Re: No Choice, Really

1

Wow. All of 9% of students made the choice between California public schools that I did.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
2

It would be interesting to use this data to see what admissions tend to go together.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:52 AM
horizontal rule
3

1: What was the other option? The one with 32 students who made the choice, or the one with 33?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 10:57 AM
horizontal rule
4

I can't believe no one applied to both.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:02 AM
horizontal rule
5

Fucking Stanford. Really incredible how many bad things stem from there -- combine it with the University of Chicago and you've got two of the core hubs of horribleness. We can leave a monumental sculpture of the Hoover Institute tower stabbing through Leland Stanford's corpse as the only thing left standing on the ash-strewn, barren grounds.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
6

3: looking back, apparently I meant 11%. Clearly, the 89% made the right choice.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
7


With the caveat that the sample is small and unrepresentative, I find it interesting that Rapacious Railroad Magnate University is the only one preferred to every alternative, including my own University of the Ruling Class. This may be related in some way to the ideal climate thread from a few days ago.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
8

"only one" not to be taken literally, though it might be literally true. I didn't check them all.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:08 AM
horizontal rule
9

4: I have a friend who was accepted to both Berklee and MIT. He went to Berklee.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
10

It is a unique combination of ultra-high status and physically beautiful and luxurious; the only other schools in the same status (and I'm defining status naively and dumbly -- not anything meaningful about academic quality) category are Ivy League schools that are all in nasty-weather locations.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
11

Colorado School of Mines doesn't win out over anything, because today's students simply don't care about employment mines.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
12

Oh why strikethrough why


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:12 AM
horizontal rule
13

11: I think you mean the life of the mine.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:13 AM
horizontal rule
14

I often wonder what would have happened if I had chosen Columbia over Cornell (the choice of 10 out of 13). In particular, perhaps it would have been harder to socially isolate myself for my college years there.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:14 AM
horizontal rule
15

Of course you should go to Stanford if you get in. It's way easier and more fun and luxurious (red tile roofs .. everywhere) than its Ivy League equivalents, as well as trendier and generally better in trendy STEM fields, and equally job-guaranteeing. No brainer from an admittee's perspective. Still doesn't mean it shouldn't be consumed in a giant fireball with only a monument to the People's Revolution left standing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
16

No one ever talks about the life of the mime.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
17

93% of (a small number of) students chose USC over UC Davis? That's...curious. The numbers are coming from Parchment, right? I wonder, what does Parchment charge for its services? And is it preferred by a particular class of consumers? As in, spoiled shitheads from SoCal?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
18

9: I have a friend who was accepted to both Duke and Berklee*. He went to both**.

* But not at the same time.
** Ditto.


Posted by: MAE | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
19

Except Axl Rose, of course.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
20

17 -- wait what. Dude no one thinks that UC Davis is overall a better school than USC, except for farming.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
21

I think U$C (in Cal parlance) has done a decent job over the last two decades in upping its game academically, and moving beyond the "go here if you have the dough, want to live in LA after college, or go to film school." My sense is that they've poured a lot of dough into upping their STEM game particularly, but maybe that's all hype.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
22

I should say that UC Alfalfa Studies is a good school and definitely a better bargain if you pay full freight, but USC has sufficient scholarship money to pick up most potential admittees for whom that's the issue, so it shouldn't be a surprising choice for most.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
23

20: I guess my regional prejudices could be blinding me to reality, but in my view USC is a totally shitty school in nearly every way: miserable part of town, miserably unhappy (and usually pretty mediocre) faculty, the most spoiled and anti-intellectual students ever. I mean, I get that it's improving (sort of like NYU), but it's still a lousy place, isn't it? Unless you like football, of course, in which case it's too bad you didn't have the grades for Stanford, sucker.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
24

USC has some good faculty in fields that I know about, and it seems like Davis has hemorrhaged some of their better faculty *ahem* but yeah I'm not sure what rep University of Spoiled Children has outside of LA.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:25 AM
horizontal rule
25

21 makes me think that my prejudices are dated rather than regional, and that USC is now more like NYU than I would have thought: once upon a time the choice of spoiled shits and aspiring filmmakers, but now a good school in important ways. I retract my ill-informed commentary and return to admiring Halford's all-consuming hatred of Stanford.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:26 AM
horizontal rule
26

We all know that the US News rankings are bullshit, but USC is roughly 20 spots higher than UC Davis in those, which gives you a decent sense of rough overall (though bullshitty) prestige.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
27

26 almost makes me want to rejoin the fray, but it's not worth the time. Still, those rankings shouldn't be cited for anything other than as an example of how terribly corrupt and broken higher education is these days.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
28

I wonder how many southern California students apply to a bunch of UCs, then decide they'd only move north for Berkeley.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:29 AM
horizontal rule
29

Has Halford explained his hatred for Stanford? I mean, if you're going to hate U of C, Dartmouth, and Stanford, just admit that you hate American society circa 2014 and...go file that brief for Warner Brothers.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:30 AM
horizontal rule
30

The geographic distribution of Parchment users should taken into account by anyone bloviating about these results. (Uneven as some states give incentives.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:31 AM
horizontal rule
31

29: Don't forget Princeton!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
32

27 is totally right and I retract 26. Still, my very rough sense is that USC these days is roughly 35% old-school wealthy bro and broette looking to inherit Dad's real estate interests, 65% new-school (often Latino, appropriately) good student, often in a STEM field.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
33

USC certainly was considered a joke academically when I was growing up (I recall it being referred to as University of Spoiled Children and in 24). It was basically a good place to go if you were going to be a business man in SoCal and wanted to get hooked up with the local old boys network.

My impression is that they have indeed upped their academic game over the last few decades.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
34

32.last is interesting. Once again, I find myself questioning my life choices!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:34 AM
horizontal rule
35

29 -- Enough said, except maybe to add this.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
36

and = as


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
37

It seems reasonable to just chuck all the Ivies in there, right? Maybe not Brown.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
38

The Hoover doesn't have much effect on undergrad life, does it?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
39

Wait, what's wrong with snapchat? Want to keep the hacked celebrity nude train rolling?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
40

37 -- sure. My one-sentence principle for American universities is "Funded by the State, or Immolate."

(We could save the Cornell Ag, Human Ecology (what this is ... no one knows), and ILR colleges. Berea College and the Webb Institute, you get spared.)


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
41

just chuck all the Ivies in there

This is my point: anything you can criticize one for, you can criticize the others for; it's just a matter of emphasis here and there.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:40 AM
horizontal rule
42

Halford is objectively pro-Ole Miss.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:41 AM
horizontal rule
43

25: Give up dated prejudices about institutions of higher learning? That's crazy talk.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
44

As I say, Funded By The State Or Immolate, but Stanford's role as both Hoover Institution central and central hub of Silicon Valley techno-corporate-libertarianism bring it in for an especially early torching.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
45

15.last: As the old joke goes: "Lady, could you pass that test?"


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:43 AM
horizontal rule
46

My impression is that the Hoover Institute is pretty much is own thing (certainly its own thing administratively). But one does have to wonder WTF it's doing there in the first place.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
47

29: hatred of Stanford requires explanation now?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
48

I'm not surprised that Steel & Banking Magnates University does poorly against the Ivies and Stanford (and Caltech, and Northwestern), but wasn't expecting it to be quite that extreme.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
49

I guess I'm moderately surprised that CMU does poorly against Northwestern.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:45 AM
horizontal rule
50

I was thinking that was a bit iffy, but looking at it again that's one of the small sample-size ones and Parchment's userbase is tilted towards states that are closer to Chicago than PA.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:49 AM
horizontal rule
51

18% choose Minnesota over Tulane. Why not both?!


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:52 AM
horizontal rule
52

Is CMU really considered that poorly? From the computer science perspective it's certainly a powerhouse, though perhaps located too far from the VC hubs for the startup craze to have taken root.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
53

Ah, pwned by 50.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 11:58 AM
horizontal rule
54

I think CMU also punches well below its weight in naive-status. Just an impression, but I don't think it's as well known as a very good school among people who don't know much about colleges as it should be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:01 PM
horizontal rule
55

Back in the President Pepsi days, NU's tuition was quite a bit lower than its peers. I don't know why anyone would choose to go there now. Lakeshore resort living, I suppose.


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:08 PM
horizontal rule
56

I think CMU also punches well below its weight in naive-status. Just an impression, but I don't think it's as well known as a very good school among people who don't know much about colleges as it should be.

I think this is universally true of STEM-focused institutions, even unto Caltech and MIT. There is an order of magnitude difference in the number of google hits for "Harvard-educated" versus "MIT-educated".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
57

To be clear, I was referring to "punches below its weight in naive status". Obviously people who know colleges know that MIT is a good school.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
58

I was shocked how few people picked Caltech over MIT. I guess I shouldn't believe Caltech's hype on that score.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
59

NYU is oddly mostly paired up with CA schools. Is it a common "maybe the East Coast doesn't suck" wild card?


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
60

56: But surely Caltech has received a boost from Big Bang Theory.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
61

54: That's also my impression, but I'm biased towards thinking so. And it has a weird set of specializations that I think decreases its overall visibility--it isn't as good, relatively, in other STEM stuff as CS. (And I think its excellent drama program isn't very visible outside of that field.) The other schools that are really good at CS are also good at other things in a more balanced way.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
62

60: no offense to any fans here but presumably the idiots who still like that show couldn't get in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:23 PM
horizontal rule
63

58: I checked that, and it surprised me as well -- I'd have thought of Caltech as more selective as well. Remembering back to the eighties when I was thinking about both of them, though, I ultimately didn't even apply to Caltech after a campus visit having gotten the impression that it was way too unbalanced to attend; that you could have a semi-normal life at MIT, but Caltech was off-the-charts strange.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
64

54: Maybe this has changed, but in the early 90's it wasn't on the radar in my west coast high school at all. I went to fairly academically inclined school that sent a ton of kids off to the UC system along with the usual few going to Ivies, Cal Tech, Stanford, etc. and I don't recall ever hearing CMU come up. In high school if someone had asked me about it I don't think I could have even told them what state it's in.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:26 PM
horizontal rule
65

I am really, genuinely surprised that the vast majority of students prefer Stanford to Berkeley.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
66

20 Dude no one thinks that UC Davis is overall a better school than USC, except for farming.

Speak for yourself, dude.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
67

essear woke up this morning and decided to reveal himself as a physicist crank.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
68

I said generally better -- most people are not looking at how universities rank on research opportunities for young physics superstars.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:34 PM
horizontal rule
69

63.last: Still true for undergrads. They are odd ducks.

