Sunday, 15 August 2010

Top Priority

Somewhere over at CBS News this week....someone finally woke up and actually did real analysis.

They surveyed the administration since day one, and came to realize that they've announced at least a dozen top priorities.

FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS: "...that's something that's going to be a top priority." (4/27/10)

ENERGY SECURITY: "And that's why my energy security plan has been one of the top priorities of my Administration since the day I took office." (4/28/10)

EDUCATION REFORM: "To train our workers for the jobs of tomorrow, we've made education reform a top priority in this Administration." (2/24/10)

STUDENT LOAN REFORM: "This is something that I've made a top priority." (2/1/10)

EXPORTS BY SMALL BUSINESSES: "This is going to be a top priority." (12/3/09)

HEALTH ASSISTANCE TO 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS: "I'm not just talking the talk, we've been budgeting this as a top priority for this Administration." (2/3/10)

END HOMELESSNESS AMONG VETERANS: "I've also directed (Veterans Affairs) Secretary Shinseki to focus on a top priority: reducing homeless among veterans." (8/17/09)

HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS: "Our top priority is ensuring the public safety. That means appropriate sheltering in place or if necessary, getting as many people as possible out of harm's way prior to landfall." (5/29/09)

H1N1 FLU VACCINATIONS: "And throughout this process, my top priority has been the health and the safety of the American people." (5/1/09)

SUPPORT FOR MILITARY FAMILIES: "These military families are heroes too. And they are a top priority of Michelle and me. And they will always have our support." (5/30/09)

STRENTHENING TIES WITH CANADA AND MEXICO: "We're going to make this a top priority..." (10/16/09)

CONSUMER PROTECTION: "During these challenging times, the needs of American consumers are a top priority of my Administration." (2/11/09)

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: "So this is going to be a top priority generally improving our environmental quality." (11/5/09)
On one side of the coin, the administration looks like it's got lots of things going on. On the other side of the coin, there's this question of congress looking like a 365-day Rocky Balboa fight operation....continually going to the mat and building frustration over each battle.

There are various elements of the public looking for some moment of relief when national news leads off with something that isn't related to Washington in their top three news items.

How many top priorities are yet to come? That'd be a curious thing. I'd even imagine another dozen by the end of 2011.

And the amusing thing to the top priority list complied by CBS? It never mentions jobs. Maybe they just accidentally missed it....maybe.

Getting Smart

I was waiting for this...an analysis of colleges and what their educational agenda is about. Sooner or later, I knew it would come.

So from the Washington Post today, the final analysis.

The analysis leads to this fasincating belief that actual real core subjects ought to be part of a degree process. The universal items noted? Composition, literature, foreign language at the intermediate level, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics, and natural or physical science.

If this sounds amazing...it's perhaps that we've forgotten that these were all part of high school processes if you went back one hundred years ago.

So these smart guys started to compare the university system and found that a $7k a year tuition at a Texas college....was better than a $38k a year tuition at Harvard. Harvard only mandated two of the core items (composition and science).

This study is supposed to help parents and kids make better choices. I pondered over this and kinda doubt that this will occur.

I looked over the site mentioned in their article....and gazed at Bama colleges. It's an interesting thing. Most all gain a "B". They were mostly meeting the core requirements mentioned. The curious thing is that every single one of the sixteen Bama colleges evaluated....did not mandate US history.

Then the other shocker came out of this Bama group.....most of the graduation rates....were less than forty percent. This kinda means that Karl and Jimmy Joe got Dad to pay for a year or two of college, drunk a bit too much beer, partied a bit too much.....and then left. One probably works at the Pabst distributor, and the other is likely a drive-in theater employee today.

There's at least ten colleges in New York state which got a "F"....Cornell was amongst them.

Wheaton College in Illinois? It costs $26k a year on tuition, but got an "F". Other than a mandated science class....that was the full extent of their requirements on the core items.

I sat and pondered over this. I've read a fair amount over high school education from the 1870 to 1890 period. There were significant expectations that needed to be met before you were given your certificate.

Before the 1950s.....most US colleges had the same expectations. At some point, they cheapen their process....allowed management to "sell" education....and then turned themselves into a sports & partying atmosphere.

The site to look over your favorite college? Here.

So when it comes down to a real education....you just might be better in souther Mississippi, than at Harvard. And that says alot.

The Trunk Monkey & the Alien