critical thinking skills" and suchlike, but I really have no idea what those are. I had assumed they're referring to formal logic, skepticism, dialectics, the scientific method, and so forth. You know, the rules of being a rational person.

    I'm beginning to think it's just selective open-mindedness. They pretend it's a mighty and intricate edifice they build within you over time. But really it's something you swallow all at once. Quite aside from the fact that the educated elite and the output of the universities-proper appear to be making things up as they go--and no one's acting consistently rational, if such a thing even exists--Critical Thinking has the feel of a religion to me. A closed-off, self-justifying system that never need prove itself in practice.

    Of course, you won't be able to put everything into practice. You have to take people's word for things as you learn. No one can rebuild all of Western Civilization inside their own heads. What's to stop you from being gullible and buying into untruths? Nothing, ultimately. But Critical Thinking does, says Critical Thinking.

    What's to convince me that what I learn critically isn't just old-fashioned dogma in new clothes? That's what universities are for, partly: to convince you that the stuff they veritably ordered you to believe was believed in by your own choosing. Hence all the methods and theories and systems.

    Critical Thinking is at best a sort of Higher Debunking. You tear down what you don't think fits. But you have to believe in something. Universities don't produce nearly as many nihilists as they should. So you arbitrarily debunk this and uphold that. Sometimes against your feelings and interests, but mostly with. Unless you have a change of heart, which always happens beyond reason.

    I find it suspicious that the most highly educated are also the most credulous people on earth when it comes to some things. There are a million variations on the saying, "so stupid only an intellectual would fall for it."

    If anything, critical thinking is harmful for your chances of getting anywhere. Every ability you need to succeed is either too complicated to build up from scratch and check for inconsistencies, or too instinctive to think about at all. The only thing critical thinking buys you is a lot of chances to fuck up. Real critical thinking is an expensive hobby for people who are already comfortably well off and can take the hit, or a calling for those who are willing to pay the poverty price.

    Read More
    • Replies: @International Jew
    There's a lot of truth in what you just said. There's some exaggeration too, but for the most part it rings true.
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  73. @guest
    By the way, everyone's always talking about "critical thinking skills" and suchlike, but I really have no idea what those are. I had assumed they're referring to formal logic, skepticism, dialectics, the scientific method, and so forth. You know, the rules of being a rational person.

    I'm beginning to think it's just selective open-mindedness. They pretend it's a mighty and intricate edifice they build within you over time. But really it's something you swallow all at once. Quite aside from the fact that the educated elite and the output of the universities-proper appear to be making things up as they go--and no one's acting consistently rational, if such a thing even exists--Critical Thinking has the feel of a religion to me. A closed-off, self-justifying system that never need prove itself in practice.

    Of course, you won't be able to put everything into practice. You have to take people's word for things as you learn. No one can rebuild all of Western Civilization inside their own heads. What's to stop you from being gullible and buying into untruths? Nothing, ultimately. But Critical Thinking does, says Critical Thinking.

    What's to convince me that what I learn critically isn't just old-fashioned dogma in new clothes? That's what universities are for, partly: to convince you that the stuff they veritably ordered you to believe was believed in by your own choosing. Hence all the methods and theories and systems.

    Critical Thinking is at best a sort of Higher Debunking. You tear down what you don't think fits. But you have to believe in something. Universities don't produce nearly as many nihilists as they should. So you arbitrarily debunk this and uphold that. Sometimes against your feelings and interests, but mostly with. Unless you have a change of heart, which always happens beyond reason.

    I find it suspicious that the most highly educated are also the most credulous people on earth when it comes to some things. There are a million variations on the saying, "so stupid only an intellectual would fall for it."

    Critical Thinking is at best a sort of Higher Debunking. You tear down what you don’t think fits. But you have to believe in something. Universities don’t produce nearly as many nihilists as they should. So you arbitrarily debunk this and uphold that. Sometimes against your feelings and interests, but mostly with. Unless you have a change of heart, which always happens beyond reason.

    ‘Critical thinking’ in the leftist university is best understood as a gnostic ‘awakening’. You’re right in that it takes no time or effort — how long does it take be become ‘woke’?

    But then this new lens (more like a blinder, really) of ‘critical thinking’ can be applied to every aspect of a student’s life, with tediously predictable results.

    It’s the opposite of education.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    This has become something of a trope on right-wingish websites, but I think it is at least somewhat misguided.

    Yes, the the SJWish elements in academia have made an effort to "own" "critical thinking". And I think criticism of this is well warranted.

    I taught "critical thinking" classes at a fairly elite state university. I didn't think I would enjoy such a thing, as I had some fairly elitist views (in a bad way) at the time, but I came to realize that this was a doable and valuable enterprise. I taught some more hifalutin courses at the same university, but to my surprise the critical thinking course might have been my favorites. I realized that there are ways to help people engage in informal reasoning and to engage reflectively with what they read and see and hear.

    When I taught these courses, I considered myself a leftist, and delved into some Chomskyish media criticism stuff. But Chomsky and kin aren't entirely wrong: the MSM is a bunch of corporatist globalist tools. I don't disparage leftist criticism (from people actually trying), but I now see this from a rather more right-wing perspective.

    Ultimately, I think it is a mistake to allow academic SJWs to "own" "critical thinking". Critical thinking is, to some considerable degree, what we see here, and on many other outre "unfashionable" websites.
    , @Seth Largo
    Yes, interpreting arguments, analyzing evidence, and reading data tables are all hallmarks of leftist indoctrination.

    You dolt.
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  74. XYZ says:

    I really think this needs to be broken down by field of study. And more distribution. To answer the more narrow question of which public schools offer value: my feeling (having attended several state schools) is most state schools are small, rigorous institutions of learning with 3 to 4 thousand students surrounded by 20,000+ people — strangely called fellow students and attending classes — that in former times would be factory workers or farmers. (And nothing wrong with that work!)

    I propose a ‘Shrinkage Score’. (Ahem). If a university was composed of only its 3,000 finest students, what would its rankings be?

    Since most good state schools have selective Honors programs this is a well known issue. Perhaps there is already a ranking out there somewhere.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Coemgen
    farmers small businessmen
    factory workers farm laborers

    Also, 74 comments into a thread with the words "college" and "value" in its title with no mention of rent-seeking? Did the Overton window move while I wasn't looking?
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  75. Kyle McKenna [AKA "Mika-Non"] says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Graduate business schools have, for years, compared salaries before and after graduation as a way of calculating their ROI. You could probably do something similar by comparing college graduates' salaries with that of their parents, reduced by some constant to reflect the difference between early and late career average salaries.

    Do you really think the only reason people engage in higher education is to increase their salaries? It may hold true for business schools, and even law schools, but it’s hardly the purpose of college. Or (to quote Peter Cook) perhaps I’m very old-fashioned.

    Separate from this is the fact that many of us deliberately choose professions which don’t pay very well, for reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with money. Some people, granted, can’t understand this. But it will also skew the results of any analysis such as you propose.

    Read More
    • Agree: Whoever
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I think it's the reason many do, or to get the credentials to enter a certain field, though I'm familiar with the argument that college isn't about "making a man a carpenter, but making a carpenter a man". In truth, they usually don't do that either.

    There was a WSJ article earlier this century, when I used to subscribe to that paper, about men from blue collar backgrounds who became managers of upscale quick service restaurants like Au Bon Pain, lured in part by the prospect of being part of the managerial class. Of course, they end up doing scut work and putting in 60-hour weeks. I think college has become part of that broader bait & switch.
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  76. Kyle McKenna [AKA "Mika-Non"] says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    Lot, an article last week in the Sacramento Bee said 75% of black males in California HSs tested below state standards in math and reading. Who teaches at HBCUs?

    Keep in mind that the ‘better’ colleges offer full scholarships + living expenses and stipends to negro students who are at least capable of stringing words together into a sentence. They cherry-pick the few capable ones and the selection effect cascades downward throughout the collegiate pecking order. HCBUs are totally unable to compete, not being anywhere near as well-financed.

    Read More
    • Agree: Triumph104
    • Replies: @Ed
    I believe only 2 HBCUs have mean SAT scores above the college readiness benchmark, Spelman, which is all female, and Howard. Maybe Morehouse but I can't recall.

    What HBCUs do have is political leverage. They'll race bait legislators and file lawsuits claiming discrimination. They're often successful. Maryland HBCUs recently won a lawsuit against the state of MD accusing it of discrimination because it allowed other universities to offer specialty courses. Evidently these courses should only be offered at HBCUs. You see competition is racist.
    https://www.google.com/amp/baltimore.cbslocal.com/2017/02/21/maryland-hbcus-push-for-federal-funding-in-lengthy-legal-battle/amp/
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  77. Marty T says:
    @oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang
    A post about skiing and then a post about Plymouth State in the same day?!? Are you intentionally high fiving your northern NH readers?!?

    Plymouth State is interesting to see on this list because a similar "Directional" school, New Hampshire Tech, placed #1 on the Brookings Institute's Most Value Added 2 year School in America

    http://nhpr.org/post/brookings-institution-calls-nhti-nations-most-value-added-2-year-college#stream/0

    So, New Hampshire is doing something right, or New Hampshire is good at gaming metrics. Frankly neither would surprise me

    New Hampshire is pretty great except for their high binge drinking and opioid abuse rates.

    Read More
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  78. Vinay says:

    “For example, Reed College, an ornery, independent-minded liberal arts college”

    WTF ?? No mention of its most famous alumni? Too coy!

    Read More
    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    See comment 34
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  79. They cherry-pick the few capable ones

    LOL, sure they are.

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  80. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    Critical Thinking is at best a sort of Higher Debunking. You tear down what you don’t think fits. But you have to believe in something. Universities don’t produce nearly as many nihilists as they should. So you arbitrarily debunk this and uphold that. Sometimes against your feelings and interests, but mostly with. Unless you have a change of heart, which always happens beyond reason.

     

    'Critical thinking' in the leftist university is best understood as a gnostic 'awakening'. You're right in that it takes no time or effort -- how long does it take be become 'woke'?

    But then this new lens (more like a blinder, really) of 'critical thinking' can be applied to every aspect of a student's life, with tediously predictable results.

    It's the opposite of education.

    This has become something of a trope on right-wingish websites, but I think it is at least somewhat misguided.

    Yes, the the SJWish elements in academia have made an effort to “own” “critical thinking”. And I think criticism of this is well warranted.

    I taught “critical thinking” classes at a fairly elite state university. I didn’t think I would enjoy such a thing, as I had some fairly elitist views (in a bad way) at the time, but I came to realize that this was a doable and valuable enterprise. I taught some more hifalutin courses at the same university, but to my surprise the critical thinking course might have been my favorites. I realized that there are ways to help people engage in informal reasoning and to engage reflectively with what they read and see and hear.

    When I taught these courses, I considered myself a leftist, and delved into some Chomskyish media criticism stuff. But Chomsky and kin aren’t entirely wrong: the MSM is a bunch of corporatist globalist tools. I don’t disparage leftist criticism (from people actually trying), but I now see this from a rather more right-wing perspective.

    Ultimately, I think it is a mistake to allow academic SJWs to “own” “critical thinking”. Critical thinking is, to some considerable degree, what we see here, and on many other outre “unfashionable” websites.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Does the term "critical thinking" trace back to, say, Kant's "The Critique of Pure Reason"?
    , @Steve Sailer
    Does the term "critical thinking" trace back to, say, Kant's "The Critique of Pure Reason"?
    , @guest
    They can own the phrase "critical thinking." Who cares about that? Does anyone on earth, including proponents of critical thinking, actually think critical thinking is the only way to think critically? Whatever the hell critical thinking is, exactly.

    We can stick with old-fashioned reason, logic, skepticism, the scientific method, enlightenment even. Let them have their criticism fads.
    , @The Last Real Calvinist
    Thanks much for this reply. I've not seen too many places that teach critical thinking explicitly in the way you describe. I certainly agree there is a set of noticing, questioning, and analysis skills than can be taught that might be labelled critical thinking (without quotation marks), and that is indeed highly valuable.

    The 'critical thinking' I'm referring to is the reflexively-leftist, power-obsessed, racism-sexism-classism-haunted, torching-the-cultural-capital-of-the West species of 'critical thinking' that has strangled and gutted real critical thinking, and struts through the university common wearing its raggedy pelt as a trophy. You know what I mean, I'm sure.

    I recall seeing 'critical thinking' being used as a mindless edu-catch-phrase in the 90s, e.g. as a standard item in academic program objectives, broad aims for students to achieve upon graduation, etc., etc. By this point it had nothing to do with Kant anymore, obviously. But my experience is mostly overseas, so it may have been around longer than that.

    And I agree that turning the guns of real critical thinking upon those accustomed to unleashing unopposed barrages of 'critical thinking' can be effective.

    But these days the hard left in the universities has little need to cloak their power plays in the publicly-palatable guise of 'critical thinking'. As the Evergreen, Yale, Berkeley and other recent outrages have demonstrated, they're now a proud priesthood engaged in righteous witch-hunting.

    I find the U of Missouri case the most interesting. That institution has really paid for its BLM folly, with crushing declines in student enrollment, staff layoffs, etc., whereas I doubt Yale and Berkeley have been reduced to placing ads on Facebook to attract new students. So what's the level of prestige sufficient to insulate an institution from the consequences of hard-left malpractice? Sounds like a good job for some critical thinking.
    , @Vinay
    "Chomskyish media criticism stuff...Critical thinking is, to some considerable degree, what we see here,"

    It's funny, I'm pretty sure Steve doesn't find much in common with Chomsky. However, both provide a framework for understanding certain aspects of media and government behavior, which would otherwise seem completely baffling. You don't have to take those explanations as gospel or agree on the implications.

    And, to some extent, this is true regardless of your political orientation. A lot of the stuff Steve writes about is stuff for which there is no nice liberal OR conservative liberal explanation or an angle which isn't covered elsewhere at all.

    Though, after Trump's election, Steve seems a bit more invested in political advocacy.
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  81. @Anonymous
    This has become something of a trope on right-wingish websites, but I think it is at least somewhat misguided.

    Yes, the the SJWish elements in academia have made an effort to "own" "critical thinking". And I think criticism of this is well warranted.

    I taught "critical thinking" classes at a fairly elite state university. I didn't think I would enjoy such a thing, as I had some fairly elitist views (in a bad way) at the time, but I came to realize that this was a doable and valuable enterprise. I taught some more hifalutin courses at the same university, but to my surprise the critical thinking course might have been my favorites. I realized that there are ways to help people engage in informal reasoning and to engage reflectively with what they read and see and hear.

    When I taught these courses, I considered myself a leftist, and delved into some Chomskyish media criticism stuff. But Chomsky and kin aren't entirely wrong: the MSM is a bunch of corporatist globalist tools. I don't disparage leftist criticism (from people actually trying), but I now see this from a rather more right-wing perspective.

    Ultimately, I think it is a mistake to allow academic SJWs to "own" "critical thinking". Critical thinking is, to some considerable degree, what we see here, and on many other outre "unfashionable" websites.

    Does the term “critical thinking” trace back to, say, Kant’s “The Critique of Pure Reason”?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    (same anon as above)
    The academic term "critical theory", which I think is very often confused by "non-academic" web commenters with "critical thinking", is absolutely an SJWish, "cultural Marxist" term that is meant to evoke the Kantian tradition. This is really a term of art that derives from the Franfurt School. There is no question but that the SJW use of this term derives from Kant, even if the users have no idea who Kant is or regard him as a racist cishet white man.
    So far as I grasp things, the 20th century use of the term "critical thinking" at least partially overlaps with the idea of "informal logic". The idea of "informal" logic is to some degree a reaction against the Russellian idea of formal logic that played a major role in analytic and academic philosophy in the past century. My sense is that this strain of usage is somewhat but not entirely disparate from Kant, and derives from 1) a 60ish engagement with free writing, 2) a sharp reaction against formal logic as the key to human thinking, 3) a late Wittgensteinian anti-Russellianism that is at least partially a sort of Kantianism, and 4) the idea that academic philosophy might have use in countering the media messages of the 20th century.

    More broadly speaking, I think that the social influence of mid-to-late 20th century analytic philosophy has been very poorly studied. There might seem to be very little social influence, since most analytic philosophers seem to have absented themselves from the game. But the anti-practical tendency of analytic philosophers has, it seems to me, played some role in insulating them from the harmful tendencies of academic SJWism.
    , @guest
    We don't know where critical theory comes from, because they won't tell us. Ever. The most we'll get is an identification with all the good guys and movements in the long stretch of history that can be passed off as not accepting handed-down knowledge uncritically. They probably even include scholastics at this point, so long as they don't have dark reputations.

    Critical thinking devotees probably trace it back to Socrates and his purportedly uncanny ability to reveal the fact that no one can rationally defend what they believe. (Except him.)

    Then maybe they jump to the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, and pull in all those big names. Including Kant, who woke (that's right: woke) us from our dogmatic slumber, which had us dreaming we could ever know anything.

    John Dewey is more to the point, because he is the fountainhead of modern education. Hard to say what was his big idea, because he basically held every positive imaginable and explained it all in unreadable prose. But the upshot is he wanted to stop instruction, and not teach but rather "socialize" children to sit still in factories and vote for progressives.

    Schools had to do something with kids all day. Couldn't have them romping in fields or learning handicrafts, because parents would wonder why bother. Fads for instruction avoidance come and go, but an ever-popular choice is teaching kids how to learn. "Critical thinking" is one such substanceless learning system.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it came from the same source as the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. Which was also a sort of Higher Debunking.

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  82. @Anonymous
    This has become something of a trope on right-wingish websites, but I think it is at least somewhat misguided.

    Yes, the the SJWish elements in academia have made an effort to "own" "critical thinking". And I think criticism of this is well warranted.

    I taught "critical thinking" classes at a fairly elite state university. I didn't think I would enjoy such a thing, as I had some fairly elitist views (in a bad way) at the time, but I came to realize that this was a doable and valuable enterprise. I taught some more hifalutin courses at the same university, but to my surprise the critical thinking course might have been my favorites. I realized that there are ways to help people engage in informal reasoning and to engage reflectively with what they read and see and hear.

    When I taught these courses, I considered myself a leftist, and delved into some Chomskyish media criticism stuff. But Chomsky and kin aren't entirely wrong: the MSM is a bunch of corporatist globalist tools. I don't disparage leftist criticism (from people actually trying), but I now see this from a rather more right-wing perspective.

    Ultimately, I think it is a mistake to allow academic SJWs to "own" "critical thinking". Critical thinking is, to some considerable degree, what we see here, and on many other outre "unfashionable" websites.

    Does the term “critical thinking” trace back to, say, Kant’s “The Critique of Pure Reason”?

    Read More
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  83. @dr kill
    Once upon a time, when our kids were negotiating the Dade County Public School system, I was still listening to WLRN, the public radio station in MIA, sponsored by the DCPS. Every other wednesday, and might still be happening, ( no more PBS for me ) , the school board meetings were aired live. It amazed me how many of the upper staff at DCPS had a PhD from NAU. I think there was a small scandal involving the on - line crap even then. You should be very proud of all the PhD Eds your alma mater has cranked out.

    TBF NAU has, from my understanding, a pretty serious natural resources/forestry set of programs, and its PA/Nursing program is pretty stout too.

    Which is pretty much the larger point: Figure/guide out your kid to a major with potential and find a university that has a top program in it. Teenagers are, by and large, retarded and get a Bachelor of Arts in something stupid at a state school before they fight with other graduates for the assistant manager position at the local Chili’s. Parents and guidance counselors saying “get a degree in anything!” is part of the problem.

    On a more micro version, its kind of like picking a trade school, where certain schools have undeniable cachet and you stand out by having that imprint on your certification. I went to the best paramedic in the Western US, and I avoided a lot of issues that plagued people who went to Local Program that Takes Your Money.

    Read More
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  84. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Kyle McKenna
    Do you really think the only reason people engage in higher education is to increase their salaries? It may hold true for business schools, and even law schools, but it's hardly the purpose of college. Or (to quote Peter Cook) perhaps I'm very old-fashioned.

    Separate from this is the fact that many of us deliberately choose professions which don't pay very well, for reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with money. Some people, granted, can't understand this. But it will also skew the results of any analysis such as you propose.

