A graduation speech every bit as good as the one given by Steve Jobs at Stanford University in 2005.
Thanks Greg for alerting me to this.
Here are a few reasons why someone may have a gun on campus:
The problem is that ex-ante we cannot know the intent or the reason why the person bringing the gun to school did so, therefore make possessing a gun on school property a per se violation punishable by expulsion or at least a long suspension. If we cannot know the intent of the gun toter before any shots are fired, then punish a gun toter for the simple act of brining a gun to school.
Now, in the case of David Cole Withrow of Johnston County, North Carolina, he realized that he had accidently brought the gun to school with him after a weekend of hunting and immediately went to school officials to inform them of his mistake and to ask their permission to take it home.
Mr. Withrow appears to be a clean-cut kid, and Johnston County is certainly known for hunting, with all those Jim-Bobs and Skeeters living in the woods over yonder, so having a hunting rifle in your vehicle is not out of the oridinary. Maybe reason should have prevailed and the school official grant him permission to take the gun home, with a warning that the next time will be treated as a violation of the gun policy. But no, school officials immediately called the police, Withrow was suspended, and he is currently being told that he will not graduate with his classmates.
If you want kids who accidentally bring guns to school to never reveal their error, and in fact to possibly compound the problem by hiding the gun on their person or in an unsecured place where someone with evil intent can get to it, proceed to harshly punish Mr. Withrow and make sure that reason will never prevail when a bright and otherwise cooperative student attempts to rectify a mistake.
Oh, whatever happened to the good ol' days.
Having a child currently looking at colleges, the following two articles have a lot of relevancy. Both articles expose the inanity of the college admissions process, especially at the elite colleges, as well as ridicule the faux diversity rhetoric such colleges profess to uphold.
In today's New York Times, Claire Vaye Watkins discusses the inequities for high school students in rural areas looking to attend college, especially the elite colleges.
I never saw a college rep at Pahrump Valley High, but the military made sure that a stream of alumni flooded back to our school in their uniforms and fresh flattops, urging their old chums to enlist. Those students who did even reasonably well on the Asvab (theArmed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, for readers who went to schools where this test was not so exhaustively administered) were thoroughly hounded by recruiters.
My school did its part, too: it devoted half a day’s class time to making sure every junior took the Asvab. The test was also free, unlike the ACT and SAT, which I had to choose between because I could afford only one registration fee. I chose the ACT and crossed off those colleges that asked for the SAT.
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Granted, there’s a good reason top colleges aren’t sending recruiters around the country to woo kids like me and Ryan (who, incidentally, got his B.S. at U.N.R. before going on to earn his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Purdue and now holds a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship with the National Research Council). The Army needs every qualified candidate it can get, while competitive colleges have far more applicants than they can handle. But if these colleges are truly committed to diversity, they have to start paying attention to the rural poor.
And in today's Wall Street Journal, high school senior Suzy Lee Weiss, who was rejected admission by many elite colleges, explains (very humorously) the inequity and insanity of the admissions process. I just wish she had left out that last paragraph.
Colleges tell you, "Just be yourself." That is great advice, as long as yourself has nine extracurriculars, six leadership positions, three varsity sports, killer SAT scores and two moms. Then by all means, be yourself! If you work at a local pizza shop and are the slowest person on the cross-country team, consider taking your business elsewhere.
Sometimes it lasts in love,
And sometimes it hurts instead.
What Adele is referring to in this refrain from her song, Someone Like You, is that she failed to diversify her relationship portfolio. She went "all in" in her romance and rather than her investment paying off (i.e., it lasted in love), it turned out to be a bad investment and it hurt instead.
Much like a stock portfolio where you hold a large number of stocks of companies in different sectors, you should also diversify your relationship portfolio and maintain solid friendships with other people. If one of them leaves, or you find that a relationship with one of the friends is not working out, there are plenty of other friends with whom to associate. Once you are fairly certain that that special one is really "that special one," then maybe it's time to take a big risk and go all in on that person, committing yourself only to him or her. (Hey, you wouldn't argue that going all in on Wal-Mart and buying only Wal-Mart stock is a good investment, would you?)
