Each article is just one short paragraph
and there is not much detail, when there should be a lot of detail for titles
like that. Why do some important topics get a cursory mention and others of
less importance get pages and pages?
Grade fixing stories should be a big deal; especially when
we have seen a lot of mentions over the last couple of years on how adjuncts
are feeling pressure from student evaluations to keep their jobs, and therefore,
grades become inflated.
A bill to protect
veterans: what exactly does that mean? What does the bill do and how exactly
does it help veterans?
The internet is a wonderful place, full of information, but
it is all right to question it from time to time, and maybe even demand some
This is a touchy subject, but it is one that needs to be addressed quickly
A recent article in the Associate
Press (AP) reports a 23% spike in “reported” sexual assaults at military academies
keep in mind these are just the reported ones. I wonder what the numbers of
unreported ones are? Military folks do not like to ask for help in these kinds
of situations, unfortunately there is a false assumption of weakness if they
do. Most of this violence is against female servicemembers; however, men are
far less likely to report any kind of sexual assault at all, so we will never
know the true number. Imagine, having to constantly worry about the people who
are supposed to be watching your back? When someone makes the commitment to
serve their country, to put on a uniform and lead, they deserve the best
possible start, and this is would not be a good start.
So, what can we do? Obviously if this is at an academy, than the culture
at the institutions need a major shift in attitude because folks of the same
military should not be assaulting each other, not like this; after all, they
all take the same oath.
Why is this conversation so quiet? Why isn’t this a bigger topic than
gays in the military or WMDs in Iraq? It certainly needs to be on par with the
topic of veterans’ benefits and PTSD because the baggage military people take
in at the beginning of their careers, is going add up on their way out.
Sexual assault in the military is a problem and it is obviously not
getting better. Please let us not forget this conversation because we are
better than this, or at least we should be.
actually reading the article (although well written), I noticed it was missing
something very important, the actual report itself. Apparently, “the
report is available only to Moody’s subscribers”. So my question is: why withhold
great information like that from the general public?
There is a tendency in educational research to ‘archive’ data, rather
than widely disseminate it. A lot of great information is just sitting somewhere,
locked away, as if in a cave gathering dust, almost like the gold of Fort Knox,
and that is a shame. There is a great blog article by Ben Baumberg, which
further addresses some of these questions titled “the harms of hidden research”
but my point is simple: release the information because people want to know; people
need to know.
As an educational professional, when I hear information like “the
number of sanctions from national accrediting agencies increased by nearly 50
percent from 2008 to 2011” (Chronicle December 18, 2012, 1:48 pm), I want know
why because this information could be useful in helping students.
I can remember learning an interesting fact about education a few years
ago, and that is: ‘a doctor from 100 years ago could not perform in today’s
medical environment, but a teacher from 100 years ago could certainly do it’.
Education has not really changed much, we think it has, we hope it has, and we
do our best to make changes: but what are we really doing?
I just read an article in the Chronicle titled “For Whom Is College Being
It was an interesting article in the sense that it reminds us of how far we
have to go in truly making meaningful changes in higher education. Are we
really helping students gain skills and a job? Who is gaining from these new
methods and what are they gaining? How many people actually know what MOOC
stands for (massive open online courses)? What does MOOC mean to you besides
being the latest buzzword?
I wish I had a solution for this question, but honestly, it is still
early in the game, but I hope people are paying attention and recording results.
Education goes through phases, when the whole industry is talking about
something they deem important and have no clue how to solve the problem, so
they scramble for a solutions using grand gestures. I remember when in K12 education
“standards” was the buzzword in the 1990s; we never really solved that one did
My point is, if the so-called solution cannot be understood clearly and
duplicated easily, is it really a solution? Perhaps it is time to take this
conversation outside of the daily news and into an arena that will facilitate
real results for students, not sound bites to pad someone’s resume.
Currently, the news is dominated by the tragic events in Connecticut,
and there is nothing much I can add to the conversation that will help. In
fact, as a society, we tend to overdo it with information when it comes to tragedies
like this. Personally, my own kids know nothing about it and we do not intend
to talk about it with them anytime soon (unless of course they ask).