    I think it’s the reason many do, or to get the credentials to enter a certain field, though I’m familiar with the argument that college isn’t about “making a man a carpenter, but making a carpenter a man”. In truth, they usually don’t do that either.

    There was a WSJ article earlier this century, when I used to subscribe to that paper, about men from blue collar backgrounds who became managers of upscale quick service restaurants like Au Bon Pain, lured in part by the prospect of being part of the managerial class. Of course, they end up doing scut work and putting in 60-hour weeks. I think college has become part of that broader bait & switch.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Practical Conservative
    College is what women do to signal fitness for marriage and motherhood, among reasons that are obvious from data but go unmentioned. A system where women have to at least attempt college to be eligible for marriage and kids in that order is the one we have, even though it doesn't work quite that strictly for men, which is one of the other reasons there's a sex gap in admissions.

    It also means the data showing lower income is misleading, since enough women taking 3-10 years out of the workforce or working very part time to have 2-4 kids would cause a pretty substantial drop without really devaluing the degree in the typically meant sense of the term.
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  85. @Dave Pinsen
    I think it's the reason many do, or to get the credentials to enter a certain field, though I'm familiar with the argument that college isn't about "making a man a carpenter, but making a carpenter a man". In truth, they usually don't do that either.

    There was a WSJ article earlier this century, when I used to subscribe to that paper, about men from blue collar backgrounds who became managers of upscale quick service restaurants like Au Bon Pain, lured in part by the prospect of being part of the managerial class. Of course, they end up doing scut work and putting in 60-hour weeks. I think college has become part of that broader bait & switch.

    College is what women do to signal fitness for marriage and motherhood, among reasons that are obvious from data but go unmentioned. A system where women have to at least attempt college to be eligible for marriage and kids in that order is the one we have, even though it doesn’t work quite that strictly for men, which is one of the other reasons there’s a sex gap in admissions.

    It also means the data showing lower income is misleading, since enough women taking 3-10 years out of the workforce or working very part time to have 2-4 kids would cause a pretty substantial drop without really devaluing the degree in the typically meant sense of the term.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    I'm not sure how broadly true that is any more, though it probably is among upper class types.
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  86. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Shaq
    Sort of OT: Bob Dylan

    I just came across his Nobel Prize speech. Impressive - Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and the Odyssey inspired him. I did not see that coming....

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/dylan-lecture.html

    Notice, though, that he mentions he read them all in grammar school. That makes me suspect that, like Trump (whose alleged favorite book is All Quiet on the Western Front), he hasn’t read many books since.

    That said, it was an entertaining and disarming speech. He sounds a little like George Thorogood in One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer.

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  87. GIGO.

    Is anyone shocked by this “revelation”?

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  88. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Steve Sailer
    Does the term "critical thinking" trace back to, say, Kant's "The Critique of Pure Reason"?

    (same anon as above)
    The academic term “critical theory”, which I think is very often confused by “non-academic” web commenters with “critical thinking”, is absolutely an SJWish, “cultural Marxist” term that is meant to evoke the Kantian tradition. This is really a term of art that derives from the Franfurt School. There is no question but that the SJW use of this term derives from Kant, even if the users have no idea who Kant is or regard him as a racist cishet white man.
    So far as I grasp things, the 20th century use of the term “critical thinking” at least partially overlaps with the idea of “informal logic”. The idea of “informal” logic is to some degree a reaction against the Russellian idea of formal logic that played a major role in analytic and academic philosophy in the past century. My sense is that this strain of usage is somewhat but not entirely disparate from Kant, and derives from 1) a 60ish engagement with free writing, 2) a sharp reaction against formal logic as the key to human thinking, 3) a late Wittgensteinian anti-Russellianism that is at least partially a sort of Kantianism, and 4) the idea that academic philosophy might have use in countering the media messages of the 20th century.

    More broadly speaking, I think that the social influence of mid-to-late 20th century analytic philosophy has been very poorly studied. There might seem to be very little social influence, since most analytic philosophers seem to have absented themselves from the game. But the anti-practical tendency of analytic philosophers has, it seems to me, played some role in insulating them from the harmful tendencies of academic SJWism.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Stoppard's 1972 play Jumpers is about analytic philosophy vs. old-fashioned moral philosophy. A.J. Ayer is the inspiration for the hapless moral philosopher's department head.
    , @guest
    Is anyone learning in college under the umbrella of "critical thinking" even popular examples of informal logic? For instance the fallacies I'm always reading about on the internet, like the "hot hand" fallacy? Or Bacon's Idols of the Tribe?

    Because I sure didn't, and they were all over critical whatevers when I went.

    I guess, though, if it's all about anti-formalism the question I have in my head, "Why don't they just teach logic, or whatever?" is answered. They're looking for an unsystematic to teach minds how to learn. But, really, the only way to learn informal logic, or to learn logic informally, is through practice. But with critical thinking teachers, it's as if they never want to get to the practice. They always want to be playing with ideas.

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  89. guest says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Does the term "critical thinking" trace back to, say, Kant's "The Critique of Pure Reason"?

    We don’t know where critical theory comes from, because they won’t tell us. Ever. The most we’ll get is an identification with all the good guys and movements in the long stretch of history that can be passed off as not accepting handed-down knowledge uncritically. They probably even include scholastics at this point, so long as they don’t have dark reputations.

    Critical thinking devotees probably trace it back to Socrates and his purportedly uncanny ability to reveal the fact that no one can rationally defend what they believe. (Except him.)

    Then maybe they jump to the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, and pull in all those big names. Including Kant, who woke (that’s right: woke) us from our dogmatic slumber, which had us dreaming we could ever know anything.

    John Dewey is more to the point, because he is the fountainhead of modern education. Hard to say what was his big idea, because he basically held every positive imaginable and explained it all in unreadable prose. But the upshot is he wanted to stop instruction, and not teach but rather “socialize” children to sit still in factories and vote for progressives.

    Schools had to do something with kids all day. Couldn’t have them romping in fields or learning handicrafts, because parents would wonder why bother. Fads for instruction avoidance come and go, but an ever-popular choice is teaching kids how to learn. “Critical thinking” is one such substanceless learning system.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if it came from the same source as the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. Which was also a sort of Higher Debunking.

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  90. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @The Practical Conservative
    College is what women do to signal fitness for marriage and motherhood, among reasons that are obvious from data but go unmentioned. A system where women have to at least attempt college to be eligible for marriage and kids in that order is the one we have, even though it doesn't work quite that strictly for men, which is one of the other reasons there's a sex gap in admissions.

    It also means the data showing lower income is misleading, since enough women taking 3-10 years out of the workforce or working very part time to have 2-4 kids would cause a pretty substantial drop without really devaluing the degree in the typically meant sense of the term.

    I’m not sure how broadly true that is any more, though it probably is among upper class types.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Practical Conservative
    https://thepracticalconservative.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/college-education-and-birth-numbers-2007-2015/

    It's more true than ever, most white babies are born to women with completed college and a supermajority are born to women who have attempted college and not completed a degree. The unwed motherhood for white women is concentrated among non-college attending women.

    Attending and completing college, getting married and having kids in that order is not so much upper class (for whites) as the new norm among whites who have kids, plural. White single moms tend to have one child and no college coursework, while married white mothers are experiencing a relative increase in 3rd and higher children.
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  91. Reed College has one huge advantage – it enrolls virtually no blacks.
    In fact, during the four years I spent there in the late 1970′s, there were NONE.
    Oh, happy days :-)

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  92. @Anonymous
    (same anon as above)
    The academic term "critical theory", which I think is very often confused by "non-academic" web commenters with "critical thinking", is absolutely an SJWish, "cultural Marxist" term that is meant to evoke the Kantian tradition. This is really a term of art that derives from the Franfurt School. There is no question but that the SJW use of this term derives from Kant, even if the users have no idea who Kant is or regard him as a racist cishet white man.
    So far as I grasp things, the 20th century use of the term "critical thinking" at least partially overlaps with the idea of "informal logic". The idea of "informal" logic is to some degree a reaction against the Russellian idea of formal logic that played a major role in analytic and academic philosophy in the past century. My sense is that this strain of usage is somewhat but not entirely disparate from Kant, and derives from 1) a 60ish engagement with free writing, 2) a sharp reaction against formal logic as the key to human thinking, 3) a late Wittgensteinian anti-Russellianism that is at least partially a sort of Kantianism, and 4) the idea that academic philosophy might have use in countering the media messages of the 20th century.

    More broadly speaking, I think that the social influence of mid-to-late 20th century analytic philosophy has been very poorly studied. There might seem to be very little social influence, since most analytic philosophers seem to have absented themselves from the game. But the anti-practical tendency of analytic philosophers has, it seems to me, played some role in insulating them from the harmful tendencies of academic SJWism.

    Stoppard’s 1972 play Jumpers is about analytic philosophy vs. old-fashioned moral philosophy. A.J. Ayer is the inspiration for the hapless moral philosopher’s department head.

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  93. guest says:
    @Anonymous
    This has become something of a trope on right-wingish websites, but I think it is at least somewhat misguided.

    Yes, the the SJWish elements in academia have made an effort to "own" "critical thinking". And I think criticism of this is well warranted.

    I taught "critical thinking" classes at a fairly elite state university. I didn't think I would enjoy such a thing, as I had some fairly elitist views (in a bad way) at the time, but I came to realize that this was a doable and valuable enterprise. I taught some more hifalutin courses at the same university, but to my surprise the critical thinking course might have been my favorites. I realized that there are ways to help people engage in informal reasoning and to engage reflectively with what they read and see and hear.

    When I taught these courses, I considered myself a leftist, and delved into some Chomskyish media criticism stuff. But Chomsky and kin aren't entirely wrong: the MSM is a bunch of corporatist globalist tools. I don't disparage leftist criticism (from people actually trying), but I now see this from a rather more right-wing perspective.

    Ultimately, I think it is a mistake to allow academic SJWs to "own" "critical thinking". Critical thinking is, to some considerable degree, what we see here, and on many other outre "unfashionable" websites.

    They can own the phrase “critical thinking.” Who cares about that? Does anyone on earth, including proponents of critical thinking, actually think critical thinking is the only way to think critically? Whatever the hell critical thinking is, exactly.

    We can stick with old-fashioned reason, logic, skepticism, the scientific method, enlightenment even. Let them have their criticism fads.

    Read More
    • Replies: @carol
    The problem is that the educrats flog the "critical thinking" trope in order to get more of our money.

    And the PTB in the audience think it all sounds swell. Of course we want our children to learn How to Think!
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  94. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Buffalo Joe
    Pseudo, often when there is an employment test or advancement test that requires critical thinking, as in "What do you do next if B occurs after A?", the test results are tossed as being biased or racist. Teacher tests in NYC and Fireman tests in Buffalo and New Haven are examples.

    Periodically, you hear pundits lament the poor quality of American infrastructure. One journalist tweeted about being stuck in an NYC subway car this week, when the power went out and the train was stuck for an hour or something until another train pushed it into the next station. You never hear any of them make the connection between our lousy infrastructure and quality of government administration, and our lack of rigorous standards due to political correctness.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ed
    Washington Times did make the connection a few years ago in an article that bluntly said DC Metro's heavily black makeup is compromising quality. That didn't go over well as you can imagine.
    , @Kyle McKenna
    Functioning, intact and well-maintained infrastructure reeks of "privilege" and is hence a grievous affront to the "marginalized" and "disadvantaged".

    Everything falling apart, on the other hand, is comforting to these benighted souls, in that 1) there's no standing rebuke to their own general incompetence and 2) they are reminded of the third-world hellholes they or their ancestors came from.

    So you see, the destruction of everything worthwhile in our society is really a win-win, unless perhaps you're a racist white person. But I repeat myself.

    , @biz
    As much as I am against PC, I don't you can attribute our low quality infrastructure to it. The countries that have the worst PC (e.g. Sweden, currently home of the self-proclaimed hijabi-clad "feminist" government) have top-notch infrastructure.

    It really just comes down to fraction of GDP spent on any given type of infrastructure.
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Dave, California is the Mother-lode of all things PC. They find money for every liberal and wacko idea that is presented to the legislature. Strong public unions and their facilitators in the State Senate and Assembly have California with Billions in unfunded pension liabilities. However, weekly in the Sacramento Bee you read stories about the crumbling infrastructure, Ca.Hwy 1 closed in Big Sur do to a bridge collapse, a recently resurfaced bridge closed as the new overlayment peels off, the near disaster at the Oroville Dam, $76 million for the suicide netting on the Golden Gate Bridge and miles of pot holed highway. But, Jerry Brown pushes ahead with a high speed train and light rail connector lines that seem to be unwanted by a majority of voters. Poor governance and poor infrastructure on display indeed.
    , @Forbes

    One journalist tweeted about being stuck in an NYC subway car this week, when the power went out and the train was stuck for an hour
     
    A journalist too young to remember pre-Giuliani New York when merely being stuck was a godsend because subway crashes (essentially, high speed derailments) were a regular occurrence.

    I think as a rule, any journalist Tweeting should be ignored--or mocked incessantly. They are the biggest adolescent-grade whiners--as if they were god's gift to creating heaven on Earth.
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  95. guest says:
    @Anonymous
    (same anon as above)
    The academic term "critical theory", which I think is very often confused by "non-academic" web commenters with "critical thinking", is absolutely an SJWish, "cultural Marxist" term that is meant to evoke the Kantian tradition. This is really a term of art that derives from the Franfurt School. There is no question but that the SJW use of this term derives from Kant, even if the users have no idea who Kant is or regard him as a racist cishet white man.
    So far as I grasp things, the 20th century use of the term "critical thinking" at least partially overlaps with the idea of "informal logic". The idea of "informal" logic is to some degree a reaction against the Russellian idea of formal logic that played a major role in analytic and academic philosophy in the past century. My sense is that this strain of usage is somewhat but not entirely disparate from Kant, and derives from 1) a 60ish engagement with free writing, 2) a sharp reaction against formal logic as the key to human thinking, 3) a late Wittgensteinian anti-Russellianism that is at least partially a sort of Kantianism, and 4) the idea that academic philosophy might have use in countering the media messages of the 20th century.

    More broadly speaking, I think that the social influence of mid-to-late 20th century analytic philosophy has been very poorly studied. There might seem to be very little social influence, since most analytic philosophers seem to have absented themselves from the game. But the anti-practical tendency of analytic philosophers has, it seems to me, played some role in insulating them from the harmful tendencies of academic SJWism.

    Is anyone learning in college under the umbrella of “critical thinking” even popular examples of informal logic? For instance the fallacies I’m always reading about on the internet, like the “hot hand” fallacy? Or Bacon’s Idols of the Tribe?

    Because I sure didn’t, and they were all over critical whatevers when I went.

    I guess, though, if it’s all about anti-formalism the question I have in my head, “Why don’t they just teach logic, or whatever?” is answered. They’re looking for an unsystematic to teach minds how to learn. But, really, the only way to learn informal logic, or to learn logic informally, is through practice. But with critical thinking teachers, it’s as if they never want to get to the practice. They always want to be playing with ideas.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Seth Largo
    The freshman and sophomore courses in which one might find such topics (primarily the intro courses in English, Communications, and Philosophy) are a crap shoot. They are mostly taught by adjuncts or lecturers, and most department chairs spend very little time overseeing the curricula of these courses. So, e.g., in any given English 101 course, you might find a teacher leading students through Aristotle's Rhetoric, or you might find a teacher asking students to read comic books or watch Ariana Grande videos.
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  96. saxo says:
    @res
    Thanks for posting that! I like your choice of plots. How did you add graduation rates? I see the info under the college name. Did you scrape the page text rather than cutting and pasting?

    I thought your graduation rates vs. freshman/senior scores plots were interesting. In particular, looking at outliers gives some good information. For example:

    High graduation rates with low senior scores (especially low and declining) seems like a good marker for an undemanding program.

    Low graduation rates with decent senior scores seems like a sign of a demanding program. That could be good or bad depending on the student.

    Decent graduation rates with low (but improving) freshman scores seem like a good match for less capable students.

    Deviation from the regression line
    GradRate = 0.124*CLASenior – 86.03; p=1.05e-09

    Demanding University
    zscore ExpectedRate GradRate SeniorScore University
    -2.39 53.87 31.0 1128 University of Texas at San Antonio
    -1.76 64.79 48.0 1216 University of New Mexico
    -1.67 58.96 43.0 1169 CUNY – The City College of New York
    -1.51 58.46 44.0 1165 University of Missouri-St. Louis
    -1.43 54.62 41.0 1134 University of Texas at Arlington

    Few Graduates Left Behind
    zscore ExpectedRate GradRate SeniorScore University
    1.5 69.62 84.0 1255 University of Georgia
    1.78 42.96 60.0 1040 Eastern Illinois University
    1.79 45.94 63.0 1064 Keene State College
    1.81 55.73 73.0 1143 Ramapo College of New Jersey
    2.73 42.96 69.0 1040 Citadel

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  97. @Anonymous
    This has become something of a trope on right-wingish websites, but I think it is at least somewhat misguided.

    Yes, the the SJWish elements in academia have made an effort to "own" "critical thinking". And I think criticism of this is well warranted.

    I taught "critical thinking" classes at a fairly elite state university. I didn't think I would enjoy such a thing, as I had some fairly elitist views (in a bad way) at the time, but I came to realize that this was a doable and valuable enterprise. I taught some more hifalutin courses at the same university, but to my surprise the critical thinking course might have been my favorites. I realized that there are ways to help people engage in informal reasoning and to engage reflectively with what they read and see and hear.

    When I taught these courses, I considered myself a leftist, and delved into some Chomskyish media criticism stuff. But Chomsky and kin aren't entirely wrong: the MSM is a bunch of corporatist globalist tools. I don't disparage leftist criticism (from people actually trying), but I now see this from a rather more right-wing perspective.

    Ultimately, I think it is a mistake to allow academic SJWs to "own" "critical thinking". Critical thinking is, to some considerable degree, what we see here, and on many other outre "unfashionable" websites.

    Thanks much for this reply. I’ve not seen too many places that teach critical thinking explicitly in the way you describe. I certainly agree there is a set of noticing, questioning, and analysis skills than can be taught that might be labelled critical thinking (without quotation marks), and that is indeed highly valuable.

    The ‘critical thinking’ I’m referring to is the reflexively-leftist, power-obsessed, racism-sexism-classism-haunted, torching-the-cultural-capital-of-the West species of ‘critical thinking’ that has strangled and gutted real critical thinking, and struts through the university common wearing its raggedy pelt as a trophy. You know what I mean, I’m sure.

    I recall seeing ‘critical thinking’ being used as a mindless edu-catch-phrase in the 90s, e.g. as a standard item in academic program objectives, broad aims for students to achieve upon graduation, etc., etc. By this point it had nothing to do with Kant anymore, obviously. But my experience is mostly overseas, so it may have been around longer than that.

    And I agree that turning the guns of real critical thinking upon those accustomed to unleashing unopposed barrages of ‘critical thinking’ can be effective.

    But these days the hard left in the universities has little need to cloak their power plays in the publicly-palatable guise of ‘critical thinking’. As the Evergreen, Yale, Berkeley and other recent outrages have demonstrated, they’re now a proud priesthood engaged in righteous witch-hunting.

    I find the U of Missouri case the most interesting. That institution has really paid for its BLM folly, with crushing declines in student enrollment, staff layoffs, etc., whereas I doubt Yale and Berkeley have been reduced to placing ads on Facebook to attract new students. So what’s the level of prestige sufficient to insulate an institution from the consequences of hard-left malpractice? Sounds like a good job for some critical thinking.

    Read More
    • Replies: @res

    So what’s the level of prestige sufficient to insulate an institution from the consequences of hard-left malpractice?
     
    You can probably estimate this pretty well by looking at both admissions rate and admissions yield.
    , @Anonymous
    (same Anon)
    This is an interesting reply, thanks.
    I've been following Evergeen, Berkeley and Yale fairly closely, as I've been associated in some way with two of them, and I feel sympathies for some very far leftist positions. I can definitely grasp the position of Brett Weinstein, of Evergreen, who seems to have made the point on a recent Fox segment that Evergreen has "communities of learning" (or something like that) that actually work. I don't doubt that this is straightforwardly true. Unfortunately this is being undermined by a Khmer Rougish segment of the student body.

