College Math

I sat next to a fresh faced Seattle teen and her dad on the flight back from New York City. They were perusing a Columbia University brochure. “Shopping colleges” I asked and the father was off and running never mind that I really needed some sleep.

His story is deserving of a separate post, for our purposes today, he said a year at Columbia costs $73,000. The dad makes bank and the daughter is the best 16 year old archer in the country, but last I checked, archery scholarships weren’t too generous. Meaning the fam has to come up with at least $325,000 given projected tuition inflation, air travel, and NYC incidentals. A fan of dark humor apparently, he said, “And then they need a masters to get a job.”

She wants to “be a doc for professional athletes” so rather than a masters, she’ll have four years of med school tuition.

Compared to a degree from the University of Washington, will a Columbia degree (or Stanford or UCLA* or Berkeley where she’s also applied), increase the odds of her achieving her career objective, which of course, she’s likely to tweak if not completely change? Her older sis pays $11,000 a year to study public health at “UDub”, one of the top programs in the world.

If I was the dad, I’d make Younger Daughter a proposition. Follow in Older Sister’s footsteps and I’ll give you the money saved from Columbia that you can then use to travel the world and fund medical school, and/or start a business, or to buy a large luxe house in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Here’s the final tally:

$325,000 – $50,000= $275,000 + 4 years earning 3% compounded annually = $309,515

What should she do, cash the check for $275,000 and allow it to grow to $309,515 by graduation, or take a very expensive bite out of the Big Apple?

*in this one case, the obvious answer is; yes, definitely

 

Rick Steves Wants to Save the World

One vacation at a time. Lengthy profile of the travel guru, but really well written and well worth the time. In the spirt of Steves, I’m off on a two-week vacation, during which I’ll be pressing pause on Pressing Pause.

I’m agnostic on marijuana. Apart from that difference, I’m down with damn near every other aspect of Steves’s worldview. At the same time, I get tired just reading about his frenetic pace. I’m far too slothful to aspire to be Steves-like, but his non-materialism and associated generosity are definitely inspiring.

I’ll post pics to Twitter, @PressingPause, of my travels. First person to guess the correct country wins an all expense trip to North Korea.

How Committed Is The Tacoma Public School District To Its Mission?

The district’s mission:

“Our mission is to develop competent, contributing citizens. We will be an outstanding school district in which all students exhibit high standards of achievement and critical thinking skills, and are socially responsible, contributing members of their community.”

A couple of weeks ago, Mike Jankanish, an AP History teacher at Tacoma’s Wilson High School, wrote an op-ed titled, “Diversity education is a divisive education.”

As reported by King5.com, Jankanish is opposed to HB 1314, a Washington State legislative proposal to incorporate ethnic studies as a course elective in its public schools.

Jankanish contends:

“This increasing emphasis on cultural diversity is not just about school curriculum but part of a larger agenda to implement the goals of identity politics. This way of thinking is based on the assumption that a certain group of Americans are inherently marginalized in our society and are the victims of ongoing discrimination.”

Unlike Jankanish, I fully support the passing of HB 1314 and believe certain groups of Americans are inherently marginalized in our society and are the victims of ongoing discrimination.

However, unlike some Tacoma teachers, journalists, and residents; I also believe in Jankanish’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Because Jankanish questioned whether anyone, which includes Tacoma’s students of course, are victimized by ongoing discrimination, some Tacoma teachers immediately labeled his thinking racist and associated it with White Supremacy. Others in the community expressed anger at the Tacoma paper for even publishing Jankanish’s op-ed. Still others pledged to remove their children from his classes.

Despite being an educational organization, it doesn’t appear as if anyone in the Tacoma School District asked Jankanish why he doesn’t believe in institutional racism.

One can’t help but wonder if the outraged Tacoma teachers ever travel to Eastern Washington or anywhere more politically conservative. Lots of people feel identity politics have gone too far. Hell, in his 1991 book, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner in history and adviser to the Kennedy and other administrations, Arthur M. Schlesinger argued against identity politics in The Disuniting of America.

