Jul 142011

The topic of grade inflation always interested me, since there are so many variables to consider. The New York Times Economix blog has a short piece on a recent study. From reading the article and the insightful comments as well, it raises many points I have considered before, but raises several new ones. The important issues to consider when looking at something like grade distribution data can be broken down to a few categories. Evaluation Metrics First and foremost when looking at statistical evidence that an event exists is to see whether what they’re measuring even makes sense. In this case, the primary metric–the distribution of grades–is very well documented and indisputable. We are getting significantly more A’s than ever [more . . .]

May 132009

I am now in the midst of hiring the next class of Stanford CS106 section leaders for the fall quarter. Section leaders (SLs) here at Stanford are typically undergraduates (and occasionally graduate students) who teach a small section of a larger lecture class. These classes often also have a head TA who will help coordinate the high-level academic aspects of the class. CS106 is Stanford’s introductory computer science sequence, and includes CS106A, CS106B, CS106X, and CS106L. The enrollment is so high that we now maintain an active pool of around 60-80 SLs who will teach every quarter. The entire teaching program even gets its own course designation: CS198. You can read more about the semi-complex structure of the teaching program [more . . .]

May 042009

I have always been against teachers’ unions. If you do form a teachers’ union, it should be formed around the mission of education rather than blindly protecting jobs. This article makes me sick. Teaching jobs and pay should be merit based. Public school districts and their teachers have always bemoaned the fact that that lacks equality and oversight and is difficult to assign merit accurately, but please, just suck it up. The best teachers will almost always be recognized, and rewarded under a merit-based system. True, some teachers, good and bad, will slip through the system, but that system sounds much better than the current system in many districts where bad teachers stay for years, and good teachers lose interest [more . . .]

Feb 042009

Ashley Baker, who I know from tutoring at East Palo Alto Charter School (EPACS), and who now teaches there as a humanities teacher, referred me to this video: Absolutely amazing. I think I even recognize some of those kids, not to mention E-40, Keak da Sneak, and some other big names in Bay Area rap. This whole thing was put together by Kontac, that rapper wearing yellow stripes near the kids and the turntable near the end. He’s a bay area rapper, and also an incredibly dedicated physical education teacher at EPACS. And here is a pretty powerful interview with Kontac. You HAVE to watch this: If you stop by EPACS any time, just look to the playground, and you’ll [more . . .]

May 142008

Articles like this one in Trees and Things rile my blood. Not only is this activity blatantly predatory, but shows both a lack of concern for many of the nation’s pressing issues and a fundamental lack of understanding of (or desire to understand) how endowments work. Yes, the thing known as the Endowment in most top private universities across the United States is increasing, and yes, there is a deficit, but coveting the money of educational institutions to help offset the national debt is an atrocious proposition. Many congresspeople complain that the major Universities with the $10+ billion endowments should allocate more money to financial aid, and use the money to expand programs and admit more students. However, things are [more . . .]

May 072008

Read the following article: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,354327,00.html I mean, I entirely understand the stance the school is taking. Wizards should not be tolerated. Zero-tolerance has worked well in drugs and alcohol prevention, so we can rather safely assume that it should work in wizard prevention as well. Of course, the school should naturally assume the worst when it comes to the toothpick-vanishing wizards of the world. Blink an eye, and they might end up vanishing unsuspecting students, rival teachers, or worse, the number zero or the letter ‘A’. Schools across the nations should look up to this school on a hill (or floodzone, as it’s in Florida), and weed out all wizards that may be feigning as teachers. Think of the children!