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State Board hears opposition to Common Core Standards

Thank you, RGH, for setting the record straight on the background of the Common Core. Your information is absolutely correct. The Common Core has nothing to do with the federal government. It was entirely a project of state governors and education officials nationwide, who undertook the effort precisely because of concern about the federal government's involvement in education -- specifically the well-intentioned but poorly implemented No Child Left Behind act. Moreover, the Common Core has been endorsed by virtually all the more conservative education policy makers, such as Chester Finn and Rick Hess. Indeed, they also have been endorsed by E.D. Hirsch, who has long advocated a strong liberal-arts oriented curriculum that includes large doses of history, quality literature etc. that most conservatives have long sought to implement in the schools, to replace the self-esteem and other psycho-babble that has dominated U.S. education . Let us also not bow down to the principle of "local control." Remember, most local districts are heavily influenced by teacher unions and look what decades of local control got us -- one of the lowest performing public education systems in the industrialized world. Let's hope the state board holds firm on the Common Core which, I think, is the last hope to save public education.

May 15, 2013 at 5:33 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: Curriculum shift

It's disappointing that the LJW has endorsed a plan that will undoubtedly accelerate the academic decline of the University of Kansas. The proposed core curriculum is a mush of edu-jargon combined with intellectual incoherence. Imagine an 18-year-old freshman arriving on campus and facing a choice of 500 courses to fulfill what is suppose to give him/her a solid educational foundation. This curriculum, especially its elimination of the Western Civ requirement, means that thousands of KU students will leave campus without any contact with the great ideas/thoughts of Western culture. No Plato, no Bible, no Federalist Papers, no Freud etc. Instead students will wander aimlessly through a dense forest of courses of questionable academic merit. The primary purpose of this plan seems to be to ensure that more students graduate from KU -- the chancellor's goal of "retention" -- at the cost of academic rigor. The end result may be more graduates, but graduates whose degrees reflect a profoundly dumbed-down education.

January 7, 2013 at 6:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Report shows college enrollments fell across country this fall

While I agree with merril's point on vo-tech ed, I don't accept his cheat shot at Republicans and loss of jobs. Remember, Clinton pushed NAFTA and other free-trade agreements. The loss of manufacturing/union jobs in this country has been a bipartisan effort. Both parties are contolled by the corporate oligarchy that runs this country.

December 20, 2012 at 6:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Simons' Saturday Column: State must demand change to upgrade universities

It's abundantly clear that much of the strategy to improve graduation and retention rates at KU hinges on lowering academic standards, as evidenced by the proposed general education redesign that includes dropping the Western Civ requirement and allowing more "flexibility" in student course selection. This means students will likely be able to avoid academically challenging subjects to focus on job-oriented majors, which typically lack much intellectual rigor.; for example, education, marketing and other similar career paths that don't require much mental effort. The end result will be a complete travesty: students lacking even a basic awareness of serious intellectual thought but KU will have impressive graduation retention/rates. My suggestion to anyone seeking a truly quality education -- the kind I received on Mount Oread 40 years ago -- is to avoid the KU that the current "let them graduate stupid" administration is creating.

October 6, 2012 at 1:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

University rankings discussion on agenda

While financing is important, it has little to do with KU's continual decline in academic reputation. Indeed, many states -- Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina -- have drastically cut higher education budgets far more than Kansas yet their flagship universities now rate above KU on the U.S. News list. The problem in Kansas is a refusal to impose high academic standards. Even under the recently approved higher admission requirements, KU will be incredibly "generous" in whom it permits to enrol. That means KU classrooms will continue to be clogged with idiots who have no business in a major research university. Likewise, the proposed demotion of Western Civ represents another serious blow to KU's academic reputation. The fact is that the powers-that-be in Strong Hall have no interest in academic excellence, only in keeping enrollment up and their large salaries and perks in tact. When I attended KU in the late-1960s-early 1970s, the university was widely recognized as one of the top colleges in the Midwest. Now we rate lower than most of the Big 12. It's a sad situation that will never improve until there is a wholesale commitment to academic quality that is sorely lacking within the university's current management.

September 22, 2012 at 10:32 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Washburn University plans historic $40M law school

The New York Times reported this week that only 55 percent of recent law school graduates hold law-related jobs. That means thousands of people spent tens of thousands of (often borrowed) dollars on a degree that has little financial value. The Times also noted that this situation is unlikely to change in the forseeable future due to business cutbacks in legal services and the development of sophisticated computer software, along with outsourcing legal scut work overseas, that does the work once done by entry-level lawyers. Now Washburn, like KU, a third/fourth-tier law school, expects to raise millions of dollars for a building to produce uneeded lawyers. Unless the law student wants to work in small towns or in low-wage legal-aid type positions where demand still exists, for almost anyone else it is a huge waste of money and effort to attend either KU or Washburn.

July 20, 2012 at 8:30 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

As Legislature ponders cuts, KU defends remedial class

A 21 composite on the ACT for admission to KU is pathetic. My golden retriever could score that well. Rather than catering to low performers who have no business at a major university, KU should raise its admission requirements substantially. But, of course, that might mean lower enrollments, which would reduce the all important tuition dollars that KU craves. Kansas has one of the best community college systems in the country. People who can't hack it in freshman math, English and other basic subjects should not be consuming scarce educational resources that should be devoted to students who did the work in high school and deserve the full attention of the university. KU will never rank among the nation's top-notch schools until it stops admitting so many dunderheads.

March 22, 2012 at 6:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Koch releases emailed threats on eve of protests

TimanKC is showing a sad lack of historical knowledge. Luther allied himself with the German princes who wanted to grab land and political power from the Roman Church. He also urged the princes to repress the "Peasants Revolt" -- the Occupy movement of the early 16th century. Whatever else he was, Luther was clearly part of the 1 percent of his time. Thus, Koch's comparing himself to Luther is not that inaccurate. I suggest that Tinman study a little history -- there are lots of good books on Luther and the Reformation -- before he further embarrasss himself.

February 18, 2012 at 7:13 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Heard on the Hill: Love is in the air for really old insects, too; Obama's budget reflects increases in many higher ed programs; those against the "woo" in Rock Chalk Chant appear to be gaining ground

Saturday's game against Okie State was a great reminder of what the "woo" controversy is all about -- tradition. Seeing the championship team of 1952, the retro jerseys and the cheerleader outfits was wonderful. KU basketball is about tradition, legacy and respecting the school's remarkable basketball heritage. Trashing the Rock Chalk chant with the "woo" violates that basic principle. Let's hope the "wooers" understand why so many people are upset about their effort to damage the history that is KU basketball. And thanks to the terrific people who are defending the classic Rock Chalk chant.

February 14, 2012 at 5:57 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

KU Chancellor Gray-Little outlines retention, graduation goals

The key to higher retention is to admit qualified students. KU is near the bottom of the Big 12 in admission requirements. It used to be a source of pride that, while the dummies could get into KU in the open admissions days they would soon flunk out because the university maintained solid intellectual standards. I worry that revising the core curriculum -- code for dummying down -- will continue KU's slide into academic mediocrity. Just watch. KU will soon be accepting courses from the University of Phoenix, DeVry and similar schools just to grab tuition dollars from transfer students. It's sad that KU is apparently committed to playing a numbers game -- the more students on campus, the merrier, regardless of whether they have the intellectual chops to be educated to even a minimal level.

February 8, 2012 at 8:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

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