Monday, December 26, 2016

Favorite comments of '16, continued: Anonymouses, Auntie Ann, & Bookish Babe

On John Dewey goes to college:

Anonymous said...

There's some discussion of this on the Well Trained Minds forum. A poster named "Sebastian (a lady)" had this to say:

"The emphasis on "caring" as demonstrated in breathless essays, non-profits established and other "good deeds" does seem tailor made for manipulation on the part of the students and the colleges. The colleges have another avenue to justify picking whom they will."


Auntie Ann said...
Still one of the best forms of community service a teen can engage in is a simple job. Learning to show up on time, work under a boss and with co-workers, learning to pull one's weight, learning the value of money, taking the first steps to being a self-sufficient, productive member of society is a great way to serve your community and your family.

Anonymous said...
In defense of the report, they do explicitly cite Auntie Ann's "community service" (i.e. jobs). I agree wholeheartedly. A job is one of the best ways to learn responsibility to a group (your fellow workers and colleagues, your boss, your customers).

On the other hand, the report does undermine the "job" as responsibility/group/teamwork learning idea by suggesting that it's a way for SES disadvantaged students to show service, rather than everyone (and, the same for family responsibilities, from the mundane -- doing chores -- to the more serious -- caring for siblings, or ill family, . . .).

The report also explicitly recognizing the gaming of these activities and makes the argument that, they hope, that gaming these recommendations will result in more social good than the gaming of academic achievement (stressful acceleration, overload of less than meaningful AP classes) and old style community service with leadership (multiplication of charitable endeavors to produce "leadership" opportunities).

Anonymous said...
This sounds exactly like the same-old, same-old diversity/touchy-feely BS - designed to legitimize preferred, URM groups who lack top academic credentials and disallow admission of non-preferred individuals and groups, especially those with top academic credentials. As above, designed to let admission offices pick whomever they want - and they will be PC, or else.

I'm also betting that,like the mandatory "volunteer community service" in my kids' old district, that faith-based activities wouldn't cut it with this crowd - who we already know disfavor Boy Scouts, 4-H, FFA etc. There's another topnotch activity of community benefit, diversity, teamwork, performance and leadership and that's the US military - and one disfavored by most of academia, especially those institutions considering themselves elite. As a veteran, I am very offended by that.

Anonymous said...
The article did mention having a job briefly, but everything else they said seemed to go against that. I agree that this is a way to make admissions criteria even more vague and less predictable.

Anonymous said...
Why in all the handwringing about SAT and AP scores do articles never mention SAT subject tests? They offer students and admissions committees alike a chance to objectively prove knowledge in specific areas of interest to students.

I also see a lot of handwringing about SAT tutoring. It's almost like people are unaware of all the books on the subject that are easily available at libraries and book stores.

I also agree with the idea that college essays should be done under proctored conditions.

Anonymous said...
I feel like the whole thing should be translated into a more appropriate parody.

Dear Kind and Clearly (Hyper) Ambitious Students (and Parents of course!),

Thank you for your thoughtful and clearly time consuming applications. We at (fill in the blank awesome Ivy or West Coast SuperSchool otherwise known as Stanford) really appreciate your enthusiasm and interest in our school. Unfortunately you don’t seem to understand what we mean when we say we will look at “… your maturity, character, leadership, self-confidence, warmth of personality, sense of humor, energy, concern for others, and grace under pressure?” You seem to think that means you should take an overpriced summer trip to a Latin Country and do a small bit of “service”. We don’t think that is really that impressive, despite the thousands of dollars your family spent. We are looking for something more “authentic” We can’t tell you what that is exactly, or else we would get thousands of cookie cutter applications but trust us we will know it when we see it. We are telling our admissions counselors if you seem like you are poor it is ok to work at the Seven-Eleven just be sure as be able to write a compelling and soul-searching essay on cleaning the Slurpee machine.

We frankly are so sick of seeing the same application over and over again. Don’t you people know we get thousands of these? It’s hard to decide; you all really look the same. Why don’t you understand from our vague and uninformative guidelines what we want is depth and originality. No really, not another tap dancing video.

We hope these new vague guidelines will help you reach your true potential and your application will shine. We look forward to cashing your check and informing you in the spring that you are not accepted, along with thousands of others. We consider every application carefully (assuming you meet our strict cut offs for grades, test scores, AP courses, sports and ideally an alumni connection). You might beat the odds. Just remember the process is holistic and slightly mystical!

Anonymous said...
Here we go again. Your title for this post is apt. John Dewey is primarily responsible for the slow, philosophic destruction of our educational system. Every time I here about the "common good", I cringe. It is vague, specious, and has contributed to a whole lot mess. World wars have been started because of the "common good". When it comes to education, students are being fed a diet of collectivism. What better way to inculcate a globbly goo of group-think than to get rid of standards. Sickening.

Bookish Babe

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