Thursday, March 03, 2016


Friday Fragments

I was sorry to hear that the budget standoff in Illinois, which has already kneecapped state universities, is starting to hit community colleges.  Apparently John A. Logan college just approved laying off 55 people, including 38 percent of the college’s instructors.

Folks in the community college world are suffering pretty severe cognitive dissonance these days.  We hear about economic recovery, which should be good, but our enrollments are counter-cyclical.  We hear calls for free community college, and plenty of praise from the Feds, but state and local funding have not recovered from the recession.  

My condolences to everyone at John A. Logan.  Until the governor and legislature there start acting like adults, there’s really no elegant short-term solution.


Neal McCluskey and I have been having a colloquy online this week about his proposal for replacing universally available student loans with student loans provided by banks, using whatever screens for likely success make sense to them.  His response to my response to his response (I think) is here.

While we disagree on some pretty fundamental points, I’m glad to see that we agree that it would be silly and irresponsible either to deny adults education, or to use high school GPA’s as screens for people in their 30’s.  Even if every high school in America achieved perfection today -- never mind how much that would involve -- the average age of a community college student is well into the 20’s.  They can’t just be written off.  Adult education can’t be squeezed into policies built on the assumption that students are coming right out of high school.  


Which raises an empirical question.  Is there any good data on the predictive value of high school GPA for new college students for whom high school is, say, ten or more years ago?  I haven’t seen any, but I’m hoping some of my wise and worldly readers have.


Dogs are great excuses to do things you really should do anyway.

Last weekend was the first glimpse of Spring for the year, so we took The Dog to Asbury Park and walked the beach with her.

Along with most of the state, apparently.  I had no idea so many people had dogs.

We kept The Dog on a leash, because as longtime readers know, she has gone on walkabout before.  But plenty of canine Americans roamed free that day, which made for quite a sight.  Our favorites were two pugs who loved to chase bubbles.  It was a windy day, and their human brought a bubble wand.  She’d loose bubbles into the wind, and the pugs would give chase, higgledy-piggledy.  (I don’t often get to say “higgledy-piggledy,” but nothing else quite captures it.)  They’d return at breakneck speed and wait urgently for her to do it again.  Meanwhile, TD kept watch with a question mark on her forehead.

We went for TD, but we enjoyed it more than she did.  Admittedly, she couldn’t be expected to know the significance of the Stone Pony, what with being a dog and all.  But still.  Policy and reflection and routine are all great, but sometimes, you just need to watch pugs chase bubbles, higgledy-piggledy.

I'm surprised you even have to ask because I thought everyone knows it. When the question is longitudinal data, Florida has it by the computer full. Analysis is another matter, but you have the forum to troll it as a good EdD topic.
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This is about 20 years old now. In 1995, I was curious (and since I didn't intend to publish, no IRB), so managed to get information on HS GPAs and first year college GPAs for our entering class of 1994. I no longer have the data (I do have the tables), but stratified by age (over 50% of our first time students at that point were age 22 or older), the correlation for 18-19 year olds was .36 (significant at the 1% level) and for those 22+ was 0.02, completely insignificant.

The world may well have changes in 20 years, though.

(NOTE: The comment above mine is spam.)
I was in Weymouth in England on a sunny New Years Day a few years ago. Beautiful three-mile, sandy beach, views of Isle of Portland in one direction, Isle of Purbeck in the other. The whole town turned out to promenade, and every other walker had a dog--most off leash, rompinig and chasing about, shitting wherever, happy and making everyone watching them happy.

Or, at least this American, already missing his five dogs back home in Maine....
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