My sister went to USC over UCLA (more than a decade ago). She does, in fact work in the movie industry. USC recently tried to merge with Scripps as part of its continuing effort to up its academic/research game, right?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
70

When I was a kid I always heard USC referred to as the University of Spoiled Children, but as a grownup all of the folks I know who went to USC for undergrad grew up poor and are black or Latino. USC has a great scholarship program for smart local kids from low-income backgrounds.

Also, it has a good MFA program.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:38 PM
horizontal rule
71

37.last - A triumph for Ira Glass, who will rule over an otherwise Ivyless ash-strewn dystopia.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
72

A conservative friend of mine followed his crush (who had made it clear she wasn't interested) to Oberlin. He hated every minute of it and transferred to USC at the semester break. That suited him better.

He is now an econ professor who sleeps with his students occasionally, after the class has ended. Haven't talked to him in three or four years.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:43 PM
horizontal rule
73

Or perhaps Sifu doesn't want to tangle with whatever Lovecraftian horrors and/or Emma Watson-fired Patronus charms await the Halfordismo shock troops that will descend on College Hill.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
74

If he slept with them during the actual lecture time the other students might notice.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:45 PM
horizontal rule
75

My other USC story is about my very poor Vietnamese friend who went to USC because his folks told him he couldn't move away from Los Angeles. He finished their combined architecture and art masters, won a Rhodes scholarship to spend time in Vietnam, found Buddhism and is now a monk.

I do not believe he is sleeping with any disciples so I cannot draw any conclusions about the effects of a USC education.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
76

73: I just always kinda liked it. No idea why. Good CS department? Fond memories of Providence? The older student programs there seem neat.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
77

One of my very close friends got her PhD at USC. She seems to have done all right with it. My other two friends, who went there for undergrad, have both done pretty well for themselves (one does something prestigious in car dealerships and the other one has a boutique t-shirt company for bears) but not nearly as well as their frat brother who turned out to be Will Ferrell. All three of the latterly mentioned people are pretty bro-ish, in their way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
78

I like my life in some specific details unlikely to have unfolded the same at all had I done differently... but Stanford would have been a greaat place for 17-20 year old me to come out of shell.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:49 PM
horizontal rule
79

I think CMU also punches well below its weight in naive-status. Just an impression, but I don't think it's as well known as a very good school among people who don't know much about colleges as it should be.

CMU's sports teams play in a conference entirely composed of such colleges.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
80

after the class has ended

Best practices in action. Good thing he took the sexual harassment seminar.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
81

the other one has a boutique t-shirt company for bears

I find that insufficiently clear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 12:58 PM
horizontal rule
82

40. Good to see there's an organizing principle.

58. I have several CalTech-educated friends I have to forward that nugget to.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:00 PM
horizontal rule
83

|| How 'bout that Judge Posner? |>


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:06 PM
horizontal rule
84

I find that insufficiently clear.

Clear t-shirts are more for gym twinks.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
85

I find 83 insufficiently clear.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
86

It's too bad they don't have any historical data, it would be interesting to see when exactly Stanford became the new Harvard.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:12 PM
horizontal rule
87

Stanford probably became the new Harvard as soon as they sampled 40 times as many people from California as from New York.


Posted by: Disingenuous Bastard | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:15 PM
horizontal rule
88

I'll second (or third, or whatever) the observation that the undergraduate culture at Caltech seems to a bit odder than usual, even for a science nerd school.

A notable difference between Caltech and MIT is that MIT is a pretty imposing presence in Boston, both culturally and physically.

In Pasadena, you could entirely miss the fact that Caltech is even there.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:21 PM
horizontal rule
89

This case was argued on August 26. And decided today: http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/rssExec.pl?Submit=Display&Path=Y2014/D09-04/C:14-2526:J:Posner:aut:T:fnOp:N:1412339:S:0


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:29 PM
horizontal rule
90

when exactly Stanford became the new Harvard

I'm pretty sure the answer to this is "Google."


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:33 PM
horizontal rule
91

Certainly it's well after google was founded. But anyway 87 is right that it's pretty worthless data.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
92

I'm pretty sure the answer to this is "Google."'s stock price post IPO to now.

But, that doesn't mean it shouldn't be true. Much more fun, easier, better in many fields, better climate, equal or better job prospects. What's not to like? Really, once Harvard stopped having the argument of Harvard=automatic most prestige, it's a total no brainer.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
93

Harvard is in a much nicer location than Stanford. But if you want to go to a top university in the Bay Area, why not go to the one that's actually urban instead of hidden away in a suburban hellscape?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:50 PM
horizontal rule
94

I mean, just walking to a decent restaurant from Stanford takes, like, an hour. It's absurd.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
95

essear, you can be head crank, you can stop now.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
96

Oh, I agree with 93. And, my general position is "fuck Stanford." But 92 is still true if you're playing the game of figuring out what the median prestige whore undergrad should want to do.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
97

Why is Stanford more fun? How so?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:53 PM
horizontal rule
98

Also I have heard from somebody who would know that the undergrads at Stanford (at least in field-near-mine) are notably less impressive than those at Harvard. Dunno what that means.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
99

The sample bias in this is annoying me, in that I can only find one matchup between schools I was accepted to. I expected more.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
100

Mostly, everyone I've known who was an undergrad there claims to have had a great time; almost no one I know who went to Harvard says the same. As for explanations, I dunno, more and more fun parties? Fewer A Capella barbershop quartet groups? Football? That fucking band (God now I'm just praying for the giant fireball to come)?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
101

If you're even remotely outdoorsy, it's no contest.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
102

I basically agree with essear about the relative appeal of Steinford and Berkeley; why is he being a crank? I'm sure you can have a nice time as an undergrad at Steinford and learn a lot and it's possible that the total isolation of the undergraduate population into a little hive has some praiseworthy side-effects, but come on. Especially if you live in CA, how is Berkeley not a stellar choice? (When I was in HS people were concerned that it might take a lot of extra time to get your degree at Berkeley because of oversubscribed courses, admittedly.)


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
103

101: way harder to get to the Whites from Stanford.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:02 PM
horizontal rule
104

I think Stanford might have been a good choice for me undergrad but I never considered it. That's about the only time in my life being isolated behind a suburban nightmare would probably not have bothered me much because I'd have spent a lot of time on campus anyway and not been supplying my own meals most of the time.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
105

just walking to a decent restaurant from Stanford takes, like, an hour

I'm sorry they sent you somewhere else and told you it was Stanford. That was wrong of them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
106

I know someone who as an undergrad started at Harvard, finished at Stanford, and said that the difference between the two in terms of what we might call "undergraduate psychological health" (my phrase, not hers) was night and day -- in terms of competition, pressure, and generally other students being jerks to you.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:04 PM
horizontal rule
107

the relative appeal of Steinford and Berkeley

I thought we were talking about the relative appeal of Stanford and Harvard.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
108

I really struggle to imagine the worldview of someone who can think Stanford is a more pleasant place to spend time than Berkeley. I know a number of such people, but they mostly work at Stanford and I assume have brainwashed themselves to avoid being consumed by envy. Berkeley is in a proper urban area, is a short train ride from downtown SF, and has absolutely stunning views of the Bay. Stanford has... big open fields of grass and some trees and lots of highways, and if you cross a vast expanse of nothingness you end up in a town where you can pay five times as much for a decent meal as you would in Berkeley.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
109

105: That's the distance the dead Stanfords would have to walk if they rose from the mausoleum. Live people are further into the campus.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
110

Is there an infamous Harvard Prison Experiment?

I thought not. Stanford FTW.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
111

This is my impression of people I've met who've gone various places.

Northwestern: oh, you were the smart kid in your small town.

U of C: someday, someone will love you, and you will have your revenge.

Yale: You're pretty smart!

Stanford: You're living some kind of charmed life that's completely foreign to me.

Harvard: I'm going to punch you in the fucking face.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
112

105: cleverly starting the walking path at the very edge of campus, a thirty minute or more walk from most of the actual buildings, doesn't really change the conclusion.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:07 PM
horizontal rule
113

105: interesting choice of starting location. Also, that restaurant is pretty spendy, as I recall.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
114

83, 89: One of the most self-indulgent judicial opinions ever, even by Posner standards:

"The analogy is not perfect (if it were, it would be an identity not an analogy) . . . "

"Henry IV (the English Henry IV, not the French one--Holmes presumably was referring to the former) died in 1413."

"Why does the President at Thanksgiving spare a brace of turkeys (two out of the more than 40 million turkeys killed for Thanksgiving dinners) from the butcher's knife?"

Just decide the case already.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
115

Dude, I'm responding to 93. You were talking about Harvard's location. I agree that Berkeley is in a nicer spot than Stanford.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:08 PM
horizontal rule
116

There is something truly dazzling about the effect of Stanford's campus when you first set foot onto (into?) it -- it just shouts HELLO THERE IS SO MUCH MONEY HERE from every stone and blade of grass in an amazing way. It seems rather horrid overall but that first impression is a doozy.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
117

I thought we were talking about the relative appeal of Stanford and Harvard.

Oh, maybe. Essear had previously made the comparison I was making, and I lost track of the dialectical context.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
118

Berkeley is in a proper urban area

Let's not go crazy.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:10 PM
horizontal rule
119

93: because the area around campus in Berkeley (at least the parts of it that students are aware of) is in a lot of ways a complete shithole? When I remember the places my friends lived in when they were students I shudder. And wandering through the area now it's clear there's been no real improvement in the last 20 years.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
120

Harvard is in an urban environment and surrounded by nice restaurants and pleasant walkable places. I agree it's less compelling for access to the outdoors than the Bay Area. But as far as immediate local environment, it's at least comparable to Berkeley (but without the beautiful views) and is much, much better than Stanford.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
121

111 made me laugh. More! More!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:11 PM
horizontal rule
122

U of C: someday, someone will love you, and you will have your revenge.

