Grade-Changing Dean at Texas Tech Resigns

DeanLanceNailMoral of the story? Don’t mess with the professor’s assigned grade. Scott Jaschik, with Inside Higher Ed, writes:

Jay Conover, a professor of mathematics and statistics at Texas Tech University, got quite a surprise when he learned three of his former students graduated from the business school’s graduate program this year. He was surprised because he had given the students grades so low he thought they wouldn’t be able to graduate.

It turns out the Business School’s Dean, Lance Nail, had gone behind Conover’s back to get another prof to set up an alternate exam for a group of five students who complained Continue Reading…

Colleges Coddle Students, Too

Image result for images students on college campusGreat piece by Jeff Selingo. The opening:

An article in this week’s Washington Post nicely summarized a new book on the failings of helicopter parenting, especially when it comes to preparing kids for college.

But parents shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for why college students seem incapable of taking care of themselves these days. In the past decade, college campuses have turned into one big danger-free zone, where students live in a bubble and are asked to take few, if any, risks in their education.

Read the whole thing. It’s excellent. Students need objective, regular, and (when appropriate) constructively critical assessment–as do the rest of us. It’s how the real world operates, and it’s how we get better.

Repayments Rates are More Telling than Default Rates

Cohort Default Rate (CDR) is the federal government’s standard accountability metric for colleges. It refers to the percentage of a college’s graduates from a specific year who default on their student loans.

The problem is it’s a super-easy test to pass: As long as fewer than 40 percent of your alumni default on their student loans within three years of entering repayment, and as long as your CDR doesn’t go above 30 percent for three straight years, you’re good. That’s why only 11 colleges have been penalized in the last decade–even though almost 500 colleges had CDRs over 25 percent in 2014.

Failing to repay your student loans does not necessarily mean you’re in default on those loans. Repayment is a higher standard than merely not defaulting. Because it takes about a year of not making your regular payments to enter default–and that’s only if you don’t enter deference or forbearance first.

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Earnings Boost from Major, Not Choice of College

One of the myths I challenge in Beating the College Debt Trap is the notion that it’s worth taking on significant debt to attend a prestigious university because the extra earnings you’ll reap make it worth the huge price tag. Wrong. Nine times out of ten, that you go to college (and graduate) matters more than where you go to college. In fact, if future earnings were the sole criterion (not recommended), your choice of major makes a bigger difference than your choice of college.

That’s what a new study from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program concluded.

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Living With Your Parents: How to Make It Work

Boundless just published an article I wrote for them on living with parents as a young adult–the good, the bad, how to make it work. Here’s the opening:

So it happened. You thought you’d be on your own by now, but you’re not. Whether you’re trying to land a steady job, get out of debt, or finish college on the eight-year plan, if you’re living with your parents as a 20-something, you’re not alone. More than a third of 18 to 31 year olds are living with their parents, according to the Current Population Survey.

Maybe you can’t move out — and shouldn’t. Your parents’ health or finances are failing. They need you, and a wife or husband is non-existent. You know you’re doing a good thing, but it’s still awkward at times.

Regardless of the particulars, how do you make living with parents as an adult work? The good news is that it can be done. In fact, it can be a wonderful season.

Read the rest of it here.

Student debt traps parents and kids


Josh Boak’s Associated Press article on the multigenerational effects of high amounts of student debt is making the rounds, and for good reason. Here’s a sample of what Boak reports:

When Success Leads to Failure

Jessica Lahey’s new book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, looks superb. It’s a theme I tried to hit hard in my preparing teens for college book. An excerpt of Lahey’s book recently appeared in the pages of The Atlantic. Here’s an excerpt of the excerpt:

The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of learning at the altar of achievement, and it’s our fault. Marianna’s parents, her teachers, society at large—we are all implicated in this crime against learning. From her first day of school, we pointed her toward that altar and trained her to measure her progress by means of points, scores, and awards. We taught Marianna that her potential is tied to her intellect, and that her intellect is more important than her character. We taught her to come home proudly bearing As, championship trophies, and college acceptances, and we inadvertently taught her that we don’t really care how she obtains them. We taught her to protect her academic and extracurricular perfection at all costs and that it’s better to quit when things get challenging rather than risk marring that perfect record. Above all else, we taught her to fear failure. That fear is what has destroyed her love of learning.

Check out the rest, or pick up the book.

Human Capital – Episode 2: Inside the Planned Parenthood Supply Site

The 6th Planned Parenthood video has been posted. This one features a former StemExpress employee testifying that high-pressure tactics are used to encourage women to consent to donate their fetuses for research and that fetus parts are sometimes taken even without consent.

The Press Release from The Center for Medical Progress:

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Debunking the “Pro-Life” Planned Parenthood Defense

Have you heard the “pro-life” argument for Planned Parenthood? It’s being promoted everywhere by center-left journalists from Dana Milbank, to Ruth Marcus, to Damon Linker, to Will Saletan. Writing for the New York Times, Ross Douthat sums up this view:

“..even though Planned Parenthood performs hundreds of thousands of abortions each year (while lobbying constantly against any restriction on the practice), to oppose channeling public dollars to its family planning operations is to be objectively pro-abortion, because these operations prevent many more abortions still.”

Douthat then debunks this argument in multiple ways and from multiple angles. If you’re talking to friends or co-workers who are disturbed by the Planned Parenthood videos, but who think Planned Parenthood still serves “the greater good,” you’ll definitely want to read this piece.

Onward by Russell Moore

I enjoyed reading an advanced copy of Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel by Russell Moore. The book begins with a few chapters summarizing the increasing secularization in the United States (and even in the Bible belt itself), as evangelicals have shifted “from moral majority to prophetic minority.” Moore then explains how the already, not-yet nature of the kingdom of God means that our priority, as individual Christians and as churches, should be the reconciliation of sinners to God not the subjugation of those who (sometimes vehemently) disagree with us. The next chapter does a great job explaining how the culture war, in a sense, is nothing new: Going all the way back to the days of Jesus, true Christianity has always been strange and freakish relative to the wider culture. Moore writes:

The church is not to be walled up from the broader culture but to speak to it (2 Pet. 2:12), but that can only happen if, as sojourners and exiles, we have something distinctive to say (2 Pet. 2:11). We are called to “proclaim the Continue Reading…

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