    As far as "critical thinking" itself goes, when I taught it, one of the most important elements was being able to accurately articulate the argument made by your opponents. If you could not articulate, say, why "gay marriage" was supposed to be wonderful or disastrous, then you did not grasp what was going on.

    It is perhaps worth noting that I was in a philosophy department, and that until very recently, philosophy departments tended to be not so influenced by SJWish posturing.
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  98. Coemgen says:
    @XYZ
    I really think this needs to be broken down by field of study. And more distribution. To answer the more narrow question of which public schools offer value: my feeling (having attended several state schools) is most state schools are small, rigorous institutions of learning with 3 to 4 thousand students surrounded by 20,000+ people -- strangely called fellow students and attending classes -- that in former times would be factory workers or farmers. (And nothing wrong with that work!)

    I propose a 'Shrinkage Score'. (Ahem). If a university was composed of only its 3,000 finest students, what would its rankings be?

    Since most good state schools have selective Honors programs this is a well known issue. Perhaps there is already a ranking out there somewhere.

    farmers small businessmen
    factory workers farm laborers

    Also, 74 comments into a thread with the words “college” and “value” in its title with no mention of rent-seeking? Did the Overton window move while I wasn’t looking?

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  99. @Kyle McKenna
    Most people disparage college because most people went to crappy colleges. They extrapolate lavishly from their personal experience--after all, most people share it. We have over 2,000 colleges and universities, a few dozen of which are even selective.

    People console themselves with the Hollywood version: "brand-name" colleges are just places where rich kids make connections with other rich kids. If you believe that, it's much easier to justify your own trajectory.

    Meanwhile, this quote indicates that most of these colleges are doing what they're supposed to:


    test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years
     

    Mika-Non wrote:

    Most people disparage college because most people went to crappy colleges.

    I did my Bachelor’s at Caltech and graduated in the top 5 percent. I did my Ph.D. at Stanford.

    Caltech is certainly academically rigorous, so much so that it may have demoralized more of the students than it inspired.

    Stanford? Let’s just say I was not all that surprised by their admission of Ziad Ahmed after his stupid “#BlackLivesMatter” stunt. I have long regretted having done my Ph.D. at Stanford, given the ethical climate I observed among the faculty and administrators, a climate nicely illustrated by Ziad Ahmed’s admission.

    Would I recommend that kids go to Stanford for their Bachelor’s? Well, the piece of paper has cachet, it’s in Silicon Valley, and the weather’s not bad (aside from occasional pea-soup fog).

    Aside from that…

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    Read More
    • Replies: @phil
    Steve noted that students receive SAT scores before they leave high school, and Dave Pinsen referred to the idea of judging colleges based on Return On Investment (ROI). Led by Richard Vedder, the FORBES rankings downplay SAT scores and emphasize ROI.

    The results? For undergraduate education, Stanford is ranked #1 and Williams College (Williamstown, MA) (perennially ranked #1 among liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report) is ranked #2.

    Thankfully, the University of California-Berkeley is far down the list. An introductory biology course may have more than 1,000 students, and late-registering students are told not to attend class; download the materials online. An introductory computer science class may now have 2,000 students; students are told to watch course videos.

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  100. phil says:
    @PhysicistDave
    Mika-Non wrote:

    Most people disparage college because most people went to crappy colleges.
     
    I did my Bachelor's at Caltech and graduated in the top 5 percent. I did my Ph.D. at Stanford.

    Caltech is certainly academically rigorous, so much so that it may have demoralized more of the students than it inspired.

    Stanford? Let's just say I was not all that surprised by their admission of Ziad Ahmed after his stupid "#BlackLivesMatter" stunt. I have long regretted having done my Ph.D. at Stanford, given the ethical climate I observed among the faculty and administrators, a climate nicely illustrated by Ziad Ahmed's admission.

    Would I recommend that kids go to Stanford for their Bachelor's? Well, the piece of paper has cachet, it's in Silicon Valley, and the weather's not bad (aside from occasional pea-soup fog).

    Aside from that...

    Dave Miller in Sacramento

    Steve noted that students receive SAT scores before they leave high school, and Dave Pinsen referred to the idea of judging colleges based on Return On Investment (ROI). Led by Richard Vedder, the FORBES rankings downplay SAT scores and emphasize ROI.

    The results? For undergraduate education, Stanford is ranked #1 and Williams College (Williamstown, MA) (perennially ranked #1 among liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report) is ranked #2.

    Thankfully, the University of California-Berkeley is far down the list. An introductory biology course may have more than 1,000 students, and late-registering students are told not to attend class; download the materials online. An introductory computer science class may now have 2,000 students; students are told to watch course videos.

    Read More
    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    Phil wrote to me:

    The results? For undergraduate education, Stanford is ranked #1 and Williams College (Williamstown, MA) (perennially ranked #1 among liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report) is ranked #2.
     
    Well... I'm not sure how they calculate ROI. In any case, it is going to be very difficult to separate out innate ability from effects of the college, to decide how to distinguish median from mean (e.g., Sergey Brin is going to raise Stanford's mean quite a lot!), etc.

    All I can say personally is that I have worked in the defense industry, among other places, and Stanford was even more corrupt than the defense industry.

    Of course, there is the possibility that legal and ethical corruption, in the contemporary world, is a "feature," not a "bug"...

    Dave
    , @PhysicistDave
    By the way, this seems to be the 2017 Forbes "best value" list, and it lists Berkeley and UCLA as number 1 and 2, well ahead of Stanford! Glad my kids are going to UCLA.

    So, perhaps the world is starting to catch on to the fact that Stanford is just a RICO, as I observed to my dismay years ago and as Ziad Ahmed proved again this year.

    But, I still take such lists with a very large grain of salt, as I explained earlier.

    Dave

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  101. Ed says:
    @Kyle McKenna
    Keep in mind that the 'better' colleges offer full scholarships + living expenses and stipends to negro students who are at least capable of stringing words together into a sentence. They cherry-pick the few capable ones and the selection effect cascades downward throughout the collegiate pecking order. HCBUs are totally unable to compete, not being anywhere near as well-financed.

    I believe only 2 HBCUs have mean SAT scores above the college readiness benchmark, Spelman, which is all female, and Howard. Maybe Morehouse but I can’t recall.

    What HBCUs do have is political leverage. They’ll race bait legislators and file lawsuits claiming discrimination. They’re often successful. Maryland HBCUs recently won a lawsuit against the state of MD accusing it of discrimination because it allowed other universities to offer specialty courses. Evidently these courses should only be offered at HBCUs. You see competition is racist.

    https://www.google.com/amp/baltimore.cbslocal.com/2017/02/21/maryland-hbcus-push-for-federal-funding-in-lengthy-legal-battle/amp/

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    • Agree: Kyle McKenna
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  102. Ed says:
    @Almost Missouri
    I've come to accept that it is a fact of life that most people--even well educated, highly paid people--can't read financial statements, i.e., they are financially illiterate.

    I don't blame them though, for even though it is not particularly difficult to grasp the basics, almost no one teaches the easily graspable basics, so in practice the only people who can read financial statements are people who were business majors of some kind.*

    I suspect that I could impart the essentials of financial statements in a single day to anyone of average or better intelligence who wants to learn. It's really not that difficult. Much of formal accounting courses is spent on arcana, obscure cases and exercises in tedium.

    *Although, in grad school, I was surprised to encounter undergrad accounting and finance majors who could barely read financial statements. Maybe that's just because modern colleges suck though.

    I’m actually stunned at the number of recent college grads in finance and accounting disciplines that don’t know how to use excel. Don’t know vlookups or pivot tables. I mentioned this to coworkers and they thought it was ok. Since maybe the courses don’t require it.

    I still find it baffling.

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    • Replies: @Forbes

    I’m actually stunned at the number of recent college grads in finance and accounting disciplines that don’t know how to use excel.
     
    But I bet they all know how to make pretty PowerPoint presentations...

    I think the idea is that Excel is something such students should learn on their own time--I know I did. But then I went to college in the mainframe era.
    , @Neil Templeton
    It doesn't matter at all so long as they can learn it quickly.
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  103. Ed says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Periodically, you hear pundits lament the poor quality of American infrastructure. One journalist tweeted about being stuck in an NYC subway car this week, when the power went out and the train was stuck for an hour or something until another train pushed it into the next station. You never hear any of them make the connection between our lousy infrastructure and quality of government administration, and our lack of rigorous standards due to political correctness.

    Washington Times did make the connection a few years ago in an article that bluntly said DC Metro’s heavily black makeup is compromising quality. That didn’t go over well as you can imagine.

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  104. Kyle McKenna [AKA "Mika-Non"] says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Periodically, you hear pundits lament the poor quality of American infrastructure. One journalist tweeted about being stuck in an NYC subway car this week, when the power went out and the train was stuck for an hour or something until another train pushed it into the next station. You never hear any of them make the connection between our lousy infrastructure and quality of government administration, and our lack of rigorous standards due to political correctness.

    Functioning, intact and well-maintained infrastructure reeks of “privilege” and is hence a grievous affront to the “marginalized” and “disadvantaged”.

    Everything falling apart, on the other hand, is comforting to these benighted souls, in that 1) there’s no standing rebuke to their own general incompetence and 2) they are reminded of the third-world hellholes they or their ancestors came from.

    So you see, the destruction of everything worthwhile in our society is really a win-win, unless perhaps you’re a racist white person. But I repeat myself.

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    • Replies: @Forbes
    Bingo!
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  105. Whitehall says:

    The topic reminds me of the Randy Newman song on “Good Old Boys” with the line about LSU:

    “They go in dumb and come out dumb too.”

    When I worked at Pacific Gas and Electric, we got our new engineers with UC Berkeley and from Cal Poly- SLO. The Berkeley kids we put to learning the computer codes and fancy theory stuff but the Cal Poly guys we could put right to useful work from Day One.

    I went to Cal Poly mid-career for my MBA. Never could find an MBA job that paid anything like a nuclear engineer’s salary but it did come in handy in many, many ways later.

    The big draw at Cal Poly SLO is that it is SAFE!. I would be very concerned about sending a son or daughter to a big city school or with a huge minority student body. Still a bunch of silliness from the progressives on-staff there. Really messed up the city politics where I backed the business city councilmen.

    My daughter went to NAU. I think she got a good education there – double major in physics and math and got to intern at Lowell Observatory. Then to Heidelberg for her MS and now at Gottingen for her Ph.D. Germany saved me lots and lots of money!

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  106. dr kill says:
    @Benjamin I. Espen
    I'm always taken off-guard by how easily my alma mater comes to mind when the subject of substandard education comes up. In the short story The Therapist by Jeffery Deaver in one of Neil Gaiman's collections, the crank psychologist who comes up with the idea of 'nemes', vicious little emotions that possess us like Dawkin's selfish genes, of course has a degree from Northern Arizona University.

    I am reminded of the time long ago when I was sitting in the Phoenix Country Club with the head of the NAU philosophy department. We had been dispatched to the boondoogle at the PCC [some awards banquet] in the hopes of convincing some of the bright Arizona high school graduates that year to attend NAU. While we were chatting at dinner, Dr. Nietmann started telling me that you could tell the quality of a school just by it's name. Anything with a direction in it's name was by definition sub-standard, at least in comparison to the other schools in a state.

    Accordingly, he advocated changing the name of NAU to Arizona Polytechnic [something Arizona State eventually stole for one of its extended campuses], as NAU was and is a competent technical school. Unsurprisingly, we did not succeed in our mission. The brightest Arizona high school graduates tend to leave the state for more prestigious schools, and the ones who stay tend not to pick NAU.

    Dear Sir, I was wrong to include your school in my flippant list of losers.. The DCPS elites all use the University of Northern Colorado for their PhD scams. Again, I’m sorry.

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    • Replies: @Benjamin I. Espen
    No offense taken. It is just an interesting pattern.
    , @Triumph104
    Thanks for the clarification.

    In 1997, the Miami New Times did an esposé on the University of Northern Colorado. Roger Cuevas was superintendent of Dade County Schools at the time.


    CSAP was a nonaccredited program run by the University of Northern Colorado, an accredited public institution located in the town of Greeley, north of Denver. Not only was Cuevas invited to join the program, but he was given a head start: 20 credits toward the 48 required for his master's degree, in consideration of six graduate education courses he'd taken at FAU. Better still, he wouldn't have to be bothered with actually going to Greeley to work toward his degree. CSAP allowed students to earn degrees without ever leaving their hometowns or their jobs. And while many schools require four or more full semesters of course work in order to earn a master's, Cuevas's graduate program consisted of eight four-day courses at Biscayne College (now St. Thomas University), taught by faculty members flown in from Greeley.
     
    When he'd completed the classes, Cuevas was given a two-day comprehensive exam, and in August 1974 he received his degree in curriculum and instruction. ...

    Cuevas, who oversees a $3.2 billion budget and supervises 42,800 full- and part-time employees, did take a class in school finance, but none in any other management or legal subject. ...

    CSAP was born in the late Sixties, after officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suggested that UNC provide college and postgraduate courses to HUD employees. The school began operating CSAP out-of-state in 1970 and expanded it to military bases, and not long afterward, at the request of Dade school district employees who had learned about the program at Homestead Air Force Base, opened what was to become its largest postgrad course for civilians.

    http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/how-to-succeed-in-education-without-really-studying-6360431

     

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  107. fenster says:
    @Simon in London
    It's not much use to employers. They want to know how good the graduates are, not how much better they got.
    I went to Oxford, it was terrible, I felt dumber when I left than when I started. Whereas the University I teach at takes in many students of limited ability and does a great job helping them fulfil their potential. In many cases the transformation in three years is amazing.

    But employers are still going to want the Oxford grad.

    I agree employers are concerned with end product at graduation and not the process but that is from the POV of the employer. Students come at the question from the other end and so rightly ought to be concerned whether a given college is more likely than the next to make them look better to prospective employers. After all there are all kinds of employers out there and not that many Oxford grads.

    So one needn’t disparage Harvard too much if it is only a credentializing machine since its graduates, being very smart, will be smart enough and attractive enough to make their way. The problem for such high-end credentializing factories is that they may be leaving social benefits on the table if they fail to push their students to higher levels, and are able to maintain their reputations by being ‘excellent enough.”

    But for the many who are not at that level there still ought to be a role for adding value.

    I’d theorize, too, that if there are students who don’t need value-added and there are students who can use value-added that there may be a third bucket of students that may never get the hang of critical thinking. Some low college scores may reflect that, and not that the colleges are doing a poor job.

    Last, I’d note that there are a number of comments here that seem to be overly suspicious about “critical thinking”, as if it is some odd specialty, or perhaps even an artifact of the postmodern university. It’s a pretty meat and potatoes thing in this day and age for anyone who would aim to work with words, numbers or ideas.

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  108. benjaminl says:

    Off-topic: some iSteve-relevant links. Apologies if this has been discussed before.

    Since this guy is an academic liberal discussing genetics and race, I look at his discussion as a glass half full. I suspect that as a white kid growing up (with hippie parents) in NAM projects in the Lower East Side of NYC, he had a certain sense of realism that his counterparts in gentrified neighborhoods lacked.

    http://nautil.us/issue/48/chaos/ingenious-dalton-conley

    As a hereditarian on Twitter said: it’s nice to see environmentalists arguing with numbers instead of insults:

    http://www.geneticshumanagency.org/ff/the-science-and-ethics-of-group-differences-in-intelligence-part-1/

    These are more on-topic:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2017/06/gres-dont-predict-grad-school-success-what-does

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0166742

    http://www.sciencemag.org/careers/2017/01/student-performance-measures-don-t-perform

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0169121

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  109. biz says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Periodically, you hear pundits lament the poor quality of American infrastructure. One journalist tweeted about being stuck in an NYC subway car this week, when the power went out and the train was stuck for an hour or something until another train pushed it into the next station. You never hear any of them make the connection between our lousy infrastructure and quality of government administration, and our lack of rigorous standards due to political correctness.

    As much as I am against PC, I don’t you can attribute our low quality infrastructure to it. The countries that have the worst PC (e.g. Sweden, currently home of the self-proclaimed hijabi-clad “feminist” government) have top-notch infrastructure.

    It really just comes down to fraction of GDP spent on any given type of infrastructure.

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    • Replies: @Ed
    When Dave refers to PC here he's not merely referring to language usage but it's real world applications. In the US, most big city transit authorities are very big on diversity training & hiring. In DC 97% of bus and subway operators are black. Tgere have been lawsuits filed by white engineers passed over for promotions in favor of blacks that literally couldn't read.

    The unions are often very militant, NYC transit union has been dominated by black Caribbeans for years.
    , @guest
    I think you're missing the point. Sweden doesn't have many black people. We do. For various reasons, PC among them, blacks dominate big city public transportation jobs. They suck at them.

    PC hasn't ruined essential professions like engineering, at least not yet. We aren't in Idiocracy, and buildings aren't constantly falling on our heads. But no matter how much we spend on infrastructure, and no matter how well it's built, someone has to run and maintain it. Our civilization is not up to that task if it falls on the vibrant sector to do so.
    , @dearieme
    "It really just comes down to fraction of GDP spent on any given type of infrastructure."

    No; it always depends on how well you spend it.
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  110. Vinay says:
    @Anonymous
    This has become something of a trope on right-wingish websites, but I think it is at least somewhat misguided.

    Yes, the the SJWish elements in academia have made an effort to "own" "critical thinking". And I think criticism of this is well warranted.

    I taught "critical thinking" classes at a fairly elite state university. I didn't think I would enjoy such a thing, as I had some fairly elitist views (in a bad way) at the time, but I came to realize that this was a doable and valuable enterprise. I taught some more hifalutin courses at the same university, but to my surprise the critical thinking course might have been my favorites. I realized that there are ways to help people engage in informal reasoning and to engage reflectively with what they read and see and hear.

    When I taught these courses, I considered myself a leftist, and delved into some Chomskyish media criticism stuff. But Chomsky and kin aren't entirely wrong: the MSM is a bunch of corporatist globalist tools. I don't disparage leftist criticism (from people actually trying), but I now see this from a rather more right-wing perspective.

    Ultimately, I think it is a mistake to allow academic SJWs to "own" "critical thinking". Critical thinking is, to some considerable degree, what we see here, and on many other outre "unfashionable" websites.

    “Chomskyish media criticism stuff…Critical thinking is, to some considerable degree, what we see here,”

    It’s funny, I’m pretty sure Steve doesn’t find much in common with Chomsky. However, both provide a framework for understanding certain aspects of media and government behavior, which would otherwise seem completely baffling. You don’t have to take those explanations as gospel or agree on the implications.

    And, to some extent, this is true regardless of your political orientation. A lot of the stuff Steve writes about is stuff for which there is no nice liberal OR conservative liberal explanation or an angle which isn’t covered elsewhere at all.

    Though, after Trump’s election, Steve seems a bit more invested in political advocacy.

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  111. @george
    American poverty is moving to the suburbs
    https://qz.com/1001261/american-poverty-is-moving-to-the-suburbs/

    https://www.theatlas.com/charts/ByMe8WPGZ

    according to the chart between 1989 and 2011 poverty grows from being 18 million and majority urban to 30 million and majority suburban. Which I take to mean immigration although it is left unsaid.

    A lot of gardeners, nannies, and people who want to pollute “good schools” with their awful, poorly supervised children in a longshot hope that they can get their act together to go to a decent university. Lots of Section 8 housing popping up in these areas too, based on the suburbs in the city that I live in currently.

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  112. @Almost Missouri
    It strikes me that in my grandparents' generation, getting only an eighth grade education was pretty typical. Yet these people had better taste in books, music and entertainment that today's college graduates, and I dare say their workaday arithmetic was better too. Nationally, the country of eighth-grade graduates won WWII and went to the moon, as I think Steve has remarked.

    Today we spend twice as much time and probably 20 times as much capital and yet the result is inferior. Such colossal failure and waste is surely the harbinger of some oncoming reckoning.

    It’s because we decided that we needed to lower the bar so that way bottom performers (i.e. minorities) could graduate. So it’s been a race to bottom to minimize the level of hurt feels. The same is going on for undergraduates, graduates, etc.

