Varsity Blues

Rum, beer, women, movies, nice websites, gaming, etc., without interrupting the flow of martial threads.

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby edededed on Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:18 pm

everything: you read my mind! (Fixed)

Ian: Sorry, I added "and vice versa." Happy to hear your point of view of course, though.

Steve: I agree that we want students who excel - and of course, tests are not necessarily the best judge of a person. But how do we use qualitative judgment in a way that is fair (and not personal/subjective/not easily manipulated for money/legacy/athletics/etc.)?

The "job done" problem is a big one - very pervasive in Asia. In Japan, you can graduate mostly by actually going to classes; the 4th year almost noone actually is at school. And the parents are definitely very pushy ("how DARE you fail my child!"). Working in Japan, I see a lot of new graduates who learned very, very little (nothing to mention) in the "4 years" of university. Yet strangely, they look down on those who didn't go, or who only went to 2-year colleges.
User avatar
edededed
Great Old One
 
Posts: 3825
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 12:21 am

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Steve James on Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:58 am

But how do we use qualitative judgment in a way that is fair (and not personal/subjective/not easily manipulated for money/legacy/athletics/etc.)?


I'm not against tests, but in the US there is no standard curriculum, not even for math. In general, tests aren't used to find the most intelligent student; they're designed to find the students who are best-prepared and most likely to succeed in college. That's why its called a standard "aptitude" test. However, aptitude does not predict success, and the people who do the best on the entrance exams do not necessarily end up at the top of their graduating class.

So, the elite colleges also ask the student to explain why he or she wants to be admitted. It's partly a way to find out how well a student can express himself. More importantly, it will illustrate whether the student has the potential to make a contribution to the college and its mission. If it's a divinity school, and the applicant says that he wants to make money ... you see what I mean.

It's important to remember that at one time all colleges were elite because they were for the children of the rich. Harvard opened as a school for clergy. Then the wealthy sent their children there to learn. There was no test or application. In fact, until the 20th century, people paid to get into Harvard, Yale, etc and paid for grades. But, one day it was decided that the college should be a meritocracy. So, from then on, there were entrance tests. It became hard to get in, but almost anyone could try. Rich parents would donate large sums and build student residences with their names on them. Of course, their children were accepted. To this day, admitted students are put in one of the 13 "houses."

Anyway, a person can get just as good an education at a community college as at Harvard. It's not even necessary to go to college. Any Harvard professor has written at least two books, and they're used as the textbooks, and often the subject of the lectures. You can pick one up on amazon.com or find them at a public library. Of course, being able to talk to the author makes a huge difference, but only grad students get to do that. Undergrads deal with teaching assistants (grads).

I feel strongly about this because I've attended and taught at Ivy League colleges and city colleges. The students at the Ivies are not more intelligent than any others. However, they are generally more prepared. Some have been groomed for it since childhood. The parents expectations are so high that they will do whatever they can to make that dream come true. Not being admitted becomes a disaster. ... Meh. I taught my children not to depend on the educational system for an education. It was their responsibility to educate themselves. It has worked for them.

Ideally, there'd be a standard national test that every student would be required to take. It's unlikely that will happen here because of political and social reasons. Sure, we could use math, but that still wouldn't predict who would do well at law, teaching English, nursing, or archaeology. I think that most jobs require on the job training. At my last school, some students complained that they couldn't understand their math teacher's English.
"A man is rich when he has time and freewill. How he chooses to invest both will determine the return on his investment."
User avatar
Steve James
Great Old One
 
Posts: 17790
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 8:20 am

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby everything on Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:10 am

The gatekeepers, unsurprisingly, seem to have an earnest, not cynical view of the system. They told us everyone is unique, but at the same time, you always fit into some bucket, and there is someone just like you (won the underwater basket weaving sport, while being 1st chair violin, and president of Club X, whatever). But it's a good thing because they now want "diversity and well roundedness in the class", not necessarily well-roundedness in the individual. I told one of my kids you are writing, generally, for a 40 year old white, liberal, woman, who loves literature and loves to read. The gatekeepers to a "society" essentially did some liberal arts study and like to read (which isn't the worst thing), but don't know too much about the "real world". But that essay can still be gamed. With means and connections, you could hire great editors, etc. I read an interesting comment in a college admissions advice book that Harvard (and the like) wants a student who is good at academics to the point where it is pretty easy for him or her. So if you have kids who captained a sports team and volunteered 1000s of hours, etc., etc., they really didn't have time to overly study, but still got good grades. There are some kids like that, but everyone else is trying to appear like that.