Are you, like, doing an impression (i.e., the Chicagoan says this), or are you saying that your take on Chicagoans is that someday they will be loved and they will have their revenge?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:12 PM
horizontal rule
123

116: That. The immediate first impression is of luxury. All those tiled roofs and perfect lawns, under the California blue skies. Admittedly, the only time I've been to Stanford I was fifteen and shallow, but I was completely smitten with the appearance of the place.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
124

I need the question in 122 answered so I can know how to modulate my emotions. Also, 119 confuses me, a person who now lives near the Berkeley campus and does not find it or its surroundings to be markedly shitty.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
125

116: also Berkeley has homeless people. Not so much at Stanford.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
126

124: how often do you go up to Telegraph these days? Or live in one of the apartments east of Shattuck and south of campus?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
127

119 confuses me too, although I have no idea what the undergraduate housing is like. Unless it just means that there's visible evidence of people who aren't wealthy (oh noes!).


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
128

My impression is that while Stanford recruits very smart kids and a decent haul of the children of the powerful/famous, Harvard is much more serious about wanting to recruit a class of people who are currently children of/destined to be in the future senators, major bank presidents, war criminals & etc.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:16 PM
horizontal rule
129

Berkeley is an objectively way cooler and better place, filled with more interesting, more diverse, harder working, and less coddled people. But it also has way more scary, yelling homeless people wandering through its campus. And, precisely because it is a more challenging undergrad environment, is a worse choice for your median prestige whore prospective undergrad choosing between Stanford and Harvard.

Also 111 is pretty good.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
130

Are you, like, doing an impression (i.e., the Chicagoan says this), or are you saying that your take on Chicagoans is that someday they will be loved and they will have their revenge?

Surely the latter.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:17 PM
horizontal rule
131

What, after all, is in the area around the Berkeley campus, even the parts that students are (to my knowledge) aware of?

- Moe's, Shakespeare & Co., and University Press Books
- The Musical Offering
- BAM and the PFA (technically on campus)
- A shop selling colorful socks
- Amoeba and Rasputin
- Multiple decent movie theaters
- Several decent restaurants
- A combined bakery/knitting (I think) shop
- That store with lots of paper goods, you know the one
- the Subterranean Art House

Not shitty!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:18 PM
horizontal rule
132

Berkeley downtown is substantially nicer than in the 80s-90s. Immediately south of campus has improved but buildings and vacant lots seem about the same. Immediate north was never really bad except for some notorious co-ops or some place co-oplike whose name I don't remember.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
133

130: WHAT I FEARED


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
134

126: several of the places mentioned in 131 are on or very near to Telegraph.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
135

I know a number of such people, but they mostly work at Stanford

My impression of Stanford is that the employees basically sleep on giant piles of money; I'd imagine that makes up for a lot of "you can't walk to Rasputin Records".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:20 PM
horizontal rule
136

That depends very much on what you are employed to do.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
137

some notorious co-ops

I had a friend at Berkeley in the late 80's/early 90s who lived in a co-op that may actually have been hell. Anyone who has seen how I live can attest that I am not a fastidious woman, but this place was disgusting to the point that I was kind of afraid to sit down, and covered in surprisingly hostile graffiti.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
138

129 gets it right.

131: there are cool places on Telegraph. There's also a lot of blight. (Set aside the burned-out hulk of Cody's; the lot kitty-corner from it has been a rat refuge for the entire time I've lived in the Bay Area. And that corridor of Telegraph has declined noticeably in the last 15 years.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:23 PM
horizontal rule
139

On the other hand, I had another friend there at the same time that rented an adorable little house with a lemon tree and bird-of-paradise flowers in the yard with two or three friends, right near campus. So, student housing at Berkeley a couple of decades ago? Mixed!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
140

Most co-ops are in the south of campus area but I'm pretty sure the place I'm thinking of was north.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
141

Cody's is a burnt out hulk now? How sad.

It's true that as of the early-mid 90s, some of the Berkeley co-ops were way beyond "shabby undergrad shithole" and more "holy shit this place is murder-scary."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:26 PM
horizontal rule
142

It's also worth remembering just how constricted undergrads' view of the world is. I live 20 minutes by bicycle from campus and you would basically never know that there was a university in town based on the number of students I see in my neighborhood.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:27 PM
horizontal rule
143

Oarts of Berkeley seem to have boomed with the dot com boom, declined, and never recovered. The lot across from former Codys has been vacant as long as I can remember. I think I started going to Moe's on my own as a kid in the early 90s.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:29 PM
horizontal rule
144

142 is true and weird. Though I seem to see plenty of student-looking people at a cafe in your neighborhood.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
145

My sainted mother was very pleased to be told that Moe's still exists.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
146

141.1: for 8 years now. They had another location in West Berkeley, but that closed years ago too.

And the used bookstore that used to be located in the Gourmet Ghetto is now also in West Berkeley. The landlord raised their rent (which is why they moved) and the space has been vacant ever since. I love Berkeley, but it's really fucked in a lot of ways.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
147

129 But it also has way more scary, yelling homeless people wandering through its campus.

On the other hand, Stanford has had homeless people actually living in its campus buildings for extended periods of time.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:33 PM
horizontal rule
148

144: and yet you never call when you're in my 'hood. *sob*


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:35 PM
horizontal rule
149

The landlord raised their rent … and the space has been vacant ever since.

Smart move there, landlord.

144: and yet you never call when you're in my 'hood. *sob*

Most saturdays.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:37 PM
horizontal rule
150

146 - Which, Black Oak? I was wondering where that went. (The Other Change of Hobbit is now apparently defunct, having gotten first shuttled out to El Cerrito and then into some sort of makeshift space.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:38 PM
horizontal rule
151

149: same story all over town. Pay close attention next time you're in downtown and you'll see vacant spaces everywhere.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
152

I thought the Black Oak Books move was more complicated. Not the part about being pushed out of the old space, but didn't someone step in to take on the new space to keep the store from disappearing entirely?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:40 PM
horizontal rule
153

150: yeah, on San Pablo right near Juan's. Doing really well too, apparently.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:41 PM
horizontal rule
154

152: they reorganized/got bought when they were still in the old space. Then the negotiations with the landlord broke down completely and they moved to where they are now.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
155

I miss the days when I'd go to like 5 used bookstores in one day, ranging from Solano to Telegraph.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:44 PM
horizontal rule
156

More! More!

Northeastern: You're going to punch me in the face.
Duke: You're going to try to punch me in the face, and miss
Dartmouth: There's puke on your face.
Brown: You can't get that smile off your face
Penn: That smile on your face isn't fooling anyone.
Brandeis: You've had work done on your face.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
157

156.last: antisemite.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:50 PM
horizontal rule
158

Brandeis: You've had work done on your face.

Antisemitic. At least put it in the Joan Rivers thread.

Anyway, as ever, I think the school comparison stuff is very much field-dependent, but I know two (maybe three?) people who have taught at both the school in Cambridge and the school in Palo Alto. Both say that the students at the school in Cambridge are far more intellectually engaged, that, in fact, the vast majority Stanford undergraduates are relentlessly focused on sports (the highest concentration* of Olympic athletes) and/or getting very rich.

* Annually competes with Michigan, I believe.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:05 PM
horizontal rule
159

That was some serious slow-motion pwnage.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 3:06 PM
horizontal rule
160

Responding way late to 90: Stanford's association with Silicon Valley bigshots predates Google by a fair bit. E.g., Hewlett and Packard were Stanford grad students in the 1930s.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:16 PM
horizontal rule
161

Yeah but who cared?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
162

142 is funny and weird around here; we're within a mile and a half to two miles or so of multiple large college campuses, but our neighborhood is almost entirely undergrad-free.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 4:49 PM
horizontal rule
163

Harvard Square is not exactly anything but a rich person's playground anymore. Back in the day it was moderately funky, but now chain stores and boutiques for the most part.

Central Square is a bit better, and Som'ville-Meffud better still but no Harvey would ever go to those places.

160 is utterly true, going back at least to the 80's.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:06 PM
horizontal rule
164

Do you live in 1995, dude?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
165

Stanford's association with Silicon Valley bigshots predates Google by a fair bit. E.g., Hewlett and Packard were Stanford grad students in the 1930s.

And let's not forget Bill Shockley. Wait, on second thought: let's forget Bill Shockley.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
166

But 161 is right. There was always a connection between Stanford and Silicon Valley, but the question was when did Stanford become the most popular destination for elite undergrads, and I think that has to do with Google.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:11 PM
horizontal rule
167

I'm still not convinced it is the most popular destination for elite undergrads.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:12 PM
horizontal rule
168

It's quite possibly the most popular destination for reasonably-elite undergrads who want to make a fuckload of money while still playing sports and having parties.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:13 PM
horizontal rule
169

So in that sense, it hasn't really taken on Harvard or Yale so much as Dartmouth and Hopkins and the like.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
170

Well, maybe the Parchment data isn't worth much, but it kicks Harvard and Yale's butts.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:14 PM
horizontal rule
171

It wouldn't surprise me if you couldn't use parchment to apply to Harvard or Yale. They definitely don't cotton to things like Interfolio.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:15 PM
horizontal rule
172

So the assumption is that "applied to, and got into, both Harvard and Stanford" is equivalent to "elite"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:16 PM
horizontal rule
173

Ohhhh I have a funny, relevant story I don't really want to tell. Sorry, everybody!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:16 PM
horizontal rule
174

It wouldn't surprise me if you couldn't use parchment to apply to Harvard or Yale

But Parchment has data for those schools.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:19 PM
horizontal rule
175

Cody's wasn't burned, it just closed, I was pretty sure (or if it burned, it was after the closure). Are you thinking of Raleigh's, across the street from it, that burned with that salad place in 2011?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:27 PM
horizontal rule
176

174: well, right. The way they get data is by asking users to report where they got in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:30 PM
horizontal rule
177

So the assumption is that "applied to, and got into, both Harvard and Stanford" is equivalent to "elite"?

