Comments on: Sheep dip from Baa Ram U. http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:41:03 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Spring: the season for dumba$$ ideas? (Or are they like little black dresses and never out of fashion?) : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-820010 Sat, 30 Apr 2011 14:07:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-820010 [...] and the last thing we need in our lives is more long meetings?  Last year as you may recall, Baa Ram U. asked us to consider the scheme of “concurrent enrollment,” in which high school history teachers would be permitted to teach courses for which we in the [...]

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By: cgeye http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-612363 Tue, 04 May 2010 23:08:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-612363 It might have been said, above, but AP courses get funded because it keeps affluent students in the district, in the district. Sad, but true — those students make the stats look good, as well as keeping affluent parents involved in the extracurricular fund drives schools now permanently need.

It’s all about the Benjamins, as ever….

And, as for this:
“It seems like the status quo is happy to prevent the “actual education in order to create a thinking population.” Years ago, it was racial and sex exclusion from secondary ed, then higher ed. Nowadays education is open to all, but it isn’t the same thing that’s being offered to the masses compared to the elites who attend private secondary schools and elite private colleges. It would turn American society on its head if we offered a Choate-Amherst style education to each and every American child–which is why it doesn’t happen.”

That, and outsourcing of the measurement of knowledge — not the knowledge itself, which you can have if you can find it, but those who are the experts — is the plan.

(rem “At least Cambodia was honest and did it with guns” rant)

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-612111 Tue, 04 May 2010 15:54:05 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-612111 A lot of those astronauts would *still* be on the moon if they (or the ground teams that designed the systems and managed the flights) had been sporting three-year civil engineering or avionics degrees. Of course nobody seems to be saying that we should be migrating serious subjects to the speed belt; just the fluffy basics like humanities and literature. The doctrine of embracing “change-agent” models of change or transformation because it’s inevitable anyway and if you embrace it you can control it has been continually embraced where I am, to our continuous detriment. You don’t end up controlling it, or anything else, and the change-agents roll around on the lunchroom floor laughing.

Apropos of not quite anything: shouldn’t you have to be degreed and certified in change-agency to swoop in somewhere and proclaim yourself a “change-agent?” That’s the keyword that gets *me* repairing to the Molotov factory…

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By: Class notes : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-612102 Tue, 04 May 2010 15:17:12 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-612102 [...] respect to the issue of “concurrent enrollment” discussed below, I thought I’d report an interesting conversation I had yesterday during my last class [...]

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-612090 Tue, 04 May 2010 14:32:20 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-612090 Western Dave: thanks for coming back to add more to the conversation. I see where you’re coming from. But, I’m not convinced that uni faculty *need* to collaborate with this. In fact, I think our role (those of us who enjoy tenure, anyway) is to fight this erosion not just of our role but of yours as well. There’s a good commentary over at Inside Higher Ed today that questions this speed-up mentality about education: the assumption that a 3-year B.A. or B.S. is desirable or equivalent to a 4-year degree; the agitation about the “fact” that 12th grade is “useless,” etc. This for me was the money quote:

Americans have always felt pride in their Americanism, in the “can do” spirit driven by hard work, honor, and creativity. We love the images of the cowboy and the pioneer, the early astronauts landing on the moon, the “greatest generation” storming the beaches at Normandy. But as we have become richer, more reliant on technology, and more populist in our relationship to intellect, we have rushed to produce more graduates and forgotten to help those graduates learn to honestly value their achievement. One often-unacknowledged irony regarding this trend is that many of its exponents — that is, those same policy experts who push for speedier graduation and more degrees — seem to have little hesitation in spending upwards of $50,000 per year to send their own children to America’s elite institutions, where traditional educational values remain a significant element of the core mission.

I’ll climb on board happily with these schemes when I hear that Sasha and Malia Obama–and their tony Sidwell Friends school–are doing “concurrent enrollment” courses at Montgomery County Community College. But until then, I’ll remain quite skeptical. This looks and smells like a work speed-up for both H.S. and college faculty that will only hurt us all.

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By: Western Dave http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-612068 Tue, 04 May 2010 12:52:18 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-612068 First, my apologies for not responding more promptly, my laptop took a tumble and I’m now on a loaner. I also want to contextualize my remarks some.