Now, Adele was in her twenties when she was engaged and maybe to her she felt that he was "that special one." Maybe she felt that it's time to get married and that the marginal cost of searching for someone better exceeded the marginal benefit to her were she to find someone better. Consequently, she took the risk and went all in.
This is not the case with adolescents, and a recent study demonstrates why teens should diversify their relationship portfolio and not go all in and date.
Adolescence is when children first begin to push boundaries on the way to adulthood. While they may think they know what’s best for them, they sometimes lack the foresight to see the consequences of their actions.
Study participants who didn’t date had better overall academic performance, while those who dated earlier in middle school were twice as likely to begin using alcohol and drugs in high school, the researchers said.
All right, so maybe that's a lot of correlation rather than causation. Children who tend to date in middle school exhibit impulsive behavior in all areas of their lives, including drinking, drugging, dating and school.
“A likely explanation for the worse educational performance of early daters is that these adolescents start dating early as part of an overall pattern of high-risk behaviors,” Orpinas said in a press release.
Other amplifying factors include the emotional difficulties teens often face in middle and high school: bullying, depression, and anxiety. All of these have been linked to higher rates of smoking, drinking, and drug use.
In other words, if you've hired an advisor to manage your portfolio, ask him or her when she first began dating. If they say middle school, take your money and run before they lose it all in risky investments.
So the dating isn't the cause of the social problems, but is likely a response to other troubling factors in the adolescent's life. If you see your middle or high school-aged child dating, maybe they're looking for something currently lacking at home. Family is the best relationship asset to hold while growing up, but if kids find family an unsafe investment that's not paying off, they'll go looking for other, more lucrative ways of realizing an emotional return.
I think it's all this investment jargon that sustains the romance in my relationship.
The most recent jobs report was released to much fanfare, but there is a lot to be concerned about.
Tyler Cowen's post explains much of the problem.
The graph below adds more evidence that our economy is currently struggling through sectoral changes and not necessarily a shortage of aggregate demand. Worse still, the employment problems will persist for a while.
The left scale measures the labor force participation rate for those with a college degree, while the right scale measures the labor force participation rate for those with a high school diploma and no college. Both have ten percentage point ranges, from 70% to 80% for college graduates and from 55% to 65% for those with a high school diploma but no college.
Both declined since 2008, but it's the change since October 2012 that is troubling. The labor force participation rate for those with a college degree increased half a percentage point, while for those with a high school diploma and no college it decreased 1.5 percentage points, with almost half of that decrease coming in February alone.
Manufacturing jobs of the past are gone. The opportunities for someone with a high school diploma and no college degree are drying up, causing more to leave the labor force. There are plenty of employment opportunities for people with an adequate skill set—largely literate, some aptitude for mathematics, and able to solve problems—but we are not educating the next generation of workers sufficiently to take on these jobs. Watch the video below the graph for a more thorough explanation of this. It is a very insightful discussion of the current situation from economists Russ Roberts and Ed Leamer.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory voiced concern publicly about the classes taught in today's colleges and universities, arguing that the state should not pay for students who take courses that provide no social value. Basically he was criticizing public colleges and universities that teach, among other things, gender or race specific courses.
From Sunday's Raleigh News & Observer comes this letter to the editor from Joseph Harris:
Perhaps Gov. Pat McCrory is concerned that if UNC women take classes in gender studies they might start asking why they are paid less, on average, for their work than men?
And that proves McCrory's point. It certainly may be that by "tak[ing] classes in gender studies [women] might start asking why they are paid less, on average, for their work than men," but if they instead take a good course in economics they'll do more than ask why; instead, through reason and logic they'll learn why.
As former Washington Redskins coach George Allen used to say, "The future is now." For employment in manufacturing, the days of pushing a button and watching a machine process or snapping two things together are largely over. Today's workers require a different skill set.