Sure, for these purposes, why not. That's pretty dang elite for mere mortals. And Stanford now apparently ranks lower than Harvard both on surveys about "what school would you go to if you got in, regardless of cost" and has a lower admittance rate , for whatever that's worth, and generally ranks lower on the US News and World Report bullshitty type rankings, for whatever little that's worth, plus the Parchment data, so I'd say that there's right now reasonable evidence that it's surpassed Harvard as the "best" school for prestige whores.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
178

Aggh s/b ranks "higher" on those surveys. Obviously not methodologically sound but what evidence is there pointing in the other direction.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:34 PM
horizontal rule
179

175: metaphorically burned-out.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:39 PM
horizontal rule
180

The mechanism in 166 is not a rational one, but still it's odd to think Larry Page's experience as a PhD student would have much or anything to do with undergrad jocks. When I was entering grad school back in the early aughts, I'll cop to daydreaming about turning my thesis into a company. That was... profoundly unrealistic. (There actually is a Stanford prof in my subfield who started a company, but it's just mildly successful as a business, not a startup-lottery win.)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 5:52 PM
horizontal rule
181

A friend of mine from high school went to community college, then to Berkeley, then to some small tech company in Oakland. I ran into him in a BART station in downtown Oakland sometime around 2000-2002 and he talked about how he wasn't sure he was going to stick with his job, since he wasn't enjoying it and it wasn't in a field he'd wanted to get into in the first place. I haven't seen him since, but apparently Google bought the company pre-IPO, he became rich, and the last I heard back around 2005, he was engaging the services of a different high school friend's dad's construction company to build a new house from scratch somewhere in the Bay Area.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
182

I have at least once before posted a link to Hoxby's more "controlled" revealed preference study of colleges. Data was from 2000, so too early for any real "Google" effect (if it exists). I will post the top 20 in the next comment. Forgetting the specifics of S v. H*, a later paper of hers has the main takeaway of admission trends over the last 50 years:

Only the top 10 percent of colleges are substantially more selective now than they were in 1962. Moreover, at least 50 percent of colleges are substantially less selective now than they were in 1962. ...This other explanation, moreover, explains all of the increasing selectivity of the top 10 percent of colleges, where the number of places has grown at approximately the same rate (just slightly faster than, in fact) as the number of highly qualified students. What is this "other" explanation? It is that the elasticity of a student's preference for a college with respect to its proximity to that student's home has fallen substantially over time and there has been a corresponding increase in the elasticity of each student's preference for a college with respect to its resources and peers. Put more bluntly, students used to attend a local college regardless of their abilities and its characteristics. Now, their choices are driven far less by distance and far more by a college's resources and student body. The change in elasticities has been especially pronounced among students who are very well qualified for college. It is the consequent re-sorting of students among colleges that has, at once, caused selectivity to rise in a small number of colleges while simultaneously causing it to fall in other colleges.
*I will, however, note without comment that Hoxby was at Harvard and is now at Stanford. The Hoover Institute of Sucking and Blowing to be precise.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
183

Used an Elo scale:

Rank College Elo
1 Harvard 2800
2 Yale 2738
3 Stanford 2694
4 Cal Tech 2632
5 MIT 2624
6 Princeton 2608
7 Brown 2433
8 Columbia 2392
9 Amherst 2363
10 Dartmouth 2357
11 Wellesley 2346
12 U Penn 2325
13 U Notre Dame 2279
14 Swarthmore 2270
15 Cornell 2236
16 Georgetown 2218
17 Rice 2214
18 Williams 2213
19 Duke 2209
20 U Virginia 2197


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
184

I think U$C (in Cal parlance) has done a decent job over the last two decades in upping its game academically, and moving beyond the "go here if you have the dough, want to live in LA after college, or go to film school." My sense is that they've poured a lot of dough into upping their STEM game particularly, but maybe that's all hype.

I have a friend who graduated from USC about 10 years, and she chose USC because as a National Merit Scholar she got a full ride plus living stipend. She's a nerdy literary type and didn't really have a great time at USC. I think she has mixed feelings about attending, although she's very thrilled about graduating with no debt. She's now an academic librarian.

182

Interestingly enough, this still somewhat exists among certain ethnic and/or religious groups. I was a top HS student, and I got a lot of flack from family and friends for going to an elite WASPy East Coast school instead of St O|af's, which is clearly where good Norwegian students are supposed to go. Going to a Lutheran school instantly plugs you into a large social/professional network, both in the US and the Nordic countries. The Jesuit universities were also an alternative system for Catholic students, though I don't know how true that holds today.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:45 AM
horizontal rule
185

It's not Jesuit, as they will remind you very quickly if you forget, but going to Notre Dame did help my brother in terms of professional network.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:47 AM
horizontal rule
186


Stephen Pinker trolls at great length.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
187

Steven Pinker, that is.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
188

184 should read:

I have a friend who graduated from USC about 10 years ago


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:15 AM
horizontal rule
189

132, 137, 140: Cloyne!

I lived in a Berkeley co-op when I was an undergrad. It was one of the very nicest ones, and in retrospect it, too, was a shocking shithole. On the other hand, it was a short walk from campus, next door to Cody's Books, and under $300/month, so I didn't really have a reasonable alternative.

I'm glad to hear Moe's is still around. I was worried it might close after Moe died a few years back.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:25 AM
horizontal rule
190

132, 137, 140: Cloyne!

FOCK YE CLOYNE.


Posted by: Opinionated Ian Paisley | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:26 AM
horizontal rule
191

186 -- I really loathe that guy's writing style (and apparent underlying personality) and he way oversells the SAT, but on that one I basically agree with him. Test test test and don't try to curate your entering class for maximum aesthetic pleasure/future donor optimization. I think this would also have a democratizing effect.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
192

191: I was listening to an interesting Sinica podcast concerning educational reform in China that seems parallel. The gaokao (the national standardized university entrance exam) is extremely important there, with massive amount of effort put into test preparation. They have a stronger "teaching to the test" problem than we do. It does sound like in general it has a malign influence on the quality of education, but it is massively democratizing, and most regular Chinese and strongly supportive of it. Educational reformers and the upper class are not, but there's not a strong push by the latter to improve/remove it because they can afford to education their children overseas.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:37 AM
horizontal rule
193

I think the murder-scary Berkeley co-op I stayed at in 1994 or so was "Chateau." That place was no joke. Later, I lived in a grad student one for a while, which was great and so cheap but felt a little undignified at age 24 or so.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
194

Hasn't high stakes standardized testing existed in China for long than the United States has existed in America.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:38 AM
horizontal rule
195

194: For the civil service.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:40 AM
horizontal rule
196

And generally that was more about proving that you conform to the currently en vogue state philosophy, not math skills and whatnot.

But yes, there's a strong tradition of testing--which is part of the reason that East Asian societies tend to do very well on international comparisons, look at how Shanghai did on PISA.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:42 AM
horizontal rule
197

Hasn't high stakes standardized testing existed in China for long than the United States has existed in America.

The Scholars is a nice satire of the civil service exam system, and written in 1750 no less.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:43 AM
horizontal rule
198

China was run by an ossified bureaucracy before Florida was a state.

(Stupid joke for the benefit of Ohio people)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
199

182: Interestingly enough, this still somewhat exists among certain ethnic and/or religious groups

I think the one paper mentions how Brigham Young does not follow the pattern. And there are still some strong regional/industry-specific outliers for those not aiming for the "top"--for instance Texas A&M in oil & gas (petroleum engineering in particular IIRC).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:46 AM
horizontal rule
200

look at how Shanghai did on PISA.

Going to high school until 10:30 PM helps some too.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
201


Test test test and don't try to curate your entering class for maximum aesthetic pleasure/future donor optimization. I think this would also have a democratizing effect.

You and Pinker need to test that theory against the empirical experience of countries that allocate the best opportunities in tertiary education according to performance on a standardized test. Not only does it do a poor job of democratizing, it is tends to produce universities that punch below their weight internationally (France, Japan, Korea).


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:01 AM
horizontal rule
202

What does "punch below their weight internationally" mean there?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:07 AM
horizontal rule
203

"Punching below weight" is a function of research, not undergrad admissions (and, actually, are those countries worse than other non-English speaking countries in terms of international university prestige? I don't know the answer, but it's not obvious to me).

I disagree, I think, that the educational system in Japan, Korea, or France is less democratic than ours.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
204

192

That correlates with my experiences. It's a system that's kind of awful for everyone, but it's reasonably fair, and it really does function as somewhat of a meritocracy.*

I am dealing with a minorly irritating issue, which is the son of my surrogate-mother figure wants to study abroad. He's a totally indifferent student and seems to think that because he has passable oral English skills, getting into school in the US will be way easier than getting into school in China, which simply isn't true. His parents are wealthy for the region, but certainly not by American standards, and there's no way he's going to qualify for merit aid. He also is completely oblivious of his chances (for awhile he had his heart set on Duke, and wasn't willing to dip below top 50 in the USNWR rankings. He's already ruled out SUNY-Binghamton as not good enough. He'll occasionally parrot these terrible snobby/deluded things he's probably heard from other kids' parents that make me just want to slap him.) He's in general a nice enough kid for being kind of spoiled and spending his parents' money like it's water, but he's of average intelligence, doesn't have great English skills, and doesn't really having anything interesting going on (no unusual hobbies, passions, concerns about the world, etc.) He also has built up America into some Utopia and seems to think he'll be able to join the Marines at some point in his life. It's possible he'll get into at some school somewhere and have a good time, but it's a colossal waste of his parents' money (they'll have to go into debt) when he could go to a similar Chinese university for a tiny fraction of the cost. I'm hoping he'll drop the thing when he realizes he can't get anything approaching the test scores he needs for his current choice (UW-Ma|dison).**


*There are some issues with regional preferences, since as state schools Peking University and Tsinghua etc. must accept a certain substantive proportion of students from Beijing, which leads to lots of resentment in other provinces. Interestingly, the robust affirmative action system for ethnic minorities doesn't lead to any similar resentment.
**Or who knows, maybe I'm just a doubting curmudgeon and he'll do really well and I'll feel like an asshole.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:08 AM
horizontal rule
205

I think Germany and Switzerland have relatively democratizing educational systems, and they largely have local universities, rather than a hierarchical system of elite universities. Some of the universities are better than others, but it's not the crazy extremes of the US.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:09 AM
horizontal rule
206

I'm totally willing to believe that a system like 205 is more important than testing alone.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
207

After an overdose death a year for the past few years, Cloyne has been completely cleared out. It's getting a renovation and will now be a house for honors students.