    Spending more for less is just one of the many wonderful things about our multicultural society.

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    • Agree: Forbes
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  113. res says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist
    Thanks much for this reply. I've not seen too many places that teach critical thinking explicitly in the way you describe. I certainly agree there is a set of noticing, questioning, and analysis skills than can be taught that might be labelled critical thinking (without quotation marks), and that is indeed highly valuable.

    The 'critical thinking' I'm referring to is the reflexively-leftist, power-obsessed, racism-sexism-classism-haunted, torching-the-cultural-capital-of-the West species of 'critical thinking' that has strangled and gutted real critical thinking, and struts through the university common wearing its raggedy pelt as a trophy. You know what I mean, I'm sure.

    I recall seeing 'critical thinking' being used as a mindless edu-catch-phrase in the 90s, e.g. as a standard item in academic program objectives, broad aims for students to achieve upon graduation, etc., etc. By this point it had nothing to do with Kant anymore, obviously. But my experience is mostly overseas, so it may have been around longer than that.

    And I agree that turning the guns of real critical thinking upon those accustomed to unleashing unopposed barrages of 'critical thinking' can be effective.

    But these days the hard left in the universities has little need to cloak their power plays in the publicly-palatable guise of 'critical thinking'. As the Evergreen, Yale, Berkeley and other recent outrages have demonstrated, they're now a proud priesthood engaged in righteous witch-hunting.

    I find the U of Missouri case the most interesting. That institution has really paid for its BLM folly, with crushing declines in student enrollment, staff layoffs, etc., whereas I doubt Yale and Berkeley have been reduced to placing ads on Facebook to attract new students. So what's the level of prestige sufficient to insulate an institution from the consequences of hard-left malpractice? Sounds like a good job for some critical thinking.

    So what’s the level of prestige sufficient to insulate an institution from the consequences of hard-left malpractice?

    You can probably estimate this pretty well by looking at both admissions rate and admissions yield.

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  114. @Anon 2
    A friend of mine from San Luis Obispo who
    has lived near the CalPoly campus for decades
    tells me that practically all the houses in the vicinity
    of the campus have been taken over by students.
    30 years ago the partying used to start Friday
    nights, 10 years ago - Thursday nights. Now, he says,
    they're starting their revelry Wednesday nights, at least
    based on the number of screaming girls, and of the students
    occupying the middle of the street in front of his house.
    He's always wondering what are they doing to those girls
    that they scream so much. I say, "Don't you know anything
    about women? Screaming means they're having a good time.
    In my experience most women don't feel they're alive unless they're
    experiencing intense emotions."

    STATLER
    A friend of mine from San Luis Obispo has lived near the CalPoly campus for decades. He’s always wondering what are they doing to those girls that they scream so much.

    WALDORF
    Don’t you know anything about women? Screaming means they’re having a good time. In my experience most women don’t feel they’re alive unless they’re experiencing intense emotions.

    (BOTH) DOH HOHOHOHOHO !!!

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  115. @dr kill
    Dear Sir, I was wrong to include your school in my flippant list of losers.. The DCPS elites all use the University of Northern Colorado for their PhD scams. Again, I'm sorry.

    No offense taken. It is just an interesting pattern.

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  116. Steve, the interesting question is can I administer the CLA + test to all of the job applicants at my company? Is this test acceptable under the rules of Griggs vs Duke power

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  117. Dahlia says:
    @Kyle McKenna
    Most people disparage college because most people went to crappy colleges. They extrapolate lavishly from their personal experience--after all, most people share it. We have over 2,000 colleges and universities, a few dozen of which are even selective.

    People console themselves with the Hollywood version: "brand-name" colleges are just places where rich kids make connections with other rich kids. If you believe that, it's much easier to justify your own trajectory.

    Meanwhile, this quote indicates that most of these colleges are doing what they're supposed to:


    test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years
     

    Thanks for your perspective (and PhysicistDave reply was excellent, too). It’s not one I’ve heard before, and as a mom thinking about college a lot these days, I greatly appreciate it. Something tells me you’re right.

    What I’ve long seen from talking to disappointed people in real life, conversations and articles ruminated over in the Steveosphere, and now the community college my daughter attends for Dual Enrollment, is that college is *supposed* to launch a student into a higher class…

    The Bargain: for four years, and lots of debt, very young adults get to attend a resort* where they will study and get good grades. In return, they will move up at least one class higher than the one they were born into.

    It’s obvious how this was arrived at as the many conversations here at Steve’s have teased out: indoctrination and mass delusion about the benefits of college (everyone should go); the ballooning of student debt to accomplish this; the young adults *really* wanting a good time and luxury and now have the $$$ to incentivize the schools; hyper grade-inflation from reality meeting the Keep-the-customer-happy ethos.

    *Steve has talked a lot about the selling of amenities… I saw a junky white board with bad writing advertising “Cappuccino and Massages” at my daughter’s community college a few months back (same one where I saw ghetto trash having sex in the parking lot)…I was so shocked, I took a picture. Oh, and food trucks. Even in the late 90s when the student debt fiasco was well under way, this would have been unthinkable.

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  118. @Dave Pinsen
    Periodically, you hear pundits lament the poor quality of American infrastructure. One journalist tweeted about being stuck in an NYC subway car this week, when the power went out and the train was stuck for an hour or something until another train pushed it into the next station. You never hear any of them make the connection between our lousy infrastructure and quality of government administration, and our lack of rigorous standards due to political correctness.

    Dave, California is the Mother-lode of all things PC. They find money for every liberal and wacko idea that is presented to the legislature. Strong public unions and their facilitators in the State Senate and Assembly have California with Billions in unfunded pension liabilities. However, weekly in the Sacramento Bee you read stories about the crumbling infrastructure, Ca.Hwy 1 closed in Big Sur do to a bridge collapse, a recently resurfaced bridge closed as the new overlayment peels off, the near disaster at the Oroville Dam, $76 million for the suicide netting on the Golden Gate Bridge and miles of pot holed highway. But, Jerry Brown pushes ahead with a high speed train and light rail connector lines that seem to be unwanted by a majority of voters. Poor governance and poor infrastructure on display indeed.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    The other variety of the infrastructure lament is when some pundit has just flown back from Shanghai. Trumpists need to highlight the contradiction between the left's advocacy for making America majority-NAM and their whining about wobbly infrastructure.

    Also, related to this and Steve's earlier post about retiring in Latin America: my sister was in Bogotá this week and sent pics back. It looks pretty 1st world, at least the neighborhood she was in. It seems like the Americas ex-Venezuela in Colombia and points south have been quietly getting themselves together a bit.
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  119. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Critical Thinking is at best a sort of Higher Debunking. You tear down what you don’t think fits. But you have to believe in something. Universities don’t produce nearly as many nihilists as they should. So you arbitrarily debunk this and uphold that. Sometimes against your feelings and interests, but mostly with. Unless you have a change of heart, which always happens beyond reason.

     

    'Critical thinking' in the leftist university is best understood as a gnostic 'awakening'. You're right in that it takes no time or effort -- how long does it take be become 'woke'?

    But then this new lens (more like a blinder, really) of 'critical thinking' can be applied to every aspect of a student's life, with tediously predictable results.

    It's the opposite of education.

    Yes, interpreting arguments, analyzing evidence, and reading data tables are all hallmarks of leftist indoctrination.

    You dolt.

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  120. eah says:

    OT

    (((Susan Goldberg))) is the editor of National Geographic — Genius Takes Many Forms. It’s Time We Recognized Them AllFor centuries, white males of European descent cornered the market on the title ‘genius.’ Today, we see flashes of it everywhere.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    eah, "flashes" in the pan. Obama wins a Nobel before he reports to work and TN Coates wins a Pulitzer and Genius award. It's all in how you define genius
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  121. @kihowi
    If anything, critical thinking is harmful for your chances of getting anywhere. Every ability you need to succeed is either too complicated to build up from scratch and check for inconsistencies, or too instinctive to think about at all. The only thing critical thinking buys you is a lot of chances to fuck up. Real critical thinking is an expensive hobby for people who are already comfortably well off and can take the hit, or a calling for those who are willing to pay the poverty price.

    There’s a lot of truth in what you just said. There’s some exaggeration too, but for the most part it rings true.

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  122. @guest
    Is anyone learning in college under the umbrella of "critical thinking" even popular examples of informal logic? For instance the fallacies I'm always reading about on the internet, like the "hot hand" fallacy? Or Bacon's Idols of the Tribe?

    Because I sure didn't, and they were all over critical whatevers when I went.

    I guess, though, if it's all about anti-formalism the question I have in my head, "Why don't they just teach logic, or whatever?" is answered. They're looking for an unsystematic to teach minds how to learn. But, really, the only way to learn informal logic, or to learn logic informally, is through practice. But with critical thinking teachers, it's as if they never want to get to the practice. They always want to be playing with ideas.

    The freshman and sophomore courses in which one might find such topics (primarily the intro courses in English, Communications, and Philosophy) are a crap shoot. They are mostly taught by adjuncts or lecturers, and most department chairs spend very little time overseeing the curricula of these courses. So, e.g., in any given English 101 course, you might find a teacher leading students through Aristotle’s Rhetoric, or you might find a teacher asking students to read comic books or watch Ariana Grande videos.

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  123. Minting future college professors is not indicative of a college that provides value.

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  124. anonymous says: • Website • Disclaimer

    OT: NASA announces the new astronaut class, chosen completely on merit with absolutely no weight given to gender, race, ethny, or creed. The U.S.A. is the supreme meritocracy on earth, let’s keep it that way.

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  125. Ed says:
    @biz
    As much as I am against PC, I don't you can attribute our low quality infrastructure to it. The countries that have the worst PC (e.g. Sweden, currently home of the self-proclaimed hijabi-clad "feminist" government) have top-notch infrastructure.

    It really just comes down to fraction of GDP spent on any given type of infrastructure.

    When Dave refers to PC here he’s not merely referring to language usage but it’s real world applications. In the US, most big city transit authorities are very big on diversity training & hiring. In DC 97% of bus and subway operators are black. Tgere have been lawsuits filed by white engineers passed over for promotions in favor of blacks that literally couldn’t read.

    The unions are often very militant, NYC transit union has been dominated by black Caribbeans for years.

    Read More
    • Agree: Dave Pinsen
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Right.

    I think a popular policy for Trump and Trumpists to pursue would be to scrap the 4/5ths rule and affirmative action in critical fields where diversity adds little benefit such as medicine, engineering, and transportation maintenance, and switch to quotas, as Steve has suggested, where diversity does have some utility, as in police departments.
    , @biz
    I get what you are saying, but I still think that there are places that are more PC than the US, even beyond mere language policing, and their infrastructure is fine. In Sweden for example they literally have a huge movement now to raise boys to piss sitting down in order to eliminate one more difference between the sexes (or genders or whatever). If PC behaviors generally led to bad infrastructure in a society, we should see it there.
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  126. @kihowi
    Deciding a college's value by figuring out whether anybody learns anything is old-fashioned and irrelevant.

    The only sensible question: what does it get you if you can say that you went to it?

    Life doesn't throw technical questions at you and then advances you automatically like a video game. Success is only decided by your ability to be successful, ie getting into a situation where you make good money, and then holding on to it.

    Success is only decided by your ability to be successful

    This is the most circular, cynical thing I have read online in quite sometime. Not that it makes it incorrect.

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  127. @Vinay
    "For example, Reed College, an ornery, independent-minded liberal arts college"

    WTF ?? No mention of its most famous alumni? Too coy!

    See comment 34

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  128. anonymous says: • Website • Disclaimer

    The saga of Beverly Wilkins. Missouri appeals court not sufficiently “woke”:

    Only white people can be racist, huh?

    A state appeals court upheld a jury verdict of nearly $5 million – three-quarters of that punitive damages – against an historically black college for discriminating against a white employee.

    Read More
    • Replies: @E. Rekshun

    A state appeals court upheld a jury verdict of nearly $5 million – three-quarters of that punitive damages – against an historically black college for discriminating against a white employee.
     
    Hhhmmm...I wonder if this could be a lucrative way for some enterprising White people to intentionally hit their own "Ghetto Lottery". I'm convinced that more than a few (of the usual) racial & gender discrimination complaints were fully initiated, devised, and set-up with the sole intention being the ultimate cash payoff.
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  129. Travis says:

    Student athletes may want to know which schools athletic program offers the most value…is it better to play football at a top 20 program ? Or will it help you build your skills faster playing in Conference USA instead of the Big Ten or SEC.

    had a classmate in High School who won a scholarship to Miami to play QB….he was the best QB in Philadelphia, considered atop 10 prospect in the nation. when Frank Costa graduated from high school, he held virtually every passing record in the city’s history including completions in a game, season, and career, as well as yards passing in a season and career, and touchdowns in a season and career. He went to the University of Miami from 1990-1994.

    Frank Costa sat on the bench for 3 years at Miami, complaining they rarely gave him the opportunity to play. 6 years earlier the QB of our High School took a scholarship to the University of Delaware where he excelled, starting for 3 straight years, named Yankee conference Player of the year his senior year…he was rafted by the Patriots, played for the Vikings and went on to take the Raiders to the Super Bowl. – Richi Gannon. I assume if he had gone to Miami he never would have played much college football and would never have been drafted. Frank Costa may have done better if he had followed Gannon to the University of Delaware. Same program which produce Joe Flacco.

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  130. carol says:
    @guest
    They can own the phrase "critical thinking." Who cares about that? Does anyone on earth, including proponents of critical thinking, actually think critical thinking is the only way to think critically? Whatever the hell critical thinking is, exactly.

    We can stick with old-fashioned reason, logic, skepticism, the scientific method, enlightenment even. Let them have their criticism fads.

    The problem is that the educrats flog the “critical thinking” trope in order to get more of our money.

    And the PTB in the audience think it all sounds swell. Of course we want our children to learn How to Think!

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  131. @res
    Good question. Both versions are meaningful (and I think I understand the basic difference, but not sure if there are specialized meanings), but I would probably have used coherent. A quick search indicates "cohesive argument" is used in some circles. Google Ngrams shows the coherent version has 10x the frequency in books.

    Cohesive: Logic
    Coherent: Understandable/ logic again?

    Both with very similar meanings.

    The problem of this words is that they tend to have excessively broader concepts or we need to blame people to overuse them or because they misunderstood them.

    Paradox and paradigm?

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  132. Pat Boyle says:
    @Clark Westwood
    Is development of "critical thinking skills" the sole, or even most important, reason for higher ed? It seems to me that training in a chosen field is the more significant source of added value (for students with a modicum of self-direction).

    I am now and have always been highly skeptical of the value that higher education adds to the students. If there is some value the more interesting question seems to be – is that value increasing or decreasing. We have lately increased our societal investment in higher education greatly. Apparently on the theory that the world is changing and it is more important now than before to keep up.

    But is that true?

    The world is certainly changing faster and faster than ever before but does that mean that kids need more college or less?

    I used to teach part time at Diablo Valley Community College. It was a fun place to teach. I taught many different classes there and at several other colleges and junior colleges. I taught mostly computer science classes.

    One day a student approached me to ask me about the field of information systems. My day job was supervising units of programmers and various computer system specialists. He asked me about the market for RPG coders. I was stuck. RPG was a totally obsolete system in the real world by then. I only knew about it from history books. I had worked in several organization and coded in many languages but I knew no RPG and I didn’t know of any place that still used it.

    I learned that the school had made a deal with IBM. IBM would give the school a mini computer and in return they promised to train so many students in RPG (an IBM technology). They were contractually bound to steer kids into this totally obsolete technology for a set number of years.

    The student who approached me wondered why everything he read in the press or saw in the book stores was about other technologies like micro computers and database systems. It put me in an awkward position. So I went to the administration and offered to teach a class in Java. This was when Java was just emerging. I didn’t actually know Java but any damn fool could see that it would soon be important. But they turned me down. They had been burned on the RPG deal and several others so they just froze in place.

    The last time I taught Novell I announced that Novell was dying and they should look elsewhere for a career. The class was stunned. Students need guidance but many academics are even less well oriented toward the job market than the students.

    Read More
    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    He asked me about the market for RPG coders.

    In the early to mid '80s, while earning my BS CS at a reputable MA university, I took RPG, as well as Pascal and Cobol, but I guess back then there was still a (shrinking) market for RPG and Cobol. I did, however, also take classes in C and assembly language, and those two classes got me hired at a large defense contractor and were directly put to use on day one and for several years thereafter.
    , @Anonymous
    Both Novell and RPG were moneymakers for a number of years, and then they weren't.

    In the case of Novell, getting a Novell cert was a good way for a lot of people to get their foot in the door of IT. The same is true of Cisco certifications like CCNA today. But H-1B has gotten that foot chopped off for a lot of somewhat but not superbly bright kids.
    , @Rod1963
    College is of worth if you're in the STEM track, otherwise it's something avoid because it will turn you into a debt serf for life and saddle you with a worthless degree that should have never been awarded in the first place.

    However even for STEM degrees, it's getting real iffy with all the out-sourcing and H-1B workers industry is bringing in to replace Americans. If you do get a STEM degree get one from a place that won't break the bank.

    Failing that learn a trade, yes I know trades are looked down upon by the high IQ set but they now offer better job security than being a programmer, engineer or IT admin. Take a elevator repairman they can get a job in any city in the U.S. and make very good money. Same with other trades.

    People, especially intellects need to stop thinking of college as a value added proposition. It stopped being that when business could off-shore and import foreigners to replace American workers by the millions and put the rest on the endangered species list for anyone outside of government work.

    In terms of making a person a better thinking person. That doesn't happen anymore. Anyhow that's something one can get on their own. Most students who have anything on the ball(excluding most minorities) on the ball just want to graduate with the credential and get a job.
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  133. Plymouth State in New Hampshire presumably lets in a lot of white slacker kids and then does a good job with getting them not to slack off as much.

    An old acquaintance graduated from Plymouth State in the mid-80s and went on to a start a successful career in Brand Management at P&G.

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  134. @oo-ee-oo-ah-ah-ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang
    A post about skiing and then a post about Plymouth State in the same day?!? Are you intentionally high fiving your northern NH readers?!?

    Plymouth State is interesting to see on this list because a similar "Directional" school, New Hampshire Tech, placed #1 on the Brookings Institute's Most Value Added 2 year School in America

    http://nhpr.org/post/brookings-institution-calls-nhti-nations-most-value-added-2-year-college#stream/0

    So, New Hampshire is doing something right, or New Hampshire is good at gaming metrics. Frankly neither would surprise me

    So, New Hampshire is doing something right

    Another post a couple of days ago discussed retirement. I’m hoping to retire in about five years, spending June – Aug. in Hampton, NH and the rest of the year in FL, oceanfront.

    I knew a couple of guys that went on to successful Big-4 accounting partnerships after graduating from UNH.

    NH’s conservatism and individualism has been under attack for the past twenty years from liberal MA immigrants. Well over half my MA graduating high school class eventually moved to NH.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    E, My daughter and her husband built their first house in NH, they both worked in Boston, drive straight up I-93 to home. Better job opportunities caused them to move on but they speak well of NH.
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  135. guest says:
    @biz
    As much as I am against PC, I don't you can attribute our low quality infrastructure to it. The countries that have the worst PC (e.g. Sweden, currently home of the self-proclaimed hijabi-clad "feminist" government) have top-notch infrastructure.

    It really just comes down to fraction of GDP spent on any given type of infrastructure.

    I think you’re missing the point. Sweden doesn’t have many black people. We do. For various reasons, PC among them, blacks dominate big city public transportation jobs. They suck at them.

    PC hasn’t ruined essential professions like engineering, at least not yet. We aren’t in Idiocracy, and buildings aren’t constantly falling on our heads. But no matter how much we spend on infrastructure, and no matter how well it’s built, someone has to run and maintain it. Our civilization is not up to that task if it falls on the vibrant sector to do so.

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  136. @Prof. Woland
    SLO puts a real emphasis on the fact that it has the highest 4 year graduation rate of any California State University. It is a lot cheaper if your son or daughter can sprint through college. Add in AP classes that can give can give you a quarter of class credits but also a leg up when applying for impacted classes because you have a Junior standing v. Sophomore, etc. If you want to go to school for 6 years, you should be getting a Masters.