They are also pushing hard to redefine manufacturing as a thinking-person’s career. State officials have given up on saving the traditional blue-collar jobs that had sustained local communities in earlier generations.
“The reality is North Carolina and the United States will never be able to compete for these jobs,” said Lew Ebert, CEO of the N.C. Chamber, the state’s business lobby. “What you want is an economy of knowledge workers.”
Much of the menial work has gone overseas to be performed by low-wage floor crews. Other types of manufacturing jobs have been wiped out by automation, robotics and technological efficiencies.
The jobs North Carolina economic planners want to keep are computerized and sophisticated, in such areas as pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, components and a plethora of specialty products. There is no giant manufacturing industry to dominate the field as textiles, furniture and tobacco once did in their golden age.
Sadly, though, is this.
Siemens employs 1,550 at its turbine and generator factory in Charlotte, nearly half of them blue-collar manufacturing jobs, often straight out of high school. They operate lathes, boring mills and other complex equipment and are paid between $10-an-hour and $25-an-hour.
These employees are put through a battery of training courses that Siemens calls “mechatronics,” a program leading to a 2-year associate’s degree.
Getting one of these jobs requires passing a screening exam in literacy, math, mechanical aptitude and other basic skills. Only 10 percent of applicants have an adequate high school preparation to pass the Siemens exam, said Mark Pringle, director of operations for Siemens Energy in Charlotte.
“They’re just not training these skills in high school,” Pringle said.
Take an AP U.S. History class in most any school across the U.S. and you will do little, if any, real analysis of history. Instead, you will memorize dates, places and people. My daughter had to memorize all the U.S. presidents in order of their term, and also their party affiliation. It was totally useless and a waste of time.
It is exercises like this that drive students to abhor learning. By the time I get them, and I force them to think critically and analytically, most struggle with it, but are at least grateful that the class is somewhat interesting and not more of the same.
Here is a good explanation of what's taking place and why this struggle is only getting worse.
Let me use as an example my own AP course, U.S. Government and Politics. I served several times as a reader for the examination that follows the course. In that capacity, I read the constructed responses that make up half of the score of a student’s examination. I saw several problems.
First (and I acknowledge that I bear some culpability here), in the AP U.S. Government exam the constructed responses are called “free response questions” and are graded by a rubric that is concerned primarily with content and, to a lesser degree, argument. If a student hits the points on the rubric, he or she gets the points for that rubric. There is no consideration of grammar or rhetoric, nor is credit given or a score reduced based on the format of the answer. A student who takes time to construct a clear topic sentence and a proper conclusion gets no credit for those words. Thus, a teacher might prepare the student to answer those questions in a format that is not good writing by any standard. If, as a teacher, you want your students to do their best, you have to have them practice what is effectively bad writing— no introduction, no conclusion, just hit the points of the rubric and provide the necessary factual support. Some critical thinking may be involved, at least, but the approach works against development of the kinds of writing that would be expected in a true college-level course in government and politics.
My students did well on those questions because we practiced bad writing. My teaching was not evaluated on the basis of how well my students did, but I felt I had a responsibility to prepare them for the examination in a way that could result in their obtaining college credit.
I would like to believe that I prepared them to think more critically and to present cogent arguments, but I could not simultaneously prepare them to do well on that portion of the test and teach them to write in a fashion that would properly serve them at higher levels of education.
This is why I'm a ardent proponent of true school choice—schools create their own curricula and parents sort by their own choice based on content and the reputation of the various schools. Make the funding based on the number of students who are attracted to a school and subsequently served by that school. We need more experimentation through spontaneous order and rid ourselves of the command and control mandates that have been the history of U.S. education since the late nineteenth century.
Colleges are realizing that many students are just not realizing the value of spending tens of thousands on undergraduate and professional studies. Law schools are now catching on.
Maybe instead of just cutting the third year, law schools should simply adopt what many dental schools adopted years ago, which is two years of undergrad and then three years of dental school. Better yet, for law schools, two years of undegrad and two years of law school.
Accounting CPA requirements, you're next.