Here's five thirty eight summarizing a Pew research study on what Americans want in college admissions (mostly grades - which of course grade inflation at different schools can affect unfairly): https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/am ... dmissions/
amateur practices til gets right pro til can't get wrong
/ better approx answer to right q than exact answer to wrong q which can be made precise /
“most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. Source of all true art & science
User avatar
everything
Wuji
 
Posts: 4722
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 7:22 pm
Location: USA

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Steve James on Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:37 am

Well, for sure, there's no interest in making public school (free) educations equivalent to private school (private) education. What would having money be good for if not to have the best of everything. However, it's been shown that "disadvantaged" children accomplish more with less and generally overachieve when given equal opportunities. It's not much different from the phenomenon of the immigrant who comes with $25 dollars and becomes a millionaire, or at least more successful than average.

Sure, most Americans want entrance connected to grades. But, besides grade inflation, there's actual grade deflation. Teaching a Harvard class, one expects that every student is or is potentially an A (which is in fact a terrible assumption), whereas in a NYC public college, the expectation of many is that many of the students will be C or below. Therefore, the lower expectation means that students have to try harder to impress their teachers --which isn't really hard if the student is really interested.

Unfortunately, students are smart. They can tell that the expectations for them are low, as is the level of encouragement. Ok, the bad part is that many students get lost and are satisfied with just passing. They just want to get the degree and get a job (working for someone else). The good part is that strong students get lots of attention because they are unusual. Teachers, ime, like to have students who are interested in their subjects. Teachers hate office hours, and generally love when students come in to talk. That's true everywhere, but at some schools, a student might be lucky to have 5 minutes with a teacher. Whereas at a public college, he can have more time and a willing listener. It's up to him.

I tell all my students that, at a city college, you have to steal your education. It is not designed to give it to you. It is merely a self-perpetuating bureaucracy, and students are simply humans with dollar signs on their foreheads. For ex., at an Ivy, nobody took attendance. Shit. If your parents were paying 45000 per year for tuition, not going was on your problem. Otoh, at a city school, you have to take attendance because state funding ifs determined by attendance. I.e., by "asses in classrooms." It's not determined by how much a student has learned.
"A man is rich when he has time and freewill. How he chooses to invest both will determine the return on his investment."
User avatar
Steve James
Great Old One
 
Posts: 17790
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 8:20 am

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Peacedog on Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:57 am

Steve,

Wise words. Bottom line, no substitute for the hustle exists. I look at a lot of the students who are kind of floating through my school and I wonder "is this the 90% of acupuncturists who quit within 10 years and do something else?"

And yes, when you ask an insightful question, even if you have the wrong conclusion in mind, the teaching staff really lights up.

How many more years do you plan to teach?
Peacedog
Great Old One
 
Posts: 1551
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 5:22 am
Location: Standing right next to your girl....

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby RickMatz on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:04 am

everything wrote:
Here's five thirty eight summarizing a Pew research study on what Americans want in college admissions (mostly grades - which of course grade inflation at different schools can affect unfairly): https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/am ... dmissions/


The only fair way to determine who gets into what school is by the results of a full contact submission/knockout tournament. After all, there can only be one.
RickMatz
Huajing
 
Posts: 327
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2008 6:17 pm
Location: Near Detroit

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Peacedog on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:12 am

Funny, we used to joke about TCM fight club, but no one talks about TCM fight club...
Peacedog
Great Old One
 
Posts: 1551
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 5:22 am
Location: Standing right next to your girl....

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:17 am

edededed wrote:everything: you read my mind! (Fixed)

Ian: Sorry, I added "and vice versa." Happy to hear your point of view of course, though.

Steve: I agree that we want students who excel - and of course, tests are not necessarily the best judge of a person. But how do we use qualitative judgment in a way that is fair (and not personal/subjective/not easily manipulated for money/legacy/athletics/etc.)?

The "job done" problem is a big one - very pervasive in Asia. In Japan, you can graduate mostly by actually going to classes; the 4th year almost noone actually is at school. And the parents are definitely very pushy ("how DARE you fail my child!"). Working in Japan, I see a lot of new graduates who learned very, very little (nothing to mention) in the "4 years" of university. Yet strangely, they look down on those who didn't go, or who only went to 2-year colleges.


