Category Archives: college admissions

August 6, 2011, 11:41 am

Education Policy This Week: Edu-Traitors, Preventing Child Abuse Through Censorship, And Combat Soldiers In Class

Today we are taking note of smart people saying smart things that open a can of worms or two about education policy and its consequences.

At HASTAC, Duke’s Cathy Davidson confesses that she is an edu-traitor. “I argue that, right now, we are deforming the entire enterprise of education,” Davidson writes, “from preschool onward, by insisting it be measured implicitly by the standard of ‘will this help you get into college’? The result is the devaluation of myriad important ways of learning that are not, strictly speaking, ‘college material.’”

To put Davidson’s concept in practical terms, even before budgets are cut, aspects of the school day that used to be a valued part of the educational mission — art, music, recess, clubs, athletics — become “extras.” In politician-speak, these activities are “fat” or “pork,” which can and should be cut:  those words are also a…

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September 19, 2010, 1:07 pm

Sunday Radical Roundup: Back to Skool Edition

Is Michelle Rhee Going Down? Kendra Marr at Politico.com reviews what everyone in education reform, that eclectic field that contains many political positions (most of which revolve around high-stakes testing rather than education or reform) was talking about last week: Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty’s primary loss may mean that Michelle Rhee is out of a job. Fenty, courageously in the minds of many, tied his career to the fate of the District’s schools — and lost, in a resounding smack down for Rhee’s take-no-prisoners approach. “Fenty’s defeat this week — due in no small part to community and teachers union resistance to his education push,” Marr writes, “is emerging as a cautionary tale for education reformers, who fear that it could cause others to back away from aggressive reform programs swept into the mainstream by President Barack Obama’s `Race to the Top.’”…

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April 27, 2009, 10:21 pm

“Is That A Kennedy Dog?” And Other Portuguese Water Dog Trivia

“Is that a Kennedy dog?” someone shouted across the park the other day.

“Naw,” I shouted back, to the delight of a number of neighborhood children circling me and my Portuguese Water Dog Breezy on their bikes. “She’s an Obama dog!”

It’s spring in Shoreline –very much so, and the park is filled with elderly people sitting and feeling the breeze, children playing, families having a pizza picnic dinner and canoodlers canoodling. Breezy and I were taking a healthful evening stroll over to the liquor store for supplies that might get yours truly through the rest of the school year, and at least one of us was keeping a sharp eye out for abandoned pizza crusts. Since I can barely bring myself to get in my car in the morning, writing about the academy and it’s various problems is not in the cards this evening. I can, however, meditate just briefly on my life since Bo came home to the White…

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November 1, 2008, 2:58 pm

Radical To The University of Connecticut: Cookies, Milk and A Social Worker, Please

This morning’s Connecticut section of the New York Times featured this story about Colin Carlson, who has been taking college level courses since he was eight and now, at the ripe old age of 12, is enrolled at the University of Connecticut’s main campus at Storrs. You can see a picture of him, talking to one of his profs, at left.

My first response? Oh yuck, not another one.

Apparently Colin applied to a number of liberal arts colleges, among them my beloved Zenith. Our admissions officers, according to the reporter, “suggested a few years at a prep school” rather than admitting Colin as a freshman in the class of 2012 and assigning him to the Naked Dorm. Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to end up in the Naked Dorm. And not everyone can afford to add another six years of what are essentially college tuition fees onto four years of college fees. I know this because every once in…

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June 27, 2007, 1:11 pm

Who’s On First? College Ranking Systems

The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities otherwise known as NAICU — is that pronounced “Nay-koo” or “Nay-soo?” — has rolled out a sample template that, when filled in with real data from real colleges, will allow potential students and their parents to compare institutions: the curious will be able to click on various parts of the webpages, and go to data bases kept by the colleges themselves that give more detailed information. You can read about this innovation in making the process of choosing a college even more time-consuming and hideous than it already is at the Chronicle of Higher Education: click here. This is part of a growing effort, I think, to topple the supremacy of the U.S. News and World Report rankings, and sell colleges in ways that they wish to be sold rather than forcing them to meet criteria set by (yecch!) journalists.

You know, I think …

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May 15, 2007, 4:04 pm

College in Credit Card Nation

Having just made it through one college admission season in Credit Card Nation, I am bracing for the next. One of the down sides of being involved in the Higher Ed Biz is that people with college-age children believe or hope that we who are on The Job can give some kind of useful advice about how to get into a great school. This often leaves the Radical in a tough spot. For example, I honestly don’t know why people do or do not get into Zenith, since I imagine, like everything else, it changes from year to year and I haven’t seen a first-year file for four years. And even if I had, I still couldn’t tell you. Different applicants fill different instutional desires, and those desires are not always predictable. My students exhibit a range of talents and abilities about which I cannot generalize in any useful way, or translate into a “good” application. Some write well; others write…

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