I didn't really go there, but my friend who lived there says he doesn't think that a change of culture can overcome the architecture. He thinks the house is too rambling with too many nooks to have public accountability. He thought that maybe with two adult chaperones living there full time, it could be prevented from backsliding.

The people who love Cloyne really love Cloyne. I know a couple of entirely presentable adults who chose to be there all four years.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
208

Chinese parents have a very interesting view of American education, which they view as perfect and the opposite of Chinese education in every way. According to a significant number of people I've encountered, American kids run around dancing in meadows until they're 18 and then Harvard admits them because of their 'creativity' and 'well-roundedness.' People are absolutely shocked when they learn American kids who get into Harvard also are studying until 11:30 every night.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:15 AM
horizontal rule
209

205

I would add Australia to the list too, at least in terms of higher ed being relatively unstratified.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:17 AM
horizontal rule
210

Hasn't high stakes standardized testing existed in China for long than the United States has existed in America.

Hong Xiuquan, who was mentioned the other day, started the Taiping movement after failing his civil service entrance examination for (IIRC) the third time, following which he fell into a coma for three weeks and visited Heaven, where God informed him that he was Jesus' younger brother and his destiny was to overthrow the Qing and usher in the Heavenly Kingdom of Perfect Peace.

There are certain elements of Halfordismo in his general ethos.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:33 AM
horizontal rule
211

The Taiping Rebellion is all around the greatest story in history, if you're willing to overlook the mass deaths. And I am.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
212

"The greatest story in history, if you're willing to overlook the mass deaths" will be the movie poster blurb.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
213

205, 209 and New Zealand, I think? Based on what my friend there has said.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
214

I don't think Canada really does high stakes testing but their admissions processes are apparently tied more closely to academic outcomes and don't weight things like extracurriculars and vague ideas of well-roundedness and character that serve as proxies for class and race. A couple years ago Maclean's published an article titled "Too Asian" that served as a vehicle for anonymous white students to complain about all the Asian people in their classes. After an outcry, they retitled it "Too Asian?" and may have toned down some of the language too.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:41 AM
horizontal rule
215

Buttercup, I doubt that my (midatlantic, tiny state flagship) uni is prestigious enough for him, and he wouldn't get merit aid, but we admit a ton of Chinese students. E-mail me if you want any more info.


Posted by: J, Robot | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:45 AM
horizontal rule
216

211 If you're willing to overlook the mass deaths it's also the backdrop to a great Flashman novel.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:48 AM
horizontal rule
217

Ruling out SUNY Binghamton is nuts.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:50 AM
horizontal rule
218

curate your entering class for maximum aesthetic pleasure

I think ogged's "brand ambassadors" wins on both pithiness and aptness.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:55 AM
horizontal rule
219

214: I seem to recall reading somewhere that the introduction of extracurriculars, "well roundedness" & etc. as official considerations in admissions occurred around the turn of the century after some of the Ivy's experimented with admission based on exams and discovered to their horror that under that system Jews and other "not our sort" types would start edging out those of proper WASP background.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:58 AM
horizontal rule
220

218 -- yes, true.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 10:03 AM
horizontal rule
221


219: It came a little after the turn of the century, but yes, it is true and well-documented. The entrance exams weren't standardized tests, though. Those came later, and enabled the Harvards of the world to find students with high apparent aptitude who would not have scored well on the old admissions exam and who came from parts of the country where they were unlikely to be Jewish.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 10:07 AM
horizontal rule
222


I'll link to my earlier plug for a good book on the topic.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
223

To be clear, when I said test test test unlike (apparently) Pinker, I didn't mean the SAT.

Here's the three sentence Halfordismo college admission plan, which I thought of in my comfortable automobile on the way to work. Very difficult subject-matter testing across the range of potential high school subjects, from history to chemistry or whatever, with an absolute top expected score something like a 70/100. College admissions based on the testing, but with a weighting for income and educational attainment level of the parents. Substantial bonuses for secondary schools that do the best at maximizing the highest test scores for the kids with the lowest scores on the parent metric, so that you incentivize improvement there. Done and done, you have a nicely reformed secondary and tertiary educational system.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
224

The reason for the top score at 70/100 is to make "teaching to the test" necessarily rigorous and overinclusive. I am so ready to remake society right now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
225

223: What about the CrossFit component of the exam?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
226

What about the CrossFit component of the exam?

Only required for the elite Ninja Bodyguard Academy.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:32 AM
horizontal rule
227


The Solemn Vow of Ostracism of Libertarians will be required of applicants to every institution.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
228

227: full credit will be awarded to those students who confused "ostracize" and "defenestrate."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:37 AM
horizontal rule
229

225 -- under Halfordismo, Crossfit is for all, not just college bound nerds. But the new testing system is kind of Crossfit-inspired; you can think of the parental income/education level thing as a "scale" and the test itself as an open-ended exam designed to be deliberately impossible but push people beyond their limits, like those things at the Crossfit Games that go "up to" 100 muscle ups or whatever. God damn it that 19th century Chinese guy who thought he was the brother of Jesus was the crazy one, not me!

But in reality I semi-seriously think that I have definitively answered the question of what needs to be done on the college admissions issue. Wouldn't this lead to more democratic universities (and, maybe, a less hierarchical university system)? And better secondary education?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
230

People are absolutely shocked when they learn American kids who get into Harvard also are studying until 11:30 every night.

I would also be shocked to learn that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:59 AM
horizontal rule
231

But in reality I semi-seriously think that I have definitively answered the question of what needs to be done on the college admissions issue. Wouldn't this lead to more democratic universities (and, maybe, a less hierarchical university system)? And better secondary education?

I kind of agree that it would be better, as long as we accept that better still isn't good. You'd still shut out any kids without access to a high quality secondary school or impressive powers of autodidactism, but that kind of kid is largely screwed now anyway.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
232

Although I'm also shocked by this in Pinker's article:

Deans have asked me not to schedule a midterm on a big party day

Really? There are "big party days" at Harvard? The Deans care about them?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
233

There are those house formals, right? I think those are a pretty big deal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
234

Harvard-Yale weekend?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
235

231 -- true, though hopefully the scale would take care of some of that, and the incentive system would encourage better secondary schools. And in addition you could have, let's see ... transfers from open-admission community colleges in year two of college, with a modified merits-based test. That way if you really got screwed by your high school education, or really screwed up the test the first time, you get one more chance after attending an open-admissions community college.

So, the four -- four! -- principles of college admissions reform under Halfordismo will be as follows:

1)Very difficult subject-matter testing across the range of potential high school subjects, from history to chemistry or whatever, with an absolute top expected score something like a 70/100.
2) College admissions based on the testing, but with a weighting for income and educational attainment level of the parents.
3) Substantial bonuses for secondary schools that do the best at maximizing the highest test scores for the kids with the lowest scores on the parent metric, so that you incentivize improvement there.
4) 15% of spaces at selective colleges are reserved for transfers from an open-admissions community college system, but will also be based upon a (different) test, designed to test sophmore-level college knowledge. This test will also be subject to the parental income/education weighting system, to keep rich kids from just sitting out two years.

Done done done!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:17 PM
horizontal rule
236

234 seems plausible. I'm only vaguely aware of the formals but google suggests they're during reading or final exam period at the end of spring semester, so it doesn't seem like that could be what he's talking about.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
237

Wait, does the Halford admission process require top scores in all subjects? Or can the future petroleum engineers just rock the math and science sections? The art majors should have to submit Halford tapestries (or other media, I guess, but weighted less) as mandatory parts of their portfolio.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
238

The Halfordismo plan looks reasonable to me at first glance, but I suspect that means it isn't at all.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
239

237 -- I think that could vary by school, no? So the former MIT (now The Robert Halford Institue of Useful Technology and Intellectual Property) could select for engineers, and the former RISD (now The Geezer Butler Academy of Culture) could select for artists.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
240

I think H-Y weekend is really the only plausible thing. I also think it's somewhat disingenuous for him not to have actually said what it was. (It's not just a party issue. If it's in New Haven people are traveling, and if it's local then people are hosting. Also it's obviously one of the university's biggest fundraisers.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
241


I think the planted axiom in halford's scheme is his magic subject matter tests that accurately and reliably discriminate among performance at the top of the scale. If you want the tests to be fair, they have to be based on a standard curriculum that everyone has access to. And if you have a standard curriculum that's tested, there will be teaching to the test: the more ambitious the curriculum, the more ruthless the focus.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
242

(now The Robert Halford Institue of Useful Technology and Intellectual Property)

Wow, gross.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:31 PM
horizontal rule
243

And if you have a standard curriculum that's tested, there will be teaching to the test: the more ambitious the curriculum, the more ruthless the focus.

Sure, but so what. This wouldn't make high school fun, but it might make it a lot more rigorous.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
244


I'm not unalterably opposed to school-leaving exams of the kind that Halford suggests - something like the German Abitur. I just think he's being a little hand-wavey about the downsides that would exist even in his ideal dictatorship, not to mention the practical obstacles in the real world.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:37 PM
horizontal rule
245

I just think he's being a little hand-wavey about the downsides that would exist even in his ideal dictatorship

Nonsense. Nonsense!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
246

Test design is actually really goddamned hard. Even in a case like technical hiring, where you want people to be able to do one thing (program) and can give them a test where they do that one thing (program) the relationship of test (interview) performance to work performance is tenuous at best. In subject matter fields where you're talking about a high school leverl of expertise (vs. a college sophomore level of expertise?!?) designing a test that is an accurate measure of expertise and isn't gameable through rote instruction (which is what happens in the countries Knecht mentions above, I believe) would be something of an unprecedented achievement. This is especially true at, as Knecht points out, the high end, where differences are tiny and lacunae in knowledge are less predictable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
247

What? Don't most countries in the world have difficult subject matter entrance exams for college? For that matter, so do all high school courses. Testing is just part of education, and a lot of rote instruction is just instruction.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:42 PM
horizontal rule
248

I propose that the university entrance exam should be the FizzBuzz test.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:44 PM
horizontal rule
249

248: Over 90% of working journalists can't pass the fizzbuzz test.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
250

Not obviously?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:48 PM
horizontal rule
251

249: way more than 90%


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:50 PM
horizontal rule
252

Here's (in French) a model answer (and extraordinarily open-ended question) for one of the French entrance exams, for example. You could get there through training but it wouldn't exactly be rote learning, and to the extent it was it might not be a problem.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
253


252: FYI, passing that test doesn't get you into an elite university. It merely qualifies you to enroll in a cram school to be able to take the exam for admission to an elite university.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:02 PM
horizontal rule
254

But, anyhow, I think the connection between testing and knowledge would itself help democratize the university system as a whole. In the new regime, OK, so you don't get into NeoHarvard -- but everyone knows that's just because you didn't score high enough on a very specific academic achievement test, not because you weren't selected based on ineffable qualities to be a member of the ruling class.

