Here’s How to Improve Education

In this interview from 1995, Neil Postman, an author and media theorist, talks about technology, information overload, and the state of being both more and less connected simultaneously (via Tom Forenski). It’s pretty fascinating; Postman could just as easily be talking about present-day, not twenty years ago.

At one point, he fortells the decline of education:

I’m one of the few people, not only that you’re likely to interview, but that you’ll ever met who’s opposed to the use of personal computers in school.

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5 Reasons to Skip Grad School

If you’ve got job-search woes, promotion troubles, or career confusion, grad school is not the answer. Over at US News and World Report today, I talk about the five reasons to skip grad school when you’re at a crossroads, and what you should do instead. Read it here.

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Stop Fussing About Student Loans, and Find Gen Y a Job

Student debt is being compared to the housing crisis. Catastrophe? Imminent. We’re thrusting our kids into vast amounts of financial turmoil, and for what? Disaster. And while that may be true (education does need a transformation), debt is not the main issue on a young person’s mind.

“You would think that student loans are young people’s only priority,” argues New York Times columnist Charles Blow. “They’re not. In fact, a cleverly designed survey released this week by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics asked respondents ages 18 to 29 to choose between pairings of issues to determine which ones they felt were more important.

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The (Online) Self-Educated: Doing What Colleges Can’t

Education is stuck at all levels. Increasingly so the older a student gets. College students not only face back-breaking debt, but also come out of their four-to-six year sojourns with little to no increase in their abilities or knowledge.

In one recent study, a group of students were asked to take a standardized test covering skills students are expected to garner from an undergraduate education, and 45 percent of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” during the first two years of college, while 36 percent of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” at all over their four years of college.

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Weekend Reading: Education


I’ve had an education theme going this week and don’t want to give that up quite yet. The discussion on the posts has been fantastic, and I’d love for you all to take the conversation off my blog, onto other blogs and sites, into your classrooms and next to the water cooler.

I’m off to Philly this weekend for a wedding and plan on bringing the subject up to my table at the reception once they’re good and rowdy. Should make for an interesting convo, don’t you think?

Without further ado…

Good Weekend Reading:

“Learning could happen everywhere through pop-up education.

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3 Ways to Upgrade College

Yesterday’s post on how colleges are failing Generation Y explored the collapse of our education system. There were so many good comments from that post, I incorporated several into today’s post which explores some ideas on how to re-build:

1. Get rid of most tenured full-time professors.

This is already the reality. The New York Times reports that in 1960, 75 percent of college instructors were full-time tenured or on the tenure-track. Today, a mere 27 percent are.

Talented faculty employed purely on a per-course or yearly contract basis don’t receive any benefits, earn a third or less of their tenured colleagues, and are “treated as second-class citizens on most campuses,” the Times aruges.

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No “A for Effort:” How Colleges Fail Generation Y

Originally wait-listed for acceptance at UW-Madison, I remember very clearly the night I finally received my large envelope from the school, with the Badger-red “Yes!” emboldened on the back flap. I was in.

And while the University of Wisconsin may have had doubts about letting a neighboring born-and-bred Illinois resident into their borders, I quickly forgave their hesitation, becoming a dedicated student to the school and its culture. I garnered a 4.0 GPA or darn-near close to it every semester, religiously “studied” at the Terrace, partied at State Street bars, and worked as the school’s top student fundraiser at the UW Foundation.

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