Spellings: No Child Left Behind Just Needs Tweaking

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings spoke with reporters over coffee to mark the start of the new school year and to provide her perspective on the federal efforts to manage education. The hallmark policy of the Bush administration, No Child Left Behind, has accomplished what it set out to do, Spellings said, and just needs minor course corrections:

“I like to talk about No Child Left Behind as Ivory soap. It’s 99.9 percent pure,” Spellings told reporters over coffee. “There’s not much needed in the way of changes. . . . As much grist as there was for the mill five years ago on various fronts . . . we’ve come a long way in a short time in a big system affecting 50 million kids.”
In a casual meeting at the agency, and with no particular agenda, Spellings said she believes NCLB — a law that requires annual student assessments — simply needs tweaking, and she emphasized that it is time to take it to the next level of development. Critics have long complained that the compliance requirements for NCLB puts too much stress on state resources and educators, many of whom say they must teach to the test at the expense of other learning.
“We need to take a look at our data across the whole spectrum and we ought to say — for people who say, ‘Wah, wah, we can’t have spelling bees because we have to focus on math and reading’ — let’s measure the spelling,” she said. “Let’s ask ourselves not how many are barely getting over the bar, but how many are acing the test. . . . Now that we have the infrastructure in place, we can ask ourselves a fuller range of questions about kids and how they are doing.”

My perspective on education is that it should be left to local school districts and the states as a last resort. Part of the reason that we have so much trouble with literacy in our schools today is because of national movements that changed schools five decades or so ago, using untried teaching methods in math and reading that replaced proven strategies that had created a fine system of public schools over a century. Increasing federalization only means that the same kinds of impulses that transformed public schools from places of learning to self-esteem workshops will continue to impact our children and grandchildren.
However, at least NCLB has the right idea, even though it represents another poorly-funded federal mandate that drives conservatives batty. Objective testing of skills should continue, but even that would not be necessary if our schools did not rely on social promotion. Teachers flunked students who weren’t ready for the next grade level before schools started worring about socialization ahead of education. The plethora of high-school students who cannot read or write above a grade-school level demonstrates the damage that these policies have created, especially considering the amount of teacher involvement it takes to handle the low-performing students. That takes away from the students who are ready to improve themselves to their grade level and beyond. Most high schools now have to offer at least three tracks of coursework: remedial, normal, and advanced placement. Remedial education tracks exist at the high-school level because of a failure to address the problems in grade school.
We have increased education spending by over 130% in the Bush administration. For that kind of money, Spellings and Bush had better hope that Johnny can read, write, and earn some of that money back.

Joschka Fischer To Teach At Princeton

Princeton has invited former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer to teach at the university starting this fall. Fischer, known to Americans as a bitter opponent of the Iraq War, will teach courses on crisis diplomacy:

The Bush administration didn’t much like what Joschka Fischer had to say during the Iraq war. So what will Washington say now that the former German foreign minister is trading his parliament seat for a professor’s cap at Princeton? This fall, Fischer will teach the next generation of American elites about international crisis diplomacy at the university.
Fischer will begin his new job as a guest professor at the Ivy League institution, SPIEGEL is exclusively reporting this weekend. He has also been given a contract to work as a scholar at the respected Council on Foreign Relations think tank. Fischer is currently a Green Party member of the German parliament, but he hasn’t said when he will give up his seat. The 58-year-old, a high school drop out, published a book last year about the post- 9/11 world order. And in May, he began writing the ” Rebel Realist,” a syndicated column published in newspapers around the world. News of Fischer’s new post emerged when students at the school found an announcement about the seminar on Princeton’s Web site. Last week, the university removed the information.

So Princeton has decided to hire high-school dropouts as college professors? I suppose that Fischer meets the one unalterable prerequisite for employment in Academia: he hates the Bush administration. Ray D at Medienkritik has a long and informative post about Fischer, who was rendered somewhat irrelevant in the last German election that put the center-right in control of the government:

“After all, since the administration of George W. Bush decided to remove Saddam Hussein from power by war, just about everything went wrong that possibly could have. What is more, the reality in Iraq and the surrounding region far surpassed all negative expectations and fears, and it continues to do so today.”

