It’s not that I’m in favor of binge drinking…

It’s not that I’m in favor of binge drinking by college students on spring break, but this story about the American Medical Association and advocacy polling doesn’t help. It’s long and well worth reading ALL of, including the part after the jump. American Association for Public Opinion Research president Cliff Zukin comments:

I’m not naive or simplistic. I don’t say this about research that is either done by partisans or about research that is never entered into the public arena. But the case here is a non-profit organization entering data into the public debate. As I said to them in one of my emails, AAPOR can no more condone bad science than the AMA would knowingly condone bad medicine. It’s really that simple

Pet Peeve – Signature Required for Delivery

Two years ago I came home one afternoon to find my new 12″ Powerbook sitting at my door. My house door. In an Apple branded box that said what it was — no signature required. Today I’m going back and forth with FedEx tryign to get them to deliver a stoooopid $30 neoprene envelope for my laptop without demanding a signature.
Why, oh why?

More edublogging.

Here’s a new edublog, The Quick and the Ed – interesting close reading of public statements from universities and journalists covering universities (which often seems to mean reprinting someone’s press release) to tease out what’s behind the numbers.
There’s an interesting post on Oberlin’s shifting recruiting patterns that reminds me of various talk here about reducing the discount rate, which is more or less the financial aid rate. There are, however, two ways of doing that thing – one is the way Oberlin bluntly suggests, “recruiting more students from high-income families” (and therefore recruiting fewer students from lower income families, though we’re not talking low-income here, really). The other is to reduce the amount of merit scholarship money given away as bait to people who can afford the tuition. I hope we at these Colleges do more of the latter than the former, but we’ll see.
The same author, Kevin Carey, has an analysis piece on TQ&TE’s parent site on the latter trend – giving away more merit money than need money:

There’s a ruthless bottom-line logic driving this trend: poor students bring in far less net revenue than rich ones, and do nothing to burnish an institution’s status in the higher education marketplace. Using sophisticated pricing models originally developed by the airline industry and sold by for-profit “enrollment management” consultants, a growing number of institutions have figured out how to shore up their balance sheet and raise their status in the influential U.S. News rankings by using aid dollars to entice wealthy students who ultimately pay more to attend. More recent data suggest that the trend isn’t letting up—the amount of so-called “merit” aid awarded to students increased five-fold from 1994 to 2004, more than four times the rate of increase for need-based aid.

It’s hard to oppose merit, unless you realize that merit doesn’t always ignore lack of need.
I found The Quick and the Ed via Eduwonk.

Team Teaching – Making Exams

I like working with someone in the classroom very much, but the process of making an exam becomes much more involved when two people have to approve of every question!
This semester my medievalist colleague in the English department and I share the teaching of one of our Art & Literature thematic courses – this term on medieval laughter. We work well together – we taught the Anglo-Saxons last year – but when we need to make an assignment! Oh! My! We go back and forth with emails, over and over, tinkering, adjusting, fiddling, thinking of worst-case-scenarios.
Today’s midterm exam (I’m typing while I watch them write!) may represent a new record – we finished with it by 8:30 p.m. last night — not bad, for us!

Tuition and Fees — FEES?

Yow! The language used at the University of California for pricing graduate school certainly had me fooled – and the increase was terrifying!
First paragraph and a sentence a little further on:

A San Francisco judge has ordered the University of California to pay more than $33.8 million to about 40,000 students who claimed their fees had been improperly raised, despite promises they would remain steady. . . . In 2003, the university boosted fees for professional school students by more than 50 percent.

So I’m thinking “fees, like the activity fee and the athletic fee . . . .” When I was in college and grad school the fees were never more than a few hundred dollars. Tuition was the big bite. A 50% hike would have annoyed me a lot, but I’m still not seeing why they’re suing. But then:

In the 2002-03 school year, professional school fees were about $6,000 for UC law school and business students, who also pay the general education and campus fees that other students pay.
The next year, the university increased the fees for law and business students to about $9,500 — and made similar increases at the other professional schools — despite what students called a contractual promise not to raise professional fees during their enrollment.
By fall 2005, the professional school fees had reached $15,258, for a total cost of more than $24,000 a year to attend UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law.

I was reading incorrectly because I did not understand that the University of California uses tuition for some other category (maybe there’s no tuition for California residents?) and fees for the big price. A 50% jump from $150 to $225 would have made me scream, but a jump from $6,000 to $9,500 would have made me drop out.
It’s nice to see that the graduate students won the lawsuit, but it hasn’t stopped the increases. They’re up to $15,000 for this academic year. Here’s the article.
Via Prof. Soltan.

One of those melancholy-I’m-coming-down-with-something Friday evenings…

I’ve been writing a little reflection on something I saw in Boston last week in the form of a letter and listening to a play list of Song/Remake:
(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me — Dionne Warwick
Always Something There to Remind Me — Naked Eyes
Always Something There To Remind Me — The Hippos (a SKA version)
Avalon — Roxy Music – Bryan Ferry
Avalon — M People — Fresco, 1997
Burning Down The House — Talking Heads
Burning Down The House — Tom Jones & The Cardigans

Don’t Look Any Further
— Dennis Edwards
Don’t Look Any Further — M People – 1993
Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby? — Joe Jackson, Jumpin’ Jive
Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby? — Dinah Washington, Verve Remixed version
Just Can’t Get Enough — Depeche Mode, 1981
The Black Keys Work (DJ–Kicks) — Erlend Øye – not everyone agrees with me.
Take Me To The River — Al Green
Take Me To The River
— Talking Heads
Take Me To The River — Annie Lennox – Medusa, 1995

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