A New Record for the U.S. High School Graduation Rate

roughly half of states now offer multiple diplomas. Some are rigorous, but some aren’t. Also in many places, he says the high school graduation exam is a really low bar. Some states have dropped it altogether. Scores on the test known as the Nation’s Report Card suggest Cohen’s concerns are well-founded. Last year, high school seniors scored on average lower in reading than they did in 1992. Continue Reading →

Schools Require Parent Participation

Charter schools are legal in California. The state education code as well as voter-passed propositions, have consistently shown broad public support for them. There are rules about the types and amounts of support a local school district must give each charter. Instead of fighting charter schools, perhaps folks should consider the model advanced by San Carlos. That town (where I once lived) has basically turned their entire school system into charter schools. Continue Reading →

Common Core Math Fail

I am professor emeritus of economics at California State University, East Bay. We have a small Master’s program in our department. Decades ago, when I was teaching in that program, one of my students was a high school teacher. She did very well in the class I taught and went on to successfully complete the M.A. After the course was over I asked her if she was going to teach high school economics. She replied, “No. I can’t. My certificate is in business. To teach economics I need a certificate in social studies.” Continue Reading →

Megan McArdle on Student Loan Debt and Tuition Increases

The implications of this are quite staggering. Courses and majors thought to be difficult or those in which students are likely to fail will be demoted in hiring, course offerings, and other areas. By contrast, majors such as “Hospitality and Leisure Services” will be promoted. You don’t need math, science, or much more than high energy and a great smile to graduate in those fields. If you believe administrators don’t have that kind of influence on the academic curriculum, you have not lived the three decades in public education that span my career. And this strategy has now been endorsed by none other than the President of the United States. Continue Reading →

Oregon Student Loans Proposal Will Create Adverse Selection and Moral Hazard

Oregon will collect far less than they are predicting. The percentage of income will rise and the duration of the loan will also increase — to 25 years, then 30 years. And, just as Prof. Akerlof predicted decades ago, the scheme will eventually collapse. Continue Reading →

A Modest Proposal, or How to Break Down the Barriers to Graduation

Present the first-year student with a tuition bill for the next four years of his or her university education, said bill becoming due immediately and to be paid through grants, loans, the student’s own accumulated inheritance from recently and timely-deceased grandparents, or the third mortgage his or her parents can negotiate as a lien on the family’s ancestral suburban home. Alternatively, it may be possible to garnish the student’s wages at Starbucks for the next fifty years. Immediately upon the check’s clearing and being deposited in the coffers of the state university, issue the baccalaureate degree to the student in question. Continue Reading →