For stuff I can’t really talk about elsewhere.

While I am not sure that I have all that much to say, I thought it was time again to set up a personal blog. I blog regularly over at about higher ed data and related news. However, since that is a platform of state government, I do tend to censor myself and to minimize editorial commentary.

While I may not express much more opinion here, I will at least feel comfortable in branching out a bit. 

Last night I blogged some data about vets using Post-911 GI Bill benefits. I want to continue that a bit here. The Washington Post has an excellent story about the struggles of returning veterans. There is though a statement that strikes a bit odd.

Many are thriving — they are attending college, paid in full by the post-9/11 G.I. Bill; they are finding employers who covet their leadership skills and work ethic; they are receiving the medical attention they need. 

There are so many embedded assumptions here, or references to data in the survey on which the the article is based, that are never discussed, that I am troubled.

The assumption that one is “thriving” simply because they are attending college without cost is problematic. Why? Because no one knows. Last Monday, the Student Veterans of America released their million record study report (in partnership with the Veteran Administration and the National Student Clearinghouse) and has charitable as that report was, it could only state that veterans attending college have graduation rates “almost” as high as the overall rates of students. (Which means non-veterans as a group have an even higher rate than the overall.) 

I don’t consider that thriving.

Further, we don’t know anything about the personal struggles of those veterans in college and whether or not they are doing well, let alone thriving. Nor do we know if all their expenses are being met. Nor do we know if they are receiving a good quality education. 

There is just so much we don’t know. However, there are some projects which may help with this, one of which is mine. It will probably be worth following on the other blog.