Better Student-Outcome Data Is Key to Improving Teacher-Education Programs

To the Editor:

Michael Feuer is correct in “Improving Teacher Preparation: Right Destination, Hazardous Route,” (The Chronicle, February 23): Evaluation of our nation’s teacher-education programs is important and needs to be done sensibly. In critiquing the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed rule changes, however, Feuer does not go far enough. It is crucial that the nation not just recruit teachers for high-need schools, but also make sure that those teachers are excellent.

There is no deny…

Results From Remediation Study Are Being Misinterpreted

To the Editors:

Nearly every proposal for accelerating remediation cites the same research that your article “Would New Students Be Prepared for ‘Free’ Community College?” (The Chronicle, February 4) does—from Thomas R. Bailey at the Community College Research Center, at Teachers College of Columbia University, bewailing the poor success of students who need remediation. And nearly all of them misinterpret the results.

The denominator for this study comprised students who were tested into remedi…

Dartmouth’s Ban on Hard Liquor Won’t Stem Alcohol Abuse

To the Editor:

Dartmouth’s desire to reduce alcohol abuse and reshape its campus culture (“Dartmouth Will Ban Hard Liquor on the Campus, President Says,” The Chronicle, January 29) is commendable, but regrettably its key initiative is unlikely to succeed.  Mandating “prohibition” just does not work.  Through my work as president of three universities, the head of a higher-education association, and as a volunteer working on alcohol-abuse issues within a national social fraternity, I am keenly a…

Post About Chicago State U.’s President Was Overly Negative

To the Editors:

I have to take issue with the very one-sided and overly negative post regarding the announcement of the forthcoming retirement of Chicago State University president Wayne Watson, “Chicago State President Who Weathered Many Controversies Will Retire” (The Chronicle, February 6).

I would like to point out a few things:

• You mention one old audit finding, but it deserves to be noted that audit findings overall at the university dropped more than 60 percent during Dr. Watson’s tenur…

Running a Small Institution Is Actually Harder Than Running a Big One

To the Editor:

Sanford J. Ungar is right in his op-ed “13 Years an Archduke,” (The Chronicle, January 26) but he has it backwards. He understates his own importance. The heads of institutions of higher education that are smaller do have different jobs than those of institutions that are bigger, but the former have the more difficult job, not the latter. The reason is that almost all of the tasks that have to be done at a college are necessary regardless of its enrollment, and the responsibilitie…

Pro-Fracking Academics Aren’t Being Subjected to Intimidation

To the Editors:

Your well-researched piece on the pressures upon academic researchers studying fracking, “Fracking Researchers Under Pressure,”  (The Chronicle, February 6) is a welcome addition to the ongoing national discussion and debate over the health, environmental, and climate effects of hydraulic fracturing and, increasingly, all forms of unconventional means to extract oil and gas. While understandably seeking to maintain objectivity and balance, you inadvertently leave the impression t…

Stop Using ‘Illegal’ When Referring to Undocumented Students

To the Editors:

On January 26th my co-authors and I released a report titled “In the Shadows of the Ivory Tower,” based on a survey of over 900 undocumented undergraduates across the nation attending an array of two-year and four-year public and private colleges.  The goal of that study was to raise awareness of the unique life circumstances of this student population, dispel damaging misperceptions about them, and provide information to higher education in order to be more responsive to th…

Obama’s Free-College Proposal Differs From International Models

To the Editors:

I read with interest your piece on the impact of free tuition for expanding access to lower-income students, “To Evaluate Obama’s Free-College Proposal, Look for Lessons Abroad” (The Chronicle, January 13), as this is a major policy area for the World Bank, as well. You are absolutely correct that the preponderance of evidence on free higher education in a global context support the idea that free tuition is largely regressive—supporting the most elite in society to access an …

Critique of “Easy A’s” Ignores the Report’s Centerpiece

To the Editor:

In his critique of NCTQ’s recent report “Easy A’s and What’s Behind Them,” Donald Heller in Easy A’s Get an F (The Chronicle, November 14), made several technical errors. (More on the technical errors can be found here on the NCTQ website.) But these errors are small potatoes compared with a much more glaring oversight.

Dean Heller ignores the report’s centerpiece, its statistical analysis showing that one of the largest drivers of higher grades in teacher preparation relates to a…