    It is a lot cheaper if your son or daughter can sprint through college.

    A family friend spent her last two years of high school attending college classes at the local community college at no cost, and graduated on the same day with her high school diploma and A.S. degree in hand. She earned her BS Biology two years later at age 20 at the flagship university. But has spent the past three years working at a low wage job in a biology lab and unsuccessfully trying to get into vet schools across the country.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Prof. Woland
    Everybody but Doogie Hauser has trouble getting hired at 20. This brings up another question which is, does it make sense to get a Masters directly after getting a BS or should that person get work experience first? My guess is that in biology or related science fields it would not hurt as much as a business major. But I do not know.

    My son has done internships for his last two summers. They are actually decent paying gigs. I have had to pay his rent in summer whether he is living at school or not but that is just part of the cost. There was a real chance he could have got a degree in three years but it is probably better the way he is doing it for a lot of reasons.

    The mantra on campus now is that without prior experience (at the right companies), it is really hard landing a killer job out of college. He is fortunate because the "grinds" are are all about the grades but many don't have the social skills to put their knowledge to practical use.

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  137. @Anonymous
    In MA, college administrators get huge pay increases when the state school changes its name from college to university.

    In MA, college administrators get huge pay increases when the state school changes its name from college to university.

    Same thing in FL. About four years ago, the state legislature authorized all the community colleges to grant BA and BS degrees, and they all got renamed as “State Colleges.”

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  138. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Ed
    When Dave refers to PC here he's not merely referring to language usage but it's real world applications. In the US, most big city transit authorities are very big on diversity training & hiring. In DC 97% of bus and subway operators are black. Tgere have been lawsuits filed by white engineers passed over for promotions in favor of blacks that literally couldn't read.

    The unions are often very militant, NYC transit union has been dominated by black Caribbeans for years.

    Right.

    I think a popular policy for Trump and Trumpists to pursue would be to scrap the 4/5ths rule and affirmative action in critical fields where diversity adds little benefit such as medicine, engineering, and transportation maintenance, and switch to quotas, as Steve has suggested, where diversity does have some utility, as in police departments.

    Read More
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  139. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Buffalo Joe
    Dave, California is the Mother-lode of all things PC. They find money for every liberal and wacko idea that is presented to the legislature. Strong public unions and their facilitators in the State Senate and Assembly have California with Billions in unfunded pension liabilities. However, weekly in the Sacramento Bee you read stories about the crumbling infrastructure, Ca.Hwy 1 closed in Big Sur do to a bridge collapse, a recently resurfaced bridge closed as the new overlayment peels off, the near disaster at the Oroville Dam, $76 million for the suicide netting on the Golden Gate Bridge and miles of pot holed highway. But, Jerry Brown pushes ahead with a high speed train and light rail connector lines that seem to be unwanted by a majority of voters. Poor governance and poor infrastructure on display indeed.

    The other variety of the infrastructure lament is when some pundit has just flown back from Shanghai. Trumpists need to highlight the contradiction between the left’s advocacy for making America majority-NAM and their whining about wobbly infrastructure.

    Also, related to this and Steve’s earlier post about retiring in Latin America: my sister was in Bogotá this week and sent pics back. It looks pretty 1st world, at least the neighborhood she was in. It seems like the Americas ex-Venezuela in Colombia and points south have been quietly getting themselves together a bit.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Dave, I have stayed in Bogota twice and some areas are indeed quite nice, sort of like some areas of Chicago, Cleveland or Memphis are nice. I thought Cartagena was a world class resort area and some Columbian women are world class beautiful, but I wouldn't retire there. My opinion only.
    , @Kyle McKenna
    Well, yes and no. Much of Brazil is horrifying. Obscenely hot and obscenely overcrowded. I've been to many cities there and only certain bits of a couple are worth visiting, much less living in.

    Argentina is better, and Chile is too. Bolivia and Peru are not.

    Most third-world countries have nice neighborhoods where the rich people insulate themselves from the poor. It doesn't mean much about their overall health. As most of us here know, this is the way the USA is headed.
    , @Autochthon
    Tee hee. The Autochthoness is from Bogotá.

    Your observation reminds me of a similar phenomenon. When I lived in Miami, people would often be surprised by my explanations of the place: dangerous, infested by crime, crooked cops everywhere, incompetent tradesmen constantly trying to rip you off, no one speaks English, crumbling infrastructure (e.g., buses commonly broke down whilst filled with passengers on our way to work)....

    The surprised people would authoritatively declare they'd thought Miami was charming. Pressed for details, they invariably revealed they'd gone grom the airport directly to a hôtel in Miami Beach or a to the port to board a cruise-ship, to which I would wryly "Well of course you think that way; you've never been to Miami; you've visited the fucking Travel Channel."

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  140. @guest
    "to measure how much better they get at learning to think"

    I like the low bar, there. Not how much they learned, nor whether they got better at thinking, nor even how they learned to think better, but how much better they got at learning to think. What an educrat way to look at it. They go from trying to figure out how to make kids learn, to talking about learning to learn. Eventually, I imagine we will read articles about daring new theories to make kids learn to learn to learn to learn to learn better.

    Not that you can't learn to think better, or even learn to learn better. But shouldn't an 18 year-old have learned how to learn by then? What were his 12 previous school years about? When do they ever get to the part where they're actually instructed? To the education establishment, they're always still baking. They're never ready to be taken out and taught something, besides being taught how to be taught.

    I met someone who taught what she called “Meta-Cognition,” a technique guaranteed to give most people writer’s block. To her students’ credit, they trashed her on “Rate My Professor.” Unfortunately, they did so in some of the poorest prose I have ever witnessed, which may point to low initial ability on their part, but also points to little effort to improve basic mechanics on her part.
    Apparently, she also bullied other female academics all through Grad School–for being insufficiently feminist, of course. They are the ones who discussed–out of her hearing–her poor results, which she has never acknowledged.

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  141. @Pat Boyle
    I am now and have always been highly skeptical of the value that higher education adds to the students. If there is some value the more interesting question seems to be - is that value increasing or decreasing. We have lately increased our societal investment in higher education greatly. Apparently on the theory that the world is changing and it is more important now than before to keep up.

    But is that true?

    The world is certainly changing faster and faster than ever before but does that mean that kids need more college or less?

    I used to teach part time at Diablo Valley Community College. It was a fun place to teach. I taught many different classes there and at several other colleges and junior colleges. I taught mostly computer science classes.

    One day a student approached me to ask me about the field of information systems. My day job was supervising units of programmers and various computer system specialists. He asked me about the market for RPG coders. I was stuck. RPG was a totally obsolete system in the real world by then. I only knew about it from history books. I had worked in several organization and coded in many languages but I knew no RPG and I didn't know of any place that still used it.

    I learned that the school had made a deal with IBM. IBM would give the school a mini computer and in return they promised to train so many students in RPG (an IBM technology). They were contractually bound to steer kids into this totally obsolete technology for a set number of years.

    The student who approached me wondered why everything he read in the press or saw in the book stores was about other technologies like micro computers and database systems. It put me in an awkward position. So I went to the administration and offered to teach a class in Java. This was when Java was just emerging. I didn't actually know Java but any damn fool could see that it would soon be important. But they turned me down. They had been burned on the RPG deal and several others so they just froze in place.

    The last time I taught Novell I announced that Novell was dying and they should look elsewhere for a career. The class was stunned. Students need guidance but many academics are even less well oriented toward the job market than the students.

    He asked me about the market for RPG coders.

    In the early to mid ’80s, while earning my BS CS at a reputable MA university, I took RPG, as well as Pascal and Cobol, but I guess back then there was still a (shrinking) market for RPG and Cobol. I did, however, also take classes in C and assembly language, and those two classes got me hired at a large defense contractor and were directly put to use on day one and for several years thereafter.

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  142. JackOH says:

    Thanks to all for these good comments. I have no doubt that my local, less selective state university does some good for some students, and the ones who do extraordinarily well show up thirty years later on the cover of the we-love-us alumni mag, and have the touch put on them by the nice people in development.

    Recently, a graduate of one our few Ph. D. programs was featured on local TV. His job? Routine testing of roofing samples for a locally based national contractor. For that you need a Ph. D.?

    Based on what I’ve seen here, one of six matriculants can count on graduating and getting a job that pays reasonably well and that is reasonably within his field of interest. One of six. That’s it.

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  143. biz says:
    @Ed
    When Dave refers to PC here he's not merely referring to language usage but it's real world applications. In the US, most big city transit authorities are very big on diversity training & hiring. In DC 97% of bus and subway operators are black. Tgere have been lawsuits filed by white engineers passed over for promotions in favor of blacks that literally couldn't read.

    The unions are often very militant, NYC transit union has been dominated by black Caribbeans for years.

    I get what you are saying, but I still think that there are places that are more PC than the US, even beyond mere language policing, and their infrastructure is fine. In Sweden for example they literally have a huge movement now to raise boys to piss sitting down in order to eliminate one more difference between the sexes (or genders or whatever). If PC behaviors generally led to bad infrastructure in a society, we should see it there.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Anti-Gnostic
    I doubt Sweden lets its diversity anywhere near its aircraft, high-speed locomotives, intermodal, highway design/build/maintenance/etc.
    , @a Newsreader
    PC is the general term. The specific issue is the inability to discriminate based on employees' ability when such discrimination has a disparate impact against NAMs. This might come to Sweden sooner than you think.
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  144. @Dave Pinsen
    The other variety of the infrastructure lament is when some pundit has just flown back from Shanghai. Trumpists need to highlight the contradiction between the left's advocacy for making America majority-NAM and their whining about wobbly infrastructure.

    Also, related to this and Steve's earlier post about retiring in Latin America: my sister was in Bogotá this week and sent pics back. It looks pretty 1st world, at least the neighborhood she was in. It seems like the Americas ex-Venezuela in Colombia and points south have been quietly getting themselves together a bit.

    Dave, I have stayed in Bogota twice and some areas are indeed quite nice, sort of like some areas of Chicago, Cleveland or Memphis are nice. I thought Cartagena was a world class resort area and some Columbian women are world class beautiful, but I wouldn’t retire there. My opinion only.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Bogotá, interestingly, is about a 4.5 hour flight from New York.
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  145. @dr kill
    Dear Sir, I was wrong to include your school in my flippant list of losers.. The DCPS elites all use the University of Northern Colorado for their PhD scams. Again, I'm sorry.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    In 1997, the Miami New Times did an esposé on the University of Northern Colorado. Roger Cuevas was superintendent of Dade County Schools at the time.

    CSAP was a nonaccredited program run by the University of Northern Colorado, an accredited public institution located in the town of Greeley, north of Denver. Not only was Cuevas invited to join the program, but he was given a head start: 20 credits toward the 48 required for his master’s degree, in consideration of six graduate education courses he’d taken at FAU. Better still, he wouldn’t have to be bothered with actually going to Greeley to work toward his degree. CSAP allowed students to earn degrees without ever leaving their hometowns or their jobs. And while many schools require four or more full semesters of course work in order to earn a master’s, Cuevas’s graduate program consisted of eight four-day courses at Biscayne College (now St. Thomas University), taught by faculty members flown in from Greeley.
     
    When he’d completed the classes, Cuevas was given a two-day comprehensive exam, and in August 1974 he received his degree in curriculum and instruction. …

    Cuevas, who oversees a $3.2 billion budget and supervises 42,800 full- and part-time employees, did take a class in school finance, but none in any other management or legal subject. …

    CSAP was born in the late Sixties, after officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suggested that UNC provide college and postgraduate courses to HUD employees. The school began operating CSAP out-of-state in 1970 and expanded it to military bases, and not long afterward, at the request of Dade school district employees who had learned about the program at Homestead Air Force Base, opened what was to become its largest postgrad course for civilians.

    http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/how-to-succeed-in-education-without-really-studying-6360431

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  146. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @dr kill
    In my great experience, critical thinking is only found in men who have successfully supported their own dreams with their own hands. Small business people. If you get a W 2, it ain't you.

    People who start or buy small businesses and stay small are usually people with dysfunctional personalities who can’t work for anyone else.

    In reality, small business is a crummy way to make a living. Long hours, enormous stress, high fail rate.

    Apple Computer started as a small business. It didn’t stay small. The people with something to really bring to the table either get big, or go broke trying.

    I bought a “hot rod” transmission from a pretty typical “successful small businessman”. Guy is high energy, works 60-70 hour weeks, knows every part of about six different American rear wheel drive transmissions off the top of his head. He has four employees, all drag race buddies, and has run a four man shop since the seventies. Outside of transmissions and drag racing he has the educational attainment of a sixth grader. He is completely ignorant of history B.D.G, (Before Don Garlits), art, literature (besides hot rod parts catalogs) , and pretty much everything else. The transmission works great, and the guy is a millionaire, but he really hasn’t done all that much for society. His kids are all trailer trash, and when he dies they’ll go through the cash and go back to the doublewide.

    His brother is a hoghead for Uncle Warren’s toy choo choo set. His oldest daughter is a dentist, his son is a mechanical engineer, youngest girl is at Embry-Riddle. He doesn’t have a college degree, but he is well read, has traveled abroad and in general a lot happier person.

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  147. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Pat Boyle
    I am now and have always been highly skeptical of the value that higher education adds to the students. If there is some value the more interesting question seems to be - is that value increasing or decreasing. We have lately increased our societal investment in higher education greatly. Apparently on the theory that the world is changing and it is more important now than before to keep up.

    But is that true?

    The world is certainly changing faster and faster than ever before but does that mean that kids need more college or less?

    I used to teach part time at Diablo Valley Community College. It was a fun place to teach. I taught many different classes there and at several other colleges and junior colleges. I taught mostly computer science classes.

    One day a student approached me to ask me about the field of information systems. My day job was supervising units of programmers and various computer system specialists. He asked me about the market for RPG coders. I was stuck. RPG was a totally obsolete system in the real world by then. I only knew about it from history books. I had worked in several organization and coded in many languages but I knew no RPG and I didn't know of any place that still used it.

    I learned that the school had made a deal with IBM. IBM would give the school a mini computer and in return they promised to train so many students in RPG (an IBM technology). They were contractually bound to steer kids into this totally obsolete technology for a set number of years.

    The student who approached me wondered why everything he read in the press or saw in the book stores was about other technologies like micro computers and database systems. It put me in an awkward position. So I went to the administration and offered to teach a class in Java. This was when Java was just emerging. I didn't actually know Java but any damn fool could see that it would soon be important. But they turned me down. They had been burned on the RPG deal and several others so they just froze in place.

    The last time I taught Novell I announced that Novell was dying and they should look elsewhere for a career. The class was stunned. Students need guidance but many academics are even less well oriented toward the job market than the students.

    Both Novell and RPG were moneymakers for a number of years, and then they weren’t.

    In the case of Novell, getting a Novell cert was a good way for a lot of people to get their foot in the door of IT. The same is true of Cisco certifications like CCNA today. But H-1B has gotten that foot chopped off for a lot of somewhat but not superbly bright kids.

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  148. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Buffalo Joe
    Dave, I have stayed in Bogota twice and some areas are indeed quite nice, sort of like some areas of Chicago, Cleveland or Memphis are nice. I thought Cartagena was a world class resort area and some Columbian women are world class beautiful, but I wouldn't retire there. My opinion only.

    Bogotá, interestingly, is about a 4.5 hour flight from New York.

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  149. dearieme says:
    @biz
    As much as I am against PC, I don't you can attribute our low quality infrastructure to it. The countries that have the worst PC (e.g. Sweden, currently home of the self-proclaimed hijabi-clad "feminist" government) have top-notch infrastructure.

    It really just comes down to fraction of GDP spent on any given type of infrastructure.

    “It really just comes down to fraction of GDP spent on any given type of infrastructure.”

    No; it always depends on how well you spend it.

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  150. Kyle McKenna [AKA "Mika-Non"] says:

    OT: Just watched the Belmont Stakes, or tried to. Sandwiched in between endless multicultural commercials were some extended and repetitive “human interest” segments about third-world immigrants who came to the USA and made good. There was even a brief horse race in there somewhere.

    I guess we can’t blame the show’s producers for the fact that horse races are quick. I mean, what else could they do?

    I don’t watch much current (or recent) television.

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  151. @phil
    Steve noted that students receive SAT scores before they leave high school, and Dave Pinsen referred to the idea of judging colleges based on Return On Investment (ROI). Led by Richard Vedder, the FORBES rankings downplay SAT scores and emphasize ROI.

    The results? For undergraduate education, Stanford is ranked #1 and Williams College (Williamstown, MA) (perennially ranked #1 among liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report) is ranked #2.

    Thankfully, the University of California-Berkeley is far down the list. An introductory biology course may have more than 1,000 students, and late-registering students are told not to attend class; download the materials online. An introductory computer science class may now have 2,000 students; students are told to watch course videos.

    Phil wrote to me:

    The results? For undergraduate education, Stanford is ranked #1 and Williams College (Williamstown, MA) (perennially ranked #1 among liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report) is ranked #2.

    Well… I’m not sure how they calculate ROI. In any case, it is going to be very difficult to separate out innate ability from effects of the college, to decide how to distinguish median from mean (e.g., Sergey Brin is going to raise Stanford’s mean quite a lot!), etc.

    All I can say personally is that I have worked in the defense industry, among other places, and Stanford was even more corrupt than the defense industry.

    Of course, there is the possibility that legal and ethical corruption, in the contemporary world, is a “feature,” not a “bug”…

    Dave

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  152. Kyle McKenna [AKA "Mika-Non"] says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    The other variety of the infrastructure lament is when some pundit has just flown back from Shanghai. Trumpists need to highlight the contradiction between the left's advocacy for making America majority-NAM and their whining about wobbly infrastructure.

    Also, related to this and Steve's earlier post about retiring in Latin America: my sister was in Bogotá this week and sent pics back. It looks pretty 1st world, at least the neighborhood she was in. It seems like the Americas ex-Venezuela in Colombia and points south have been quietly getting themselves together a bit.

    Well, yes and no. Much of Brazil is horrifying. Obscenely hot and obscenely overcrowded. I’ve been to many cities there and only certain bits of a couple are worth visiting, much less living in.

    Argentina is better, and Chile is too. Bolivia and Peru are not.

    Most third-world countries have nice neighborhoods where the rich people insulate themselves from the poor. It doesn’t mean much about their overall health. As most of us here know, this is the way the USA is headed.

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    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    Brazil deserves credit for the way it's started to tackle its corruption over the last couple of years, including impeaching and removing a sitting president.
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  153. @phil
    Steve noted that students receive SAT scores before they leave high school, and Dave Pinsen referred to the idea of judging colleges based on Return On Investment (ROI). Led by Richard Vedder, the FORBES rankings downplay SAT scores and emphasize ROI.

    The results? For undergraduate education, Stanford is ranked #1 and Williams College (Williamstown, MA) (perennially ranked #1 among liberal arts colleges by US News and World Report) is ranked #2.

    Thankfully, the University of California-Berkeley is far down the list. An introductory biology course may have more than 1,000 students, and late-registering students are told not to attend class; download the materials online. An introductory computer science class may now have 2,000 students; students are told to watch course videos.

    By the way, this seems to be the 2017 Forbes “best value” list, and it lists Berkeley and UCLA as number 1 and 2, well ahead of Stanford! Glad my kids are going to UCLA.

    So, perhaps the world is starting to catch on to the fact that Stanford is just a RICO, as I observed to my dismay years ago and as Ziad Ahmed proved again this year.

    But, I still take such lists with a very large grain of salt, as I explained earlier.

    Dave

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    • Replies: @phil
    Looks like FORBES took in-state tuition at face value for that list. Thus, Florida also came out looking good.

    Appreciate your remarks on Stanford.
    , @JackOH
    Dave, by RICO, do you mean racketeer-influenced corrupt organization, as in the RICO anti-Mob law? Reason I ask is I and a few other folks were so distressed by the endemic and uncheckable corruption at our state university we'd thought of approaching the FBI. (We held off because we weren't prepared for a crusade, among other reasons.)
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  154. Forbes says:
    @Dave Pinsen
    Periodically, you hear pundits lament the poor quality of American infrastructure. One journalist tweeted about being stuck in an NYC subway car this week, when the power went out and the train was stuck for an hour or something until another train pushed it into the next station. You never hear any of them make the connection between our lousy infrastructure and quality of government administration, and our lack of rigorous standards due to political correctness.

