Thursday, February 17, 2011

join the protest!!

Come out today at noon to support state workers in front of Polk library!

We need to stop this draconian attack on our public servants! The government has to take a breath and start a real deliberative process.
We know there is a deep budget hole. Work with us to fix it, don't launch unwarranted attacks!
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cut my pay!

If you haven't been living in a remote cave near Tora Bora for the last week, you know that our new governor has declared war on state employees in the guise of a "budget repair bill."

Scott Walker has proposed drastic cuts to our pay (don't pretend increasing the amount we pay towards health care and retirement is anything but a pay cut). As I suggested, I think that this may be a reasonable approach to deep budget crisis that we face.

However, this is mostly a smoke-screen for busting the state unions and punishing state workers.. First, the amount we are talking about is a negligible part of the state budget. Second, if he were serious, the bill wouldn't exempt unions that supported him in the last election. Third, the gratuitous attacks on state employees wouldn't be part of his rhetoric. Why does a budget repair bill declare that state employees will never have a pay increase again?

Wouldn't a real solution involve working with state employee groups to find real solutions to the problems the state faces? Wouldn't a real solution have wages and benefits as part of a larger conversation about the path we are going to take as a state?

How about a conversation about the importance of education? Does anyone seriously believe that reducing the pay of teachers, both in K-12 and at the universities, will improve the outlook for Wisconsin's students? I have had several students in my office recently tell me that they have switched out of the college of education because the outlook for being a teacher is so grim. This idea and the rhetoric that goes with it will drive more people away.

It is clear that every study that controls for education and experience shows that state employees' salary and benefits are less than those of the private sector. We make choices to work in jobs we love in spite of the lower pay. Walker wants to make that choice more difficult. Counting on finding idealistic, high quality educators who will accept the abuse heaped upon them by the governor and the legislature is a foolish bargain with our future.

I am afraid that this is only the first step towards kicking our children down the road to balance the budget. It frightens me to think about what the budget proposal will hold in just a week!

No one may be reading, but I had to say something!!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is college students learning?

Wow, it has been a long time since a post, but here is an interesting link for anyone who is still out there. It also raises good questions about our own gen. ed. reforms:


http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/01/24/does-college-make-you-smarter?hp



Friday, October 29, 2010

Big gen ed shake-up coming

We heard about the big changes that LERT is planning for gen ed at our last department meeting.

Is everyone ready for a turf-war?

And I thought there weren't any good campus issues to blog about lately!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Censorship on campus


Welcome back everyone! It has been a nice, productive summer for me. Unfortunately, I haven't been posting on the blog. I have even been thinking of turning it off.

However, today I was glad that I haven't. Our lovely IT department has implemented a "virus prevention tool" that blocks access to all sorts of perfectly legitimate websites.

I was trying to follow a link to a blog on wordpress.com. It was blocked because of a "suspicious embedded link." I am not quite sure what that means except that I couldn't visit a completely innocuous site.

Apparently, I am then supposed to send an email to IT and tell them what my legitimate, academic reason was for visiting the site. Then, sometime in the future, they will unblock that blog for me.

I was just reading some web-commentary in passing, but this has happened to me several times. It looks more like a problem. Are viruses an excuse for broad-based exclusion of blogs?

The web is a dangerous place, but I am not sure the drastic measures which make following blog links impractical does our community any good!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Why do students study less?

Here is a great article from the Boston Globe about how little students study. The average has dropped from 24 hours a week in 1961 to 14 now.

Whether the numbers are right, we all know how little our students study. The bigger question raised by the article is about the nature of college. Having only 3 hours of class a week was premised on the notion that students would do much of the work needed on their own outside the classroom. Now that they are not doing that, should college become more like high school?

The Atlantic offers some theories. The first on their list is professor apathy. We don't want to challenge students and they don't want to be challenged.

Obviously, I haven't been posting much of late, but it still seems like a good place to post interesting links. . .



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

MU Dean's Search Turmoil

This is an interesting story that I have been following:  Marquette offered and then rescinded an offer of deanship, seemingly because she is gay.

It seems shameful to me and a sign of the turmoil within Catholic higher education.  It is, however, nice to be following a scandal on someone else's campus!