As educators and parents, we still have a job to do, and
that is to help students. Students need to be able to concentrate on their
learning and on their educational plans. It is also Christmas (whether you
celebrate it or not), and it is more useful to concentrate on the season of
positivity than a topic of negativity.
My point is, stay the course, do not lose focus on what we
are supposed to be doing, no matter what we feel, because that is what students
really need in the long run. A good well-rounded education can help solve future issues like
the one that just occurred, and it is up to us to keep the ship steering on the
right course. Let us act not react.
What is the proper way to turn down dating requests from students, who nowadays
might be your own age, and prevent rumors from spreading about you through
social media? When people post false stories about you, are you supposed to
dignify them with response or take the high road and ignore them?
How do you help your students understand that complaining about a
problem does not allow you to cuss incessantly to the dean of campus about the problem?
In addition, how do you keep a neutral mind when that same student comes to you
for a job recommendation down the line?
I would be curious as to what people think about this phenomenon and I
would like to hear about various situations you have dealt with and the eventual
resolutions (good or bad).
Sharing information is a good thing, because in the end it makes us
better educators right?
Educators are notorious gossips; there I said it out
allowed, but it is true.
For those of you, who have taught K12, think about all the times
you have talked about your students in the teachers’ lounge, at the mall, or at
a bar while having a drink. I would guess that a lot of that “talk” violated
FERPA (family educational rights privacy act).
In higher education, it is just as bad, although a lot of
the gossip tends to focus on internal issues. Good people lose their jobs quite
often in higher education because of office gossip, office slander, or forwarding
inappropriate emails. You should listen to your students here, because they
hear and see this more often than you think. Professors have actually incorporated
their negative private beefs with institutions administration into their
When you get the chance, count the number of stories in news
sources about educators that involve scandal, someone resigning in disgrace, or
a leader being ousted for some “secret” reason.
Educators are supposed to be setting a good example, and we
are supposed to be molding the minds of the future. However, I think we have a
long way to go when it comes to respecting privacy. We need to fix this, and
fast, because if we cannot respect the rules, how can students respect us? In the
end, it is all about the student right?
As a college professor, how often have you seen a student
using Facebook in class and then complaining about their bad grade later? As a
K-12 teacher, how often do you see a student staring into their lap with a
smile, knowing they are really just texting? How often do we see the latest and
greatest of technology machines gathering dust, or being used to play games
(not its original use)?
Do not get me wrong, technology has altered our lives in so
many positive ways, but we need to remember that it is just a tool; and tools
can be misused.
Feel free to chime in on this conversation; maybe we will
find the solutions if we work together.
I am certainly not going to begrudge anyone a large paycheck, especially
if it has is earned. One of the main jobs of college presidents nowadays is
fund raising, and some of these presidents are masters of raising money, so in
some ways, they are raising the money for their own salaries and then some.
However, there are some huge disparities where there should not be, and
I do not care whether you are a non-profit or a for-profit, retention of your
staff should be as important as retention of your students. In my experience,
staff pay has been a large contributor of staff turnover, especially at the
front line level (I should add that having a competent HR department, which is
not universally, feared is also important).
When you are paying student advisors (entry-level position) between
$25K to $30K a year, plus they are expected to have a bachelors degree, work Saturdays,
do community outreach, and their raises are a maximum of 3% a year, then it is
no wonder people leave quickly as soon as possible! This creates further
student retention problems because students form relationships with the people
who are helping them and the turnover is sign of instability; students like
stability during their program. There are documented cases of whole departments
in some institutions turning over 100%, 3 times within a year!
I am going to keep this simple and say, find a way to retain your
staff, they are the first impression your students’ get, and when they vanish without
warning multiple times, your students start to vanish.
Some schools like to talk proudly about their “practitioner
model” of instruction versus “research model”, and in theory having someone who
is currently working in what their teaching should benefit students, especially
the growing population of nontraditional students. However, how many times do
we see classes not filled by a professor until the last minute (professor is
consequently unprepared), or classes cancelled because they could not find a
professor? This is a symptom of not paying your adjunct professors and treating
them as second-class citizens.
