Bad quotes, Coulter, etc. 2

July 28, 2006

I noted a few of the academic offenses of Ann Coulter earlier.  James Downard at Talk Reason has a three-part series fisking Coulter’s recent rants against science, especially Darwinian theories.  Here is the third installment, worth a read if you’re interested in what the facts are, and just how far off the rails Coulter’s account goes.

Dismal job market for historians

July 28, 2006

Jason Kuznicki writes about the dismal job market for historians at Positive Liberty.

In contrast to the troubles that afflict elementary and secondary education, Kuznicki writes:

I’m conversant in economics, so I even know the method to the madness: State subsidies for higher education tend to produce an oversupply of educated people. A state can hardly fail to misallocate resources, and, in all likelihood, we have too many universities, too many graduates, and too many PhDs in the fields the politicians think are important — like history.

“Oversupply of educated people.” The kids in my history and economics courses, with whom we struggled to keep them in school for one more semester to get a high school diploma, will not read that, I hope. Nor will their successors.

Public education: underreported war

July 28, 2006

Super teacher Paul White blogs at Arianna Huffington’s site. In a post titled “Public Education: America’s Most Under-Reported War,” he argues for radical change in the school system.

Sample comment:

While the War in Iraq will progressively require less financial support, no amount of funding for public schools will ever be enough until its inept leadership changes. Local school districts should actually be given less money and not more, until they agree to hire competent financial professionals to handle their budgets, and stop funneling all their funding increases into unwarranted administrative bloat. The only school budget item which does justify an increase – teachers’ pay – is the one area where school leaders refuse to spend a dime. This counterproductive action both drives out good teachers and prevents strong candidates from entering the profession.

“War” is an over-used metaphor, certainly — White’s background, teaching in some of the most difficult situations, gives him license to use it. The comparison between our nation’s efforts to secure legitimate peace in Iraq and our efforts to improve schools is a stretch.

But consider my view: Schools make the nation.

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