It would be ridiculous to claim that all is well in Iraq. But it is equally ridiculous for Mr. Fischer to claim that the reality in Iraq and the surrounding region has “surpassed all negative expectations and fears.” How could one interpret Libya’s recent surrender of its weapons programs or Syria’s retreat from Lebanon as confirmation of our darkest fears for the Middle East? How could one interpret the elections and the formation of an Iraqi government as such? How could one interpret the systematic training and expansion of Iraqi security forces as such? …
There has not been a wider war. There was not and has not been an exodus of millions of refugees. Hundreds-of-thousands or millions have not died. Iraq is on a slow and admittedly painful path to self-rule and democracy. Wouldn’t it be nice if Mr. Fischer had the moral courage to admit that members of his own party and government were wrong instead of perpetuating the ridiculous lie that all negative expectations have been surpassed? It seems that our ex-Foreign Minister has a highly selective memory. He continues:

“The question is whether the majority of US citizens were ever really prepared to pay the very high military, political, economic, and moral cost for such an imperial enterprise, and to pay for it over a long period of time. We know today that the answer is “No.” But such a negative answer was already to be expected in 2002 and 2003, and would have been the starting point if the actual reason for the war had been placed at the center of the domestic debate in the US. That’s why other reasons for going to war were invoked – weapons of mass destruction and international terror – reasons that have quite obviously not held up to reality.”

It is interesting to note that Mr. Fischer, who now basks in the glow of hindsight, belonged to a government that itself believed that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD and was dangerously close to building an atomic bomb as late as 2001. Additionally, while Saddam Hussein may not have been closely linked to Al-Qaeda, he did support international terror by awarding the families of Palestinian suicide bombers $25,000. He also ran a government that terrorized, murdered, raped and tortured its own people on a mass scale and invaded two neighbors.

Ray has more on Fischer for those who have forgotten him and his Saddam apologias in the run-up to the war. Be sure to read it all, especially if you go to Princeton or sending your sons or daughters there.

The New York School For The Irony-Challenged

Former Senator Bob Kerrey has spent his time since retiring from politics as president of the New School University, formerly known as The New School for Social Research (which is the name of one of its subsidiary colleges now). The progressive institution has benefited from Kerrey’s political connections, and when he arranged to have one of his former colleagues, now running for President, as a graduation keynote speaker, it seemed an impressive achievement. However, the progressive students and faculty at this progressive college have made it clear that they cannot abide a conservative appearing on their campus for a speech — because John McCain isn’t open-minded enough:

Hundreds of New School students, staffers, and faculty members want the university to rescind its invitation to Senator McCain, who is set to receive an honorary degree and give the keynote speech at the graduation ceremony in two weeks.
The campaign against the Republican of Arizona began three weeks ago, after the New School’s president, Bob Kerrey – a former Democratic senator of Nebraska – announced that Mr. McCain would give the speech. Since then, about 1,000 signatures have been collected on paper petitions and at an Internet site, an organizer of the opposition, Harper Keenan, said.
“This ceremony is supposed to represent the culmination of these students’ experience at a school that is known for being progressive, liberal, and open-minded,” she said. “For the speaker not to represent these values at all is appalling.”
Ms. Keenan is the president of Out Proud Environment at New School, a gay and lesbian group on campus. She said many of the group’s members take issue with Mr. McCain’s votes against gay marriage. They are also upset that he is speaking at the Reverend Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University – a fundamentalist, Baptist institution in Virginia – just six days before he comes to the New School.

The irony here is far too attractive to ignore. A group of students and faculty want Kerrey to disinvite McCain because (a) he isn’t open-minded like they are, and (b) he’s going to associate with Christians in the same week as these progressives. Not only do they want to pass on hearing one of the presumed front-runners for the presidency speak as individuals, they don’t believe that anyone on their campus should hear him speak — lest he corrupt their open-mindedness.
Do I have that about right?
People wonder why speech codes exist on college campuses; this provides a perfect example. Private universities tend to produce people who, rather than broaden their horizons, become narrow-minded and arrogant. They believe that their professors contain the sum of all human wisdom and reject anything that conflicts with their orthodoxy. Therefore, any position that opposes their own not only is wrong, but probably evil and should be silenced. The faculty and administration usually agree, since the students by and large parrot their own positions. Instead of teaching intellectual rigor through research and self-discovery, too many of these professors teach intellectual rigor mortis. The New School students and faculty appear to have succumbed to this affliction.
Bob Kerrey has not. He refused to back down, telling the school in a letter that McCain represents the core values of the school regardless of some political differences they may have. He praised McCain’s moral and political leadership and that the school has judged him unfairly. In fact, as Kerrey probably should have pointed out, they have judged him without hearing what he has to say to them — and if they indeed valued open-mindedness, this wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

Now Batting For Taliban Man … Jewish-Conspiracy Man!