It is important that adjuncts feel they are part of the greater
school community, their input should be included with current curriculum,
advancement opportunities should exist, and good adjuncts should be valued and
cherished. Unfortunately, many institutions attitude today is “oh there are
more where they came from”, so turnover for adjuncts can be large. Teaching
requirements have also gone up, especially with new technology/software and
delivery methods such as online/hybrid being introduced, but instructor
training is often not given, or if it is, not in a meaningful and helpful way. What
that means is more pre-class preparation, more class work, and more post-class
work, for less pay. Do we not want out instructors to be successful? Why set
them up for failure? Why set the stage for easily preventable student complaints?
Where are the professional development opportunities for
adjuncts such as conferences or in-house training? Adjuncts who want earn a
terminal degree often are not allowed to take classes or degree programs at the
free or reduced rate that regular staff or faculty is allowed to, unless of course they are
teaching the equivalent of full time load. If you know any fulltime adjuncts,
you know they often have to work at multiple institutions just to make a full
So, what is the solution? I think some of the things I have
mentioned would be a good start, but it would have to go hand in hand with a
major culture change:
Value your adjuncts, remember they are teaching your
students, and students today are looking for a place that is going to help them
get a job. Good instructors can help get them there.
The Department of Defense (DoD) released the DoD Voluntary Education Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Thursday, December 12, 2012. The quality of education received by our Service members is very important to the DoD. To ensure all Service members participating in off-duty, postsecondary education programs are provided quality education programs uniformly; the DoD established the MOU as part of the revised DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1322.25, Voluntary Education Programs dated March 15, 2011 (incorporating date of change 1, December 6, 2012). The current memorandum includes several protections enumerated in Executive Order 13607, "Establishing Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members," signed by President Obama on April 27, 2012.
Effective March 1, 2013, the DoD is implementing the following policy: "For an institution to be eligible to participate in the DoD Tuition Assistance (TA) Program, they must have a signed DoD MOU and be on the 'Participating Institutions' list, which is posted on the DoD MOU webpage: www.dodmou.com."
After March 1, 2013 schools without a signed DoD MOU will not be able to enroll service members under the TA program until they have signed the MOU. Institutions with a currently signed DoD MOU can compare both versions and select to retain the original DoD MOU or sign the revised DoD MOU.
For a copy of the MOU, additional information, and the application to sign the DoD MOU please go to the DoD MOU web page: www.dodmou.com.
We have probably all heard the saying “those who can do,
those who cannot teach”; this is a truly despicable saying because it sums up
the country’s view on teachers. How can people be successful if they have not
had someone to teach them something?
Recently there has been a lot of chatter on why teachers in Finland
are doing so well, but we should also look at teachers all over the globe such
as in the continents of Africa and Asia. Obviously, teacher pay is not going to
be equal in all regions of the world and good pay is important, but there is
something else more important that ties all this good teaching together, and it
is very simple: respect.
Where respect for the teacher and the teaching profession is
paramount, you see good teaching and learning happening. My first teaching
experience was in a Japanese high school; in Japan, when people discover you
are a teacher, they bow to you and thank you. Imagine, how teachers would feel
about their profession and themselves if that happened here? I suffered some
severe culture shock when I transferred to the USA K-12 system!
In some of the poorest most dysfunctional countries in the world,
such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, teachers are not paid much or
sometimes nothing at all, but people clamor to them for the knowledge they can
provide and will sometimes pay them in food so that they do not go hungry and
can still teach. In addition, kids do not skip school because they understand the
value of the education and understand that they are lucky to even be in school.
Authentic respect for the profession and the very difficult
job that teachers do is lacking in this country, and as a result, you have many
bitter cynical teachers who probably did not start that way, but are just
riding out their time to retirement because they are in despair. Make no
mistake, teaching is a profession: so, why is it that a non-teaching
professional can tell teachers how and what to teach? Imagine if people did
that with doctors and lawyers? You can have as many teacher award ceremonies as
you want, and salute to teacher days. You can talk about how teachers need to be thanked as much as you want,
however, unless there is true
respect behind all the words and actions, it means nothing. Teachers may not
have gone into the profession for the money, but they most definitely did not go
into it the profession to be disrespected.
Respect for the profession is what it should be all about.
