Education News A-Go-Go!

Boy, I knew that subscription to the New York Times would pay off! Just today there were forty seven billion articles about education, ranging from disturbing to so nihilistically stupid that the abyss will, instead of looking into you, cover its eyes because it’s so embarrassed. First up:

Public Higher Education in California is Fucked:

Despite rising student attendance and years of budget attrition the university system will likely be forced to cut services even further if a proposed tax increase fails to gain approval. Even soaking out-of-state students with further tuition hikes and lowering academic standards (not enough TA’s to grad papers!) won’t solve the problems created by too many philosophy and women’s studies departments; according to John Coupal, the president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Californians “had the luxury in prior years of heavily subsidizing colleges…but like anything in California, the delivery of higher education is not performance based. They’ve created new campuses and programs based on politics and not need.”

When will those damn women’s studies majors learn to stop reading Judith Butler and start creating tech ventures?!!

College Administrators Have Agreed to Stop Being so Goddamn Shady About Financial Aid:

Yes, it’s true–college and university presidents have agreed to meet at the White House to discuss reforms in the ways student loan information is parsed to students; now, students will be provided a “shopping sheet” that provides the necessary information to make an informed decision, rather than the usual documents which obfuscate and cause terrible debt. I know what you’re thinking: how is capitalism supposed to work if the consumer has access to accurate information? This is America, dammit! Go back to China with your “shopping sheets”! And while you’re there, make sure to hand out some applications to American universities (and loan paperwork).

Ignore Anyone Who Tells You that Rankings Don’t Matter:

If you attended the New York Times “College Life Fair” in Chicago, it’s possible that you received some idiotic advice about choosing a college based on rankings; if you did, I can say (with furious conviction) that the morons who told you to ignore rankings ought to be flogged:

The No. 1 rule in the college admissions process: “Ignore the rankings.” This is according to Dave Marcus, a Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right College — and Find Themselves.”

Jed Hoyer would likely agree. He began his professional life as an admissions officer at Wesleyan University. He said he decided to attend Wesleyan on instinct, and advises students to trust their gut. He said he tries to do the same in his current position: as the executive vice president and general manager of the Chicago Cubs.

This advice is patently absurd; and moreover, anyone who went to a highly ranked school like Wesleyan (as well as an elite prep school) and is now singing the praises of “ignoring the rankings” is attempting to screw you. Rankings matter; do you honestly believe that your Pine Manor B.A. is going to get you in the door over a Harvard grad? What’s that? You’ve never heard of Pine Manor? Neither has anyone else. So go to the ranked school, fuckwit.

Also, if you had to attend a college fair to learn that you should have good grades to go to a good college, and that your personal essay should be free of typos, then you are a complete dipshit who should not be attending college anyway.

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So You’re Going to Go to a For-Profit College

Well, right off the bat I should let you know that you’re a fucking idiot, and that because you’re a fucking idiot, you’re unlikely to understand the gist of what’s to follow. Therefore, I suggest that you find someone who did not waste their time, energy, and money on a degree from a for-profit college or university to explain this to you. You might try looking at places where people are employed. You know, a “job,” that thing you don’t have because you went to ITT. I’m just kidding, no one has a job! But there’s probably a smart homeless guy in the library where you’re reading this; maybe he’ll help you out. Just let him finish wanking to vintage copies of National Geographic first.

1. It’s unlikely that you’ll graduate.

Yes, the degree in “Information Systems and Cybersecurity” that you covet so much will probably never be conferred, though you will be forced to repay the $150,000 it cost to find out you couldn’t even make your way through a lackluster for-profit curriculum. What little information exists on graduation rates points to the likelihood that you’re on the hook for a ton of cash, and you possess nothing but non-transferable credits.

2. Even if you manage to graduate, you’ll never earn enough to repay your loans.

Hooray, you finished! Your diploma says B.B.A. and now you’re ready to tackle the job market in Milwaukee. But wait, you’re going to love this–even if you manage to find a job, it’s unlikely you’ll earn enough to pay back the monstrous amount you borrowed to finance your degree. Meanwhile, the guys who went to UW Milwaukee (and paid about $30K less than you) are going on their fifth weekend trip to Chicago this year! With Russian strippers! Too bad you had to take that second job; Bob from sales said Svetlana really liked you!

3. You’re supporting organizations that rip off veterans.

That’s right, your unfinished degree in “Video Game Design” says that you hate the troops. And do you know what people do to guys who hate the troops? That shit ain’t pretty. For-profit colleges have recently come under scrutiny for abusing the benefits that veterans earn for their service. Private services called “lead generators” flood veterans with calls and collect information which they then sell to for-profit colleges. Then, the for-profit colleges entice the veterans with a flashy sales pitch and reap the reward of a fat, government-funded payday. I hope you feel good about yourself, asshole.

4. You’re ruining education in America.

As if your casual disregard for the welfare of veterans wasn’t enough, your blindly stupid channeling of federal dollars into organizations that give little to nothing back to the American public is ruining education for the rest of us. Why? Because while community colleges (and their portable credits) are cutting services and raising tuition, these bloated diploma-mills are siphoning off the sweet loan milk from the government’s bloated teat.

5. In addition to ruining education in America, you’re adding evidence to the argument that every consumer in this country is a hapless turd, unable to find useful information or conduct reasoned analysis.