John Fund, who has kept alive the story of Yale’s egregious admission of the Taliban propagandist, now reports that Yale may trade one Zionist-conspiracy theorist with another. Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi may not qualify for his program at Yale next semester as the university finally tries to clarify the “moral purpose” of Yale’s existence, but they may balance that by inviting a professor with similar ideas about the inordinate Jewish influence on American government:

Taliban Man’s days as a Bulldog look to be numbered. But Yale may be about to stir up new controversy as it appears to be on the verge of offering a notorious anti-Israel academic a faculty position. …
Last week, Yale’s president, Richard Levin, issued a statement saying that a review he had ordered “raised questions whether the admissions practices of the non-degree Special Student Program have been consistent with the published criteria, let alone the standard that should prevail.” He noted that “in recent years, while fewer than 10% of the applicants to the regular undergraduate program have received offers of admission, more than 75% of the applicants to the non-degree program have been admitted.”
Mr. Levin’s conclusion was that both the nondegree and Whitney special programs “suffer from lack of clarity about mission, purpose, and standards.” He ordered they undergo a full review to define “admissions criteria consistent with the high standards and moral purposes of a leading institution of higher learning.” The Yale Daily News reported that in an interview Mr. Levin made clear that Mr. Hashemi’s pending application in the Whitney program will be held to the same standard as that of a regular applicant.

The morality of allowing a member of a government that oppressed people as brutally as the Taliban has been clear to everyone except the Yale admissions office. Despite the months of controversy over the admission of Hashemi, Yale has refused to budge from its decision. Even after an impromptu on-campus scolding from a true refugee from Afghanistan — a woman who experienced the oppression of Hashemi’s regime — Yale’s admissions office still refused to reconsider the wisdom of its choice.
Hashemi was no nameless cog in the machine of the Taliban’s rule. Despite his youth, the Taliban sent him abroad as an ambassador without portfolio to put the best possible face on the Islamist dictatorship. While the Taliban’s secret police went into people’s homes to beat men for not properly growing their beards and women for insufficient modesty, Hashemi attempted to convince Western nations to recognize their government as legitimate. He traveled to the US prior to 9/11 to speak on behalf of the Taliban, winding up with a mission to explain how the Islamists had to destroy priceless Buddha statues in Bamiyan in order to practice their faith, which had been fairly unmolested by the Buddhas for 1400 years. Hashemi acted as the Taliban’s chief apologist to the West and bears responsibility for the government he not only served but actively defended.
Yale may finally have come to its senses about Hashemi, although they have taken a rather cowardly way out of the controversy by claiming to want higher standards rather than just expelling Hashemi and admitting their mistake. That brings us to their next mistake, a potential hire that may just fill the role of Zionist-conspiracy theorist that Hashemi’s departure leaves open:

Meanwhile, Yale faces a new challenge. In the next few days the university may hire Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan, to fill a new spot as a professor of contemporary Middle East studies.
Mr. Cole’s appointment would be problematic on several fronts. First, his scholarship is largely on the 19th-century Middle East, not on contemporary issues. “He has since abandoned scholarship in favor of blog commentary,” says Michael Rubin, a Yale graduate and editor of the Middle East Quarterly. Mr. Cole’s postings at his blog, Informed Comment, appear to be a far cry from scholarship. They feature highly polemical writing and dubious conspiracy theories.
In justifying all the time he spends on his blog, Mr. Cole told the Yale Herald that “when you become a public intellectual, it has the effect of dragging you into a lot of mud.” Mr. Cole has done his share of splattering. He calls Israel “the most dangerous regime in the Middle East.” That ties in with his recurring theme that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee effectively controls Congress and much of U.S. foreign policy. In an article titled “Dual Loyalties,” he wrote, “I simply think that we deserve to have American public servants who are centrally commited [sic] to the interests of the United States, rather than to the interests of a foreign political party,” namely Israel’s right-wing Likud, which was the ruling party until Ariel Sharon formed the centrist Kadima Party. Mr. Cole claims that “pro-Likud intellectuals” routinely “use the Pentagon as Israel’s Gurkha regiment, fighting elective wars on behalf of Tel Aviv.”