Higher education itself is an elite category if you think
about it because; if college were easy, everyone would have a degree. Getting a
terminal degree is a different category all together. Access to these elite
colleges has always and continues to be ‘guarded by a castle moat’. If your
family has influence, you can row across, if you are smart and the right person
notices you, you can swim across and hopefully not get eaten by the crocodiles
in the water.
Back to the terminal degrees, what you are really getting
from the elite universities is access, not necessarily a superior education, because
at the doctoral level they are all superior (assuming the same accreditation).
Perhaps it is time that the schools that are not in the elite
category start promoting their students themselves, and tooting the horn of
their own students. Often times, these graduated students are left to fend for
themselves and navigate without a guide through the world of the post doc job
search, and that road can be brutal.
If you get through the process with all its trials and
tribulations, that should be a huge celebration! Incidentally, it will only
make the institution look better if you are letting the world know about all your
great graduate, accomplished students. Remember, the students who finish are a
reflection of your institutions, and the more that are working, the more that
are talking about you.
First off let me say, that the purpose of this article is
not to be self-serving, I will admit now to having been a middle schools
teacher for about 10 years; the purpose is to shed some positivity on the
strange institution called middle school.
When I first started teaching in the early 1990s, I met a
lot of teachers who talked about “doing time” at middle school, or “escaping the
hell” of middle school. Let us face it; middle school students are completely
insane: there are hormones raging, their bodies are growing, they temporarily lose
their brains, and I have a strong suspicion that all middle school cafeterias add
some kind of psychedelic stimulant to the food for flavor. Unbelievably, I purposely
sought out middle school and I relished almost every (not every moment, I am
human) moment of it because it because there was never a dull moment.
Have you ever seen a bumblebee break dance in the middle of a
hallway? I have seen it in middle school. Have you ever seen a soap opera
played out in real life by lots little people? That is middle school. It has
its good days and bad days, but there is a pay off which I will get to in a
I left the classroom in 2006, and over the last 5 or 6
years, I have started to get wedding invitations, birth announcements, and my all
time favorite: college graduation announcements. They were from my former
students and they remembered me fondly! Yes, I was tough on them, yes, I
expected the best from them and accepted no excuses, and guess what? Years
later, they thanked me for it, because they said they knew I truly cared about
them. That is the pay off.
So, you dedicated middle school teachers out there, stick
with it because the students need you. Do not try and escape to the “cushy”
high school setting, and do not listen to the negative comments on the pains of
teaching middle school. Your students really need you and some day they will
let you know.
Community college has been a boon used by many people including
high school students getting a leg up on their upcoming freshman year of
college, students getting their A.A degree in hopes of transferring to a four
year institution, and folks wanting a better future testing the waters with a
class here and there.
This past summer, a large majority of San Diego community
college cancelled summer classes altogether, and while some private schools in the
county scrambled to try and pick up the slack by offering “special summer
classes”, it was too little too late for a lot of students and that is a pity. Therefore,
one of my recurring themes in many of my writings reemerges here, and that is
Community colleges, instead of waiting for the private
schools to come to you, why don’t you go to them and say you need help and we
want to work with you? Private schools would of course have to lower the cost
of these special classes and some of them have been (but no one can beat
California community college prices). There would also have to be some good articulation
agreements put in place that make it easy for students to know what will
transfer and what will not., but all this can been done with the proper will.
Get it done because it can be done!Just
take the politics out of the equation.
Remember, in the end it is all about helping the student
As an adminstrator, it is always a good idea to find out how
your students (or customers) are doing, and whether they are satisfied with
you. Notice I said satisfied not happy because it is very difficult to make
everyone happy (seriously). Anyway, I started asking myself some questions such
as: is it truly necessary to use subterfuge to find out all this information? Can
we not just straight out ask our students or be more visible to the point where
they always know how to find you on campus?
We often ask students to fill out survey after survey, and
even though these surveys are anonymous, it is often not difficult for a staff
member or professor to figure out who wrote what comment; and because of this
lack of anonymity, students are no longer filling out the surveys or they are
not honest on the surveys. Even worse, the surveys have become a venting forum
full of completely non-constructive
How easy it to see or talk to your campus director, campus
dean, academic deans, or even the chancellor? Do you even know who they are? Do
these administrators know who you are?
We can do better, and I think the answer is sometimes very
simple: be visible and be accessible.