    One journalist tweeted about being stuck in an NYC subway car this week, when the power went out and the train was stuck for an hour

    A journalist too young to remember pre-Giuliani New York when merely being stuck was a godsend because subway crashes (essentially, high speed derailments) were a regular occurrence.

    I think as a rule, any journalist Tweeting should be ignored–or mocked incessantly. They are the biggest adolescent-grade whiners–as if they were god’s gift to creating heaven on Earth.

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  155. Forbes says:
    @Kyle McKenna
    Functioning, intact and well-maintained infrastructure reeks of "privilege" and is hence a grievous affront to the "marginalized" and "disadvantaged".

    Everything falling apart, on the other hand, is comforting to these benighted souls, in that 1) there's no standing rebuke to their own general incompetence and 2) they are reminded of the third-world hellholes they or their ancestors came from.

    So you see, the destruction of everything worthwhile in our society is really a win-win, unless perhaps you're a racist white person. But I repeat myself.

    Bingo!

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  156. Forbes says:
    @Ed
    I'm actually stunned at the number of recent college grads in finance and accounting disciplines that don't know how to use excel. Don't know vlookups or pivot tables. I mentioned this to coworkers and they thought it was ok. Since maybe the courses don't require it.

    I still find it baffling.

    I’m actually stunned at the number of recent college grads in finance and accounting disciplines that don’t know how to use excel.

    But I bet they all know how to make pretty PowerPoint presentations…

    I think the idea is that Excel is something such students should learn on their own time–I know I did. But then I went to college in the mainframe era.

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  157. Rod1963 says:
    @Pat Boyle
    I am now and have always been highly skeptical of the value that higher education adds to the students. If there is some value the more interesting question seems to be - is that value increasing or decreasing. We have lately increased our societal investment in higher education greatly. Apparently on the theory that the world is changing and it is more important now than before to keep up.

    But is that true?

    The world is certainly changing faster and faster than ever before but does that mean that kids need more college or less?

    I used to teach part time at Diablo Valley Community College. It was a fun place to teach. I taught many different classes there and at several other colleges and junior colleges. I taught mostly computer science classes.

    One day a student approached me to ask me about the field of information systems. My day job was supervising units of programmers and various computer system specialists. He asked me about the market for RPG coders. I was stuck. RPG was a totally obsolete system in the real world by then. I only knew about it from history books. I had worked in several organization and coded in many languages but I knew no RPG and I didn't know of any place that still used it.

    I learned that the school had made a deal with IBM. IBM would give the school a mini computer and in return they promised to train so many students in RPG (an IBM technology). They were contractually bound to steer kids into this totally obsolete technology for a set number of years.

    The student who approached me wondered why everything he read in the press or saw in the book stores was about other technologies like micro computers and database systems. It put me in an awkward position. So I went to the administration and offered to teach a class in Java. This was when Java was just emerging. I didn't actually know Java but any damn fool could see that it would soon be important. But they turned me down. They had been burned on the RPG deal and several others so they just froze in place.

    The last time I taught Novell I announced that Novell was dying and they should look elsewhere for a career. The class was stunned. Students need guidance but many academics are even less well oriented toward the job market than the students.

    College is of worth if you’re in the STEM track, otherwise it’s something avoid because it will turn you into a debt serf for life and saddle you with a worthless degree that should have never been awarded in the first place.

    However even for STEM degrees, it’s getting real iffy with all the out-sourcing and H-1B workers industry is bringing in to replace Americans. If you do get a STEM degree get one from a place that won’t break the bank.

    Failing that learn a trade, yes I know trades are looked down upon by the high IQ set but they now offer better job security than being a programmer, engineer or IT admin. Take a elevator repairman they can get a job in any city in the U.S. and make very good money. Same with other trades.

    People, especially intellects need to stop thinking of college as a value added proposition. It stopped being that when business could off-shore and import foreigners to replace American workers by the millions and put the rest on the endangered species list for anyone outside of government work.

    In terms of making a person a better thinking person. That doesn’t happen anymore. Anyhow that’s something one can get on their own. Most students who have anything on the ball(excluding most minorities) on the ball just want to graduate with the credential and get a job.

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  158. Yngvar says:

    The WSJ filed freedom of information requests at a bunch of public colleges

    A wish for originating from Rupert Murdoch’s kids kids, one must assume. Their self-interested fancy thus helps everybody. Just like Adam Smith predicted.

    All hail the pursuit of self-interest! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!

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  159. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    OT: The Chinese colonization/buyout of Australia continues. Trade Minister Andrew Robb negotiates Chinese-Australian FTA and ends up with an $880k/year consultancy job to the Chinese company that bought the port of Darwin lease (so-called “Landbridge”. Why not just call the company “Beachhead” and be done with it.).:

    http://www.smh.com.au/national/chinese-government-trade-bank-may-get-mortgage-over-australian-port-20170607-gwmm6h.html

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-07/andrew-robb-china-consultancy-role-billionaire-scott-ryan/8596854

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace-relations/chafta-has-opened-door-to-unqualified-workers-20160602-gpajfz.html

    As usual, the Chinese are ensuring that the Australian politicians get the message.

    Mr Huang also reneged on a $400,000 pledge to Labor in June last year, after its defence spokesman took a hard line on China’s militarisation of the South China Sea.

    At least ASIO is speaking up and saying something about it.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-07/china-must-be-told-to-stop-interfering-in-australian-affairs/8596568

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  160. @Dave Pinsen
    I'm not sure how broadly true that is any more, though it probably is among upper class types.

    https://thepracticalconservative.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/college-education-and-birth-numbers-2007-2015/

    It’s more true than ever, most white babies are born to women with completed college and a supermajority are born to women who have attempted college and not completed a degree. The unwed motherhood for white women is concentrated among non-college attending women.

    Attending and completing college, getting married and having kids in that order is not so much upper class (for whites) as the new norm among whites who have kids, plural. White single moms tend to have one child and no college coursework, while married white mothers are experiencing a relative increase in 3rd and higher children.

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    • Replies: @The Practical Conservative
    You can't really get rid of the college bubble until you figure out how to change the incentive for the overwhelming majority of white mothers, for whom things are working fine and whose children will attend college, marry and have 2-4 kids same as they did. You can't even throw the increase in unwed motherhood at them, since it's concentrated in "Fishtown" and skews interracial anyway. And they don't know those women in their social circles, except a smattering of...college educated ones with decent jobs or careers.
    , @Dave Pinsen
    I was referring to the middle class women who go from colleges to office jobs in cities without getting married or having kids anytime soon.
    , @Lot
    You are right that dysgenic trends within whites are not that bad right now. White fertility became dysgenic around 1850, and had its low point around 1970, since recovering.

    Overall, the major dysgenic trend in the USA is mass immigration from the Third World.

    This is an interesting article that shows within-race dysgenics are much worse outside of the North America and Europe.

    https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol18/5/18-5.pdf

    Table 1 shows the dysgenic variable of -8.1 in Europe/NA and -26.5 in the rest of the world.
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  161. @The Practical Conservative
    https://thepracticalconservative.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/college-education-and-birth-numbers-2007-2015/

    It's more true than ever, most white babies are born to women with completed college and a supermajority are born to women who have attempted college and not completed a degree. The unwed motherhood for white women is concentrated among non-college attending women.

    Attending and completing college, getting married and having kids in that order is not so much upper class (for whites) as the new norm among whites who have kids, plural. White single moms tend to have one child and no college coursework, while married white mothers are experiencing a relative increase in 3rd and higher children.

    You can’t really get rid of the college bubble until you figure out how to change the incentive for the overwhelming majority of white mothers, for whom things are working fine and whose children will attend college, marry and have 2-4 kids same as they did. You can’t even throw the increase in unwed motherhood at them, since it’s concentrated in “Fishtown” and skews interracial anyway. And they don’t know those women in their social circles, except a smattering of…college educated ones with decent jobs or careers.

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  162. OT, but it has come to my attention that Sailer was talking about building the wall back in 2002:

    http://www.unz.com/isteve/latest-rove-amnesty-trial-balloon-2/

    Does it take 14 years for politicians to catch up with Sailer’s thinking?

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  163. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @The Practical Conservative
    https://thepracticalconservative.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/college-education-and-birth-numbers-2007-2015/

    It's more true than ever, most white babies are born to women with completed college and a supermajority are born to women who have attempted college and not completed a degree. The unwed motherhood for white women is concentrated among non-college attending women.

    Attending and completing college, getting married and having kids in that order is not so much upper class (for whites) as the new norm among whites who have kids, plural. White single moms tend to have one child and no college coursework, while married white mothers are experiencing a relative increase in 3rd and higher children.

    I was referring to the middle class women who go from colleges to office jobs in cities without getting married or having kids anytime soon.

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  164. @Buffalo Joe
    Forbes, sorry state of affairs but in many big cities barely 50% or less graduate from HS.

    in many big cities barely 50% or less graduate from HS.

    That is still higher than in the 1960′s.

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    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar


    in many big cities barely 50% or less graduate from HS.
     
    That is still higher than in the 1960′s.
     
    Yeah, but the average dropout in the '60s could probably read better than the average graduate can today, and was more likely to have a good job waiting for him. Or any job, for that matter.
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  165. phil says:
    @PhysicistDave
    By the way, this seems to be the 2017 Forbes "best value" list, and it lists Berkeley and UCLA as number 1 and 2, well ahead of Stanford! Glad my kids are going to UCLA.

    So, perhaps the world is starting to catch on to the fact that Stanford is just a RICO, as I observed to my dismay years ago and as Ziad Ahmed proved again this year.

    But, I still take such lists with a very large grain of salt, as I explained earlier.

    Dave

    Looks like FORBES took in-state tuition at face value for that list. Thus, Florida also came out looking good.

    Appreciate your remarks on Stanford.

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  166. @Ed
    I'm actually stunned at the number of recent college grads in finance and accounting disciplines that don't know how to use excel. Don't know vlookups or pivot tables. I mentioned this to coworkers and they thought it was ok. Since maybe the courses don't require it.

    I still find it baffling.

    It doesn’t matter at all so long as they can learn it quickly.

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  167. lambdaphagy says: • Website

    The search for value-add colleges is going to be complicated by regression to the mean. Among the least selective schools, a fair few of the students will be there due to sheer bad luck on test day. On the exit test they will have regressed to their natural mean, which shows up as value-add. Vice versa at the top schools.

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  168. Anon 2 says:

    I never watched Statler and Waldorf, but thanks!

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  169. JackOH says:
    @PhysicistDave
    By the way, this seems to be the 2017 Forbes "best value" list, and it lists Berkeley and UCLA as number 1 and 2, well ahead of Stanford! Glad my kids are going to UCLA.

    So, perhaps the world is starting to catch on to the fact that Stanford is just a RICO, as I observed to my dismay years ago and as Ziad Ahmed proved again this year.

    But, I still take such lists with a very large grain of salt, as I explained earlier.

    Dave

    Dave, by RICO, do you mean racketeer-influenced corrupt organization, as in the RICO anti-Mob law? Reason I ask is I and a few other folks were so distressed by the endemic and uncheckable corruption at our state university we’d thought of approaching the FBI. (We held off because we weren’t prepared for a crusade, among other reasons.)

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    • Replies: @PhysicistDave
    JackOH wrote to me:

    Dave, by RICO, do you mean racketeer-influenced corrupt organization, as in the RICO anti-Mob law?
     
    Yeah, a while after I graduated, a fellow who had been, as I recall, a federal auditor actually ran for Congress on the promise of cleaning up all the corruption he had uncovered at Stanford! Needless to say, he lost: the university holds a lot of clout in the Palo Alto area.

    What I myself saw was scientific fraud on projects carried out with federal funds, personal threats made by faculty members to keep the facts from being made public, etc. An aggressive prosecutor could have made a strong case for misappropriation of federal funds, for obstruction of justice, etc.

    But, of course, Stanford is very well connected to the national Establishment. The only way such a prosecution would ever be launched is if Stanford somehow came out on the losing side of a major political battle against adversaries who were eager to wreak vengeance (not a trait of Trump's, despite the claims of his detractors).

    Stanford also encourages among its undergrads a sense of "Now you are a winner in life just by having gotten into Stanford!" Not as bad as Harvard, but I have seen negative effects on undergrads' energy and motivation resulting from this. I actually think may Stanford undergrads would have done better had they gone to a state school where they knew they had to work hard in order to "make it" in life.

    Dave
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  170. @Almost Missouri
    It's probably a combination of things:

    • mass low-skill immigration,
    • AFFH-ing ghetto denizens into the suburbs,
    • indigenous WWCs getting their incomes and home values annihilated by the above two items.

    Nah, it’s soil erosion. The magic dirt topsoil is being eroded by wind , flooding etc.

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  171. TG says:

    Yay Cal Poly San Luis Obispo! My son went there, he’s now a senior engineer in charge of developing automated warehouses and doing great. So at least for me, Cal Poly rocks.

    But on another side: one generally thinks that only smart people should go to college. Maybe that’s got it all wrong. Smart people are already smart, they should get a pass. They can pick up what they need to know by reading books or taking as-needed specialized training, the way that smart people used to do in the old days. Maybe it should be more of a priority for stupid people to go to college, because they have a lot of room for improvement.

    I mean, we don’t give antibiotics to people who don’t have infections, we don’t put slender people on diets… Shouldn’t the least smart amongst us get the most formal education?

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    • Agree: Triumph104
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  172. anon says: • Disclaimer
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  173. TheJester says:

    There is a grand tradition at the prestigious universities in England, France, the United States, and Japan that … once you are accepted, you stand a good chance of graduating into the higher realms of prestige and power in academia, business, and/or government. The point is, you do not have to necessarily learn anything while at the university. That’s not the point. It’s the network; it’s the network; it’s the network !!!

    The point is, you made your “gates”, which in England, France, the United States, and Japan often begins by attending the right kindergarten and following that up with the right elementary school, the right high school, and then the right university.

    But, perhaps that is the Establishment’s way of ensuring that, in spite of the appearance of change, nothing really changes as one generation begets another. It’s a social and economic vetting process that has withstood the test of time across the centuries.

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  174. Steve, way off topic but the NYT has an article, reprinted in the Buffalo News, about the new mixed gender events for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The writer, a Ms. Juliet Macur gushes about how the new events will be “fresh and fun” with “a 4×400 meter mixed relay…in which some of the world’s fastest men may run head to head against some of the world’s fastest women.” Usain Bolt could spot the world’s fastest woman 20 meters in the 200 meter dash and still cruise to the Gold Medal. How would the relay work, boy, girl, boy, girl? Picture the lead Jamaica would have if Bolt lead off against a woman. Insane and for what? Also mixed relays in swimming, positing Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky on a mixed relay. New women events in Canoeing, rowing, shooting and weightlifting so that there is an equal number of medals available to both men and women….”Equality. It’s a nice concept…”

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    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
    Buffalo Joe,

    It's getting curiouser and curiouser.
    , @Buck Turgidson
    Boy oh boy, sounds like some riveting viewing there. When they announce the specific times, I'll make sure to schedule an oil change, will be at Bill's Tire and Auto that afternoon, or pretty much anything other than watching the latest in the endless televised barfo PC installments of diversity, equality, tolerance, and wonder wymyn. Oh that's right I cut my cable tv b/c I have been overloaded with this nonsense, so I'll have to miss the first wymyn player in the NFL, too, what a shame.
    , @Steve Sailer
    Sounds like fun. Relay races are, on average, the most entertaining track events in the Olympics, so why not add some more relays? Mixed sex relay races are natural because men and women track and field athletes spend lots of time together at track meets and in training, often marrying each other.

    In tennis, Mixed Doubles tournaments are a normal part of major championships. The Mixed Doubles final in the French Open was a few days ago:

    https://sports.yahoo.com/rohan-bopanna-gabriela-dabrowski-win-french-open-mixed-doubles-title-224454360.html

    Mixed Doubles has been a regular part of Wimbledon since 1913.

    In contrast, while country club golfers not infrequently compete in mixed twosome tournaments, the male and female touring pro golfers usually only get together for one tournament a year in the late-in-the-year silly season.
    , @Steve Sailer
    I could also see mixed relay races in track and swimming at the 2020 Olympics being lower key events to lure Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps out of retirement to have a go.
    , @George Taylor

    Also mixed relays in swimming, positing Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky on a mixed relay.
     
    As a former competitive swimmer, I can't wait for this. What is different in swimming vs running relays is the Medley relay. Each of the four swimmers has a leg in the four competitive strokes; Backstroke, Butterfly, Breaststroke and Freestyle. As the different strokes have different times, you can't simply put the two fastest female runners and the two fastest male runners. The coaches will have to figure out the best combination, it's an armchair strategist paradise.
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  175. @Anonymous
    Sailer bait...http://deadspin.com/baltimores-famous-national-chess-champion-isnt-a-nation-1795900338

    The lede is so obliterated you have to go in to the comments to find it, but a wise one will realize the story right away.

    I loved the comment about the kid going to school at Roland Park Elementary, judged to be Baltimore’s best. I’m sure he is, but there’s no way he lives in RP. The number of AA kids somehow shoe-horned into that school is amazing. Roland Park is filled to the brim with expensive homes and people who work for Johns Hopkins, law firms, etc.

    Meanwhile, the area has 5 or 6 private schools – Bryn Mawr (girls), Gilman and Boys Latin (boys only), Roland Park Country School (girls), Friends (mixed & Quaker – the lefty choice!), and Cathedral of Mary Our Queen (Roman Catholic). Parents in all manner of vehicles converge on the area in the morning and afternoon.

    It’s iSteve on display every day.

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    • Replies: @Triumph104
    I don't know about the elementary school, but Roland Park's middle school has two advanced programs - the Advanced Academic Program and the Ingenuity Project. The two programs have separate applications handled by different offices.

    The Advanced Academic Program sounds like it is for the white kids with advanced math in grades 4 and 5, gifted and talented classes in middle school and high school, and AP and dual credit courses in high school.

    The Ingenuity Project is a school-choice program that selects students who score the highest on a cognitive ability exam.
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  176. Dan Hayes says:
    @Buffalo Joe
    Steve, way off topic but the NYT has an article, reprinted in the Buffalo News, about the new mixed gender events for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The writer, a Ms. Juliet Macur gushes about how the new events will be "fresh and fun" with "a 4x400 meter mixed relay...in which some of the world's fastest men may run head to head against some of the world's fastest women." Usain Bolt could spot the world's fastest woman 20 meters in the 200 meter dash and still cruise to the Gold Medal. How would the relay work, boy, girl, boy, girl? Picture the lead Jamaica would have if Bolt lead off against a woman. Insane and for what? Also mixed relays in swimming, positing Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky on a mixed relay. New women events in Canoeing, rowing, shooting and weightlifting so that there is an equal number of medals available to both men and women...."Equality. It's a nice concept..."

    Buffalo Joe,

    It’s getting curiouser and curiouser.

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  177. CJ says:
    @Shaq
    Sort of OT: Bob Dylan

    I just came across his Nobel Prize speech. Impressive - Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and the Odyssey inspired him. I did not see that coming....

    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2016/dylan-lecture.html

    Impressive – Moby Dick, All Quiet on the Western Front, and the Odyssey inspired him. I did not see that coming….

    I read all three of those in high school (1965-1969). The last two were required reading on the curriculum, as was the Iliad. Moby Dick I read on my own, but it was studied in many American high schools at the time. We also were assigned some poems by Dylan Thomas, the likely source of Bob’s stage name. Dylan would have been exposed to all of that in Minnesota public schools in the 1950s.

