June 2008 Archives

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True calling ... and standard of living.

If one of the disadvantages of an elite education is the temptation it offers to mediocrity, another is the temptation it offers to security. When parents explain why they work so hard to give their children the best possible education, they invariably say it is because of the opportunities it opens up. But what of the opportunities it shuts down? An elite education gives you the chance to be rich--which is, after all, what we’re talking about--but it takes away the chance not to be. Yet the opportunity not to be rich is one of the greatest opportunities with which young Americans have been blessed. We live in a society that is itself so wealthy that it can afford to provide a decent living to whole classes of people who in other countries exist (or in earlier times existed) on the brink of poverty or, at least, of indignity. You can live comfortably in the United States as a schoolteacher, or a community organizer, or a civil rights lawyer, or an artist--that is, by any reasonable definition of comfort. You have to live in an ordinary house instead of an apartment in Manhattan or a mansion in L.A.; you have to drive a Honda instead of a BMW or a Hummer; you have to vacation in Florida instead of Barbados or Paris, but what are such losses when set against the opportunity to do work you believe in, work you’re suited for, work you love, every day of your life?

Yet it is precisely that opportunity that an elite education takes away. How can I be a schoolteacher--wouldn’t that be a waste of my expensive education? Wouldn’t I be squandering the opportunities my parents worked so hard to provide? What will my friends think? How will I face my classmates at our 20th reunion, when they’re all rich lawyers or important people in New York? And the question that lies behind all these: Isn’t it beneath me? So a whole universe of possibility closes, and you miss your true calling.

"The Disadvantages of an Elite Education: Our best universities have forgotten that the reason they exist is to make minds, not careers." by William Deresiewicz, The American Scholar, Summer 2008

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Posted June 29, 2008 08:37 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Amazon down since Monday? 3-day Amazon outage?

Is it just us or has Amazon.com been down since Monday morning, June 9, 2008?

Since Monday, during the day, we have been able to reach Amazon less than 1 hour each day. We've tried 2 different locations using 2 different access providers, and can't reach Amazon from either.

Anyone else having these problems?

Posted June 11, 2008 02:07 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Diplomas Count 2008 - Dropping Out of High School

As the nation struggles to close its graduation gap, Diplomas Count 2008 examines states' efforts to forge stronger connections between precollegiate and postsecondary education.
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Nationwide, about 71 percent of 9th graders make it to graduation four years later, according to data from 2005, the latest available. And that figure drops to 58 percent for Hispanics, 55 percent for African-Americans, and 51 percent for Native Americans.

Those rates improved slightly from 2004 to 2005 for all groups, but large gaps remain across states. While more than eight in 10 students graduate on time in Iowa, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin, for example, the proportion drops to fewer than six in 10 in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Carolina.

Analyses conducted for Diplomas Count by the EPE Research Center also continue to show wide disparities between state-reported graduation rates and the center’s estimates. Such disparities are one reason that the U.S. Department of Education proposed new rules this spring that would require all states to calculate graduation rates based on a uniform method that tracks cohorts of students as they progress through high school.

"Executive Summary," Diplomas Count 2008, by Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center


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Posted June 9, 2008 07:47 AM  ·  Permalink   ·     ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

"China’s Cyber-Militia"

Computer hackers in China, including those working on behalf of the Chinese government and military, have penetrated deeply into the information systems of U.S. companies and government agencies, stolen proprietary information from American executives in advance of their business meetings in China, and, in a few cases, gained access to electric power plants in the United States, possibly triggering two recent and widespread blackouts in Florida and the Northeast, according to U.S. government officials and computer-security experts.

"China’s Cyber-Militia: Chinese hackers pose a clear and present danger to U.S. government and private-sector computer networks and may be responsible for two major U.S. power blackouts." By Shane Harris, National Journal, May 31, 2008

Hat tip, Slashdot


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Posted June 1, 2008 06:47 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)