Juan Cole has gathered a significant following at Informed Comment, and at least blogs reasonably honestly about his positions. However, as Fund notes, Cole has given up scholarly writing for polemics in doing so, and it calls into question his approach to his subject matter. Cole has embraced the most radical positions of anti-Israel politics, which is, of course, his right. Even so, Yale should take into account his actions and his rhetoric, which not only express the most radical of academic thought but also go against the values of education and free debate in general. Cole recently appeared on the Yale campus to take part in a “teach-in” to protest the Iraq War, an activity that will no doubt take up much of the professor’s time if hired by Yale. Fund relates a Cole interview with the Detroit Free Press in which he exhorted the government to close down Fox News for “polluting the information environment”. Fund even quotes Noam Chomsky as questioning Cole’s judgment, and when someone gets to the left of Chomsky, that is a remarkable achievement.
It appears that Yale has a new quota system in place — one that requires a certain level of Zionist-conspiracy theorists to be on campus at any one time. Instead of relying on its students and the admissions department, Yale’s executives seem to want to address it through its faculty.

Congress Shocked To Find Out Schools Can’t Add

After the AP reported that as many as two million students, primarily minority children, had their test scores hidden by schools and states in order to avoid the accountability provided by the No Child Left Behind, Congress expressed shock that educators apparently can’t add properly — or thought Congress couldn’t. Key House and Senate members have stated that they will review actions by states to exempt themselves from the reporting provisions of NCLB and possibly mandate reporting levels in the future:

Congressional leaders and a former Bush Cabinet member said Tuesday that schools should stop excluding large numbers of minority students’ test scores when they report progress under the No Child Left Behind law.
The Associated Press reported Monday that schools have gotten federal permission to deliberately not count the test scores of nearly 2 million students when they report academic progress by race as required by the law. The scores excluded were overwhelmingly from minorities, the AP found.
Some leaders said Congress may need to intervene. The Education Department and others owe the public an explanation, said the Republican House Education Committee chairman’s office.

If Congress intends on making education an area of federal responsibility — which I still think is a mistake — then it should have made reporting exemptions clear in the original legislation. Once again we see the effect of poorly written regulation and its impact on the goals intended by Congress and the White House. The Department of Education should never have granted so many different exemptions, regardless of the effort to help promote compliance. Given that this was the centerpiece of the Bush administration’s domestic program despite conservative opposition to both the spending and the federal encroachment on local control, the White House should have taken more care that the people it claimed to serve were not getting … er … left behind.
We could have fixed this entire problem with school vouchers and saved the taxpayers a whole lot of money. Competition breeds accountability; government programs breed cheats and dodges. This latest restaging of government incompetence is brought to you by the bureaucratic impulse that appears to have infected both political parties of late.

Left Behind

The centerpiece of the Bush administration’s domestic policy in the first term was the No Child Left Behind Act, which headlined a large-scale budget increase for the Department of Education and drew Ted Kennedy into a coalition with George Bush. The program aimed to ensure accountabilty from schools based on student performance and forced a testing regime that would uncover poorly-performing districts and target them for improvement or serious change. The AP reported last night that this system has been undermined by deliberate underreporting of tests taken by the very students it meant to protect:

States are helping public schools escape potential penalties by skirting the No Child Left Behind law’s requirement that students of all races must show annual academic progress.
With the federal government’s permission, schools deliberately aren’t counting the test scores of nearly 2 million students when they report progress by racial groups, an Associated Press computer analysis found.
Minorities — who historically haven’t fared as well as whites in testing — make up the vast majority of students whose scores are being excluded, AP found. And the numbers have been rising. …
To calculate a nationwide estimate, AP analyzed the 2003-04 enrollment figures the government collected — the latest on record — and applied the current racial category exemptions the states use.
Overall, AP found that about 1.9 million students — or about 1 in every 14 test scores — aren’t being counted under the law’s racial categories. Minorities are seven times as likely to have their scores excluded as whites, the analysis showed.

