Friday, February 27, 2009

Four Minutes

See the four minute video to be inspired and feel pride. Click here:

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Teacher Quality

The table above shows teacher quality for the same schools I reported last week.  Student test scores on standardized testing at the end of course was displayed on last week's blog post. Scroll down further to see that data.

Click on the chart to enlarge the data.

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Schools' Report Card 2007-2008

Click on the chart to enlarge the the data.  Highlighted data indicates the schools with the best performance.  Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, North Carolina scored highest on End of Course Testing compared to the high schools shown here.  My theory is that the students there are probably more disciplined due to the concentration of military families.  What do you think accounts for the high performance there?

You may want to study the data of other North Carolina schools or see additional statistics.  If so, use the URL below to see all NC schools.

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Life's Greatest Lesson?

I don't admire or respect a college professor who gave unearned A's to all male students in his classes during the late 1960's so their draft deferments would remain valid. The professor was against the Vietnam War.  I wonder how females in the classes felt about the men getting undeserved A's?  I wonder how those men feel today when they reflect upon their inflated grade point average?

I just finished reading Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom.  The book is about Morrie Schwartz, a professor of Sociology at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA, who retired in 1994. This very popular professor had a large following of admiring students. 

After retirement, Professor Schwartz became afflicted with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).  Mr. Albom (a former student) visited "Morrie" in his home fourteen times during the course of the terminal disease.  The visits were always on the Tuesday which related to meeting days with the teacher in college sixteen years earlier.  

The point of the book was how the teacher taught to the very end of life. Morrie described losing control of all body functions and becoming totally dependent on others as his neurological system was destroyed beginning in the feet and slowly advancing up the body to the neck.

Morrie and Mitch Albom reflected on life and all its meanings as the two visited.  The professor taught at BU in the sixties when the campus was:

 "...a hotbed for cultural revolution. Drugs, sex, race, Vietnam protests.  Abbie Hoffman attended Brandeis. So did Jerry Rubin and Angela Davis.  Morrie had many of the radical students in his classes. That was partly because, instead of teaching, the sociology faculty got involved.  It was fiercely antiwar, for example.  When the professors learned that students who did not maintain a certain grade point average could lose their deferments and be drafted, they decided not to give any grades.  When the administration said, "if you don't give these students grades, they will all fail,"  Morrie had a solution: "Let's give them all A's."  And they did."  (page 111)

Professor Schwartz was an agnostic throughout his life, but after the diagnosis of ALS, be began to rethink that position and eventually decided that life is "Too harmonious, grand, and overwhelming a universe to believe it's all an accident." (page 196)

It is sad that it took him a lifetime to reach his conclusion.

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Economy

Point number 1: Contracts are binding.  When adults enter into a legal contract to borrow money under certain terms, the borrower is bound by the contract unless the lender agrees to a change.  If a change in terms is agreed upon, then there are new expenses to rewrite the contract.  The original borrowed  money is still owed.

People who borrow money must repay the money or surrender assets to cover the loan amount. If job loss, bad health, credit card debt, divorce, newborns, or whatever causes the debtor to get in arrears, the borrowed money is still owed up to the settlement of one's estate at time of death. (bankruptcy might excuse some debt repayment) 

Point number 2:  Even if 2 to 3 million new jobs are created, that will only return employment to levels of a few years ago.  The jobs will most likely be at lower pay than before and old debts will need to be repaid with earnings from the so called new jobs.  The repayment of old debt will limit spending on new "stuff" that creates growth in the economy.

Point number 3:  I hear commentators and leaders say "when banks and lenders start lending again ..." as if to imply the economy will then recover.  I believe that banks and lenders will not return to lending money to high risk borrowers as many did in the past.

The United States economy will continue to slow and debtors will be enslaved for a long time.

Conclusion:  People should not borrow money except for one modest shelter and barely adequate transportation.  Borrowing to start or expand a business venture is one other exception.  Education loans should be avoided.

Have a good week!