Category Archives: Education
Another Shrinking Private Liberal Arts College
Strong opening from a Los Angeles Times story on Whittier College’s woes.
“The grounds of Whittier College are lush and the buildings stately. But the once-bustling quad is often all but empty these days, students say, and inside the Wanberg Hall dormitory, carpets smell musty, the WiFi is spotty, and 25 students share two restrooms with toilets that frequently break down and take ages to fix.”
If you’ve been following the decline of modestly endowed private liberal arts colleges, you know the rest of the story, including declining enrollment, plunging revenue, a divided board, a president under fire, the elimination of some sports (and subjects of study), and the selling of the president’s house.
Why would anyone shopping colleges choose one on the financial ropes? That’s the tipping point the bottom third of private liberal arts colleges are trying desperately to avoid. Similarly, if you were wanting to making a charitable contribution to a college or university, would you choose one with an uncertain future?
The Los Angeles Teacher Strike Explained
It’s really the Los Angeles Unified School District support staff that are striking for livable wages. And 89% of the students’ families support them. Because they are intimately familiar with the challenges of trying to make ends meet in one of country’s most expensive cities.
As reported here:
“The parents see their lives mirrored in the struggles of the bus drivers, cafeteria workers and classroom aides walking the picket lines — working-class residents who take on multiple jobs to survive in Southern California.
‘If you’re not making massive six-figure salaries, then, yeah, it’s hard,’ Ms. Cruz, 33, said. “How can you not support their cause?”
The strike has sharply illustrated the economic divide in modern Los Angeles, where low-wage workers can barely scrap together rent while affluent professionals blocks away are willing to pay $13 for a coconut smoothie. In this case, the school district’s working-class parents and school workers are on the same side of the divide.”
Support staff are seeking a 30% increase in pay while the district has countered with 23% over several years.
North Dakota is Anti-Gay
North Dakota’s lovely weather is, of course, a powerful magnet. Not to mention the affordable real estate. But Taylor Brorby paints a depressing picture. “The Real Reason North Dakota Is Going After Books and Librarians”.
“The summer after graduating from college, when I was outed by my aunt, and my home was no longer a safe space, I searched the stacks of the Bismarck Veterans Memorial Public Library for stories of gay people disowned by family members to help me find my own way to stable ground. During those evenings, I would settle into a plush armchair with a pile of books and magazines and read. I read authors like Kent Haruf and Amy Tan and Mary Karr. I would listen to classical music CDs to try and calm myself. I was free to roam, peruse, and free to be myself, at least privately.
North Dakota is a part of a growing national trend. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 of last year, the American Library Association recorded 681 attempts to ban or restrict library resources. . . . According to PEN America, 41 percent of books banned throughout the 2021-22 school year contained L.G.B.T.Q. themes, protagonists or prominent secondary characters. Bills similar to North Dakota’s have also been introduced or passed into law in states like West Virginia, Texas, Mississippi, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, Missouri and Indiana.
Under Missouri’s new law banning the provision of “explicit sexual material” to students, school districts removed works about Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo; comics, such as “Batman” and “X-Men”; visual depictions of Shakespeare’s works; and “Maus,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust.
But let’s be honest: It’s not the Venus de Milo these laws are going to come for first. It’s books with L.G.B.T.Q. stories, or books by L.G.B.T.Q. authors — the kind of books that have provided so many queer young people with a lifeline when they needed it most. I don’t know where I would have ended up if I couldn’t read my way out of despair. My heart breaks to think of all the kids now who won’t have that option.”
One large step backwards.
Everything Is Going To Change
People don’t resist change per se, they struggle with the pace of it. Tom Scott’s perspective on artificial intelligence reminds me of the winter weekend ski trips my Southern California friends and I took to the San Bernardino Mountains. The ones where my older high school friends drove way too fast. That scared me kind of like A.I. scares Scott.
Alternative Valentine’s Day
From a zoo in Texas.
Required Weekend Reading
The Best Teachers Adapt To The Times
Friday Required Reading
- Say it ain’t so.
- The “Greta Thunberg of Sport”. “I don’t want that on my conscience.”
How To Interview Professional Athletes
Fellow UCLA homie, Russell Westbrook is hella surly, especially after losses. Shooting 29% from deep will do that to you. If you ever get a chance to interview him after a(nother) Laker loss, follow this reporter’s three-step formula—stroke his ego, stroke his ego, stroke his ego.
Watch from 2:17-3:05.