The exemptions started from a concern that schools with very small numbers of students in minority categories would have problems when calculating the statistical failure rate for those groups. One failure in a group of five, for example, would give a school a 20% failure rate in a system that assigns the lowest category rating as the school’s ultimate measurement. For those students, their test scores count in the general population but the schools are not required to report in the underrepresented categories.
This makes sense — to a point. However, schools and states have taken advantage of this leeway, unofficially granted by the Department of Education, to eliminate reporting for a large number of students in order to save their schools from being held accountable for their poor performance. Oklahoma sets the threshold per school for minority reporting at 52 students per category, a ridiculously high number. One failing student in a group of fifty-two would not present an undue statistical anomaly, and it effectively keeps Oklahoma schools from reporting on almost all minority performance in education. Missouri set its threshold at thirty students per category. Most states have readjusted their category thresholds higher each year since the inception of the program.
What has been the result? Huge swaths of student tests never get reported in demographic categories, evading the entire intent of NCLB. Missouri gets to omit 24,000 students. Texas has no reporting statewide for Asians — 65,000 of them — or native Americans, leading to over a quarter-million students left off the rolls; neither does Arkansas. California has 400,000 students exempted from the demographic reporting process.
The schools and their administrators benefit from gaming the system in this manner. They avoid getting labeled as a failing school, even though the intent of Congress and the President clearly had the performance of minority students in mind when the system was passed and signed into law. Bush had made the “soft bigotry of low expectations” a rallying cry for accountability for these students, and the entire concept of not leaving any students behind supposedly focused on ensuring that minority students received the kind of education that would lift their socioeconomic potential.
The DoE needs to crack down on the self-assigned exemptions that states and school districts use as a dodge from accountability. We absorbed a huge expansion of the federal reach into education and a 57% increase in federal spending on the promise that schools would have to show better performance in all categories or face sanctions. When states can simply wipe hundreds of thousands of children off the books in this manner, accountability is the concept that gets left behind.

Why The GOP Needs To Pursue School Vouchers

As the New York Times reports this morning, the issue of school vouchers has become a lost opportunity for the Bush administration to make solid inroads into the African-American electorate on the basis of policy. School vouchers formed the core of the original education-reform efforts of the White House until a compromise with Ted Kennedy scotched them from the No Child Left Behind program and revamp of the Department of Education. Instead, federal funding for other educational efforts rocketed up by 58% while still leaving inner-city children in failing schools.
Now we can see what we traded away:

Amie is one of about 1,700 low-income, mostly minority students in Washington who at taxpayer expense are attending 58 private and parochial schools through the nation’s first federal voucher program, now in its second year.
Last year, parents appeared lukewarm toward the program, which was put in place by Congressional Republicans as a five-year pilot program, But this year, it is attracting more participation, illustrating how school-choice programs are winning over minority parents, traditionally a Democratic constituency.
Washington’s African-American mayor, Anthony A. Williams, joined Republicans in supporting the program, prompted in part by a concession from Congress that pumped more money into public and charter schools. In doing so, Mr. Williams ignored the ire of fellow Democrats, labor unions and advocates of public schools.
“As mayor, if I can’t get the city together, people move out,” said Mr. Williams, who attended Catholic schools as a child. “If I can’t get the schools together, why should there be a barrier programmatically to people exercising their choice and moving their children out?”

Why indeed? Why do we continue to insist on the state-monopoly model as the only investment path for our educational funding? The GOP had an opportunity in 2001, and a better one in 2003 with complete control over Congress, to push for school vouchers in order to empower parents with real choices for their children. That more than any other government program holds the key to unlocking people from the cycle of poverty — a good education. Instead, we continued to throw money at the same institutions that have failed these children for generations and avoided the competition that could have improved all of the schools, not just the private and parochial schools in these areas. Even a school board will eventually see reason when their best and brightest leave for rapidly-expanded jobs in a new educational market that values and rewards excellence and competence, instead of forcing them to endure the mediocrity and union-imposed seniority systems that have transformed schools into civil-service bureaucracies.
The GOP still has a window of opportunity to create meaningful educational reform through competition. When the New York Times reports on how successful such a program has been for disadvantaged children, it indicates that the old politics of education no longer apply. The Republicans can get ahead of the curve if they act quickly and decisively before the 2006 elections, after which their control of Congress may be in doubt. However, they can establish themselves as the champions of true economic freedom and anti-poverty reformers by creating many more opportunities for these parents to ensure the success fo their children.
These parents will vote for hope, not for yet another outlay of billions into a system they know from painful experience has failed them, their children, and their grandchildren. If the GOP wants to get serious about winning a bigger share of the urban vote, they need to act now to do so. So far, campaigning as Democrats on education has won them nothing.