Hi Ed, that makes much more sense and I don't disagree. It has also been the case at every university I have attended (three not counting study abroad, etc).

You are so right about college in Japan. I was blown away during my senior year at 上智. Almost none of the Japanese students did any of the readings, homework, etc. I almost got drummed out of the judo club because I told them I couldn't go drinking with them after practice four times a week (we already ate breakfast and often lunch together!). They thought I was nuts for spending so much time doing my work and worrying about making A's. A real trip, although, as Steve pointed out, it's a similar (albeit exaggerated) trend found in the Ivies here. The effort is in the getting in. Once you are in, you coast. Of course, not all schools are like that. My current institution is known for being particularly tough for undergrads: it is often called, "the place where fun goes to die." But, they are smart and hard working for the most part.
文武両道。

Lord Li requires one hundred gold coins per day!
User avatar
Ian C. Kuzushi
Great Old One
 
Posts: 1898
Joined: Sun May 15, 2011 10:02 pm

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Steve James on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:22 am

Bro,I just retired last summer. I still help out, but no more full timing for me. I never thought I'd retire. I just got tired of a bureaucratic administration that did everything to look good regardless of whether it actually benefited the students. There were "initiatives" and "programs" and committees that were done simply to meet accreditation requirements. I left the Ivies to teach at a school like the one where I came from because the students there were the ones who needed the insight.

Yep, there are lots of students who just aren't there to learn anything, and it makes a difference. I went by the philosophy that a student was a lamp to be lit, not a cup to be filled. My satisfaction was/is from students wanting to learn more than I know or can teach them. Then again, it's not a matter of the content or subject matter. It's inspiring the importance of education --which I don't think everyone should or does have. I was a blue-collar guy who never considered going to grad school until someone suggested it. But, I did well in college because I was interested, not because I was trying to get good grades.

I also tell students that I'd have no problem going back to carpentry or bus-driving. In fact, I tell them that ,if they're not interested in class, they should either get a job or just go out and enjoy themselves. It's especially amusing during final exams in the Spring. The breezes are coming in through the open windows, the sun is shining, birds singing, and the students with their pencils to their mouths looking at the ceiling. I tell them how lovely it is outside and what a waste time if you don't know the answer. I believe it too. The students who've done the work finish fast. The ones who think long usually think wrong.
"A man is rich when he has time and freewill. How he chooses to invest both will determine the return on his investment."
User avatar
Steve James
Great Old One
 
Posts: 17790
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 8:20 am

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Peacedog on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:32 am

Steve,

Congratulations on retirement and staying active in your community. The guys I know who retired altogether didn't seem to last very long. Whatever it is that you want to do in the future, stay at it.

I've often wondered if a lot of the problems associated with higher education (costs, group think, etc.) would be solved by simply streamlining the outsized administrative requirements universities see today.

And yes, the guys who finish quickly aren't necessarily the best test takers, but they seem to be able to apply what they've learned in the clinic. Since I largely view TCM college as a glorified trade school that seems to work out.
Peacedog
Great Old One
 
Posts: 1551
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 5:22 am
Location: Standing right next to your girl....

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Steve James on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:35 am

But, they are smart and hard working for the most part.


That's the thing. I was working full-time as an undergrad, but my co-workers always asked me why I went to class instead of working more. Because of my seniority, I could have made more than I made as a professor. I was able to choose my own schedule. At school, there were people who seemed as smart as I, but they just didn't work. I wasn't aiming for A, but I certainly wasn't aiming for C.

When I got to grad school, otoh, I noticed was that there were lights on in dorm rooms at 3 and 4 in the morning. It was normal. Everybody was busting their ass. That was the fun. The undergrads we taught were another thing. They were much more into partying, but were also highly accomplished and or important. And, when they graduate, they will probably gain important positions.

One year, a student came to me and asked if he could be excused from the final because he had an interview for a 100K job on Wall Street. Do ya think I told him no? Do ya think I was making 100K ?
"A man is rich when he has time and freewill. How he chooses to invest both will determine the return on his investment."
User avatar
Steve James
Great Old One
 
Posts: 17790
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 8:20 am

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Peacedog on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:49 am

That's the funny thing about grad school. It's as much about networking as anything else. And with the right skills some never finish as they just get to work.

Lots of examples of that in MBA programs and petroleum engineering programs.

