Saturday, June 4, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List 06/05/2011

  • Barbara Hulit, president of Fluke and board member of Washington STEM, offers her thoughts on growing a well educated local workforce for a technology focused economy.  While I don't fundamentally disagree with any of her points, I do think she is missing something.  Like so many others, she fails to address the more significant problem of student disinterest in these fields which has plagued STEM for a decade or more.  Certainly the numbers have stabilized or rebounded slightly, but our best intentions won't lead to any improvements if there isn't a significant interest among students in these programs.  It will be interesting to what the program she cites in the article.

    What if you build it and they don't come?

  • Not all local political leaders think the WSU takeover of University Center is a good idea.  Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe and Rep. Luis Moscoso weigh in on the subject, suggesting that the WSU proposal does nothing to strengthen educational opportunities and that we must be more focused in the allocation of limited resources.

  • The Herald's editorial board thinks much work lies ahead in establishing a trusting relationship between WSU and the other partner institutions at University Center if the larger goal of expanded educational opportunities is to be achieved.

    I would ask the Herald's editorial board just exactly why they think any of these partners would participate.  Seriously, these institutions have worked hard to establish these programs and to build up the University Center.  The editorial board would have them give it their all for a couple more years so WSU can create a plan to get rid of them.  Really?  You think that's something they ought to do?  Really?

    When it comes to 4-year education in Snohomish county, the Herald's editorial board has completely lost all sense of reason.  

  • Jerry Cornfield provides the background on the journey to the get Washington State University to take up residence on the Everett Community College campus with the long term goal of creating a 4-year, degree granting institution here in Snohomish county.

    While the legislation will make the coordinator for the multi-college University Center program at EvCC, there are no solid plans nor funding to move beyond this arrangement.  It seems to me that we risk losing eduction opportunities if the other existing partner colleges pull out of University Center or if the recently announced WGU online university takes hold.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Advisory Bored Reading List 06/04/2011

  • Nicole Brodeur in the Times thinks the Washington legislature missed the mark related to education in the most recent session.  We cut pay across the board, but didn't build in any accountability for performance, Perhaps, Brodeur thinks, we need to lower our expectations for schools.  

  • PayPal tycoon Peter Thiel has started to award his 20 Under 20 scholarship, $100,000 to skip college for now and venture out to start an innovative business instead.  Thiel has been in the news lately for his thoughts on the education bubble and what he considers a lack of innovation.  

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List 04/16/2011

  • Peter Thiel is a Pay Pal co-founder thinks we're in a bubble, again, and this time the bubble is education.  He says “A true bubble is when something is overvalued and intensely believed”, noting that you can't question the value of education today.

    And if you think about it, our description of education sounds an awful lot like our description of housing a few years ago (and internet stocks a few years before that).  Everyone needs to own property (bachelor's degree).  The value of property (education) never goes down. Borrow the money for property (education) and buy now -- it's an investment.

    Perhaps our problem is that we confuse education - life long learning - with degrees.  While ongoing learning/relearning has never been more critical to individual success, the value proposition of a 4-year degree in the first 4 years after high school becomes ever more questionable.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List 04/15/2011

  • Truly a sad commentary.  The only state education institution that didn't participate in the University Center is the one that will be allowed to run it in the future.

    My favorite quote was "providing new approaches to old problems". Honestly, this providing old approaches to new problems.  But hey, it's only money.  We got plenty of it for post-secondary education.  Sigh ........  

  • Danny Westneat doesn't pull any punch in this article about the UW's decision to enroll more out-of-state students. In his opinion, the UW is doing exactly what we asked them to do - to get by with less and less money.

    "Sheesh, we weren't even willing to go along with a temporary, 2-cents-per-can tax on soda pop last year. Now we're going to get all indignant when the UW looks to the other 49 states because we're too cheap?"

    As Westneat points out, the funding is only going to get worse. The state paid 70% - 80% for the cost for me to attend the UW back in the ... well just you never mind. It's fallen to 45% today and heading south.