Seems to me that makes it more likely employers and others would increasingly look beyond college admittance and to performance in college, again helping make the system more democratic overall for everyone.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
255

251: Tell me about it. And let's not even talk about the passing rates for nurses or forestry workers.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
256

Seems to me that makes it more likely employers and others would increasingly look beyond college admittance and to performance in college, again helping make the system more democratic overall for everyone.

The example of France doesn't give much cause for optimism about that. With some allowance for hyperbole, the basic situation is that all the top spots in government and commerce are reserved for graduates of the top three (really the top two) grandes écoles. You win admission to ENA or the Polytechnique by getting a top score on an insanely difficult math test that you spend a minimum of two years after high school cramming for. Once admitted, you are home free. You don't need to work very hard to get through university (and in most cases you don't), and once you get your degree, you are set for life, because all* the top jobs are reserved for you and your compatriots. The only question is whether you will be at the 99th percentile of social status or closer to the 99.9999th percentile. And because the tournament you won was so obviously objective and meritocratic, and because you sacrificed the best years of your life to win it, you exude a sense of entitlement forever.

*In the world of finance and the new economy, there are some paths to highly remunerative jobs that don't run through the grandes écoles, but the highest prestige posts are still going to the énarches and polytechniciens


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:17 PM
horizontal rule
257

you exude a sense of entitlement forever

Was there any chance that you wouldn't anyway being French and all?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:18 PM
horizontal rule
258

I hear that in France what you really want to do is marry an heiress.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:19 PM
horizontal rule
259

I should really have talked about 256 more in my Piketty summary, but I don't think his alternative system was even as well-articulated as Halford's, just that it should be transparent and equitable.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:21 PM
horizontal rule
260

In the foregoing, I am using "university" in the American sense because, strictly speaking, the grandes écoles are not universités.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:24 PM
horizontal rule
261

Yeah, fair enough, I instantly thought of the French counterexample as soon as I wrote 254 (I do know a little about France and pretend to know more).

Still, I think the problems with France could be avoided with a few tweaks to the Halfordismo system-- most importantly, just don't allow anything like the ENA, which thank God we don't have quite yet in the US now.* I don't think that the super-hierarchy of the Grandes Ecoles is an inevitable result of a merits-based testing system. Most of Europe/the rest of the world doesn't seem to have the particular problem that France does in that regard, despite merits testing. But in order for it to work well you'd absolutely need to combine the testing system with at least a moderately flat tier of top, big universities.

*though my take is that while the French system exacerbates the overall problems with an idea of a "meritocracy" even more than our system does, and is therefore ultimately worse, at least it does a better job of ensuring that the putative meritocrats are in fact meritocratic -- if you see what I mean.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
262

You win admission to ENA or the Polytechnique by getting a top score on an insanely difficult math test that you spend a minimum of two years after high school cramming for.

Not ENS? I thought that was the tippy-top.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:30 PM
horizontal rule
263

The real problem is that college shouldn't be necessary for the vast majority of people who end up attending. Functionally, businesses use it as a very expensive form of signalling, with the costs born by others.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
264

262 -- yes, but that's generally more for academics than world-beating men and women of power.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:34 PM
horizontal rule
265

my take is that while the French system exacerbates the overall problems with an idea of a "meritocracy" even more than our system does, and is therefore ultimately worse, at least it does a better job of ensuring that the putative meritocrats are in fact meritocratic -- if you see what I mean

Yes, absolutely, for certain values of "merit", at least. There is an inevitable tension between the goals of "let's make sure the spots at the best universities go to the smartest, hardest-working kids" and "let's make sure opportunity is distributed equitably", and France illustrates why. The problem in my mind is less "How do we make access to Harvard and Stanford more fair?" than "How do we make opportunities available more equitably to capable people who didn't attend Harvard or Stanford?" If Halfordismo can resolve that, I will refrain from joining the counterrevolutionary forces.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:36 PM
horizontal rule
266

There is an inevitable tension between the goals of "let's make sure the spots at the best universities go to the smartest, hardest-working kids" and "let's make sure opportunity is distributed equitably",

Not to mention a third tension with "let's make sure that primary and secondary education are as good on their own merits as they can me."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
267

Or "be," even.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:40 PM
horizontal rule
268

266 -- yes, absolutely; that's the idea behind the bonus system for secondary schools which maximize the performance of students who come from low parental income/educational background homes but who do well on the entrance exam. It's also why the exam itself must be truly challenging. That way money flows not just to the schools with the best students, but the schools whose students get the most added value from the secondary education. It also guarantees that the secondary school curriculum itself has to be tough.

OK, let's go through the now five -- five! -- fundamental principles of college admissions reform under Halfordismo:

1)Very difficult subject-matter testing across the range of potential high school subjects, from history to chemistry or whatever, with an absolute top expected score something like a 70/100.
2) College admissions based on the testing, but with a weighting for income and educational attainment level of the parents.
3) Substantial bonuses for secondary schools that do the best at maximizing the highest test scores for the kids with the lowest scores on the parent metric, so that you incentivize improvement there.
4) 15% of spaces at selective colleges are reserved for transfers from an open-admissions community college system, but will also be based upon a (different) test, designed to test sophmore-level college knowledge. This test will also be subject to the parental income/education weighting system, to keep rich kids from just sitting out two years.
5) The top tier of schools will be flat enough, and have enough schools with enough students, to avoid something like the French Grandes Ecoles.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
269

most importantly, just don't allow anything like the ENA

Yes, that for sure. ENA is a bit of a special case even in the French system, the nuances of which were lost in my grossly oversimplified description.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:52 PM
horizontal rule
270

266 -- yes, absolutely; that's the idea behind the bonus system for secondary schools which maximize the performance of students who come from low parental income/educational background homes but who do well on the entrance exam.

Yeah but no, because a lot of what makes an actually good education in itself is just at odds with spending loads of time on testing and test cramming.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 1:57 PM
horizontal rule
271

I don't totally disagree with 270, but I mostly do disagree with it, particularly at the high school level (and below). Put more precisely, I think you're much more likely to see the ancillary non-test-taking benefits of an education ("critical thinking" or whatever) in an environment in which people are learning a lot and working hard to prepare for a big, important test than you are to see them develop even those skills without that testing structure (let alone develop the skills that test prep really does teach). So I think that the supposed conflict between test-preparation and more holistic secondary-school "education" is mostly illusory, at least for most people. (Not totally illusory, but to the extent it does exist it's largely among people who would do just fine anyway and whom we shouldn't really design policy around).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 2:06 PM
horizontal rule
272

I'm thinking more of primary school, so we're not fully at odds. Nor am I thinking of "critical thinking," anyhow, but of stuff like the merits of individualized education, the complications of math and test anxiety, the question of whether the point is to get as much information in or to avoid giving people a deeply unpleasant childhood, etc.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 2:14 PM
horizontal rule
273

I am again, uncertainly, with Halford. I want to draw a distinction between tests, generally, and what we call 'standardized tests' like the SAT -- the kind that are supposed to be hard to cram for and so reward the kind of studying that's about the nature of the test rather than the content.

While critical thinking/creativity/deep understanding and all that (not dismissive, just hard to sum up in a phrase) are what being well educated is about, learning a lot of content is one of the ways of getting there. In the sciences, there are all sorts of things that could be blindly memorized, but that are infinitely easier if you understand them, and the same in humanities; mindless memorization only goes so far. If you can test someone in a way that shows they have command of a large body of knowledge, they're not guaranteed to be generally well educated, but there's a good shot at it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 2:19 PM
horizontal rule
274

273 crossed with 272.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 2:25 PM
horizontal rule
275

I have another plan that might even be combined with AcaHalfordismo; mine is the Big MOOC Baloney: let universities spall. Exams, subject degrees and journal publishing to be gate-kept by discipline organizations; research funded by government and QUANGOs and industry; and student life, including what kind of teachers are hired and whether there's a climbing wall, is run by the students. (That'll keep the little suckers off the streets.) This is partly because MOOCs might be disruptive enough to force it (if not something worse) and largely because I am so tired of discussing the value of higher ed as social signalling and not as whether one has learned any particular useful thing.

I got there while thinking about whether a particular degree at Western Governors' would be good for a friend of mine, and then whether hiring tutors would be an allowed or sensible approach to the gaps in W.G.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 3:41 PM
horizontal rule
276

Halford, your crazy test -- is it multiple choice? Essays? Something approaching the International Math Olympiad? Because if it's the latter, that means Maryam Mirzakhani gets to rule California as a god-queen, beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night, dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:16 PM
horizontal rule
277

276: with a robe trimmed with lions, and goddamn right she does.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
278

183: JP Stormcrow,

Did you do that table up, or find it somewheres?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:29 PM
horizontal rule
279

278: From the paper linked in 182.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
280

In NZ: flat university structure, very easy entry.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:44 PM
horizontal rule
281

I know this is what we're talking about when we're not talking about Common Core, but I just had to be at a mandatory training on how our state is judging school systems now and I'm willing to wear a fur bikini if it means getting to restructure how elementary schools work under Halfordismo, because I just think in a lot of cases the extra supportive rigor isn't where it needs to be yet, and I know we've got this whole chicken-egg thing where we don't respect or pay teachers well and so none of the unfogged-type people felt like they should major in education, et fucking c.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
282

Ahh thanks, that second one. Thought from the parchment data


Posted by: turgid jacobian | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
283

I didn't understand anything about 281 apart from "wear a fur bikini". Maybe it would make more sense if I has read the thread.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 7:57 PM
horizontal rule
284

You don't have to, urple. Your kids aren't in public schools. I'm just as involved as some dumbass white parent can be in making sure kids from various disadvantaged groups are getting the kind of education that will eventually let them pass the tests to become hot killer ninjas (or not because obesity, I guess) or whatever else is on the menu.

