Required Readings

PhD Debt, 400k University President Salaries Too Much?, How much Emphasis Should We Put on Handwriting? Required Readings 06.08.14

The cost-benefit analysis of getting an advanced degree is a complex one, but ultimately you should be able to answer this question:  Will my earnings potential with the degree outweigh the cost of earning the degree?  Well, in academia, this question is getting easier and easier to answer, and that answer is: no.  Karen Kelsky has shone a light on the ivory tower, and laid bare the rotting foundations.  She is suggesting that even a fully funded Ph.D. programs will leave you with significant debt, and further you may need to pay a consulting firm to help you get a job.  That is, unless you land an administrative job.

The disparity between salaries of teaching and administrative faculty at universities is a bit ridiculous.  Applicants for the president of the University of Alberta think so too.  They are taking the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers approach to carrying out the duties of the post.

As a teacher, I regularly hear conversations that are all iterations on the same theme:  “When I was in school we did …, kids these days don’t even learn …. anymore!”  It’s a frustrating conversation to participate in, because the complainer rarely acknowledges the hidden (fallacious) premise that something is better because its the way things were always done.  In this article, the fill-in-the-blank is penmanship.  The authors suggest that handwriting is not only a discrete skill, but it also supports the development of other cognitive pathways.  The study referenced looks interesting, but I’m far from qualified to evaluate the validity of its conclusions; however, a few red flags raised for me.  1.  They blame Common Core up front for destroying the traditions of education’s past.  2.  They don’t acknowledge that choices must be made with the limited time students have in each grade.  The question is never answered:  What would students not learn if more time was dedicated to teaching handwriting, and is that cost worth the benefits suggested?  Read it for yourself, let us know what you think.

Required Readings are a list of links that you might find interesting! Look for them to appear every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Have some links you’d like to share? Submit them on our contact form!

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Keith is a high school Chemistry and Biology teacher for an urban public school district in an area of the country where pants are called “britches.” Though he has a degree in Percussion Performance, he teaches science because he thinks that a well honed skeptical toolbox is necessary for a more informed citizenry and a more just and prosperous society. When he’s not in the classroom, he spends all his time with his wife and two children, attempting to become the first person in the world to be both a perfect husband and father.

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