As an advocate of multicultural education, I used to assign Schlesinger’s slight book not because I agreed with his thesis, but because it provoked deeper thinking about the need for multicultural education. More specifically, I used it to challenge my university pre-service teachers to deconstruct Schlesinger’s anti ethnic-studies point of view.

Upon the publishing of Jankanish’s editorial, one teacher said, “This is a chance for the community to say, ‘We don’t put up with this rhetoric, we don’t want this kind of thinking in our classrooms or affecting what our students are hearing.'”

Rather than offer cogent counter arguments, silence him? Is the mission of the school district more accurately to protect students from overtly conservative political opinions deemed offensive by a majority of teachers?

Again, I don’t agree with Jankanish at all, but he appears to have stated his views calmly, meaning he’s not incited anyone to violence. I may be labeled a reactionary for daring to write this, but tying Jankanish to White Supremacy without knowing anything about his teaching record or personal life, strikes me as an egregious leap of misguided activism.

It also strikes me as disrespectful of the exact students the teachers obviously care for so deeply in that it underestimates their capacity to thoughtfully weigh contrasting points of view in light of their life experience and their study of history and related social studies courses.

I don’t understand how the district seeks to silence teachers for unpopular political views while simultaneously claiming to be a place where “all students exhibit critical thinking skills.”

 

Apple’s Bundled Services

I pay $120/year for one of the 300 periodicals highlighted in Apple’s new Apple News+, so I will likely subscribe to the $10/month service.* However, this launch crystallizes a contemporary conundrum, more is not always more.

I would rather pay half price for 5% of the periodicals. Let me pick 15 of the 300 I truly value. I don’t value having access to 300 periodicals, just like I don’t value having access to 100 television channels. It only distracts me further.

Steve Jobs, who famously honed Apple’s focus on far fewer hardware products upon his return to the company,  understood less is almost always more. Today’s launch is decidedly non-Jobsian.

But that won’t stop millions from biting and Apple from transforming news, gaming, and television. And me, as an AAPL investor, making even more money.

*although I’ll lose access to the hard copy, and most likely, the website

 

Weekend Assorted Links

1. Robots aren’t just stealing human jobs.

2. What it’s like to go from Southern California to Washington state, 1,377 miles, as slowly as possible.

3. How going for a run changes your brain.

4. A semi-submerged restaurant on the coast of southern Norway offers diners a sustainable menu and a window onto the seabed.

5. The Swedish rapper who has become a symbol of resistance against right-wing populism.

6. How scary is Jordan Peele’s Us?

Weekend Assorted Links

1. Tour du Rwanda? Click on the “continue reading” link to be transported to Central Africa.

2. My mom, who died four years ago today, liked to say, “Variety is the spice of life.” Apparently, not everyone agrees. Related, dad was a serious PB&J guy.

3. As Students Struggle With Stress and Depression, Colleges Act as Counselors. One reason tuition continues to rise much faster than inflation.

4. Is this the answer to my terrible, no good, awful commute?

5. I know some Specific Northwest Pressing Pausers who make regular trips to the Swamp. Instead of exacerbating climate change, maybe they should consider this.

6. Why some parents pay bribes to get their kids into more selective colleges.

An Anxious Aristocracy

From the Business Insider:

  • Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among 40 people indicted by the FBI and US attorney’s office in Boston in an alleged college admissions scandal.
  • The scam allegedly involved parents having their children pose as athletes regardless of athletic abilities to get accepted into Division-1 universities.
  • Parents are also accused of paying to have a man take ACT and SAT tests for their children.
  • Schools involved include Georgetown, Stanford, University of California, Los Angeles, Yale, University of Texas, University of Southern California and Wake Forest, according to NBC Boston.

Care to comment Alexis Nedd?

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