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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 18, 2013/ 7 Shevat, 5773

Bursting the University Bubble

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The last of the college applications have been rewritten, tweaked and polished, and at last entrusted to the tender mercies of the U.S. Mail or the Internet. Fretting over deadlines morphs into waiting, and yearning, wishing and praying for coveted letters of acceptance. This is the annual crisis in thousands of homes with ambitious high school seniors — the high school seniors and their parents who still believe that college is the route to the American Dream.

But wait. While they play the conventional game of aspiration, certain scholars and economists, and hundreds of thousands "concerned citizens" have initiated a different debate, and the debate is growing.

They're talking about the changes in university life and whether we should continue up the garden path worn bare over the decades. The debate is over the "higher education bubble," a phrase popularized by Glenn Reynolds, a distinguished professor of law at the University of Tennessee, who compares what's happening in higher education to what happened when housing became a feverish exercise in speculation.

"Bubbles form when too many people expect values to go up forever," Reynolds says. "Bubbles burst when there are no longer enough excessively optimistic and ignorant folks to fuel them. And there are signs that this is beginning to happen already where education is concerned." With so much fat in the system the knowledge protein may not be enough to produce the intellectual muscle needed for a prosperous life in the 21st century. Like fast food and high-energy drinks, empty calories offer only temporary highs.

"The college presidents with their $1 million-plus salaries and bloated administrative staffs, the whole system of tenure has turned out to be as much a recipe for intellectual conformity as it is a fiscal nightmare," observes the New Criterion, a magazine that closely follows the politicization of the university.

In the decade after 2001, the number of administrators grew 50 times faster than the number of instructors, according to the U.S. Department of Education. A decline in the hours spent in teaching by tenured professors coincides with sharply increasing tuition fees to pay for luxury dorms, dining halls and gyms that have little to do with actual learning but everything to do with bulking up the academic bureaucracy.

With tightening family budgets, the high debt that accompanies students to college and an increasing public reckoning of diminishing value, college becomes a risky investment. Hundreds of parents are concluding that it may not be worth it.

Moody's Investors Service, the credit rating firm, finds that students are "increasingly attending more affordable community colleges, studying part time or electing to enter the workforce without the benefit of a college education." Total student debt now approaches a trillion dollars.

That's the bad news. The good news is that new technology offers less expensive access to information, providing quality goods at lower cost.

In prophesying the end of the university as we know it, Nathan Harden, author of "Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad," finds a silver lining in the crisis, an innovative challenge that goes beyond avoiding the pitfalls in the long title of his book.

Students seeking knowledge could pay a fraction of what they do now to get an education, often a better education, as streaming videos replace live lectures, and professors and students employ the Internet to exchange papers and exams, and join in conversations over the coursework.

"If a faster, cheaper way of sharing information emerges, history shows us that it will quickly supplant what came before," writes Harden in American Interest magazine.

Textbooks are already less expensive in the ebook edition. Students can read out-of-copyright books free on the Internet's Project Gutenberg. If the best professors and universities participate, the virtual classroom can reach millions of students. When computer-guided learning is combined with traditional classroom discussion, students learn faster. High tech plus human contact forges a powerful union.

There are obstacles aplenty to improving higher education for less money, but the trends inspire optimism. One professor of computer science at Stanford discovered he could reach as many online students in one year as it would take 250 years in a college classroom. Harvard and MIT now offer a credentialed certificate for students who complete their online courses and can show a mastery of the material.

The monks who salvaged the classics, recording them with painful diligence on papyrus, nevertheless lost their jobs with Johannes Gutenberg's invention of moveable type. If there's a phoenix to rise from the ashes of university excess, then bandwidth, RAM and gigabytes must assist the flight.

When fleet-footed Hermes is reincarnated as a courier of fast-forward high tech, the university bubble may burst in many directions, accelerating the delivery of information.

There's a caution (as there always is). The speed with which information is delivered has little to do with the achievement of wisdom. As the Bard would say, "Aye, there's the rub."

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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