One of my fellow TCM students only got about through about half of her degree in sound production and was off to the music industry for a very productive 20+ year career before retiring from that and going to TCM college. FYI, she had great hustle for a woman in her 50s and she's one of the few that I had no concerns about making a living at it upon graduation.
Peacedog
Great Old One
 
Posts: 1551
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 5:22 am
Location: Standing right next to your girl....

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Steve James on Fri Mar 15, 2019 11:50 am

Re: retirement, I'm on f-ing lucky dude, and it's all accidental. I went back to college because I dropped out of high school and got a GED. So, I took classes that had interested me that I missed in high school. Because I liked the courses, I did well. Then, I got addicted. I kept taking courses that I had liked all my life. At some point I had to declare a major. I used the courses I had already taken (English, philosophy, music, classics, languages) and ended up majoring in English and Philosophy.

But, I already had most of the credits; so, I spent most of the next years taking more courses that I simply liked. Toward graduation, I found I had done really well without ever taking a course I didn't like. I still advise students to do that. Because of my great average, I got offers from grad schools. Some offering to pay me to attend. Hey, I took one, and it changed my life. Now, I was being paid to do something I had to work to pay for before, and I liked it. Compared to what I had done before, that was retirement.

That's why I never thought I'd retire. I'm only getting paid for doing something I'd do for free. Colleagues from my earlier vocations would certainly call it "tit work." I was stealing money. As I said, though, it was accidental. But, when people ask me what do I do in retirement, I tell them "whatever I want." It's just now I don't have to go to class. :)
"A man is rich when he has time and freewill. How he chooses to invest both will determine the return on his investment."
User avatar
Steve James
Great Old One
 
Posts: 17790
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 8:20 am

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Steve James on Fri Mar 15, 2019 12:14 pm

Lots of examples of that in MBA programs and petroleum engineering programs.


I know someone who was teaching at Harvard who left to do the Harvard MBA. It is/was only 3 years straight. It was as much about who people met there as what they learned.

Yes, the friends one meets in the grad school dorm become an international network. One classmate became a UK MP. One housemate was the expert on "Killer bees." Another worked on the project to clone Dolly. Grad school at a prestigious college is an enormous networking opportunity. That's part of the reason people asked me why I eventually came back to teach in the city. Because of contacts from grad school, I've lived and taught in Europe. I could have stayed in the Ivies. But, I was 34 when I got to grad school. I had never intended to be world shaking in business, etc. Besides, I didn't think I could have half the effect in an Ivy college as I could in an ordinary college near where I grew up. It's lazy more than noble. If I had been one of those "I want to grow up and get tenure at ..." then it might be different.

Of course, if you're really a dummy who's just cheated, scammed, and paid your way to get to that point, people will know. Since I'm doing anecdotes today, when I was accepted to grad school, it was a big thing. There were offers for jobs, and even people asking whether I should accept the fellowship. "After all," one said, "you could fail." Of course, that only meant that I had to go.
"A man is rich when he has time and freewill. How he chooses to invest both will determine the return on his investment."
User avatar
Steve James
Great Old One
 
Posts: 17790
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 8:20 am

Re: Varsity Blues

Postby Peacedog on Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:16 pm

It's funny how moments of clarity work.

I remember that moment I decided I was going to attend a military academy. I made it and graduated. But one of a few moments of absolute clarity in life. I had no doubt I was getting in and going. None at all. I didn't even bother applying to another school.

I know that makes it sound easy. It wasn't.

Nine months of studying 2 hours a day to add 120 point to my SAT score. I studied harder at that than anything prior to language school in the military and then TCM college. Beating the crap out of myself on the soccer field and track. I'd never even run three miles prior to that. And I was going up against mostly all state athletes. Fighting like hell to keep my position of cadet commander of my JRTOC unit when the school's football coach wanted it for his son.

Four years later we had gone from 1600 starting to 1000 graduating. Both guys to either side of me on indoc washed out. I never thought I would graduate. I just promised myself that admin would have to throw me out first. I was just waiting on graduation day for some random officer to show up and tell me they weren't going to let me graduate. I thought it was the moment when some a-hole Captain showed up to yell at me in front of my parents about some paper from the engineering research library I'd checked out and failed to return.

You never know where just making the decision and forcefully applying yourself will take you.
Last edited by Peacedog on Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Peacedog
Great Old One
 
Posts: 1551
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 5:22 am
Location: Standing right next to your girl....

PreviousNext

Return to Off the Topic

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: meeks and 1 guest