K-12 education has been turned upside-down in the last few years by home schooling, charter schools, and a whole series of innovations. Some of these are well done, some of these are crap. I really believe that the same spirit of innovation (to put a positive spin on it) is coming to higher ed and it is coming sooner rather than later. I believe the choice is not whether or not deal with this but how best to control change. We can bitch and moan all we want about losing the discursive war over whether education is worth the dollars but if we are not going out and proving it, we are not going to convince anybody. My colleagues in my history department and I are fighting our battles to hold our place in the curriculum as math and science expand their offerings. But that’s the subject of a different post.

Online learning or more particularly blended learning (a mix of on-line and classroom work) can be a really good tool for expanding course offerings and reaching wider audiences. There is a blended learning cooperative of public, independent, and parochial schools that offers a wide array of courses. As part of the condition of joining the coop a school has to offer a course and agree that a teacher will be available to monitor the classroom piece of the course (ie: a student is logged in for a live chat, spending a certain amount of time working on the class, doing any in-class work such as a test or in-class essay under appropriate conditions and so on). A teacher who offers a course as part of the coop has to have it count towards his/her teaching load. (btw, where do I find the dictionary of gender neutral pronouns?) Enrollments are capped (20, I think).

A second piece of context, AP is struggling. Many independent schools have dropped AP and a lot of the prestigious public school districts look like they are going to follow suit. Some have replaced with IB. Many are looking to go their own way.

So you have a bunch of bright teenagers, many who have finished the high school curriculum of 20 or 30 years ago who need challenging courses, you have a technology that can connect them to college campuses. Why not a blended learning scenario?

Imagine your US survey TAed not by green grad students but by experienced teachers. Imagine if you spent two weeks over the summer giving those teachers workshops in doing history skills while hammering away at how these translate into important habits of mind. Maybe you required that only those with an MA in history could participate and made it a prestige thing. I can think of a whole bunch of teachers who would love to have anything with the word certified in it (“Baa-Ram certified U.S. History instructor”)

Let’s face it, a lecture is a lecture – does it matter if it’s live or skyped? And a discussion section is a discussion section. There will need to be certain adjustments for high school students (more frequent graded items, graded by “TeAchers” or some other snazzy title). If we are going to assume that this will remain the model for surveys, then there is no good reason to not embrace some sort of dual credit arrangement with high schools. To the extent that you get on board with this, you will control how good it is.

If you don’t get on board, somebody else is going to control it and it’s likely to bad. I don’t know what the future is going to look like for this stuff, but I do know a lot of motivated people are working on it. Some are motivated by altruism, some are motivated by greed, and some are motivated by the thrill of inventing something new. I’m working from all three.

The change is coming. I don’t say it to scare you. I say it because I’m living through it right now.

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By: quixote http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-611813 Tue, 04 May 2010 03:24:34 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-611813 All this — online classes, college credit in high school — could be done to improve education, give people more routes to learning. It could be done right. Then it would take more time and money.

So…. It’s done on the cheap, which produces some kind of cheap, “just-as-good” substitute for the education we thought we were buying.

The core issue, as was said upthread, is the devaluation of education. It’s nowhere near as important as holding on to a couple of extra dollars.

Every time I’m reminded of this, I think of a report I heard about Sudan when they were having one of their famines there. Oxfam asked the villagers what their most pressing needs were. Schools for the children, they said.

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By: truffula http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-611797 Tue, 04 May 2010 02:57:01 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-611797 panem et circenses

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-611528 Mon, 03 May 2010 18:21:07 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-611528 I think the B.P. chief said it best earlier today about the situation down in the Gulf. Not our rig, not our problem. We off-platform the actual petroleum acquisition process. We’re actually more of an accounting firm.

Ze didn’t actually say all of the latter things, but that was pretty much the burden or drift.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/05/02/sheep-dip-from-baa-ram-u/comment-page-1/#comment-611462 Mon, 03 May 2010 17:24:36 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=10822#comment-611462 I see your cynicism and I’ll raise you two, or three. I don’t think it’s a Chicken Little attitude. This is the logical end of thirty years of adjunctifying the faculty and thinning out the ranks and “doing more with less.”

Ain’t it?

It seems like the status quo is happy to prevent the “actual education in order to create a thinking population.” Years ago, it was racial and sex exclusion from secondary ed, then higher ed. Nowadays education is open to all, but it isn’t the same thing that’s being offered to the masses compared to the elites who attend private secondary schools and elite private colleges. It would turn American society on its head if we offered a Choate-Amherst style education to each and every American child–which is why it doesn’t happen.

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