Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

school

oct
05
2011

Principals propose doing away with valedictorian, salutatorian program | The Washington Post

At the board meeting, [Huntingtown High School Principal Rick Weber] said that he and his colleagues think that having the valedictorian and salutatorian speak at graduation does not always represent the broad range of student achievement at a high school and can lead to high-achieving students ruining their senior years by competing to earn the top two spots, Weber said.”

I can sort of understand the “broad range of student achievement” question, but as a former valedictorian, I think “ruining their senior years” is a bit of an overstatement. (Granted, I graduated — eep! — 14 years ago, so maybe things have changed.) Yeah, it’s competitive, but if you’re in that advanced academic track already, it’s more a notch in your belt. By the time class ranks are locked down, the college / scholarship application process is already well underway.

may
29
2011

Wikipedia goes to class | Washington Post

Jenna Johnson reports, “At an increasing number of universities, instructors are helping Wikipedia by having students write entries. One professor says the process has nurtured better papers.” Rob has been working with this project at Georgetown for the last year or so, training students and professors — as well as trainers for other universities.

may
27
2011

Public Schools Charge Kids for Basics, Frills | Wall Street Journal

Stephanie Simon reports, “Public schools across the country, struggling with cuts in state funding, rising personnel costs and lower tax revenues, are shifting costs to students and their parents by imposing or boosting fees for everything from enrolling in honors English to riding the bus.”

jan
17
2011

Rethinking Advanced Placement | NYTimes.com

Christopher Drew writes, “[T]he [A.P.] program has won praise for giving students an early chance at more challenging work. But many of the courses, particularly in the sciences and history, have also been criticized for overwhelming students with facts to memorize and then rushing through important topics. … Next month, the board, the nonprofit organization that owns the A.P. exams as well as the SAT, will release a wholesale revamping of A.P. biology as well as United States history … The goal is to clear students’ minds to focus on bigger concepts and stimulate more analytic thinking.”

dec
13
2010

Digital Keys for Unlocking the Humanities’ Riches | NYTimes.com

Patricia Cohen writes, “Members of a new generation of digitally savvy humanists argue it is time to stop looking for inspiration in the next political or philosophical ‘ism’ and start exploring how technology is changing our understanding of the liberal arts. This latest frontier is about method, they say, using powerful technologies and vast stores of digitized materials that previous humanities scholars did not have.”

oct
19
2010

Fifty Nifty United States

This is quite possibly the most useful thing I learned in the fifth grade: Even now, when I make a list of states (like now, setting up pages to display election results), I sing this silly little song in my …

jul
23
2007

the challenge of democracy

I think I just found my 12th grade AP Government textbook. Today. In my office. Downstairs, there’s a room that until recently was a small library. (That room was recently converted into additional office space for Express.) Many of the …

aug
25
2006

back to school

Rob’s headed back to school next week, starting classes in Georgetown’s Communication, Culture and Technology program. I finished the program two years ago, but I find myself feeling a bit jealous as he picks his classes for the fall semester. …

jun
21
2006

the tribe has spoken

My friend Chris just published his first book! Tribal Warfare: ‘Survivor’ and the Political Unconscious of Reality Television is an examination of the popular reality television series through the lens of class politics. Tribal Warfare thoroughly investigates a central element …

jun
18
2006

with interest

Reading about rising student loan interest rates in today’s Washington Post made me so glad that I consolidated my grad school loans and locked in a super-low rate after I graduated in 2004. I’ll be paying it off until the …

may
17
2006

faculty

It seems that there have been a number of changes lately at my alma mater, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. The Arizona Republic today reported that former CNN anchor Aaron Brown has …

mar
22
2006

digital stories

In my final semester of grad school, I chose not to do a master’s thesis and instead took two additional courses (and all the research papers that come with them). One of those classes was American Popular Culture, where the …

dec
22
2005

miraculous recovery

If this had happened to me, I think I would have completely. freaked. out: An hour or so later at her home in Bethesda, she realized her purse was gone. Her bank cards, driver’s license, Social Security card, $1,000 worth …

nov
15
2005

top of the class

The Arizona Republic reports today that Arizona State University (my alma mater) tops the nation in enrollment on its main campus in Tempe. Arizona State University is the new No. 1 in main-campus enrollment among U.S. universities, just edging the …

mar
30
2005

played-ya-ism

Note to self: Don’t solicit random strangers via IM to write my academic papers for me, as this dim soul in Illinois did. It’s academically dishonest, and you never know just how badly it’ll backfire. Dumbass. (Random observation: After this …

sep
28
2004

follow the money

Ever wondered where all the money you paid for textbooks went? The National Association of College Stores has a nifty graphic (PDF file) breaking down how, on average, the textbook pie is split up. I was surprised to see how …

aug
15
2004

at an advantage

Knowing that they provide important experience, networking possibilities and resume fodder, I’ve toyed with the idea of pursuing various internships — from working for newspapers to working on the Hill — since undergrad. But I mostly ruled out such opportunities …

may
13
2004

free at last

Tuesday at noon marked the end of the final day of my final class as a CCT master’s degree student at Georgetown. (Assuming, of course, that my professors don’t savage my final papers and fail me. Hopefully that’s not a …

apr
25
2004

writing day

I have a paper due tomorrow for my Electoral Campaign Communications class, so, of course, I’m continuing my frantic procrastination. I’ve had sort of a fuzzy idea all semester of what I want to write about, and I’ve finally begun …

apr
12
2004

the plot thickens. or something.

I remember that when I was in high school, getting into The Right College was a kind of science — almost a game — with applicants required to have the Perfect Resume, its precise formulation known only by the all-powerful …