Colleges are supposed to produce learning. But, in their landmark study, “Academically Adrift,” Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa found that, on average, students experienced a pathetic seven percentile point gain in skills during their first two years in college and a marginal gain in the two years after that. The exact numbers are disputed, but the study suggests that nearly half the students showed no significant gain in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills during their first two years in college.
This research followed the Wabash Study, which found that student motivation actually declines over the first year in college. Meanwhile, according to surveys of employers, only a quarter of college graduates have the writing and thinking skills necessary to do their jobs.
The most sensational parts of the documents — and much of what has been confirmed independently — had to do with global warming and efforts to spread doubt into what mainstream scientists are saying. Experts long have thought Heartland and other groups were working to muddy the waters about global warming, said Harry Lambright, a Syracuse University public policy professor who specializes in environment, science and technology issues.
“Scientifically there is no controversy. Politically, there is a controversy because there are political interest groups making it a controversy,” Lambright said. “It’s not about science. It’s about politics. To some extent they are winning the battle.”
A 2010 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences surveyed more than 1,300 most cited and published climate scientists and found that 97 percent of them said climate change was a human-made problem. Yet, public opinion polls show far more doubt in the American public.
If lawmakers adopt Nixon’s proposed funding cuts, Missouri’s public colleges and universities will have seen their state aid cut by about 25 percent during a three-year period. Their financial troubles are compounded by the fact that student enrollment has been growing and — under an agreement with Nixon — schools held tuition flat during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years.
Now that the holidays are over, and winter has really set in, it’s time to resume the gloom and doom 😉 To get you re-started, consider that only 30 percent of Americans have a passport (perhaps simply for economic reasons). Then read this:
QUELLE horreur! One of the uglier revelations about President Obama emerging from the Republican primaries is that he is trying to turn the United States into Europe.
“He wants us to turn into a European-style welfare state,” warned Mitt Romney. Countless versions of that horrific vision creep into Romney’s speeches, suggesting that it would “poison the very spirit of America.”
Any of you at random listening all across the fruited plain, what the **** is classical studies? What classics are studied? Or is it learning how to study in a classical way? Or is it learning how to study in a classy as opposed to unclassy way? And what about unclassical studies? Why does nobody care about the unclassics? What are the classics? And how are the classics studied? Oh, so you’re going to become an expert in Dickens? You’re assuming it’s literature? You’re assuming we’re talking about classical literature here? What if it’s classical women’s studies? What if it’s classical feminism? Who the **** knows what it is? … For all of you young skulls full of mush out there, … when you go to college, do not do classical studies. What the **** is it anyway?
While not shocking, Shepard and Kay’s findings are still terrifying in our information-saturated world. News feeds, finds, and breaking news abound. Twitter is the collective conscience of the interwebs. Yet, functioning members of American and Canadian societies who are unaware of the goings-on in the world (the economic recession or the global oil shortage, for example) would rather actively avoid tough news than exercise effort to learn more. Ignorance is cyclical and conscious—and that’s as scary as any economic or environmental disaster.