Does The University Of Minnesota Discriminate Against Conservatives?

According to the president of Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow, the University of Minnesota has decided to starve conservative action groups into non-existence at their Twin Cities campus. Bill Gilles heads CFACT and has worked to maintain a balance on campus politics and give conservative students a voice at the university. Gilles claims that UM has deliberately defunded the few conservative groups that exist while increasing funding to a plethora of liberal groups, a claim that appears to have some merit based on an initial look at the numbers and at the arguments in the subcommittee recommendation.
Gilles compiled a spreadsheet showing the effect of the university’s funding decision for student groups in the next term:
Liberal Groups………..This Year…………..Next Year
American Indian…….$15,500.00…………$14,138.00
Black Student Union..$53,900.00………..$49,300.00
Alternative Theatre………..$0.00…………$15,000.00
La Raza………………..$36,400.00………..$42,600.00
International Students..$59,000.00……..$42,700.00
Queer Student Center…$29,000.00…….$37,000.00
The Wake (liberal paper)..$91,000.00..$100,000.00
Women’s Collective……….$25,000.00….$28,500.00
The Daily……………….$497,000.00…….$550,000.00
Liberal total………….$1,057,500.00….$1,131,338.00
Conservative Groups
Family Values…………….$5,000.00……………..$0.00
MN Republic (paper)………….$0.00……..$24,000.00
Conservative Club…………….$0.00……..$15,000.00
Liberal Advantage……………12 to 1…………..30 to 1
It looks to me like a pretty good prima facie case can be made for a liberal bias just on the basis of those numbers. It gets better when one reviews the report issued by the subcommittee on student organization fees for the reason CFACT gets defunded in this cycle. According to the unanimous opinion of the five members of the subcommittee:

The Student Organizations Fees Subcommittee recommends that Collegians for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) be denied funding through the Refusable / Refundable fee. Attendance at CFACT’s events does not justify the fees revenue the Refusable / Refundable mechanism provides. The sub committee felt that the argument that the mechanism allows choice by the students and thus reflects a 40% support for the organization is flawed. The committee was not convinced that CFACT truly reached out to students to change minds or contribute to the marketplace of ideas.

I think that the subcommittee fears that CFACT actually does change minds and contributes to a marketplace of ideas. The committee, based on its disbursements, appears to want a marketplace with fifty brands of the same product instead. It seems to me that if the subcommittee was that concerned about promoting a broad diversity of opinion for students at UMTC, they would spend their money in something more equitable disbursement than a 97% – 3% split between its liberal and conservative action groups.
One other rationale given by the subcommittee doesn’t look very substantial, either. They claim that the U denied funding because half of their funds go to paying executive salaries, some off-campus. The CFACT application shows that of the $89K they requested, $46K went to salaries, and another $7K went to benefits and taxes. However, La Raza, the leftist Latino support organization that has campaigned for the secession of the American Southwest, also shows in its application for $42K expenditures for $17K in salaries and $1200 for benefits and taxes. (It looks like CFACT has better benefits for its workers than La Raza.) The proportions do not seem out of line between the two chapters of national groups, and yet CFACT gets denied any funding while La Raza gets all of their request.
Odd, isn’t it?
The subcommitte chair, Henry Hewes, responded to a CQ inquiry earlier today about their decisions:

The Committee has a set list of viewpoint neutral criteria developed by the University to make funding decisions. In order to recieve funding student groups must demonstrate that their organization satisfies every aspect of the criteria. If a student group is denied funding it is fair to assume that in their presentation to the Committee they were unable to demonstrate ability to satisfy some aspect of the viewpoint neutral criteria. However, if groups are unsatisfied with the process they have the opportunity to meet with the Committee a second time to re-evaluate their application and they also have the opportunity to appeal the decision at the end of the process to the Univeristy itself.
These checks and balances are in place to ensure nuetraility and fairness in the fees allocation process.