And it's not easy, and biases start early. So our school, where say 95% of kids get free or reduced lunch, is going to be compared against how well we meet the needs of that whole subpopulation the same way a school where 2% of children have special needs. And more than 20% of the school's rankings come from how well the teachers do, in part as defined by the principal but again in ways that are easy for people teaching rich kids and not so much here. (And we want the teachers who get growth here anyway. But maybe I should be more clear about this and/or check what I'm allowed to talk about.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
285

My daughter commented here a few times so is technically an unfogged-type person and starts her Masters in education program at UofC in a week or so. Product of Chicago Public Schools, means to teach there.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
286

That's awesome, idp! Gswift's wife is doing similarly good work, I know. And I haven't signed up to be a teacher, though I suppose I might if my current masochism proves insufficient, so I'm not throwing stones. It's just that we all (I think?) know how intellectually weak a lot of ed majors are, but then actually having to give them job interviews has blown my mind to dimensions I didn't know existed.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:24 PM
horizontal rule
287

Urple's kids are in private schools? I wouldn't have guessed, based on his stance on other issues. I'm trying to phrase this in an inoffensive way, because there are good, individual reasons to opt for private school, but I had Urple pegged otherwise.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
288

Um, sorry if I outed urple? But since I did, I've been honest that we also considered Waldorf, which is what his at least started with, and I think for certain kid (Mara!) with attachment problems and other early trauma there could be real benefits. But Mara's in a test class where she's looping, doing first grade with the same teacher and classmates as kindergarten. It's been wonderful for her and I suspect it will end up showing meaningful improvements in test results and we'll end up doing it at least K-1 and probably K-2, though enough kids transfer in and out of the district that it turns into sort of a philosophy problem.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:29 PM
horizontal rule
289

Oh right, I forgot about Urple and Waldorf. That has come up here before.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
290

It figure urple sends his kids to a school that covers them in mayonnaise.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
291

We put Noser thru Montessori for prek and k, and rilee is going thru the same. But Noser is now in our neighborhood school.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
292

I'm really glad we didn't go with Across-the-River Waldorf because it's just too white and Mara would be miserable about that, not to mention the commute and expense. And also because it gives me some goal in life to be very active in the actually local schools and actually maybe doing some good in life.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
293

I'm not totally sure on their mayonnaise policy but despite their cultlike nature the Montessori people were pretty goodS I don't know about mayonnaise in our local public either


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
294

We put Noser thru Montessori for prek and k, and rilee is going thru the same. But Noser is now in our neighborhood school.

This is our genteel liberal plan too (currently in the prek portion of said plan).


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:44 PM
horizontal rule
295

Our next-block neighbors are now on their third child to follow that plan and he seems as happy about first as Mara is. With anyone not using that pre-k/K Montessori, I've made the argument that you should just send your child to public K and at the absolute worst your child has been through kindergarten and you're not happy with it and you go somewhere else. I'm not sure if I've been able to convince any takers, but we do have more families coming in than in past years.

Actually, the larger issue for me is that Lee keeps continuing fights about education on the neighborhood listserv, where I'm deliberately being excessively polite because at some point I'll probably run for school board and I'd rather have a few bridges left. She thinks it's stupid of me to think her behavior reflects on me, which I guess means it doesn't matter what I think.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 8:52 PM
horizontal rule
296

I had not expected Halford to come out in favor of the meritocratic vision of Tyler Cowen.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:22 PM
horizontal rule
297

So tell us more about your Halford fantasies, Eggplant!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
298

I'd kind of hoped to try on the fur bikini myself.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:33 PM
horizontal rule
299

Oh, dude, from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. On at least the first and probably both fronts you trump me!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 9:37 PM
horizontal rule
300

J, Robot,

Thanks! I'm hoping he'll come down to earth after his first TOEFL exam in Sept, so I think it's good to keep options open and I might want to contact you. I think it's less he's actually snobby and more that other adults who know absolutely nothing about the US around him are. Plus he has a wealthy friend with 110 on the TOEFL and 2250 on the SAT who got into UCLA and is telling him he can too. (He got a 50 on the only practice TOEFL he's taken.)

essear,
If you count the time elite students spend on extracurriculars, any student whose name isn't already on a building and/or the kid of a celebrity is going to be busy on school-related activities until around midnight every night. Google the term "organization kid."

For teaching to the test, this was the case at my IB high school, where everything was explicitly oriented to the IB exam. The tests were well-written and required complex thinking and an in-depth knowledge of the subject material, so teaching to the test was a quite effective way to teach the material.


Posted by: Buttercup | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:07 PM
horizontal rule
301

at some point I'll probably run for school board

Can we group-write your campaign literature?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:46 PM
horizontal rule
302

I think we're practically obligated to.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:48 PM
horizontal rule
303

With liberal references to fur bikinis, of course.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 5-14 11:50 PM
horizontal rule
304

Theoretically, of course, we're obligated to do nothing of the sort and will inevitably die pointlessly and alone. This is probably encoded in Finnegans Wake somewhere, but that's a different thread.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:35 AM
horizontal rule
305

Urple's kids are in private schools? I wouldn't have guessed, based on his stance on other issues. I'm trying to phrase this in an inoffensive way, because there are good, individual reasons to opt for private school, but I had Urple pegged otherwise.

I'm not sure if this is a good or an inoffensive reason, but in my case it's because I eventually just gave up fighting the issue with my spouse, who really very strongly wanted some form of alternative education for elementary school. We've agreed that they'll be going to public school for high school, and probably also middle school, and possibly also for part of elementary if we decide to switch at some point.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 4:12 AM
horizontal rule
306

My friend teaches at the free pre-K for kids who qualify. (It's broader than HeadStart, but similar.) It is so fucking depressing to hear her stories. 800 four year olds. Two administrators. She's alone with 23 four year olds. She has one child who is developmentally on par with Ace.

(This child got accidentally put on the wrong bus home in the first week. The mom called the news.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 5:51 AM
horizontal rule
307

Did the driver take the kid into the strip club with him or just leave the kid alone in the parked bus outside the strip club?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 6:32 AM
horizontal rule
308

I was trying to convice my spouse we should move back to New York at some point, and she says she doesn't want to because she doesn't want to send our kid back into that school system. "Maybe it will be different this time" I said, and she reminded me that they don't even get recess. And I was like "oh yeah...."

Right now in schmancy private school, the kid gets two recesses a day - sometimes three. Plus he gets art a couple times a week, which was not available at our school in NYC.

The teaching to the test is bad, but whats really problematic is all the things that get dropped because they aren't perceived as contributing to test scores. Teaching to nothing but the test.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 6:41 AM
horizontal rule
309

The recess thing is really awful. I think Hawaii's class gets one 20 or 30 minute recess. If you misbehave at all, you lose part or all of recess. Which seems to be completely counterproductive for those kids who most need to burn off steam.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 6:49 AM
horizontal rule
310

OTOH, the afterschool program is a total throwback to a former age. Aside from the fact that they can't leave the perimeter of the school, it seems to be packs of elementary kids roving about and playing how they see fit, with a handful of college kids handing out snacks. (I think when kids have homework, they have to get it done before they can rove.)

I just feel like there are infinitely many articles bemoaning how structured our kids' lives are, and this is not at all that. I guess that's good?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 6:52 AM
horizontal rule
311

If you misbehave at all, you lose part or all of recess.

I basically didn't get recess in 3rd grade, due to not doing my homework. Led me into a life of crime from the temptation to steal things out of the teacher's desk. So, stupid, reactionary elementary schools = anarchist training grounds.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:05 AM
horizontal rule
312

That's nice about the packs of roving elementary kids. You never see that in the wild anymore.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:06 AM
horizontal rule
313

312. Their ranges have shifted north due to climate change.

Actually, that might be wild turkeys.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:14 AM
horizontal rule
314

276, 277: You say that as though it would be a bad thing.


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:21 AM
horizontal rule
315

314: they did?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:48 AM
horizontal rule
316

309: Is Hawaii in full-day kindergarten? That's what we have, and I do think they only get one outdoor recess but there's built in downtime. Some kids can handle it. I remember how Val used to just collapse at the end of the day because she was so wiped out by it all.

And to be fair to urple, the odds are very good that our girls will go to a non-public high school, probably the all-girls Catholic one I attended. Lee is even talking about looking elsewhere for middle school but between the middle school being two blocks from our house and the idea of being the new kid in middle school sounding like hell to me, I think we'll keep them there through eighth grade if things keep going well and decide then what to do about high school. (Lee also doesn't know why people think middle school is emotionally tough because SHE never had any problems until she was traumatically outed her senior year and stopped being seen as just an incredibly popular star athlete. I've tried to explain that this is not likely to be the same dynamic going on with our two, but she's not convinced.)

I was trying to explain to someone that I'm being groomed for school board except I'm not. It just means the two most experienced members of the board have taken me aside and said they appreciate what I do and that I should let them know when I'm ready to run and they're sorry it won't be this year. Sadly, there isn't a lot of campaign literature involved or anything else. You just talk to people and get your name out there and go door-to-door and to neighborhood meetings and so on. With what I'm doing now, I do get to hire a principal this year, which should be eye-opening and I hope productive.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 7:56 AM
horizontal rule
317

I feel vaguely like I am being attacked in this thread and I'm not entirely sure why.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 8:59 AM
horizontal rule
318

If it makes you feel better, I send my kid to private school and don't feel bad about it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 9:16 AM
horizontal rule
319

That makes me feel worse.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
320

Would it help if I felt a bit bad about it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 9:20 AM
horizontal rule
321

I sent one to private school k-12 and the other to public school k-12. I feel bad about it, but it's because administrative bullshit is all pervasive.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 9:32 AM
horizontal rule
322

If you really cared about improving education in this country then instead of selfishly sending your kids to private school you would have sent them out into the woods to be raised by wolves.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:00 AM
horizontal rule
323

My son has suggested that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:06 AM
horizontal rule
324

My kids had recess in the NYC public schools. It must differ school by school? Also, not crazy oppressive focus on the state tests -- there was a bad month or so right before, but otherwise not so bad.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:13 AM
horizontal rule
325

322 -- If I had a third kid, I swear I'd be thinking seriously about that.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:17 AM
horizontal rule
326

The LAUSD still has recess. As I've said before, my experience so far is that ordinary ghetto public school is academically more rigorous, substantially so, then fancy private elementary academy. In large part that seems to be because of common core, which isn't quite the same as teaching to the test. No special music/art/foreign language/yoga classes, though. My kid did get teased for the first time the other day for being the only white kid, but she didn't seem to mind too much and has a bunch of friends. And won't those little teasing jerks be surprised when she unfairly takes their jobs.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:22 AM
horizontal rule
327

It's basically combining the low cost of public schools with the low effort of boarding school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:23 AM
horizontal rule
328

To wolf school.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
329

"To wolf school! Let's go!"


