Just before Christmas the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced a small improvement to its 2,100 free online courses: The free online service will now grant, for a modest affordable fee, credentials for those online students who gain mastery of the subject. Instead of calling it MIT 2.0, they named it MITx, and it is likely to challenge and change the higher education paradigm and the cartel that runs it.
Larry Sand's article "No Wonder Johnny (Still) Can't Read" — written for The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, based in Raleigh, N.C. — blames schools of education for the decline in America's education. Education professors drum into students that they should not "drill and kill" or be the "sage on the stage" but instead be the "guide on the side" who "facilitates student discovery." This kind of harebrained thinking, coupled with multicultural nonsense, explains today's education. During his teacher education, Sand says, "teachers-to-be were forced to learn about this ethnic group, that impoverished group, this sexually anomalous group, that under-represented group, etc. — all under the rubric of 'Culturally Responsive Education.'"
In a recent article on whether one should be optimistic or pessimistic about America’s future, I quoted the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts who wrote in Commentary magazine:
This may be the golden age of presumptuous ignorance. The most recent demonstrations of that are the Occupy Wall Street mobs. It is doubtful how many of these semi-literate sloganizers could tell the difference between a stock and a bond.
A liberal Swedish politician has sent a shot over the bow of that country’s home school community. Writing in a Swedish newspaper, with a follow-up posting on her blog, Lotta Edholm of Sweden’s Liberal Party called for changes to the country’s laws that would allow government social workers to more easily take children away from home school families.
One of the ways of trying to reduce the vast disparities in economic success, which are common in countries around the world, is by making higher education more widely available, even for people without the money to pay for it. This can be both a generous investment and a wise investment for a society to make. But, depending on how it is done, it can also be a foolish and even dangerous investment, as many societies around the world have learned the hard way.
What should America’s children and adolescents know about sex, homosexuality, “gender identity,” and contraception? As much as possible, according to a coalition of liberal educators, health professionals, and sex-ed “experts,” who have released a set of explicit recommendations they hope the nation’s schools will adopt as the new standards for sex education.
In November 2011, Commentary magazine asked 41 members of the cultural elite — writers thinkers, and professors — whether or not they were optimistic or pessimistic about America’s future. While most of the comments dwelt on political and economic issues, some of the contributors pointed to our education system as a source of their pessimism.
On Saturday, the Ron Paul campaign issued a statement announcing the naming of several new members of the “Homeschoolers for Ron Paul” coalition. The formation of the group was originally announced in August and since then has been very successful in motivating homeschool advocates to rally to Dr. Paul’s campaign for the White House.
Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a new budget plan Thursday that calls on California voters to approve $6.9 billion in new taxes that would apply to sales purchases and income on the state’s high earners (those making over $250,000 a year). The budget was inadvertently published on the state’s Department of Finance website, leaving the Governor’s office scrambling to arrange a news conference Thursday to detail the plan.
In hawking his 2012 budget proposal, Brown warned voters that without the temporary new taxes, which would be scheduled to expire in 2016, the state would have to drastically reduce its education budget — which, the Governor noted, would likely shorten the school year by three weeks. If voters accept his proposal, Brown suggested, the state could undergo serious debt reduction while reversing recession-era cuts to K-12 schools, which have already shortened the school year and inflated student-teacher ratios.
"With the tax program, we will eliminate the budget deficit finally, after years of kicking the can down the road," Brown contended.
If the tax increases are not implemented, state officials cautioned, the reductions to public education would automatically go into effect, including $4.8 billion in cuts for public schools and community colleges and another $400 million in cuts for higher education. In addition, California courts would suffer a $125-million reduction and spending would be reduced for firefighting in public forests.