A funding ratio of 97-3 equates to “neutrality and fairness” in the world of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities — the school where I currently have my son enrolled. David is a mathematics genius, and perhaps he could explain to the subcommittee what this ratio really represents.
Stay tuned. I plan to invite Bill Gilles on the air with us a week from Saturday to review this story. In the meantime, you can send your own inquiries to the Student Activities Office at this link.

Dafydd: Point of Order For CQ Readers

In the Navy, we used to say “two percent never get the word.”
So maybe this post will reduce that down to 1%….
Whenever you see a post here on CQ, or anywhere else, for that matter (since I’m just a vagabond blogger), that begins thus — Dafydd: — it means that the post was not written by Captain Ed. It was written by me, Dafydd ab Hugh, guest blogging on yet another brilliant, controversial, and stunningly popular blog owned by someone else.
Got it? If the blogpost begins with just the title, no name, then the Captain Himself wrote it. But if it begins with my name, Dafydd, then I, Dafydd ab Hugh, wrote it, not the Captain.
Thanks, all!

Enjoy A Steaming Hot Cup o’ Debt

Do you remember when fifty cents would get a thirsty man a cup of coffee, when hot java represented the common and inexpensive breakfast drink that united the various economic classes of America? Well, those days are gone, thanks to the marketing genius of places like Starbucks, which has turned that simple cup of coffee into a dizzying variety of blends, lattes, espressos, and the like — and all of them more expensive than a typical drink at a bar. The power of the economic transformation made Seattle one of the most important business centers of the western US in the 1990s.
Now, in a bit of irony, the very success that Starbucks created for its home city of Seattle may wind up sinking the hopes and dreams of its next generation in java-flavored waves of debt. The high prices, easy credit, and addictive nature of Starbucks and other competitors have become an obstacle for students who wish to pursue higher eduction:

At a Starbucks across the street from Seattle University School of Law, Kirsten Daniels crams for the bar exam. She’s armed with color-coded pens, a don’t-mess-with-me crease in her brow and what she calls “my comfort latte.”
She just graduated summa cum laude , after three years of legal training that left her $115,000 in debt. Part of that debt, which she will take a decade to repay with interest, was run up at Starbucks, where she buys her lattes.
The habit costs her nearly $3 a day, and it’s one that her law school says she and legions like her cannot afford.
It borders on apostasy in this caffeine-driven town (home to more coffee shops per capita than any major U.S. city, as well as Starbucks corporate headquarters), but the law school is aggressively challenging the drinking habits of students such as Daniels.

This may sound rather inconsequential, especially to law schools, but they consider this to be a real threat to students and the law in the long run. Most students going to law school do so on student loans or other borrowed money that has to be repaid, with interest, after graduation. Tuition, books, and boarding cost enough as it is and already create post-graduate hurdles that impact career decisions afterwards. But if one adds a single three-dollar latte five days a week, the economic cost of repayment comes to over $4,000, according to Erika Lim, the law school’s director of career services.
Even more troubling, she also calculates that simply drinking the cheaper, old-fashioned cup of coffee can save a person over $55,000 over a thirty-year period, with interest. That’s a number that won’t make the coffeehouses happy.
Why do law schools worry about the cost of a cup of coffee? They see many of their students adding unnecessary and significant amounts of debt to their post-graduate liabilities, and those liabilities impact the kind of law that its students will practice. Instead of pursuing careers as public defenders, whose salaries run in the $40-50K range, the economics of their debt will force them to focus on more lucrative areas such as corporate law. Eventually the extended competition for those positions will mean more will fail after graduation, and more loans will default. The decreased competition for the public-defender positions (and other lower-level positions) will create a need to pay more to compete for applicants — and that cost will transfer to the communities which serve them, if they’re willing to pay for them in the first place.
The basic problem, however, is the impulse to live like the rich while operating only on credit. It seems rather ironic that simple coffee should have become such a luxury that it creates this conundrum.
ADDENDUM: Good comments on this, and I should have made myself more clear. I’m not advocating for intervention, and I don’t think the law school is arguing for it, either. What they want is for their students to understand the economic impact of their choices (smoking would be another bad and expensive habit). And I think the real point is the American bad habit of living like the rich while borrowing money like mad to keep up. Starbucks isn’t the villain, but they could be just the latest enabler.