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:25 AM
horizontal rule
330

My kids also had art, music, and dance/gym.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:26 AM
horizontal rule
331

LB, I've heard your positive experience with NYC public schools, and have been very frustrated that ours has not been that. I really wanted it to be, but, it seems that, in our neighborhood at least, the testing mania had taken over. Maybe part of it is because your kids are a few years ahead of mine, and were in the last cohort to go through elementary school before everything went to hell.

Yeah, maybe the recess thing is just that school, but its hard to accept that "X minutes of recess a day" is not a district-wide requirement.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:27 AM
horizontal rule
332

331: I'm sitting here wondering if maybe you were in a 'better' neighborhood, which meant more panicky pressure (parent imposed or preemptively internally imposed) to do well on the tests? Our school didn't ignore them as much as I'd have liked them to, but they weren't a huge focus, and that might be a benefit of a more relaxed parent body.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:33 AM
horizontal rule
333

Was talking to my niece and nephew this week, about their first week of school. She's just started HS, he's in 4th grade I think, both Chicago Public Schools. I asked about recess, and he definitely has it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
334

In high school, we didn't get recess. But we did get a donut break every morning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:38 AM
horizontal rule
335

They didn't give us donuts, but rather sold them to raise money for student government.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 10:40 AM
horizontal rule
336

I'm sitting here wondering if maybe you were in a 'better' neighborhood, which meant more panicky pressure (parent imposed or preemptively internally imposed) to do well on the tests?

I suspect that was part of the problem. Lots of yuppie parents. I might like to try someplace deeper in Queens. Or up your way. But I don't think we will actually be back for a while, if ever.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:01 AM
horizontal rule
337

335: second week of kindergarten, Hawaii is already shilling stuff for the school. If they sell ten items from the predictably shitty catalog, they get to squirt the principal with ketchup and mustard. She is SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED to do the ketchup/mustard thing that it kind of breaks my heart. The whole thing is aggravating.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
338

Does anyone get recess in HS? Doesn't seem practical, with everyone's schedule being so different. A long lunch period, maybe some study halls, is the most you can hope for.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:04 AM
horizontal rule
339

No, I don't think recess extends past elementary school.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:07 AM
horizontal rule
340

I wish grad school had recess.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:09 AM
horizontal rule
341

Courts have recess.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
342

Lighting has recessed.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:11 AM
horizontal rule
343

HS students don't really need recess, and their lunch period is usually long enough anyway. 6-year-olds need recess, and expecting a 20 minute lunch break to be enough is cruel and unusual.

Its also really stupid, because it embeds the "school is boring" attitude at an early age. The early grades should be about making kids love learning. Instead its tons of homework and stressful bullshit about progressing to the next reading level (of which there are 26, one for every letter of the alphabet.)


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:18 AM
horizontal rule
344

They should do something to make up for using away cigarette breaks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
345

Ireland has the universal exams http://www2.cao.ie/app_scoring/lcegrid.htm and a bunch of similar level universities. (Trinity has more of an elite image but it's not that much more difficult to get into. http://www2.cao.ie/points/l8_rnd1.htm) Just lately there is an aptitude thingy as well for medicine. No extra points though for the disadvantaged so not Halford-compliant.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
346

337: My parents got so sick of the forced selling that they contacted the principal/band director/whoever and said they'd write a check directly for how much was expected as my portion if I didn't have to sell anything. I was the type of little kid who really wanted the prize, though. I remember one year, it was literally a 1.5" pompon with googly eyes and cardboard feet. My poor parents couldn't seem to explain to me why this wasn't a very exciting prize.

Around here, lots of cheerleading squads do bikini car washes, which is kind of unsettlingly icky.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
347

do bikini car washes, which is kind of unsettlingly icky

Yes, always intended to be titillating, and sometimes malicious. The famous scene in Cool Hand Luke comes to mind.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:00 PM
horizontal rule
348

Its also really stupid, because it embeds the "school is boring" attitude at an early age. The early grades should be about making kids love learning. Instead its tons of homework and stressful bullshit about progressing to the next reading level (of which there are 26, one for every letter of the alphabet.)

Fwiw, this is exactly my wife's argument for why she wanted something non-traditional for early grades.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
349

School is jail for little kids.

I'm surprised by Halford's proposed scheme. It must have been dreamed up when he was a younger man, not yet fully materialist in his thinking, because it seems to assume that you can devise a system the ruling class will participate in which will actually disempower (to some degree) that ruling class. Weed out the lazy rich, affirmative action by other means, and voila! What would actually happen is that success on the test would be devalued, along with technocratic merit, and you'd have a nation worshipping the W model of achievement.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:28 PM
horizontal rule
350

Around here, lots of cheerleading squads do bikini car washes, which is kind of unsettlingly icky.

is this Jimmy Savile High School, in the Gary Glitter District?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
351

||

Part of me thinks it would be funny, were I to be tagged for the Ten Book Challenge, to post:

1. The Bible.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Of course, if I actually got tagged, I would do absolutely nothing. So oh well.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:32 PM
horizontal rule
352

1. Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
353

Or, possibly:

1. Genesis
2. Exodus
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
5. Deuteronomy
6. Joshua
7. Judges
8. Ruth
9. 1 Samuel
10. 2 Samuel...


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
354

1. Genesis
2. Exodus
3. Leviticus
4. Numbers
5. Deuteronomy
6. Joshua
7. Judges
8. Ruth
9. Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-Kicking Films of Steven Seagal
10. 1 Samuel


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:51 PM
horizontal rule
355

That was me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:52 PM
horizontal rule
356

Part of me thinks it would be funny, were I to be tagged for the Ten Book Challenge, to post:
1. The Satanic Bible.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

FTFY


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
357

349 is fair enough, though the whole point of my cult of personality is to transcend historical materialism through the force of pure will and ninja babes.

Actually, in trying to catch up and finish Piketty, I saw that he uses this quote from the founder of Sciences Po to justify the mission of the Grandes Ecoles: "obliged to submit to the rule of the majority, the classes that call themselves the upper classes can preserve their political hegemony only by invoking the rights of the most capable. As traditional upper-class prerogatives crumble, the wave of democracy will encounter a second rampart, built on eminently useful talents, superiority that commands prestige, and abilities of which society cannot sanely deprive itself."

So it's right there from the beginning -- the whole point of meritocracy is to provide a structure for the maintenance of upper class privilege in the face of democracy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 1:39 PM
horizontal rule
358

That quote (and the founding of Sciences Po) come from around 1871 btw, so basically a reaction to the Paris Commune.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
359

As traditional upper-class prerogatives crumble, the wave of democracy will encounter a second rampart, built on eminently useful talents, superiority that commands prestige, and abilities of which society cannot sanely deprive itself.

They're talking about Napoleon Bonaparte of course.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
360

As traditional upper-class prerogatives crumble, the wave of democracy will encounter a second rampart, built on eminently useful talents, superiority that commands prestige, and abilities of which society cannot sanely deprive itself.

They're talking about Napoleon Bonaparte of course.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 1:43 PM
horizontal rule
361

Bonaparte was so good they named him twice.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 1:44 PM
horizontal rule
362

abilities of which society cannot sanely deprive itself

Optimistic!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 1:46 PM
horizontal rule
363

||

I volunteered to help oversee the Facebook presence for a professional organization of philosophy teachers. The page will hopefully feature active discussion--it won't just be an announcements page. What sort of comment moderation policy, if any, should we have? Does anyone know of any useful models for policy statements from professional groups?

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
364

The canalized rebellion in 337 squicks me as much as the selling.

349.last: hasn't that happened?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 1:56 PM
horizontal rule
365

It really is a pretty crazy quote though. It's as if you had a meeting at the founding of the Ivy League in 1890 where they actually for real said "Hey guys, this isn't just founding a football conference. If we set up a system where rich people get a plausible imprimatur of also being super talented and this deserving of wealth, we can more or less just keep ruling permanently without worrying about the plebes stealing our shit. Let's do this. OK fine, Cornell, you can join too but yeah seriously you're not convincing anyone."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 1:59 PM
horizontal rule
366

I volunteered to help oversee the Facebook presence for a professional organization of philosophy teachers. The page will hopefully feature active discussion--it won't just be an announcements page. What sort of comment moderation policy, if any, should we have?

I'll bet an analogy ban would really cramp their style.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 2:15 PM
horizontal rule
367

365 delights me.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 2:49 PM
horizontal rule
368

363: ask at Feminist Philosophers or What is it Like to be a Woman in Philosophy, for serious.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 3:15 PM
horizontal rule
369

357:
I don't know what use Piketty makes of the quote, and he may imply what I'm about to say, but I'd expect the SciPo founder thought the existing upper classes already embodied eminently useful talents, superiority that commands prestige, and abilities of which society cannot sanely deprive itself. The institutions would essentially certify them, including some talents from below and excluding the dolts from above, which everybody would have acknowledged really existed.

He would have assumed, and I think many still do, that the existing upper classes and the society's corps of truly, indispensably talented would have a great deal of overlap, and that one would be a proxy to a first approximation of the other but had lost legitimacy as such.

You can find this attitude running through Toqueville, for instance.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 3:38 PM
horizontal rule
370

well, sure, idp; that a belief serves one's own interests does not make that belief insincere (see, eg, Pierre Bourdieu, passim)


Posted by: (damnit jim I'm a) lurker | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 3:53 PM
horizontal rule
371

...nor does it by itself make it false.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 4:17 PM
horizontal rule
372

368: Thanks nosflow. I sent them a note.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 5:31 PM
horizontal rule
373

368: Thanks nosflow. I sent them a note.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 6-14 5:31 PM
horizontal rule