    Westneat thinks we need to fund education as we had in the past, but I have to wonder if that's possible. It's a lot easier to subsidize 80% of a student's tuition if only 10% of graduating high school seniors go on to college. In a world where k-16 is almost mandatory of the "best paying" jobs, well that's a lot of money.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List 04/11/2011

  • Nice letter to the editor of the Everett Herald questioning the value of WSU running the University Center at EvCC.  I don't fully agree that north Snohomish county needs its own university, but her challenges to the idea of a "employer-centric" educational program and the replacement of the University Center with a WSU branch are right on target.

    WSU has done nothing to earn that position.  They failed to establish a presence at University Center when all the other universities choose to participate.   
  • Everett Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein tries to put a "face" on the UW entrance issue - where students with extremely hight GPA's aren't getting in.  As is often the case, Muhlstein's article seems short on analysis and heavy on drama.

    I've got several issues with the article, but my biggest is this sense that the UW is the only university worth going to in this state.  The former student featured couldn't get into the UW, so went out of state.  Huh?  No WSU, no Western, not even Evergreen?  Could have got two years at a local CC then transferred in as a junior.

    The mindset that every kid must go to the UW in the four years following high school graduation absurd.  Elite schools leave good students out, that's what elite means. Sometimes it just a numbers game, too many students chasing too few openings.

    I have little sympathy for the students or parents left out this year.  It won't be the end of their life.
  • The Virginia Board of Education has mandated local school boards to develop policies for teachers and the use of social media to interact with student following one particular molestation case.  But other teachers have found the tools useful from an educational standpoint. The article sites an example of one teacher using Twitter to help students write more concisely.  The question is how districts will balance the benefits of the tools with the misuses.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List 04/03/2011

  • Salman Kahn was a hedge fund analyst who recorded some videos to help him tutor his cousins.  The videos were open to all, the visitors found their way to the videos.  From that the Kahn Academy has grown hundreds (probably thousands) of videos.

    In this TED talk Kahn explains the power of using video in the class room and how it can reshape education.
  • Ignore the headline and read the article.  After you get past the straight-A kids be left out of the UW and the increase of out-of-state students, the article gets down to some useful information about how funding of our post-secondary education.

    One closing thought.  At the end of the article Rep. Carlyle is quoted about qualified kids not getting into the UW.  This requires some careful consideration.  At some point, an elite public school is going to reject the good kids of tax paying parents. Expectations that everyone can go to the UW are just unrealistic and our government leaders shouldn't encourage that thinking.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List 03/09/2011

  • In this editorial, Representatives Dunshee and Hope argue that establishing a branch campus of Washington State University in Everett will allow more of our citizens to get the skills they need to fill 21st century jobs, such as those created by the Air Force refueling tanker deal won recently by Boeing. Without such opportunities, we will continue to bring in talent from other states (and countries).

    This is a continuation of the same tired, misleading rhetoric used in the debate for a standalone university, then a branch of the University of Washington.  The topic deserves, and will get get, a full Advisory Bored blog post, but for now let's just focus on the notation that Snohomish county residents aren't getting engineering degrees because of the distance to a college.  Attendance in engineering programs and all of STEM subjects has been dropping across the country for over a decade.  While the slide seems to have hit bottom, programs aren't bursting at the seams just yet.

    Hope and Dunshee seem to be taking a "if we build it they will come" attitude.  However, the idea that engineering enrollment will surge merely because of the geographic proximity to a school of engineering is laughable.  Which means that we will stop importing engineers and start importing engineering students.  Oh great!
  • The Herald's editorial board sides with the Governor in her efforts to consolidate the various education boards and committees into a single entity reporting directly to her (to the dismay of the publicly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction).

    I so rarely agree with any thing the Herald's editorial board has to say about education, the fact that I agree this time warrants a comment.  Our education system is many things, but it is not a system. Bringing focus to this effort by consolidating the groups is necessary, but not sufficient to bring about reform.

    One area were I disagree is the Herald's advise to leave high-ed out of the discussion.  Again, it's a system and all parts should be included.  The Herald's own article about Running Start the previous week should make that point.  But even without inclusion of post-secondary education, the reform is worth implementing.
  • Myandie Burton is a 67 year-old woman attending Edmonds Community College's adult basic education program to learn to read for the first time.  The article discusses her history and her return to school to learn to read and, perhaps, to earn a GED.

    Beyond the individual achievement story is another story about the profound impact basic adult education programs can have on families and communities. It is not critical that this woman at this time in her life earn a GED, but it sends a powerful message to those around her how important education is.  If we believe that all citizens need high school and beyond education to be successful, then a culture of education needs to be infused into all communities. Adult basic education is part of that effort.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List 03/04/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The scaffolding of learning

Eva has a great post about teaching without a textbook over at the Education Virtually Anywhere (EVA) blog.  Now I might be be a bit biased (truth in advertising: Eva is Mrs. Advisory Bored), but I find it a really insightful view of learning in the information age.

I hope, however, that technology educators and IT managers will consider this post with more than just passing intellectual curiosity at the changing nature of post-secondary education.  I see in Eva's teaching methodology a model for long-term professional development and organizational transformation for IT professionals and their managers.  Let me explain.

An IT professional, particularly in a smaller, corporate IT shop, can no longer assume that his/her manager can define his/her job responsibilities, career path, training needs or long-term organizational strategy for his/her area of specialization without significant input from the professional him or herself.  This isn't the Dilbertesque dumbing down of IT management until they all resemble the PHB. Both the breadth and pace of technological change make it nearly impossible for a leader to dictate the work environment in a top-down, hierarchical fashion. 21st Century IT is not a 1960's assembly line.

Put simply, there is no longer room for IT workers, all staff must be IT professionals.  Professionals accept responsibility for their own training and development.  They identify and establish standards and practices for their area of responsibility. They remain abreast of the technology in their area of expertise and its impacts on the business, making recommendations to the IT manager. They build and maintain professional networks inside and outside the organization.

As the IT manager, it is my responsibility to create an environment for that to occur.  It seems to me that's what Eva is expressing when she says:
I make them do the work. I provide them with the framework or "scaffolding" of questions and problems to solve. They go looking for the answers and build their own library of resources along the way.
One hopes that along the way, Eva is also sharing with her student the method to her madness. The knowledge her students gain on any given project is fleeting, whereas the method by which the gained it will be valuable for years and decades to come.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List 02/22/2011

  • Everett School Board will discuss a possible censure of board member Jessica Olson on Tuesday, February 22nd.  Olson's tenure has been marked by ongoing controversy with her interaction with the school district leadership and fellow board members.  She won her seat on a platform of more openness.

    Personal opinion here: After the past leadership of Everett schools, openness would be very welcome, but Olson has failed to move the objective forward.  It's nice that she fights all these battles, but maybe she should consider winning a one or two.  The real censure should come from voters who replace the ineffective Olson and the other secretive members of the board.  
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List

Michele Martin provides us with her thoughts of how school prepares students for more school, not "real" life. I couldn't agree more that we set an expectation of well-defined problems with single right answers. I wish I lived in that world.
The author draws an interesting analogy between testing driven education and fad diets. Even if we meet our goal, have we done so in a healthy manner that allows us to maintain that goal.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan highlighted the efforts of Granite High School's ShopGirls team at last years Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition. He used there performance as an example of strong career and technical education (CTE) programs.
In this post the author highlights the findings in Pathways to Prosperity report that questions the current "College for All" goal for education. Many jobs will require more than high school but less than a BA. Many students may not be well served by the current 4-year university system which does not prepare students for careers.

Questions and concerns are raised as whether college should just be about getting a job. REALITY CHECK: the only reason most people are going to college is to get ahead in their professional careers. This hand-wringing over creating "better, well-rounded people" is nonsense (that's my opinion, not necessarily the authors).
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Advisory Bored Reading List

No more teaching for Josh, he's going to guide and encourage the students in his classroom.
tags: AB teaching
Riffing on Guy Kawasaki post, Stephen Downes comes up with his own list of things you really need to learn, more than just to be successful in business.
tags: education learning lessons AB
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.