Monday, September 29, 2014

Makes you want to vote for non of the above…

Do you remember the funny scene from Richard Pryor’s version of Brewster’s Millions: NONE OF THE ABOVE?

Scott Peters versus Carl DeMaio, running for congress here in San Diego are both setting a very bad example for our children with their tasteless attack ads on each other: please stop and talk about something that actually matters.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

A doctorate used to mean job security

In my opinion, people get a doctorate for a variety of reasons; the chief among them is love of learning. However, a close second reason is; to be able to have job security or at least the ability to always find a job because of their level of education.

The climate and playing field has changed in education, there are no guarantees anymore it seems. Doctorate job seekers are sometimes being told that they are “overqualified”, by educational institutions! Doctorate job seekers are sometimes hiding their education when they apply for a job, especially if that job is outside of education. The adjunct pool has grown and continues to grow in colleges, and these adjuncts are often doing the equivalent of a fulltime work without the benefits and pay.

Is a doctorate worth it? Yes it is. I will never regret the time, effort and passion I put into getting it, but employers need to stop being scared of doctoral job seekers. They are people just like you, they are not trying to “steal your jobs”.

Before I close, let me share this well put together blog which adds to my argument:
“The Job Market Recovery that Never Came”

“Six years ago this month, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, inaugurating a global recession that decimated nearly every sector of the economy, including higher education.
The “recovery” that began in 2009 has been illusory and often used to deny people benefits and pay under the pretext of “hard times.” Full-time teaching jobs became part-time, income inequality soared to heights unseen since the Gilded Age, and the cost of living rose while wages fell. Those now entrenched in elite positions reap the benefits, while those attempting to simply survive pay ever higher costs – or abandon their fields if they cannot pay to stay.”

“For academics, in certain respects, this is nothing new. Adjunct positions – contingent, poorly paid, lacking benefits or job security – have risen steadily in number since 1975, while the proportion of positions that are tenure-track has declined.”

“The academic job market in many fields has always been bad. The rise of contingent labor and loss of job security has been decades in the making. But the post-recession economic landscape is something else.”

Read the whole thing here:
The most important message I can add at this point is do not give up, society does need you.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sharing an #education #reform article September 22 2014

You may or may not agree with this article I am going to share, but I thought it compelling enough to stimulate a discussion.

“Getting Beyond One 'Right Way' of K-12 Reform”

“Why don't we get education changing the way successful systems change?”

“This means that we keep working to improve the schools we have, but don't bet all our chips there. At the same time, we should be open to innovation, letting organizations and individuals try things outside the givens of conventional school and conventional teaching.”

“Call it a "Split Screen" strategy.”

“It does work. In successful, self-improving systems, new ideas get tried and early adopters pick them up. Initially, most people remain with the traditional ways, but as the new strategy improves, people shift. In time, a transformation occurs; sometimes rapidly.”

“Unfortunately, education policy does not work like that. Deep inside, its working premise is to develop a consensus on "The Right Way," and then to engineer a comprehensive transformation politically. But arguing alternative futures is not the route to change. Imagine doing that with communications or transportation: arguing land line vs. cellphone, and gasoline-powered vs. electric or hybrid. We'd never get consensus on one right way. Instead, we'd be where we are with education.”

There are so many ‘parties’ involved in education reform (probably too many in my opinion), and when you have many moving parts balance can be difficult.

What are your thoughts on what needs to be reformed (or left alone)?
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sharing an article from the Chronicle September 15 2014

 “What You Need to Know About the Past 7 Days”

“Just a Thought”

“As legislators, deans, parents, and students debate what to do about the problem of sexual assaults on college campuses—many of them all but awash in alcohol—maybe it’s time to take a step back and consider the bigger picture. Maybe it’s time for Americans to start teaching their teenagers to drink responsibly (if they want to drink), and time to rethink our drinking-age laws—which, let’s face it, seem to have done little more than create a thriving fake-ID industry.”


“Really, where has the current approach gotten us? High-school kids sneak off to drink under stadium bleachers and in parks that closed at dusk. College students party in their rooms and at fraternities and in bars. If you didn’t hear it earlier this week, listen to the piece that NPR’s Patti Neighmond did on college drinking for Morning Edition. Sharon Levy, director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, summed up the situation this way: "We’ve created a situation in which there is an expectation that drinking—and in fact heavy drinking—is just part of the college experience."”


“And then—studies are clear on this, as are stories from virtually every campus—assaults happen. To say nothing of car crashes and hospital visits for alcohol poisoning.”

“Try as they might, colleges are probably not going to solve the sexual-assault problem by requiring that students say "yes" to each caress (as California law may soon require) or by becoming more adept at the due-process requirements of rape charges. Nor are they going to tame the out-of-control campus-drinking culture as long as drinking by anyone under 21 has to be a wink-wink "secret." Maybe it’s time for a fresh start on this one.”


