Archive for November, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving !

November 27, 2019

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What’s the ROI of a college education?

November 26, 2019

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce recently published a study on the ROI of college educations.

Billed as a “first try”, the report estimates the Net Present Value of a college education — taking into account the “price” of a college’s degree, the interest on student debt incurred, likely future earnings and the time value of money.

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Among the reports key conclusions….

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Flashback: Obama schools Romney that “Russia isn’t a threat”

November 25, 2019

Watching the Impeachment Inquiry last week I was struck by Dem witnesses’ hyperbolic concern about Russia.

Just a minute guys…

Remember the 2012 Presidential debates?

A key moment was when President Obama ridiculed Gov. Romney’s knowledge of foreign affairs.

Given the current hysteria over Russia, the clip is a classic …  try to stay calm when you watch it

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Here’s more that’ll should make you scream …

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So, are the impeachment hearings moving the needle?

November 22, 2019

Short answer: Yes … to Trump’s benefit.
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Let’s ignore the partisan punditry for a moment and take another look at the numbers.

As we’ve posted before, TV ratings for the hearings have been dismal.

That’s no surprise since 60% of voters say that they are less interested in impeachment than are the politicos and the media … since the hearings are generally dull and confusing to most people … and since the hearings are broadcast during the day — when most people are at work.

So, people who do have an interest, resort to their usual partisan sources of news.

OK, so how are the numbers moving?

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Let’s starts with opinions re: the inquiry proceedings themselves…

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According to the RCP poll-of-polls, support for Schiff’s impeachment inquiry has slipped from 51% to 48% … and opposition to the inquisition (err, inquiry) has increased from 42% to about 45%.

So, support has gone from 9% net favorable to 3% net favorable.

Still, support is net favorable … but it’s less than a majority …marginally net favorable … and decreasingly so (i.e. the trend is unfavorable.

What about views on impeachment itself?

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The question that I’d ask at the impeachment hearings…

November 21, 2019

“What would you say exactly … you do here at Initech?”
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The hearings have been so predictable and dull that — when I’ve been watching — I’ve played the game “What would I ask?”.

Yesterday, I watched some of the testimony of Laura Cooper — the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia.

Ms. Cooper seems like a serious, well-intended government bureaucrat.  I don’t have a beef with her specifically.

But, she prefaced several of her answers with a couple of recurring phrases: “My staff does that; “I’d have to ask my staff”; “that’s outside my purview”; etc.

Her answers flashed me back to a classic scene in the movie Office Space.

It’s only a minute long and worth the time … guaranteed: it’ll change the way you watch the hearings

click to view
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When interviewing a “customer specifications analyst”, a pair of efficiency experts — the Bobs — laser in on the most fundamental question…

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“What would you say exactly … you do here at Initech?”

When watching the hearings, just substitute the words “the US government” for “Initech” and you’ll see what I’m getting at.

All of the witnesses:

  • Seem to have very narrow specialties.
  • The specialties seem to be duplicated in several departments.
  • The specialists in each of the departments seem to spend a lot of time in meetings, on the phone and at dinners … often with each other, honing their groupthink.
  • Nobody seems to have authority to actually do anything other than generate make-work for their staffs.
  • All seem to have locked up government paychecks and benefits for life.

May just be me, but the words “bloat”, “inefficiency” and “ineffectiveness” keep popping in my mind.

Where are the Bobs when you need them?

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Before climate change, there was the “Population Bomb”.

November 21, 2019

And, there are remarkable similarities.
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Recently, in one of her articulated streams of consciousness, AOC warned that we all would be toast in 12 years if global warming wasn’t arrested.

Time to metal-cube our SUVs and mass-slaughter the bovine-methane creatures, right?

Well, not so fast.

While AOC’s warning may come to fruition, I’m betting the over on the 12 years … in part, because it fits a pattern of hysterical unrealized doomsday predictions.

For example, circa. 1970, Prof. Paul Ehrlich  (Stanford University) wrote Malthusian-inspired book: The Population Bomb. The book became a runaway “scientific” best-seller.

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Smithonian.com

Ehrlich warned that because of unchecked population growth:

The battle to feed all of humanity is over.

Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.

All of us will face mass starvation on a dying planet.

While their were some deniers, demographers agreed almost unanimously with Ehrlich’s doomsday prediction ….

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CBS tunes out the Schiff Show … resumes regular soap operas.

November 20, 2019

And, public support for impeachment continues to erode.
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Earlier this week, we posted re: the dismal viewership the Dems’ impeachment hearings are getting.

Want an unmistakable indicator?

Well, CBS became the first major network to face reality — that nobody was watching the tedious hearings — and switched back to its usual soap operas, i.e. from one soap opera to another.

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More important, the Pelosi-dreamed groundswell of support for impeachment sure doesn’t seem to be materializing…

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“Reduced to teaching at Georgetown” … say, what?

November 19, 2019

There was a part of Amb. Yovanovitch’s that made my jaw drop.

When the Dem counsel was prying into her firing, he was obviously trying his level best to get her to cry … “how did you feel?”; “what was the impact on your family?”; “can you describe how distraught you were?”, etc.

Boo-hoo …

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In my business career, I was sold twice to new owners … and  “rationalized”, “synergized” and reassigned many times during internal regime changes.

So, I have zero sympathy when a “paying job for life” diplomat gets reassigned when a new sheriff comes to town.

But, that’s not what stopped me in my tracks …

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So, is the Dem’s impeachment action gaining widespread support?

November 18, 2019

In a word: NO!
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Pundits and politicos on the left are shouting BOMBSHELL! BOMBSHELL!! BOMBSHELL!!!

Those on the right are declaring: “nothingburger”.

So, what’s the answer?

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Let’s look at some numbers…

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“Fan interest” for the televised hearings is pretty low.

Nielsen says that just under 14 million watched the first day of hearings.

That’s down from the 20 million that tuned into the Kavanaugh hearings … and only about 1% of the number of 2016 voters.

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And, what impact are the hearings having on voters?

Well, according to left-leaning FiveThirtyEight, support for impeachment FELL a bit during week one of hearings. (See chart above)

Support for impeachment is now a mere 2 percentage points higher that opposition … but, at 47.7%, it’s less than a majority. 

And, according to RCP, approval for the inquiry process itself slid during the week of hearings … dipping below 50% for the first time in weeks.

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Bottom line: Pelosi said “no impeachment unless there was bipartisan Congressional support and widespread public sentiment.

Doesn’t look like Inquiry will meet those hurdles…

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Follow on Twitter @KenHoma

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More: Have colleges watered down their curriculums?

November 15, 2019

A survey of 700 schools answers the question.
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In a prior post, we outlined the criteria and method that the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) used to assess whether students are learning the “essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

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In a nutshell, ACTA researchers culled through over 700 schools’ course catalogs and web sites to determine what courses were being offered and, more important, which courses were required of all students.

Specifically, they investigated whether undergraduates are gaining a reasonable college-level introduction in seven core subject areas:

  1. Composition & argumentation
  2. Literature and critical thinking
  3. Foreign language & culture
  4. U.S. government & history
  5. Economics: Macro, micro, behavioral
  6. Mathematics, logic & computer science
  7. Science & scientific experimentation.

Here’s what they found …

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Have colleges watered down their curriculums?

November 14, 2019

A survey seeks to  answer that question.
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In a prior  post, we reported that employers think that most college graduates are poorly prepared for the work force in such areas as critical thinking, communication and problem solving.

See A bigger college scandal than the recent admissions bruhaha…

Let’s dig a little deeper on that sentiment.

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The American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) conducted a survey of “Core Requirements at our Nation’s Colleges and Universities” to determine what students are really learning in college.

Specifically, the ACTA survey focused on the courses that a student is required to take outside the major.

These courses — commonly called general education classes or the school’s core curriculum — are, according to the ACTA, “ the foundation of a school’s academic program”.

They are the courses “generally  designed to equip students with essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

Here is specifically what ACTA was looking for…

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Test: Can you find Ukraine on a map?

November 13, 2019

And, if you can, can you name its neighboring countries?
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OK, here’s a map of Eastern Europe.

