Friday, September 03, 2010


Random Bullets of Friday

- I don’t get the Apple tv thing. It only gets two networks, and they’re ones that I can get over the air for free. Apple, I enjoy following you guys, but you’re missing the point here. The point is to make it possible to drop cable tv, or at least to cut it back all the way to the very basics. Gaining the option of paying again to watch shows I could have tivo’d the first time they were on, on a connection I already have to keep anyway, is not a selling point. I don’t need another way to get ABC. I need another way to get Comedy Central. (Besides, the wii already streams Netflix.) A swing and a miss, Apple.

- Note to granting agencies: it’s one thing to be months late disbursing grant money. It’s quite another to then say that we aren’t allowed to backfill money we fronted to the program while waiting. Grants are supposed to help, not become unfunded mandates. Either be prompt or be flexible; ‘late and strict’ is a terrible combination. Not cool, guys.

- From the 2008 edition (the most current one) of The American Community College, by Cohen and Brawer:

“Sixty percent of the community colleges where faculty are working under [collectively] negotiated contracts are located in just five states: California, Illinois, Washington, New York, and Michigan.” (p. 148)

I did not know that. Food for thought...

- A modest proposal for state legislatures that are getting persnickety about attrition rates in community colleges: either require (and pay for) four years in math in high school or shut the eff up.

- A new definition of “bittersweet”: watching your six year old daughter bound happily onto the bus for the first day of first grade.

- Actual conversation at home:

TG: Daddy, with all those meetings, when do you get your work done?
DD: That is my work.
TG: Really?
DD: Yeah.
TG: Ewwww...


Do you think that legislators know that math is the dominant force in attrition?
The reason I'm saying this is that it's a simple and straightforward message that has the virtue of being true.

"The hard part of the high school to college transition is the math. Students are able to take multiple runs at improved English mastery, but once they get too far behind in math, they find it impossible to continue."

That's always been my experience as a teacher; I love my returning students' drive and life experience. But man do they struggle with any math ever.
Along with the granting agency thing... when a (usually private) funding agency negotiates a contract with us and we send the signed contract to them for execution, please stop waiting a month and then saying, "Oh, wait, Legal needs to make some changes to this." It's not cool.
Your daughter is a VERY wise first grader.
- I might get an iPad if it can be used with a keyboard.

- I bet a lot of admins would like you to post a black list of rude agencies.

- Those 5 states have about 28% of the total US population, but a much larger fraction of the population if you don't count "right to work" states (more than 25% of the US population).

- You might consider making that case about math with data. Split your attrition calculation into two groups: those who test ready for "college level" math and those who don't, although I'd guess that the Double Whammy group is the worst under the assumption that a kid might have more motivation in math if ze is doing well (and attending every day) in freshman college English and History.
I wonder if the four years of English versus two or three years of Math requirements is because there are more union members with English teaching, rather than Math teaching, qualifications.
*lol* Now don't you wish you could express TG's very words the next time you're trapped in one of those long meetings? :o)
I think you're underestimating the fact that a lot of young twenty-somethings haven't found it necessary to buy a TV at all, in the first place - we do all of our TV watching on the computer!

Are you sure you should be reducing the denominator in your calculation by the population that exists in a right-to-work state?

It's my understanding that right-to-work laws allow for unionization; they simply make joining a union optional.
Time to update your sidebar: "The Girl is in preschool", now that she's a first grade mastermind.
iPads can be used with keyboards. Charlie Stross (a Scottish writer) posted a review a while back:
Requiring four years of math is hard because most (rigorous) high school math courses are sequential. That means that if a kid falls off of the math train along the way, they have to take summer school to catch up or graduate a year late. (There are some exceptions - algebra I and geometry can be taken concurrently, for instance, although a sophomore repeating algebra while also taking geometry is likely to be pretty overwhelmed by the amount of work involved.) This also makes it a bear if you get a kid transferring in as a senior from a district that only required two years when you require four, as that kid now has to pass two math classes as a senior to graduate and will probably be really resentful about the whole thing. It's not that it can't be done, but it does require schools to aggressively push summer school and other interventions early on and those cost money.

English, on the other hand, seems to be something where you can take, say, Creative Writing or Journalism at the same time as your "normal" English class to get back up to your 4 credits and graduate on time.
It’s quite another to then say that we aren’t allowed to backfill money we fronted to the program while waiting.

That sucks. NIH allows 90 days of pre-award costs to be charged to its grants without even asking for permission, and if you have a legitimate reason for even longer you can ask for (and usually receive) permission. Frankly, I don't see why any granting agency would care about this. What the fucke difference does it make to them?
DD said "food for thought", and that was my thought. Those who put together those data ought to be able to aggregate them into those two broad categories.

It was my observation that states that pass laws requiring a "closed shop" might have a much stronger view of the value of unions than ones that make it unconstitutional to have anything other than an "open shop". Are people in states that voted against closed shops going to be less likely to vote to join a union?
It's irrelevant; the "right-to-work" laws are designed to enshrine free-riding as a human right. They're no different from if those states had "right-to-consume" laws that made the payment of taxes optional, and they have exactly the same type of result.

that's nice

I don't see why anybody would care about this
Punditus, I agree entirely, particularly because I grew up in one of those 5 states DD listed. Heck, "Repeat 14(b)" was a common campaign slogan back where I'm from! But now that I live in a state where that 'free ride' (among others) is in the constitution, I am aware of the distrust of unions that runs deep in this region and led to that being in the constitution. Dean Dad's factoid doesn't surprise me one bit.
I recently bought an AppleTV and it's great. I am using it to watch all the programs I used to TiVo.

Admittedly this is because the first thing to do with your AppleTV is to install Boxee and XBMC on it, which Apple frowns on quite a bit. Using it the way it was intended to be used is indeed pretty pointless.
Not to needle with such picayune details but it's time to update your profile. The Girl is now in elementary school and STILL queen of all she surveys.
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