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  178. @Buffalo Joe
    Steve, way off topic but the NYT has an article, reprinted in the Buffalo News, about the new mixed gender events for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The writer, a Ms. Juliet Macur gushes about how the new events will be "fresh and fun" with "a 4x400 meter mixed relay...in which some of the world's fastest men may run head to head against some of the world's fastest women." Usain Bolt could spot the world's fastest woman 20 meters in the 200 meter dash and still cruise to the Gold Medal. How would the relay work, boy, girl, boy, girl? Picture the lead Jamaica would have if Bolt lead off against a woman. Insane and for what? Also mixed relays in swimming, positing Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky on a mixed relay. New women events in Canoeing, rowing, shooting and weightlifting so that there is an equal number of medals available to both men and women...."Equality. It's a nice concept..."

    Boy oh boy, sounds like some riveting viewing there. When they announce the specific times, I’ll make sure to schedule an oil change, will be at Bill’s Tire and Auto that afternoon, or pretty much anything other than watching the latest in the endless televised barfo PC installments of diversity, equality, tolerance, and wonder wymyn. Oh that’s right I cut my cable tv b/c I have been overloaded with this nonsense, so I’ll have to miss the first wymyn player in the NFL, too, what a shame.

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    • Replies: @Inquiring Mind
    Schedule an oil change to avoid watching the Gender Equity Olympics? You will need to do your own oil change because if you spend the afternoon at Bill's Tire and Auto for your oil change, what do you suppose will be playing on the tee-vee in the waiting room?
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Buck, too funny my friend.
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  179. Lot says:
    @The Practical Conservative
    https://thepracticalconservative.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/college-education-and-birth-numbers-2007-2015/

    It's more true than ever, most white babies are born to women with completed college and a supermajority are born to women who have attempted college and not completed a degree. The unwed motherhood for white women is concentrated among non-college attending women.

    Attending and completing college, getting married and having kids in that order is not so much upper class (for whites) as the new norm among whites who have kids, plural. White single moms tend to have one child and no college coursework, while married white mothers are experiencing a relative increase in 3rd and higher children.

    You are right that dysgenic trends within whites are not that bad right now. White fertility became dysgenic around 1850, and had its low point around 1970, since recovering.

    Overall, the major dysgenic trend in the USA is mass immigration from the Third World.

    This is an interesting article that shows within-race dysgenics are much worse outside of the North America and Europe.

    https://www.demographic-research.org/volumes/vol18/5/18-5.pdf

    Table 1 shows the dysgenic variable of -8.1 in Europe/NA and -26.5 in the rest of the world.

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  180. @ScarletNumber
    As you are correctly implying, the point of college isn't to add value.

    The most famous, successful Reed alumnus is Steve Jandali Jobs

    Steve Jandali was not an alumnus of Reed College. He was a matriculant and a drop-out (and many other unimpressive things besides).

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    • Replies: @jJay
    Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg did that too, at Harvard.

    There was already a post here at iSteve a couple of years ago (I think) suggesting that high SAT scorers should just go directly to the job market like talented basketball players now do.

    I think this should now apply to kids who aren't geniuses. One of the most horrendous things the Obama administration did was to kill ITT Tech

    http://itt-tech.info/

    forcing your 90-110 IQ kid to attend college.

    And President Kek should reinstate the civil service exam.
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  181. @Clark Westwood
    Is development of "critical thinking skills" the sole, or even most important, reason for higher ed? It seems to me that training in a chosen field is the more significant source of added value (for students with a modicum of self-direction).

    Agreed. They should arrive at college already in possession of well-developed critical-thinking abilities.

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  182. @Buck Turgidson
    Boy oh boy, sounds like some riveting viewing there. When they announce the specific times, I'll make sure to schedule an oil change, will be at Bill's Tire and Auto that afternoon, or pretty much anything other than watching the latest in the endless televised barfo PC installments of diversity, equality, tolerance, and wonder wymyn. Oh that's right I cut my cable tv b/c I have been overloaded with this nonsense, so I'll have to miss the first wymyn player in the NFL, too, what a shame.

    Schedule an oil change to avoid watching the Gender Equity Olympics? You will need to do your own oil change because if you spend the afternoon at Bill’s Tire and Auto for your oil change, what do you suppose will be playing on the tee-vee in the waiting room?

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  183. Just reading a few classic fairy tales, like the “Emperor’s New Clothing,” could add greater value than what students take away from four years or more of college reading in Sociology, or Women’s Studies, or Communications.

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  184. @Buffalo Joe
    When my son ran for the School Board in his Ohio town he was the only candidate or sitting board member that could read a financial statement. Not so hard to believe then than that college seniors can't interpret a data table. Union trade apprenticeships are still a great way to spend three, four or five years and you get paid while you learn a trade.

    When my son ran for the School Board in his Ohio town he was the only candidate or sitting board member that could read a financial statement.

    Yes, electing sheep to shepherd the interactions between the wolves and the lambs is a foolish strategy. Of course, if you are a wolf, things couldn’t be better!

    If you want to improve outcomes, things are not so good.

    But please extend my gratitude to your son. We need him on the school board.

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    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Charles, in nearby Williamsville NY, the teachers' union has backed and supported six of the last six members elected to the school board. Wolves and lambs, indeed. Do you know when lambs stop being lambs? When they're on your dinner plate.
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  185. @Pseudonymic Handle
    Is it even possible to teach critical thinking skills?

    Is it even possible to teach critical thinking skills?

    Of course it is. Unless you insist that learning critical thinking skills is uniform among all pupils.

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  186. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Kyle McKenna
    Well, yes and no. Much of Brazil is horrifying. Obscenely hot and obscenely overcrowded. I've been to many cities there and only certain bits of a couple are worth visiting, much less living in.

    Argentina is better, and Chile is too. Bolivia and Peru are not.

    Most third-world countries have nice neighborhoods where the rich people insulate themselves from the poor. It doesn't mean much about their overall health. As most of us here know, this is the way the USA is headed.

    Brazil deserves credit for the way it’s started to tackle its corruption over the last couple of years, including impeaching and removing a sitting president.

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  187. jJay says:
    @Autochthon
    Steve Jandali was not an alumnus of Reed College. He was a matriculant and a drop-out (and many other unimpressive things besides).

    Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg did that too, at Harvard.

    There was already a post here at iSteve a couple of years ago (I think) suggesting that high SAT scorers should just go directly to the job market like talented basketball players now do.

    I think this should now apply to kids who aren’t geniuses. One of the most horrendous things the Obama administration did was to kill ITT Tech

    http://itt-tech.info/

    forcing your 90-110 IQ kid to attend college.

    And President Kek should reinstate the civil service exam.

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  188. Luke Lea says:
    @Benjamin I. Espen
    My mother was the school nurse at Reed in the late sixties. She has some really interesting stories about Reed after drugs.

    “My mother was the school nurse at Reed in the late sixties. She has some really interesting stories about Reed after drugs.”

    When Ken Kesey and his merry pranksters came to town, that was all she wrote for Reed College.

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  189. @E. Rekshun
    It is a lot cheaper if your son or daughter can sprint through college.

    A family friend spent her last two years of high school attending college classes at the local community college at no cost, and graduated on the same day with her high school diploma and A.S. degree in hand. She earned her BS Biology two years later at age 20 at the flagship university. But has spent the past three years working at a low wage job in a biology lab and unsuccessfully trying to get into vet schools across the country.

    Everybody but Doogie Hauser has trouble getting hired at 20. This brings up another question which is, does it make sense to get a Masters directly after getting a BS or should that person get work experience first? My guess is that in biology or related science fields it would not hurt as much as a business major. But I do not know.

    My son has done internships for his last two summers. They are actually decent paying gigs. I have had to pay his rent in summer whether he is living at school or not but that is just part of the cost. There was a real chance he could have got a degree in three years but it is probably better the way he is doing it for a lot of reasons.

    The mantra on campus now is that without prior experience (at the right companies), it is really hard landing a killer job out of college. He is fortunate because the “grinds” are are all about the grades but many don’t have the social skills to put their knowledge to practical use.

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  190. @eah
    OT

    (((Susan Goldberg))) is the editor of National Geographic -- Genius Takes Many Forms. It's Time We Recognized Them All -- For centuries, white males of European descent cornered the market on the title 'genius.' Today, we see flashes of it everywhere.

    eah, “flashes” in the pan. Obama wins a Nobel before he reports to work and TN Coates wins a Pulitzer and Genius award. It’s all in how you define genius

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  191. @E. Rekshun
    So, New Hampshire is doing something right


    Another post a couple of days ago discussed retirement. I'm hoping to retire in about five years, spending June - Aug. in Hampton, NH and the rest of the year in FL, oceanfront.

    I knew a couple of guys that went on to successful Big-4 accounting partnerships after graduating from UNH.

    NH's conservatism and individualism has been under attack for the past twenty years from liberal MA immigrants. Well over half my MA graduating high school class eventually moved to NH.

    E, My daughter and her husband built their first house in NH, they both worked in Boston, drive straight up I-93 to home. Better job opportunities caused them to move on but they speak well of NH.

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  192. @Buck Turgidson
    Boy oh boy, sounds like some riveting viewing there. When they announce the specific times, I'll make sure to schedule an oil change, will be at Bill's Tire and Auto that afternoon, or pretty much anything other than watching the latest in the endless televised barfo PC installments of diversity, equality, tolerance, and wonder wymyn. Oh that's right I cut my cable tv b/c I have been overloaded with this nonsense, so I'll have to miss the first wymyn player in the NFL, too, what a shame.

    Buck, too funny my friend.

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  193. @Charles Erwin Wilson

    When my son ran for the School Board in his Ohio town he was the only candidate or sitting board member that could read a financial statement.
     
    Yes, electing sheep to shepherd the interactions between the wolves and the lambs is a foolish strategy. Of course, if you are a wolf, things couldn't be better!

    If you want to improve outcomes, things are not so good.

    But please extend my gratitude to your son. We need him on the school board.

    Charles, in nearby Williamsville NY, the teachers’ union has backed and supported six of the last six members elected to the school board. Wolves and lambs, indeed. Do you know when lambs stop being lambs? When they’re on your dinner plate.

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    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    Yes, well, with you, and your report of your son, I am heartened. There are the clear-sighted, the astute, the effective and the righteous. I think you may be a clean sweep of that roster - and if your progeny has embraced and adopted your characteristics, through either genetics, environment or some combination of both, my optimism is amplified.

    We will prevail. The only question is how much needless suffering and death stand between us and when the lambs are "woke".
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  194. @biz
    I get what you are saying, but I still think that there are places that are more PC than the US, even beyond mere language policing, and their infrastructure is fine. In Sweden for example they literally have a huge movement now to raise boys to piss sitting down in order to eliminate one more difference between the sexes (or genders or whatever). If PC behaviors generally led to bad infrastructure in a society, we should see it there.

    I doubt Sweden lets its diversity anywhere near its aircraft, high-speed locomotives, intermodal, highway design/build/maintenance/etc.

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  195. @Jack D
    It strikes me that the better the student to begin with the less room there is for improvement. And better colleges attract better students so the results of this survey are meaningless.

    For example, I know a student who attended high school B . She scored a 740 on her math SAT when she was 12 and five years later she "only" got a 780 (1 wrong answer can drop you 20 pts). So you could say that there was very little value added in her HS math program (but you'd be wrong since she learned calculus, linear algebra, etc. - stuff that they don't even test on the SAT) or else you could say that there was very little room for improvement. And maybe hypothetical student B goes from a 200 to a 400 at high school X so it appears that HS X is better than HS B (at HS X they double your score!) but most people would prefer HS B to HS X.

    Ceiling effect. A harder test is needed.

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  196. @anonymous
    The saga of Beverly Wilkins. Missouri appeals court not sufficiently "woke":

    Only white people can be racist, huh?

    A state appeals court upheld a jury verdict of nearly $5 million – three-quarters of that punitive damages – against an historically black college for discriminating against a white employee.
     

    A state appeals court upheld a jury verdict of nearly $5 million – three-quarters of that punitive damages – against an historically black college for discriminating against a white employee.

    Hhhmmm…I wonder if this could be a lucrative way for some enterprising White people to intentionally hit their own “Ghetto Lottery”. I’m convinced that more than a few (of the usual) racial & gender discrimination complaints were fully initiated, devised, and set-up with the sole intention being the ultimate cash payoff.

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  197. @Buffalo Joe
    Steve, way off topic but the NYT has an article, reprinted in the Buffalo News, about the new mixed gender events for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The writer, a Ms. Juliet Macur gushes about how the new events will be "fresh and fun" with "a 4x400 meter mixed relay...in which some of the world's fastest men may run head to head against some of the world's fastest women." Usain Bolt could spot the world's fastest woman 20 meters in the 200 meter dash and still cruise to the Gold Medal. How would the relay work, boy, girl, boy, girl? Picture the lead Jamaica would have if Bolt lead off against a woman. Insane and for what? Also mixed relays in swimming, positing Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky on a mixed relay. New women events in Canoeing, rowing, shooting and weightlifting so that there is an equal number of medals available to both men and women...."Equality. It's a nice concept..."

    Sounds like fun. Relay races are, on average, the most entertaining track events in the Olympics, so why not add some more relays? Mixed sex relay races are natural because men and women track and field athletes spend lots of time together at track meets and in training, often marrying each other.

    In tennis, Mixed Doubles tournaments are a normal part of major championships. The Mixed Doubles final in the French Open was a few days ago:

    https://sports.yahoo.com/rohan-bopanna-gabriela-dabrowski-win-french-open-mixed-doubles-title-224454360.html

    Mixed Doubles has been a regular part of Wimbledon since 1913.

    In contrast, while country club golfers not infrequently compete in mixed twosome tournaments, the male and female touring pro golfers usually only get together for one tournament a year in the late-in-the-year silly season.

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    • Replies: @Captain Tripps
    Our county high school conference runs a distance medley relay for the boys and girls JV teams. If I recall they start with the 800m, then the 400m, then the 3200m and finish with the 1600m. I think that would be cool if they introduced that at the Olympics.
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  198. @Anonymous
    Sailer bait...http://deadspin.com/baltimores-famous-national-chess-champion-isnt-a-nation-1795900338

    The lede is so obliterated you have to go in to the comments to find it, but a wise one will realize the story right away.

    The US Chess Federation needs to stop holding meaningless competitions at a national championship.

    I don’t play chess, but last month I attempted to look at the results on the USCF website in hopes of finding an up and coming player to follow. The categories were so confusing that I gave up.

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  199. @Amanuensis
    I loved the comment about the kid going to school at Roland Park Elementary, judged to be Baltimore's best. I'm sure he is, but there's no way he lives in RP. The number of AA kids somehow shoe-horned into that school is amazing. Roland Park is filled to the brim with expensive homes and people who work for Johns Hopkins, law firms, etc.

    Meanwhile, the area has 5 or 6 private schools - Bryn Mawr (girls), Gilman and Boys Latin (boys only), Roland Park Country School (girls), Friends (mixed & Quaker - the lefty choice!), and Cathedral of Mary Our Queen (Roman Catholic). Parents in all manner of vehicles converge on the area in the morning and afternoon.

    It's iSteve on display every day.

    I don’t know about the elementary school, but Roland Park’s middle school has two advanced programs – the Advanced Academic Program and the Ingenuity Project. The two programs have separate applications handled by different offices.

    The Advanced Academic Program sounds like it is for the white kids with advanced math in grades 4 and 5, gifted and talented classes in middle school and high school, and AP and dual credit courses in high school.

    The Ingenuity Project is a school-choice program that selects students who score the highest on a cognitive ability exam.

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  200. @Buffalo Joe
    Steve, way off topic but the NYT has an article, reprinted in the Buffalo News, about the new mixed gender events for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The writer, a Ms. Juliet Macur gushes about how the new events will be "fresh and fun" with "a 4x400 meter mixed relay...in which some of the world's fastest men may run head to head against some of the world's fastest women." Usain Bolt could spot the world's fastest woman 20 meters in the 200 meter dash and still cruise to the Gold Medal. How would the relay work, boy, girl, boy, girl? Picture the lead Jamaica would have if Bolt lead off against a woman. Insane and for what? Also mixed relays in swimming, positing Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky on a mixed relay. New women events in Canoeing, rowing, shooting and weightlifting so that there is an equal number of medals available to both men and women...."Equality. It's a nice concept..."

    I could also see mixed relay races in track and swimming at the 2020 Olympics being lower key events to lure Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps out of retirement to have a go.

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    • Replies: @Triumph104
    Figure skating used to be considered a male activity. In 1902 Madge Syers of Great Britain entered the World Figure Skating Championships since there was no rule against women participating. She finished second. Needless to say, the rules were changed after that.

    As for the Olympics, figure skating first appeared at the 1908 Summer Olympics and included pairs along with men's and ladies' competitions. 1908 was also the debut year for pairs at the World Championships. In 1976, ice dancing, which had been had been held at the World Championships since 1952, became an Olympic event.

    In 2014, the Olympics held a team figure skating competition for the first time. I thought the team event was overkill since figure skating events already took place every other day at the Olympics. But I suppose research showed that many people will only tune in to the Winter Olympics for figure skating, so more nights were added.

    Back in the 1990s or so, the International Skating Union had an explicit rule that pairs and ice dance couples had to be a man and a woman - remember former communist countries have a lot of pull in the sport. I don't know if the rule has been changed, but it certainly is not acceptable in today's climate.

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  201. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @The Last Real Calvinist
    Thanks much for this reply. I've not seen too many places that teach critical thinking explicitly in the way you describe. I certainly agree there is a set of noticing, questioning, and analysis skills than can be taught that might be labelled critical thinking (without quotation marks), and that is indeed highly valuable.

    The 'critical thinking' I'm referring to is the reflexively-leftist, power-obsessed, racism-sexism-classism-haunted, torching-the-cultural-capital-of-the West species of 'critical thinking' that has strangled and gutted real critical thinking, and struts through the university common wearing its raggedy pelt as a trophy. You know what I mean, I'm sure.

    I recall seeing 'critical thinking' being used as a mindless edu-catch-phrase in the 90s, e.g. as a standard item in academic program objectives, broad aims for students to achieve upon graduation, etc., etc. By this point it had nothing to do with Kant anymore, obviously. But my experience is mostly overseas, so it may have been around longer than that.

    And I agree that turning the guns of real critical thinking upon those accustomed to unleashing unopposed barrages of 'critical thinking' can be effective.

    But these days the hard left in the universities has little need to cloak their power plays in the publicly-palatable guise of 'critical thinking'. As the Evergreen, Yale, Berkeley and other recent outrages have demonstrated, they're now a proud priesthood engaged in righteous witch-hunting.

    I find the U of Missouri case the most interesting. That institution has really paid for its BLM folly, with crushing declines in student enrollment, staff layoffs, etc., whereas I doubt Yale and Berkeley have been reduced to placing ads on Facebook to attract new students. So what's the level of prestige sufficient to insulate an institution from the consequences of hard-left malpractice? Sounds like a good job for some critical thinking.

    (same Anon)
    This is an interesting reply, thanks.
    I’ve been following Evergeen, Berkeley and Yale fairly closely, as I’ve been associated in some way with two of them, and I feel sympathies for some very far leftist positions. I can definitely grasp the position of Brett Weinstein, of Evergreen, who seems to have made the point on a recent Fox segment that Evergreen has “communities of learning” (or something like that) that actually work. I don’t doubt that this is straightforwardly true. Unfortunately this is being undermined by a Khmer Rougish segment of the student body.

    As far as “critical thinking” itself goes, when I taught it, one of the most important elements was being able to accurately articulate the argument made by your opponents. If you could not articulate, say, why “gay marriage” was supposed to be wonderful or disastrous, then you did not grasp what was going on.

    It is perhaps worth noting that I was in a philosophy department, and that until very recently, philosophy departments tended to be not so influenced by SJWish posturing.

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    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    Thanks very much for your reply.

    As far as “critical thinking” itself goes, when I taught it, one of the most important elements was being able to accurately articulate the argument made by your opponents. If you could not articulate, say, why “gay marriage” was supposed to be wonderful or disastrous, then you did not grasp what was going on.

     

    This is indeed what critical thinking should be; it's a skill every tertiary graduate should possess upon being graduated. But I'd very much like to know in how many US college and university classrooms this disinterested, liberal ideal is maintained.

    Another good way to distinguish the genuine critical thinking you're talking about here from the distorted 'critical thinking' I've been grousing about is to identify the former with modernity and the enlightment project, and the latter with postmodernism. This is just what a recent essay on Evergreen State from Michael Aaron does: LINK.