You see, if you were able to conduct research, you would have realized that you probably live in a state, and the state where you live probably has a university system, and that university system confers degrees in every area that a for-profit college does, and does so at a FUCKING FRACTION OF THE PRICE YOU GODDAMNED WITLESS PIECE OF GARBAGE. Let’s go back to the Milwaukee example. It took me roughly 5 minutes to find out that if you attend one of the ITTs in Milwaukee and earn a B.B.A. it will cost you over $30K more than if you attended the University of Milwaukee. And do you know what? If you actually manage to finish, the person hiring you will probably be an alum of UW Milwaukee! And they’ll think to themselves “what the fuck is wrong with this asshole? How could I possibly trust someone so fucking stupid with any aspect of my business” And they’ll be dead fucking right.

Not Surprisingly, Textbook Publishers Don’t Want You to Have Free Textbooks

Sadly, it looks like the days of free textbooks might be over. In a move that shocks no one, at least two publishing giants are suing the small start-up Boundless Learning over the alleged “theft” of content. According to the suit, Boundless Learning “generates these ‘replacement textbooks’ by hiring individuals to copy and paraphrase from Plaintiffs’ textbooks.”

The suit also departs from the characteristic bland language of most lawsuits in a number of places — stating at points that “Defendant teaches only the age-old business model of theft” and that “Boundless gets an ‘F’ in originality.”

Well, if anyone is qualified to comment on theft as a business model, it’s the textbook publishing industry. Naturally, the CEO of Boundless Learning disagrees with the publishing giants:

The content comes from openly licensed educational content, created and posted online by faculty members over the past two decades, and curated by Boundless Learning’s domain experts, he said. Offerings so far are in biology, economics and psychology.

The publishers also contend that Boundless Learning’s products have “a corrosive effect on learning.” Personally, I believe that the runaway inflation of textbook prices is slightly more deleterious to education than what amounts to a more accurately sourced version of Wikipedia, but hey, what the fuck would I know? I couldn’t afford to buy textbooks when I was in school, so I didn’t learn shit.

So You’re Thinking About Going to College

Have you not been paying attention to the economy? Even people that go to good schools aren’t getting jobs–what the hell makes you think you’re so special? Oh, that’s right–you’re a millenial. Therefore everyone’s been telling you what a special snowflake you are for your entire life. Well then, I guess congratulations are in order. Congratulations for not paying attention to the world around you, and congratulations for deciding to take a tentative step toward doing something one day. That’s the kind of shit people praise you for, right?

In any case, you’ll need a handy checklist of things to think about in between status updates on Facebook or tweets about how you hate when Wikipedia doesn’t have an article that you need for a paper. So pay attention, snowflake!

1. Upsell your personal statement.

Yes, it’s possible someone might read this essay (if you beat the cut scores; otherwise, don’t bother), so you’ve got to do everything you can to improve your chances for admission. Luckily, that’s easy to do on a personal statement. Mix and match any of the following for a can’t lose admissions essay:

  • “My love of musical theater and Prada handbags has made life in Midland, Texas, very difficult.”
  • “Working in my parents’ restaurant between violin, piano, and ballet lessons was difficult to fit in, but I know it made me a stronger person.”
  • “And that’s why I’ll never forget the promise I made on my best friend’s deathbed; and one day I will hold that “Go Bulldogs” sign at the Harvard-Yale game in remembrance of her.”
  • “It was funny, really: who would have thought that a kid from Canton would create the year’s most popular smartphone app?”

2. Think about the costs.

Quite frankly, if you have to do this, you should not be attending college.

3. Have a school counselor help you begin your research.

What are you, an old? Use the fucking Internet!

4. Take your exams.

Test-taking is obviously the most important aspect of the college admissions process. Luckily, you’re part of Generation Special Snowflake, and so all you know how to do is take standardized exams; this will give you a leg-up in the race to the Ivy League. If you cannot afford to hire a test-prep coach, you should not be attending college. Because let’s face it, if you can’t spend a couple sawbucks on an SAT tutor than how will you afford black market Adderall during finals week? Back to cosmetology school, chump!

5. Visit a campus and see what it’s like to be an annoying undergraduate.

Determining where you’d like to spend four years is no easy task, especially on the basis of a weekend visit. And if that weekend visit included a party, that task becomes all the more difficult, because let’s face it, who would turn down the University of Bierundboobsen? Nevertheless, strive to make your choice as objective as possible; you don’t want to end up going to some second-rate state school just because you got laid at a tailgate party (go Warhawks!).

California College Fires Immigrant Employees

Recently, Pomona College in Claremont, California, fired roughly 17 employees when they could not produce documents that proved they were allowed to work in the country legally. Most of the workers had been employees at the college for at least a few years.

It gets interesting when you consider that several of the employees were considering forming a union; naturally, the college denies that was the reason they were fired.

According to the college, a complaint about their hiring practices prompted the investigation, not union rabble-rousing. After they received the complaint, the administration began a lengthy investigation, culminating in problematic files for several employees. They asked the employees to rectify the situation, and they could not; thus, the college fired them.

The reaction from students and professors was predictably bleeding heart (damn socialist higher education!), with furious email exchanges and some students threatening to warn prospects away from the school.

Can’t a school just fire a bunch of hardworking individuals for no ostensible reason other than a bunch of shitty paperwork that was the school’s responsibility anyway? What has this country come to?!

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