Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NYT Op Ed to all New Grads: "It's Not About You"

David Brooks should have been the commencement speaker at every graduation using his Op-Ed in the New York Times "It's Not About You".  This is the generation that got a trophy for every sport where they showed up. Everything they do is great and they don't play sudden death, they play sudden victory. 

From the Op-Ed:
"More important, their lives have been perversely structured. This year’s graduates are members of the most supervised generation in American history. Through their childhoods and teenage years, they have been monitored, tutored, coached and honed to an unprecedented degree.
Yet upon graduation they will enter a world that is unprecedentedly wide open and unstructured. Most of them will not quickly get married, buy a home and have kids, as previous generations did. Instead, they will confront amazingly diverse job markets, social landscapes and lifestyle niches. Most will spend a decade wandering from job to job and clique to clique, searching for a role."

"Most people don’t form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling.

The graduates are also told to pursue happiness and joy. But, of course, when you read a biography of someone you admire, it’s rarely the things that made them happy that compel your admiration. It’s the things they did to court unhappiness — the things they did that were arduous and miserable, which sometimes cost them friends and aroused hatred. It’s excellence, not happiness, that we admire most."

And the big finish that says it all:
"Today’s grads enter a cultural climate that preaches the self as the center of a life. But, of course, as they age, they’ll discover that the tasks of a life are at the center. Fulfillment is a byproduct of how people engage their tasks, and can’t be pursued directly. Most of us are egotistical and most are self-concerned most of the time, but it’s nonetheless true that life comes to a point only in those moments when the self dissolves into some task. The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself."

Great stuff Mr. Brooks and I hope more people pass this around to new graduates so they are not disillusioned with the real world.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

College Majors and their Value

Many who read this blog or talk to me know that I feel very strongly about investing $100,000 in something that might not pay off in the long term.  Now Georgetown backs that up - but also demonstrates that I might be a little bit wrong.

Their study - What's it worth studies to value of a college degree by major for both undergrad and graduate degrees.

No real shocks here - just some good solid data.
"While there is a lot of variation in earnings over a lifetime, the authors find that all undergraduate majors are worth it,‟ even taking into account the cost of college and lost earnings. However, the lifetime advantage ranges from $1,090,000 for Engineering majors to $241,000 for Education majors"

So I am right that a major makes a huge difference in earnings - but the value of a college degree still is worth the investement regardless of the major - but you really need a graduate degree:

"Liberal Arts and Humanities majors end up in the middle of the pack in terms of earnings and employment. They are the third most popular major group, and earn median incomes of $47,000. Moreover, about 40 percent of people with these majors obtain a graduate degree, reaping a return of almost 50 percent. Liberal Arts and Humanities majors generally fare well in the workforce, ending up in professional, white-collar, and education occupations "
So go ahead and get a degree - but living on $47,000 a year is tough.  But you need to do what you love as long as you can still pay off those student loans......

Monday, May 9, 2011

Pre-AP training making a difference

Great article in the Kentucky Teacher about Laying the Foundation for AP Success!  it is truly impressive to see teachers take to the LTF Training which is so much more than professional development.  Teachers really appreciate the classroom ready lessons, lesson plans and materials that help them push themselves and their students.

As Denise Rambo says - "“wonderful ‘playbook’ for enriching, engaging and challenging exercises that give the students’ brains a great workout, and the students actually enjoy carrying out ‘the plays’”.  Rambo said the lessons take her students to a new level of academic expectation by challenging them to use critical-thinking skills.

And that is what being "college ready' is all about - pushing to a new level academic challenge and critical thinking. 

Way to go LTF Training!!