Stick a pin in Ukraine…

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And, the answer is …

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Test: Volodymyr Zelensky is the president of what country?

November 12, 2019

That should be an easy question since its been in the news 24 x 7 recently.

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But, I’ve heard friends, pundits and outraged Dem politicos say that he is the President of:

(a) The Ukraine (like The Philippines or  The Ohio State University)

(b) Ukraine (like Canada or Smokey Bear)

(c) Ukrania (like Romania)

So, which is it?

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More: Have colleges watered down their curriculums?

November 12, 2019

A survey of 700 schools answers the question.
===============

In a prior post, we outlined the criteria and method that the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) used to assess whether students are learning the “essential skills and knowledge” for work and for life.

image

In a nutshell, ACTA researchers culled through over 700 schools’ course catalogs and web sites to determine what courses were being offered and, more important, which courses were required of all students.

Specifically, they investigated whether undergraduates are gaining a reasonable college-level introduction in seven core subject areas:

  1. Composition & argumentation
  2. Literature and critical thinking
  3. Foreign language & culture
  4. U.S. government & history
  5. Economics: Macro, micro, behavioral
  6. Mathematics, logic & computer science
  7. Science & scientific experimentation.

Here’s what they found …

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Legally speaking, when does “death do you part”?

November 11, 2019

A prison lifer seeks clarification … and freedom.
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According to several sources

In 1996, Benjamin Schreiber was sentenced to life without parole for bludgeoning a man to death.

Usually, that sentence is pretty clear cut.

Not in Schreiber ‘s case.

Here’s the rub…

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What are your chances of dying from ___ ?

November 8, 2019

Yesterday, we posted that men are 9 times more likely than women to be attacked by sharks … and 6 times more likely to be struck by lightning.

Continuing in that vein, here’s a test for you  …

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Rank the the following by the odds that somebody who is in the group or who is exposed to the risk is likely to die.

Make #1 the highest risk of dying in the next year; make #7 the lowest risk circumstance

  • For women giving birth
  • For anyone thirty-five to forty-four years old
  • From asbestos in schools
  • For anyone for any reason
  • From lightning
  • For police on the job
  • From airplane crashes

And the answer is …

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Is it more dangerous to be a man than a woman?

November 7, 2019

Some evidence says it is …  by far in some situations.
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According to Prof. Walter E. Williams writing about Proportional Disparities

Men are roughly half of the population, right?

But, sharks are nine times likelier to attack and kill men than they are women.

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Men are struck by lightning six times as often as women.

And, 82% of people killed by lightning are men.

Why is that?

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The degree-earning gender gap…

November 6, 2019

An interesting analysis done by economist Mark Perry concludes:

Since 1982, women have earned 13 million more college degrees than men.

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Let’s drill down on those numbers…

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Do students really learn what’s taught?

November 5, 2019

Though I’ve retired from the practice, I’m still very engaged on education issues … especially whether our students (at all levels) are being adequately schooled to compete in the real world.

So, one of my summer reads is “What Schools Could Be” by Ted Dinterersmith – a well credentialed, experience-deep educator.

In a nutshell, author Ted Dintersmith spent a year visiting schools across the nation to identify outstanding teachers and catalog their secret sauces.

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One of the anecdotes that he recounts in the book hit one of my longstanding questions: Do students really learn what they’re being taught?

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Schools: Test scores falling from already dismal levels…

November 4, 2019

… and, the gap is widening between highest achieving and lowest achieving students.

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Every 2 years, an organization called The Nation’s Report Card conducts an “Assessment of Educational Progress” being made in America’s school.

The overall conclusion: not much progress is being made.

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Specifically…

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“Half of all U.S. colleges to close or go bankrupt in the next decade”

November 1, 2019

That’s the gloomy prediction of disruption guru Clayton Christensen
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And, it’s not just the tidal wave of online programs or ballooning college tuitions.

Moreso, Christensen’s prediction is on track, according to a WSJ recap of economist Nathan Grawe’s “Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education.”

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Grawe’s central thesis: Birthrates have plunged 13% since the Great Recession … and that “birth dearth” will cost America 450,000 fewer college applicants in the 2020s.

Here are some of the specifics….

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