Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Florida School Board Shooting and self defence

December 20, 2010

I was just looking at the recording of the recent Florida school board shooting and at some comments from a few individuals trained in self defence.

I liked one in particular:

Sheep live and die at the whim of the wolves.   Lesson:  Don’t be a sheep


The new norm: Bad spelling, wrong words and a declining language

September 26, 2010

An amusing column on the death of the English language.

The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead. It succumbed last month at the age of 1,617 after a long illness. It is survived by an ignominiously diminished form of itself.

And why did it succumb?

The end came quietly on Aug. 21 on the letters page of The Washington Post. A reader castigated the newspaper for having written that Sasha Obama was the “youngest” daughter of the president and first lady, rather than their “younger” daughter. In so doing, however, the letter writer called the first couple the “Obama’s.” This, too, was published, constituting an illiterate proofreading of an illiterate criticism of an illiteracy. Moments later, already severely weakened, English died of shame.

The author, Gene Weingarten, gives some other examples found in the print media.

The Lewiston (Maine) Sun-Journal has written of “spading and neutering.” The Miami Herald reported on someone who “eeks out a living” — alas, not by running an amusement-park haunted house. The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star described professional football as a “doggy dog world.” The Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald and the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune were the two most recent papers, out of dozens, to report on the treatment of “prostrate cancer.”

The examples given by Weingarten were written by (I presume) professionals who are being paid for their copy, but he would be even further convinced of the demise of the English language if he were to read the comments posted on internet sites by members of the typing public.

Along with the fact that too much of the unsolicited commentary on these sites is rude, intemperate and sometimes downright vicious, much of it borders on being illiterate.

Some examples taken at random from various sites:

“what a joke cant she be concidered a habitial and put away before she ends up dead trying to fly off of a balcony.”

“Yeah cause are system is a daggon joke!”

“Who the f…. is that heffer??”

Some of the mess that you see posted is certainly due to bad typing and obviously a refusal to spell check. But after a while you get to believe that a lot of it is simply a complete inability to spell and worse yet, no awareness that the spelling might be wrong.

The idea seems to be that it you can sound it out phonetically, you can spell it the same way. Although that doesn’t really excuse having your dog “spaded” (which probably is an example of animal cruelty) or going to your doctor for a “prostrate” exam.

Loyola Law School: Improving the GPA

June 26, 2010

This story may not be an exact fit with the social trend to massage everyone sense of self worth and may in fact be as much about University politics as anything, but it comes close.

One day next month every student at Loyola Law School Los Angeles will awake to a higher grade point average.

But it’s not because they are all working harder.

The school is retroactively inflating its grades, tacking on 0.333 to every grade recorded in the last few years. The goal is to make its students look more attractive in a competitive job market.

In the last two years, at least 10 law schools have deliberately changed their grading systems to make them more lenient. These include law schools like New York University and Georgetown, as well as Golden Gate University and Tulane University, which just announced the change this month. Some recruiters at law firms keep track of these changes and consider them when interviewing, and some do not.

The politics?

Law schools seem to view higher grades as one way to rescue their students from the tough economic climate — and perhaps more to the point, to protect their own reputations and rankings. Once able to practically guarantee gainful employment to thousands of students every year, the schools are now fielding complaints from more and more unemployed graduates, frequently drowning in student debt.

Whatever the reason, it seems to me that if you wanted to ensure your graduates a place in the job market you would concentrate on putting out a superior product rather than playing silly bugger with the GPA figures.

However, in the sense of fair play there are opposing opinions.