Free parking in the Jungle

Uh-huh, 85 comments about parking; 57 comments about a “more nuanced Bill Gates” and 26 comments on a suggested reading list for Mr. Gates.

Parking still wins 85-83.

For those that may question my suggestion in the last post of “The Once and Future King” as appropriate reading material for Bill Gates, I offer the following:

1) If one can’t defend the liberal arts (and sciences) with liberal arts reading, we should probably give up trying.

2) I’m afraid that Gates, and most others, would overlook the simple and practical lessons about education and life in “The Jungle Books” by Rudyard Kipling.

3) The same folks are likely to miss the point of suggesting Richard Adams’ “Shardik.”

So, while you are perhaps dismayed by my cavalier attitude and dismissal of your ability to comprehend my thinking, I offer this: the current approaches intended to disrupt and improve education are the equivalent of a one-legged man auditioning for the role of Tarzan. By the way, I was called out by my teachers, many, many times for disrupting the education process, and not once did anyone seem to imply that it was a good thing. Just as it takes more than a copy of Easy Rider to be a rebel, it takes more than well-intentioned, well-designed technology to replace, let alone improve upon, high-touch teaching and learning.

Although, I am not a teacher/professor/instructor, so I should probably stay out of the debate about what is good teaching and the appropriate role of technology. I should stick to counting things and analyzing the process and outcomes.

I note tonight that 50 of Virginia’s college and university presidents, public and private, have signed a letter of concern to Secretary Duncan and Virginia’s congressional delegation. I welcome them to the party. I haven’t seen the letter, but this quoted in the article:

“In our judgment, it would be a serious error for students to receive a message that their success in life is evaluated solely, or even primarily, by their earnings, and especially so in the period shortly after earning their degrees.”

Well, not even I think that aspect is about evaluating student success in life, as far as PIRS is concerned. How about ability to repay their loans? Have a family? It is hard to live and enjoy the life of the mind if you spend so much time working to just get by that you never have time to think.

Fortunately, we in Virginia are not limited to short-term wage outcomes. We are about to publicly release data out to  19 years (and shortly after that, 20 years since we just got the data for 2013). I presented the preliminary report to Council on Monday.

Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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