Interesting week eh?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, September 12, 2014

When did rudeness become pranking?

YouTube has given many people “with stars in their eyes” a platform to broadcast their “work”. Quite frankly most of it is garbage (but harmless). However, we are also seeing an increase of “prank” type videos, street fights, and unnecessary violence videos being broadcasted. I am going to talk about the pranks because they are not really pranks and certainly not nice.

I am not going mention the names of the ‘pranksters’, post a link, or give these clowns anymore of a platform then they already have, but I will say that these pranks are skirting the edge of being racist. These pranks consist of things like fake farting on people, stealing peoples’ phones to check the time, stealing people’s gas, or more recently, “Selling Guns In The Hood Prank”. The pranksters are all white males.

They are trying to pass these “pranks,” off as a “social experiments” to see the reactions of ‘poor black people’ when an outsider threatens or provokes them.  All their pranks are being done in poor black neighborhoods and they are targeting black people specifically.

In general, these prank videos are about black people showing themselves either freaking out or in the minority of cases laughing it off; the latter situation is being presented as exceptional. Like many prank videos, they are being selectively edited for the most extreme reactions

Then there is the guy who does this: “I’m going to go around and introduce myself in the neighborhood by using the n-word – neighbors.” As he walks down the street, a soundtrack of hip-hop beats blares. At every black person he encounters, he says, “What’s up my neighbor,” but dropping his voice at neighbor or speaking quickly as he walks by – so that the black people interpret it as “What’s up my nigger.” Then he waits for the response, and to let them know they have been pranked on film. This is supposed to be funny?

My advice as an educator to these no-talent wannabes: play with your dog, play with your toys, or heck go play with yourself; but do not play with people lives, including your own. You are not funny and you will get hurt more than you already have been because that is human nature.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Problem with Punishment

We love to punish people in the United States of America; you could almost say it is national obsession. Case in point: “Incarceration in the United States of America is one of the main forms of punishment, rehabilitation, or both for the commission of felony and other offenses. The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. At year-end 2009, it was 743 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population”, that is over two and half million currently, does not include other forms of legal detention.

The trouble with a punishment-based society is that it does not work in the long run because the punishment is not consistent. What is legal in one state could be punishable in the state next door. A person could be on a cross-country journey and end up in jail because something they were doing at the beginning of the trip became a illegal after crossing an invisible line 600 miles later.

Then there are the elephants in the room in regards to punishment:

  • Punishment is race (social construct of race) based, not necessarily because of hate, but because of economic status; so we will call this the little elephant in the room
  • The big elephant is that the wealthy rarely are subject to punishment because they are capable of buying “get out of jail free” cards. Yes it is true, money can help you bypass punishment

Kids do not need punishment they need discipline. Too much punishment leads to fear, and fear can lead to hate, and so on. Sometimes we think we are helping them but just brainwashing them.

Adults who break rules do not need punishment, they need education and opportunities. Just look at the recidivism rates for those are in this cycle of punishment, it is disgraceful (and society’s disgrace).

This is probably falling on deaf ears, however, let me end by saying: let us not always be in a hurry to punish, maybe we could rush to help instead and see real change happen.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

College Bookstores and beau coups Bucks

I remember distinctly spending a lot of money on textbooks in 1980s when I first went to college, I got my terminal degree in 2011 and realized the price of textbooks kept going up. The textbook industry in my opinion takes advantage of students; they sell high and buy back low, plus they force students to get “new” editions of textbooks all the time even though there are no significant changes in the book.

Anyway, I found the article I am about to share interesting because it comes down to what is in the best interest of the students, and I am sure saving money helps students.

“Rise of Online Booksellers Brings Complaints From Campus Bookstores”

“When the orange Chegg bus rolls onto a campus, one person is unlikely to be excited about its free swag and energy drinks: the college-bookstore manager.”

“The rise of online textbook retailers such as Chegg, Amazon, and, has put official college and university bookstores on the defensive. Once the default source of course materials, campus bookstores run by Barnes & Noble and Follett are responding to the pressure by cracking down on competitors’ on-campus advertising, which bookstores contend violates their exclusivity contracts with colleges.”

“Chegg is a nine-year-old company that offers textbook rentals and sales, along with tutoring and career services. It has irked campus officials and bookstore managers with its marketing techniques, which include recruiting students as brand ambassadors, slipping free Red Bull and Starbucks products into book-delivery packages, and buying back books on the campus, often for more money than the bookstore offers.”

“The company has received dozens of cease-and-desist letters, according to its president, Dan Rosensweig, but it has no plans to scale back its efforts.”

This should be interesting to watch as it unfolds…

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam