Through the atrocities he committed, Anders Breivik put to test our democracy and our legal institutions. The calm and reasoned way in which the Norwegian judiciary, the audience in the court room, and indeed the population in general dealt with Breivik, allowing him to be heard, indicates to me that we passed the test.
Why should we not trust our system when it comes to access to education? Our rules say that an inmate, like any other citizen in this country, has a right to pursue higher education on the basis of merit. The fact that his application is dealt with in accordance with extant rules and regulations does not imply that Norwegians lack passion or that anger and vengefulness are absent. What it demonstrates is that our values are fundamentally different from his.
By sticking to our rules and not clamouring for new ones we send a clear message to those whose misguided mission it is to undermine and change our democratic system.
bipartisan Senate coalition on Wednesday blocked a Democratic proposal to retroactively cut interest rates on higher education loans in half, leaving any student loan rescue in doubt and laying bare divisions among Democrats about how to resolve the dispute.
The bill pushed by the Democratic leadership would have renewed a subsidized 3.4 percent interest rate on Stafford loans, whose rates doubled to 6.8 percent on July 1. But a bipartisan group of senators — led by Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia; Angus King, independent of Maine; and Richard M. Burr, Republican of North Carolina — had forged what they saw as a compromise measure that would have tied student loan rates to federal borrowing costs.
Democratic leaders refused to give the coalition a vote on its plan, and Mr. Manchin and Mr. King voted with Republicans to filibuster the Democratic plan, which received 52 votes, 8 short of the number needed to break the delay. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, switched his vote to “no” for parliamentary reasons, leaving the final tally 51 to 49.
MOBILE - U.S. Rep. Jo Bonner, R-Mobile, confirmed today that he intends to resign from Congress later this year and take a job at the University of Alabama.
Bonner will leave Congress effective Aug. 15 for a position as vice chancellor of government relations and economic development at the University of Alabama System …
The BBC reports on downward mobility in the US, with a focus on the higher education sector. This will not be news to people who pay attention to such things - education and achievement in the US are largely determined by who your parents happen to be.
As the article says, it’s a tough reality to accept in a country which is typically characterized by ideas/ideals of optimism and meritocracy.
housands of Hungarians took to the streets on Saturday to protest against proposed changes to the country’s constitution that they believe will take away important democratic rights. The vote is set to take place in the parliament in Budapest on Monday.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government hope to introduce restrictive measures affecting unmarried couples including those in same-sex relationships. Changes in higher education are also proposed. Students receiving state grants would be required to stay and work in the country after they finish their studies. The defense of the poor and homeless is also of concern to the opponents with a ban on sleeping in the streets among the proposals.
Election campaigning would also only be permitted on state media, a change that critics say would damage Hungary’s democracy.
The European Commission, the Council of Europe and several human rights organisations have expressed concern over Monday’s vote.
A California state legislator is the latest elected official to push for public colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees at bargain-basement prices.
Assemblyman Dan Logue, a Republican, has introduced a bill to create a pilot program for students to earn a bachelor’s degree at a cost of no more than $10,000.
The legislation in California follows similar suggestions in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, has asked the state’s colleges to design a $10,000 bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, several institutions in Texas are already working to create a low-cost diploma.
In all three cases, however, the $10,000 price for the student represents only a portion of the overall cost of the education, with high schools, community colleges, and universities absorbing much of the remaining costs.
You can tell you’re in a male-dominated discipline in the sciences when a gathering of three or more women working, standing, or sitting together in a professional setting in that field is considered “remarkable.”
Three seems to be the magic number. When at least three women are collaborating in a male-oriented discipline or conversing together at a conference, they tend to attract comments, some unwelcome. Recently I have heard male scholars make the following comments:
Regarding three female scientists listed as principal investigators on a grant proposal: “That’s too many women on one project.”
Regarding three female scientists (and no men) as organizers of a conference session: “Don’t they like men?”
Regarding three female scientists talking in a corridor of a science building on a campus: “Is this a Girl Scout meeting?”
This fall my wife and I both seemed to be circling around midcareer crises. We’ve each been teaching full time for about a dozen years in our respective positions. We’ve made minor changes: I have added a part-time administrative position to my teaching and writing, and she has shifted from one school to another in the same district.
But those changes don’t feel like much in comparison with our early years, when it seemed like we were always on the move: I followed her to her graduate school in one city, and then she followed me to my graduate school in another city, and then we moved to the East Coast for my tenure-track job. And here we have been ever since.
“I need a new job, a new city, and a new hair color,” I heard my wife say to a friend at a party last month. A few days later I came home and found her and one of my older daughters dyeing each other’s hair.
“Did it help?” I asked her the next morning.
I know how she feels. Last week I was deep into a stack of end-of-semester papers, grinding away. I looked up in the middle of one paper and thought: I’ve corrected these same mistakes on this student’s papers three times already. What am I doing wrong here? Does all of this time I am spending really make an iota of difference?
I suspect we all ask ourselves such questions at some point. They arise in spite of the gratitude my wife and I feel for the very fact that we have jobs. And while those questions may stem from moments of frustration, sometimes a better impulse animates them: Perhaps I could better serve students, or the profession, or the world in some other capacity. Most of the time, I feel a good fit between myself and my work. But how will I know for sure if I don’t look around every once in a while?
A long night of grading and reflection on this question left me needing to clear my head. I woke up the next morning and decided to make my two-mile commute to the campus on foot. After a vigorous 30-minute walk, I got to my office with a resolution in mind and opened up The Chronicle to the jobs section. I started paging through it, looking for openings at teaching centers or for administrative posts in some of the cities we have left behind and still miss. I knew my wife wouldn’t take much convincing.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” What Socrates failed to tell us is that the examined one isn’t a whole lot better.
So he wasn’t the wisest of all men. Or if he was, he was a patronizing jerk. When I grew up, I thought to myself, I wouldn’t be a patronizing jerk. I’d tell people straightforwardly, without irony or obfuscation, what a pathetic ruse life was. I’d tell them that living was a euphemism for dying slowly, that life was an incurable disease that was ultimately fatal. So what if I was only 12?
This is what happens when your older brother, home from university, leaves his copy of Plato’s Apology on the back of the toilet. He goes on to become the doctor that he’s supposed to. And you become a philosophy professor.
I’m sure that I wasn’t alone in my understanding of life’s meaninglessness, but I remember being surprised that more kids didn’t seem affected by it. Maybe they, like Socrates, just didn’t want to talk about it. Did they not experience the monotony of class and lunch, class and lunch, day after day? Did they not experience recess as a sadistic lie? Sadistic because it was either too painful or too short (you pick), and a lie because it was meant to provide some respite from the monotony. If they did, they weren’t saying.
A college education is no guarantee of success- or is it?
There are legions of entrepreneurs who dropped out of college or never went to school and made fortunes. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerburg made billions. There are lots of nameless millionaires who struck it rich in the tech business, sans college degree.
There are also legions of college drop outs who have managed to fail in every endeavor they try.
Of course, financial security is only one reason to go to college. What value ought to be placed on education itself? An undergraduate college degree does not confer any real expertise on the student. Instead, the new graduate is expected to understand the question which need to be answered and to recognize and discern between various answers in the quest for knowledge.
For a select few foregoing a college degree is a practical alternative. These are the rare individuals who unique visions, drive and talents. They do what needs to be done and accomplish goals.
For the rest of us a college education helps us get a leg up and succeed in a world of challenges. Not a bad thing.
BENJAMIN GOERING does not look like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, talk like him or inspire the same controversy. But he does apparently think like him.
Two years ago, Mr. Goering was a sophomore at the University of Kansas, studying computer science and philosophy and feeling frustrated in crowded lecture halls where the professors did not even know his name.
“I wanted to make Web experiences,” said Mr. Goering, now 22, and create “tools that make the lives of others better.”
So in the spring of 2010, Mr. Goering took the same leap as Mr. Zuckerberg: he dropped out of college and moved to San Francisco to make his mark. He got a job as a software engineer at a social-software company, Livefyre, run by a college dropout, where the chief technology officer at the time and a lead engineer were also dropouts. None were sheepish about their lack of a diploma. Rather, they were proud of their real-life lessons on the job.
“Education isn’t a four-year program,” Mr. Goering said. “It’s a mind-set.”
The idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Feeling squeezed by a sagging job market and mounting student debt, a groundswell of university-age heretics are pledging allegiance to new groups like UnCollege, dedicated to “hacking” higher education. Inspired by billionaire role models, and empowered by online college courses, they consider themselves a D.I.Y. vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick.
Risky? Perhaps. But it worked for the founders of Twitter, Tumblr and a little company known as Apple.