    Aaron argues that Bret Weinstein, with his STEM background and values, is clinging (bitterly now, I suppose), to the modernist form of critical thinking, but has run head-on into the rising tide of postmodernist 'critical thinking', which has its roots in the Frankfurt School, Marcuse, Derrida and French poststructuralists, Foucault, etc. For the postmodernists, power is all; argument is irrelevant, because there's no expectation that truth can be identified, nor should it be, since 'knowledge' simply represents socially-constructed discourses seeking to wield and hold on to power.

    What worries Aaron is that university administrators now seem to be siding openly with the postmodernist power-seekers, especially since these administrators have been pushing postmodernist theory and tactics to achieve their own aims. If they continue on this ruinous path, Aaron sees unversities deteriorating into "roving mobs attempting to silence dissenting thought merely based on race, informed by far left theories that weaponize a victim status drawn solely from immutable, innate traits". That's the apotheosis of postmodernist 'critical thinking'.

    In passing, Aaron mentions a third group, i.e. traditionalists who comprise evangelical Christians and, interestingly, the 'alt right'. His message to those of us who fit here: the university is lost to you. The modernists fight the postmodernists for the future of higher education, and traditionalists are 'pushed to the fringes'.

    I think Aaron is just about right. I was a grad student in a humanities-oriented discipline in the late 80s/early 90s. I was from a traditionalist background, but could see myself becoming a modernist, although I wouldn't have used that term at the time. But then I ran into the warning ripples of the postmodernist tsunami. I recall one course I took from a prominent feminist scholar. In our first seminar, she leaned back in her chair, twirled her glasses, and pronounced: 'I'm really not interested in men's perspectives on the material in the course'. She wasn't joking. The course was an early exercise in trying to rewrite mportant aspects of the narrative of western civilization. In this environment, making an articulate argument representing a dissenting point of view was useless. The course was about something else quite different.

    I learned a couple of important things in those years. First, I saw how vulnerable the modernist university, especially in the humanities and social sciences, would be to the postmodernist challenge. The postmodernists were right about something very important: the foundations of the enlightenment project really were untrustworthy. Second, I realized that only the Logos, the Word, the Light, as revealed, could provide a cornerstone upon which lasting truth can be built. The modernists had tried to pull out that cornerstone, and their edifice was doomed to collapse. The postmodernists, canny tribal power-mongers that they were, could smell this weakness, and were baying to exploit it. And so they still are.

    I left grad school, and have never looked back. I may be, as another commenter has so helpfully informed me, a dolt, but then being a fool may be my calling:


    Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    1 Corinthians 1:20-25
     

    Sorry for going on a rant -- I've been thinking about this question for much of my adult life, and sometimes my thoughts on it run away from me. Thanks for the conversation.
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  202. @Steve Sailer
    I could also see mixed relay races in track and swimming at the 2020 Olympics being lower key events to lure Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps out of retirement to have a go.

    Figure skating used to be considered a male activity. In 1902 Madge Syers of Great Britain entered the World Figure Skating Championships since there was no rule against women participating. She finished second. Needless to say, the rules were changed after that.

    As for the Olympics, figure skating first appeared at the 1908 Summer Olympics and included pairs along with men’s and ladies’ competitions. 1908 was also the debut year for pairs at the World Championships. In 1976, ice dancing, which had been had been held at the World Championships since 1952, became an Olympic event.

    In 2014, the Olympics held a team figure skating competition for the first time. I thought the team event was overkill since figure skating events already took place every other day at the Olympics. But I suppose research showed that many people will only tune in to the Winter Olympics for figure skating, so more nights were added.

    Back in the 1990s or so, the International Skating Union had an explicit rule that pairs and ice dance couples had to be a man and a woman – remember former communist countries have a lot of pull in the sport. I don’t know if the rule has been changed, but it certainly is not acceptable in today’s climate.

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  203. @JackOH
    Dave, by RICO, do you mean racketeer-influenced corrupt organization, as in the RICO anti-Mob law? Reason I ask is I and a few other folks were so distressed by the endemic and uncheckable corruption at our state university we'd thought of approaching the FBI. (We held off because we weren't prepared for a crusade, among other reasons.)

    JackOH wrote to me:

    Dave, by RICO, do you mean racketeer-influenced corrupt organization, as in the RICO anti-Mob law?

    Yeah, a while after I graduated, a fellow who had been, as I recall, a federal auditor actually ran for Congress on the promise of cleaning up all the corruption he had uncovered at Stanford! Needless to say, he lost: the university holds a lot of clout in the Palo Alto area.

    What I myself saw was scientific fraud on projects carried out with federal funds, personal threats made by faculty members to keep the facts from being made public, etc. An aggressive prosecutor could have made a strong case for misappropriation of federal funds, for obstruction of justice, etc.

    But, of course, Stanford is very well connected to the national Establishment. The only way such a prosecution would ever be launched is if Stanford somehow came out on the losing side of a major political battle against adversaries who were eager to wreak vengeance (not a trait of Trump’s, despite the claims of his detractors).

    Stanford also encourages among its undergrads a sense of “Now you are a winner in life just by having gotten into Stanford!” Not as bad as Harvard, but I have seen negative effects on undergrads’ energy and motivation resulting from this. I actually think may Stanford undergrads would have done better had they gone to a state school where they knew they had to work hard in order to “make it” in life.

    Dave

    Read More
    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    Stanford also encourages among its undergrads a sense of “Now you are a winner in life just by having gotten into Stanford!” Not as bad as Harvard, but I have seen negative effects on undergrads’ energy and motivation resulting from this. I actually think may Stanford undergrads would have done better had they gone to a state school where they knew they had to work hard in order to “make it” in life.

    Maybe you're right, but I was disappointed when Stanford didn't accept me for the MBA program, despite a 720 GMAT and quality corporate experience. I did, however, accept a half-tuition scholarship to a very well-ranked state university MBA program that ended up costing me just $5K.
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  204. @Dave Pinsen
    The other variety of the infrastructure lament is when some pundit has just flown back from Shanghai. Trumpists need to highlight the contradiction between the left's advocacy for making America majority-NAM and their whining about wobbly infrastructure.

    Also, related to this and Steve's earlier post about retiring in Latin America: my sister was in Bogotá this week and sent pics back. It looks pretty 1st world, at least the neighborhood she was in. It seems like the Americas ex-Venezuela in Colombia and points south have been quietly getting themselves together a bit.

    Tee hee. The Autochthoness is from Bogotá.

    Your observation reminds me of a similar phenomenon. When I lived in Miami, people would often be surprised by my explanations of the place: dangerous, infested by crime, crooked cops everywhere, incompetent tradesmen constantly trying to rip you off, no one speaks English, crumbling infrastructure (e.g., buses commonly broke down whilst filled with passengers on our way to work)….

    The surprised people would authoritatively declare they’d thought Miami was charming. Pressed for details, they invariably revealed they’d gone grom the airport directly to a hôtel in Miami Beach or a to the port to board a cruise-ship, to which I would wryly “Well of course you think that way; you’ve never been to Miami; you’ve visited the fucking Travel Channel.”

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  205. […] centers for the Cult. Practical education is not on the priority list. So much so that students may actually get dumber as they go through their undergraduate training. A guy like Wallace Loh has spent his life proving […]

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  206. JackOH says:

    Thanks, Dave. There’s been an internal auditor hired directly by the trustees this past year, and she reports to the trustees and not the VP Admin, which is very unusual. Trustee minutes and my own insider knowledge hint very strongly she was hired at the insistence of the Ohio AG. One summary report of hers included in trustees’ minutes mentions “fraud” in connection with the operation of some support departments.

    I spent most of a decade willfully denying obvious signs of brazen, irregular, and dubious conduct. One trivial example is the sidewalks that were freshly poured one year, then a year or two later, dug up and poured again.

    I’d once had a good regard for our local university, the sincere backstop school that gave so many a leg up in the world. There are still good people there, and good things happening. The bad stuff is pretty much off the charts. It’s been a shock to the system for me.

    Thanks again.

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  207. @Anonymous
    (same Anon)
    This is an interesting reply, thanks.
    I've been following Evergeen, Berkeley and Yale fairly closely, as I've been associated in some way with two of them, and I feel sympathies for some very far leftist positions. I can definitely grasp the position of Brett Weinstein, of Evergreen, who seems to have made the point on a recent Fox segment that Evergreen has "communities of learning" (or something like that) that actually work. I don't doubt that this is straightforwardly true. Unfortunately this is being undermined by a Khmer Rougish segment of the student body.

    As far as "critical thinking" itself goes, when I taught it, one of the most important elements was being able to accurately articulate the argument made by your opponents. If you could not articulate, say, why "gay marriage" was supposed to be wonderful or disastrous, then you did not grasp what was going on.

    It is perhaps worth noting that I was in a philosophy department, and that until very recently, philosophy departments tended to be not so influenced by SJWish posturing.

    Thanks very much for your reply.

    As far as “critical thinking” itself goes, when I taught it, one of the most important elements was being able to accurately articulate the argument made by your opponents. If you could not articulate, say, why “gay marriage” was supposed to be wonderful or disastrous, then you did not grasp what was going on.

    This is indeed what critical thinking should be; it’s a skill every tertiary graduate should possess upon being graduated. But I’d very much like to know in how many US college and university classrooms this disinterested, liberal ideal is maintained.

    Another good way to distinguish the genuine critical thinking you’re talking about here from the distorted ‘critical thinking’ I’ve been grousing about is to identify the former with modernity and the enlightment project, and the latter with postmodernism. This is just what a recent essay on Evergreen State from Michael Aaron does: LINK.

    Aaron argues that Bret Weinstein, with his STEM background and values, is clinging (bitterly now, I suppose), to the modernist form of critical thinking, but has run head-on into the rising tide of postmodernist ‘critical thinking’, which has its roots in the Frankfurt School, Marcuse, Derrida and French poststructuralists, Foucault, etc. For the postmodernists, power is all; argument is irrelevant, because there’s no expectation that truth can be identified, nor should it be, since ‘knowledge’ simply represents socially-constructed discourses seeking to wield and hold on to power.

    What worries Aaron is that university administrators now seem to be siding openly with the postmodernist power-seekers, especially since these administrators have been pushing postmodernist theory and tactics to achieve their own aims. If they continue on this ruinous path, Aaron sees unversities deteriorating into “roving mobs attempting to silence dissenting thought merely based on race, informed by far left theories that weaponize a victim status drawn solely from immutable, innate traits”. That’s the apotheosis of postmodernist ‘critical thinking’.

    In passing, Aaron mentions a third group, i.e. traditionalists who comprise evangelical Christians and, interestingly, the ‘alt right’. His message to those of us who fit here: the university is lost to you. The modernists fight the postmodernists for the future of higher education, and traditionalists are ‘pushed to the fringes’.

    I think Aaron is just about right. I was a grad student in a humanities-oriented discipline in the late 80s/early 90s. I was from a traditionalist background, but could see myself becoming a modernist, although I wouldn’t have used that term at the time. But then I ran into the warning ripples of the postmodernist tsunami. I recall one course I took from a prominent feminist scholar. In our first seminar, she leaned back in her chair, twirled her glasses, and pronounced: ‘I’m really not interested in men’s perspectives on the material in the course’. She wasn’t joking. The course was an early exercise in trying to rewrite mportant aspects of the narrative of western civilization. In this environment, making an articulate argument representing a dissenting point of view was useless. The course was about something else quite different.

    I learned a couple of important things in those years. First, I saw how vulnerable the modernist university, especially in the humanities and social sciences, would be to the postmodernist challenge. The postmodernists were right about something very important: the foundations of the enlightenment project really were untrustworthy. Second, I realized that only the Logos, the Word, the Light, as revealed, could provide a cornerstone upon which lasting truth can be built. The modernists had tried to pull out that cornerstone, and their edifice was doomed to collapse. The postmodernists, canny tribal power-mongers that they were, could smell this weakness, and were baying to exploit it. And so they still are.

    I left grad school, and have never looked back. I may be, as another commenter has so helpfully informed me, a dolt, but then being a fool may be my calling:

    Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

    1 Corinthians 1:20-25

    Sorry for going on a rant — I’ve been thinking about this question for much of my adult life, and sometimes my thoughts on it run away from me. Thanks for the conversation.

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  208. @PhysicistDave
    JackOH wrote to me:

    Dave, by RICO, do you mean racketeer-influenced corrupt organization, as in the RICO anti-Mob law?
     
    Yeah, a while after I graduated, a fellow who had been, as I recall, a federal auditor actually ran for Congress on the promise of cleaning up all the corruption he had uncovered at Stanford! Needless to say, he lost: the university holds a lot of clout in the Palo Alto area.

    What I myself saw was scientific fraud on projects carried out with federal funds, personal threats made by faculty members to keep the facts from being made public, etc. An aggressive prosecutor could have made a strong case for misappropriation of federal funds, for obstruction of justice, etc.

    But, of course, Stanford is very well connected to the national Establishment. The only way such a prosecution would ever be launched is if Stanford somehow came out on the losing side of a major political battle against adversaries who were eager to wreak vengeance (not a trait of Trump's, despite the claims of his detractors).

    Stanford also encourages among its undergrads a sense of "Now you are a winner in life just by having gotten into Stanford!" Not as bad as Harvard, but I have seen negative effects on undergrads' energy and motivation resulting from this. I actually think may Stanford undergrads would have done better had they gone to a state school where they knew they had to work hard in order to "make it" in life.

    Dave

    Stanford also encourages among its undergrads a sense of “Now you are a winner in life just by having gotten into Stanford!” Not as bad as Harvard, but I have seen negative effects on undergrads’ energy and motivation resulting from this. I actually think may Stanford undergrads would have done better had they gone to a state school where they knew they had to work hard in order to “make it” in life.

    Maybe you’re right, but I was disappointed when Stanford didn’t accept me for the MBA program, despite a 720 GMAT and quality corporate experience. I did, however, accept a half-tuition scholarship to a very well-ranked state university MBA program that ended up costing me just $5K.

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    • Replies: @Physicistdave
    E. Rekshun wrote to me:

    Maybe you’re right, but I was disappointed when Stanford didn’t accept me for the MBA program...
     
    I cannot speak to the MBA program, but my middle brother and I were both admitted to Stanford as undergads: he accepted, but I chose Caltech. Over the years, looking at kids I know who were accepted vs. rejected for Stanford undergrads, it appears that, above a basic academic cutoff, it is more or less random.

    I actually suspect there is a bit of cunning manipulation here: Stanford rejects so many kids with essentially perfect academics that those who do get in have a sense that they must be really special to be among the "chosen ones," and tend to have a strong sense of gratitude to Stanford as a result, not realizing that their selection was essentially random.

    If Stanford just let in the academically top students, period, then the kids might be less grateful for having been "chosen."

    I'll also add that the physics grad students at Stanford were less impressive on the whole than the undergrads at Caltech (to be sure, the Stanford grad students were also far less weird than the Caltech undergrads -- Caltech specializes in "weird").

    Dave
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  209. @Steve Sailer
    Sounds like fun. Relay races are, on average, the most entertaining track events in the Olympics, so why not add some more relays? Mixed sex relay races are natural because men and women track and field athletes spend lots of time together at track meets and in training, often marrying each other.

    In tennis, Mixed Doubles tournaments are a normal part of major championships. The Mixed Doubles final in the French Open was a few days ago:

    https://sports.yahoo.com/rohan-bopanna-gabriela-dabrowski-win-french-open-mixed-doubles-title-224454360.html

    Mixed Doubles has been a regular part of Wimbledon since 1913.

    In contrast, while country club golfers not infrequently compete in mixed twosome tournaments, the male and female touring pro golfers usually only get together for one tournament a year in the late-in-the-year silly season.

    Our county high school conference runs a distance medley relay for the boys and girls JV teams. If I recall they start with the 800m, then the 400m, then the 3200m and finish with the 1600m. I think that would be cool if they introduced that at the Olympics.

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  210. @Buffalo Joe
    Steve, way off topic but the NYT has an article, reprinted in the Buffalo News, about the new mixed gender events for the 2020 Olympics in Japan. The writer, a Ms. Juliet Macur gushes about how the new events will be "fresh and fun" with "a 4x400 meter mixed relay...in which some of the world's fastest men may run head to head against some of the world's fastest women." Usain Bolt could spot the world's fastest woman 20 meters in the 200 meter dash and still cruise to the Gold Medal. How would the relay work, boy, girl, boy, girl? Picture the lead Jamaica would have if Bolt lead off against a woman. Insane and for what? Also mixed relays in swimming, positing Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky on a mixed relay. New women events in Canoeing, rowing, shooting and weightlifting so that there is an equal number of medals available to both men and women...."Equality. It's a nice concept..."

    Also mixed relays in swimming, positing Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky on a mixed relay.

    As a former competitive swimmer, I can’t wait for this. What is different in swimming vs running relays is the Medley relay. Each of the four swimmers has a leg in the four competitive strokes; Backstroke, Butterfly, Breaststroke and Freestyle. As the different strokes have different times, you can’t simply put the two fastest female runners and the two fastest male runners. The coaches will have to figure out the best combination, it’s an armchair strategist paradise.

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  211. @E. Rekshun
    Stanford also encourages among its undergrads a sense of “Now you are a winner in life just by having gotten into Stanford!” Not as bad as Harvard, but I have seen negative effects on undergrads’ energy and motivation resulting from this. I actually think may Stanford undergrads would have done better had they gone to a state school where they knew they had to work hard in order to “make it” in life.

    Maybe you're right, but I was disappointed when Stanford didn't accept me for the MBA program, despite a 720 GMAT and quality corporate experience. I did, however, accept a half-tuition scholarship to a very well-ranked state university MBA program that ended up costing me just $5K.

    E. Rekshun wrote to me:

    Maybe you’re right, but I was disappointed when Stanford didn’t accept me for the MBA program…

    I cannot speak to the MBA program, but my middle brother and I were both admitted to Stanford as undergads: he accepted, but I chose Caltech. Over the years, looking at kids I know who were accepted vs. rejected for Stanford undergrads, it appears that, above a basic academic cutoff, it is more or less random.

    I actually suspect there is a bit of cunning manipulation here: Stanford rejects so many kids with essentially perfect academics that those who do get in have a sense that they must be really special to be among the “chosen ones,” and tend to have a strong sense of gratitude to Stanford as a result, not realizing that their selection was essentially random.

    If Stanford just let in the academically top students, period, then the kids might be less grateful for having been “chosen.”

    I’ll also add that the physics grad students at Stanford were less impressive on the whole than the undergrads at Caltech (to be sure, the Stanford grad students were also far less weird than the Caltech undergrads — Caltech specializes in “weird”).

    Dave

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  212. @Joe Schmoe

    in many big cities barely 50% or less graduate from HS.
     
    That is still higher than in the 1960's.

    in many big cities barely 50% or less graduate from HS.

    That is still higher than in the 1960′s.

    Yeah, but the average dropout in the ’60s could probably read better than the average graduate can today, and was more likely to have a good job waiting for him. Or any job, for that matter.

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  213. Lagertha says:

    Calpoly is a gem…

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  214. @Buffalo Joe
    Charles, in nearby Williamsville NY, the teachers' union has backed and supported six of the last six members elected to the school board. Wolves and lambs, indeed. Do you know when lambs stop being lambs? When they're on your dinner plate.

    Yes, well, with you, and your report of your son, I am heartened. There are the clear-sighted, the astute, the effective and the righteous. I think you may be a clean sweep of that roster – and if your progeny has embraced and adopted your characteristics, through either genetics, environment or some combination of both, my optimism is amplified.

    We will prevail. The only question is how much needless suffering and death stand between us and when the lambs are “woke”.

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  215. @biz
    I get what you are saying, but I still think that there are places that are more PC than the US, even beyond mere language policing, and their infrastructure is fine. In Sweden for example they literally have a huge movement now to raise boys to piss sitting down in order to eliminate one more difference between the sexes (or genders or whatever). If PC behaviors generally led to bad infrastructure in a society, we should see it there.

    PC is the general term. The specific issue is the inability to discriminate based on employees’ ability when such discrimination has a disparate impact against NAMs. This might come to Sweden sooner than you think.

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