Amy Bishop and Harvard: A lethal mix?

Writing Friday about the University of Alabama-Huntsville biology professor Amy Bishop, who murdered three of her colleagues last week, the AP’s Desiree Hunter notes that Bishop has a Ph.D. from Harvard. Being denied tenure in Alabama, where she has taught since 2003, ate at her self-esteem, writes Hunter. Bishop was “apparently … incensed that a lesser-known school rejected her.”


Fire the teachers union

Heroes can and will emerge from the most unsuspecting places and make crucial decisions that can reverberate around the world. Rhode Island Superintendent Frances Gallo boldly confronted the neglect of Central Falls High School students by pompous teachers and the Central Falls Teachers Union. Her challenge boldly illuminates the burden unions and government jobs have on productivity.

Courageously glaring at the shameless monster of one of the worst school districts in the nation, reporting 50 percent of students failing their classes and less than 50 percent graduating, Gallo was willing to challenge negligent teachers who were obviously apathetic to the success of their students. All they cared about, in the end, was their fat paychecks every two weeks, and had no concern for the dismal results of their students.


America's continued education crisis

The nation’s current 6.2 million high school dropouts menace freedom, liberty and enlightened government.

They are ignorant of their constitutional rights. They are incapable of distinguishing between government abuses and the rule of law. Their ignorance makes them vulnerable to demagogic appeals and inclines them toward bigotries and prejudices.


Education and money doesn't spell results

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation yesterday announced a $335 million investment in teacher effectiveness. The donation is notable not just for its largesse, but for the fact that the funds will be funneled into research on different methods for increasing teacher effectiveness.

The need for this type of research cannot be understated. Presently, America’s public schools are more segregated than during the Jim Crow era. Urban families — mostly of color — are trapped in deteriorating public schools. By contrast, wealthy families of all races have abandoned failing schools by either moving to the suburbs or opting for private education.


Getting kids to college

Have we as a nation collectively gone insane?

I say that because, when it comes to higher education, we seem to have completely lost our way.

Clearly, getting more people to college is the best way to make America more competitive with the rest of the world.

The global economy has been really bad for those who can’t compete, because they don’t have a college education.


What are colleges for, anyhow?

Financial crises have a way of focusing the mind on price and value, especially on those things where the price has risen sharply and curiously without benefit. The health reform debate is partly about finding a way to curb the cost of rapidly increasing healthcare costs. In the Washington Monthly, Kevin Carey looks at the future of universities where, “even as the cost of educating students fell, tuition rose at nearly three times the rate of inflation.”


Public Education: NYC’s Joel Klein Putting Children First

Let's start with full disclosure: I have known Joel Klein for nearly 30 years and consider him to be one of the smartest, most grounded, most public-spirited people I have ever known — right up there with the other two old friends I would include in that characterization, Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In 2002, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg exhibited his well-known impressive powers of persuasion and political boldness by convincing Mr. Klein, a former Clinton White House deputy counsel and assistant attorney general for antitrust, to leave a seven-figure job as chief executive of an international corporation and become chancellor of the New York City public school system, which pays less than one-tenth of that.

The Old College Try

The president said an interesting and important thing in his speech last night. He called for more people to go to college: “That is why we will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”

The jobless rate for people with a college degree is well below 5 percent. The jobless rate for people without a college degree is well above 5 percent.

Less Government is the Answer

Promising every person in America a college education will not necessarily solve our talent dilemma.

As it stands now, we are forced to either export many of our technical industries abroad or rely on a broken immigration bureaucracy to import talent to America. Meanwhile, the rest of the developed world and much of the developing world has far surpassed America in developing the math and science talent needed to keep us competitive.

Assuring that everyone, irrespective of talent or dedication, can have access to a college education does not solve this problem. Rather, imposing rigorous standards in early education assures that students’ talents and abilities are nurtured and honed before they reach the college level.

Rational Drinking Policy

Several college presidents are calling for a lower drinking age, as reported in a front-page story in The Washington Post (“Lower Drinking Age Is Criticized”):

“On the face of it, the notion seems counterintuitive, but to the Presidents of some of the nation’s most prestigious colleges, it makes a lot of sense: Lowering the legal drinking age might get students to drink less. But any chance for the academic leaders to begin a public discussion of their theory — that allowing people as young as 18 to drink legally might promote moderation — has been lost in a wave of criticism from health experts, transportation officials, government leaders and opponents of drunk driving.”