Friday, June 29, 2018

“Russian Bots” Spreading Fear At University? (No)

By Professor Doom

     Me: “I’m sure the Russians did that.”

--I grade many hundreds of tests at a time now, and make mistakes simply because of the volume. When a student complains, the above is my “go to” excuse for the alleged error. I correct my error, of course, because I wouldn’t want the Russians to meddle in a student’s GPA.

     While the media hysteria about “The Russians” has quieted down now, it seems there was nearly a full year where all the media could do was talk about those “evil” Russians and their constant “interference” in the US, particularly the Presidential election.

     Curiously missing in that hysteria was any mention of how the US regularly interferes with Russia. Even more curiously absent was an explanation why we need to be so terrified of Russia when today’s Russia is far weaker militarily and economically than the USSR, which never generated nearly as much hysteria in my lifetime, even though the latter was also vastly more aggressive (hi Afghanistan!).

      In any event, many of our ills have been blamed on Russia. One such assignment of blame in particular was such a standout I’ve waited awhile to see if we could all in unison get together and point and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Since that didn’t happen, I guess I’ll highlight it:

     I feel the need to emphasize the above article doesn’t take a moment, not one millisecond, to consider how utterly preposterous the idea is that Russia would think it’s remotely cost-effective to influence a country of some 300,000,000 people (who have absolutely no influence of their government’s foreign policy in any event) by targeting around 20,000 politically insignificant kids at one educationally insignificant school in an economically insignificant part of the country.

Numerous reports in the last year have documented how Russian bots manipulated social media during the 2016 presidential campaign.

      From the above propaganda piece article, and I’d like to slap a big ol’ [citation needed] on it, because I’ve yet to see any report with a credible argument that “Russian bots” had even a remotely significant net impact on the election. Yes, I know the mainstream media told me as much every day, dozens of times, but I’m talking actual evidence here.

A new journal article in Strategic Studies Quarterly reveals that the Russian bots had another target in the fall of 2015: students at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

     I’ve covered Mizzou a few times, starting well before the Presidential election, and they’ve had “race issues” as far back as 2010. The reason for the continuing problems, as any chucklehead can identify, is our “leaders” in higher education keep caving in to violent protesters’ unreasonable demands, which only leads to further protests. If they just got rid of the violent protesters, and restricted campus to just students, they could fix their problems.

       Instead of identifying bad leadership decisions and making better decisions moving forward, they’re going to blame Russian bots. And how, pray tell, did these magical bots cause race riots? The article says it happened because the bots would spread false reports of racial incidents:

Complicating the situation is that racial tensions were quite real at Mizzou that fall, and real threats did exist. But the article documents how the false reports contributed to considerable fear on campus. In fact, the Russian bots avoided detection in part because the hashtag #PrayforMizzou was used by real people who were at the university or were concerned about it, as well as by those forwarding the bot-created tweets.

     Racial hoaxes are everyday incidents in higher ed, so common that even the campus papers don’t always find them worth covering. To date these hoaxes are invariably tracked back to actual people committing them (because bots can’t spray graffiti or make fake nooses, or whatever). The “research” fails to address how bot activity explains incidents from a time when the bots didn’t exist, but let’s gloss over that.

Prier writes that there was plenty of evidence -- for those looking -- that the tweets that spread were false. He cites the tweeting and retweeting patterns, consistent with other Russian bot efforts. "The plot was smoothly executed and evaded the algorithms Twitter designed to catch bot tweeting, mainly because the Mizzou hashtag was being used outside of that attack," he writes. "The narrative was set as the trend was hijacked, and the hoax was underway."

      “For those looking”? The concept here is called “confirmation bias.” What are these patterns? Can anything else have these patterns? Do we have absolute confirmation that Russian bots in general exist? Do we have a motive here? Do we have evidence that people really can be incited to violence over a Tweet? I’m not saying the hoax didn’t happen but…our media instigates such hoaxes on a regular basis, and I really think they’re more influential than a Tweet.

Had anyone done a search of Google images for "bruised black child," the image that was included in the false tweet would have come up -- an image showing a child who had been beaten up by police, but a year prior in Ohio.

      Oh no, a picture was taken out of context, and used to push an agenda. Um…doesn’t our mainstream media do this on a regular basis? Even if alleged Russian Bots are affecting a few thousand kids, our known media regularly misleads hundreds of millions. The hypocrisy here is a bit thick, no?

      And I still think we should have some real evidence that it’s “the Russians” here, because “it acts like something that we’ve defined to be acting like a Russian bot” is a pretty circular way of finding a Russian bot.

     The comments section rightfully trashes this supposed scholarly research:

The explanation given in his endnote for the #PrayforMizzou case isn't very strong. He didn't match any Twitter accounts to Russian bot accounts, only what he believed were bot accounts and matching his groupings of tweets to the modus operandi of later Russian bot-type Twitter influence campaigns. I'm not entirely sure I buy it as a Russian influence campaign.

     I’m glad the media is finally done with “The Russians” hoax, but I see many people fell for the “Trump’s separating children” hoax. I can take some time to wonder what will be the next hoax the mainstream media will push on the public, but I won’t waste time wondering if people will fall for it, I know the answer there.

      Similarly, I won’t waste time thinking “The Russians” are behind the next hoax I hear on the news.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Great “Design Thinking” Hoax

By Professor Doom

     There’s a big divide between the administrative and faculty caste on campus nowadays. Your typical faculty will interact with admin1 on only a few occasions: hiring, firing, and when a student complains. The gentle reader will note that all three situations involve money: when you’re taking money out of admin pockets, when you’ll stop doing that, and when you’re threating the possibility of more money going into admin pockets.

     The guys at the top live in their own little bubble, and, besides money, not much can penetrate it. They’ve given themselves splendiferous titles, huge salaries, and the trappings of intellectualism, of academia…but they generally don’t have anything like the latter two in reality. They also grant themselves awards for their “bold leadership,” and give themselves many an uproarious round of applause for Vision for Excellence plans.

      I suspect the gentle reader doesn’t know about “Vision for Excellence,” so a quick overview. Basically, these are incredibly self-aggrandizing plans for “excellence,” which ultimately is just growth for the institution. These plans can run hundreds of pages long, and are completely rewritten every few years, with the previous plan, no matter how magnificent they declare it to be, utterly abandoned. All this plan-making takes up huge amounts of time, but that’s not a problem as our schools are hugely overstaffed with administrators desperate to find a way to spend all that student loan money the faculty help bring in.

      Vision for Excellence isn’t the only way admin waste their time on campus, of course. There are grandiose new “student as customer” initiatives to follow, pretentious “industrial partnerization” presentations, and let’s not forget the pompous Diversity Enhancement programs as well. I must confess: I consulted a thesaurus for the previous sentence, faking a level of diction I do not truly possess.

      I make this admission because it relates to the latest craze our leaders have begun in higher ed: “Design Thinking.” Even my own little fake community college, some 6 years ago, had the deanlings dress up in “agents of change” outfits for photo-ops because of this fad.

      What, pray tell is Design Thinking and who are agents of change? The title of a recent article describes it well enough:

     Ok, perhaps a one word definition of “boondoggle” is weak, but it’s clear this “new idea” is just another way to soak up money:

Stanford University’s design school (or "" — their asinine punctuation, not mine) that has become most associated with design thinking. IDEO will charge you $399 for a self-paced, video-based design-thinking course, "Insights for Innovation." Stanford will charge you $12,600 for a four-day "Design Thinking Bootcamp" called, likewise, "From Insights to Innovation." 

     The student loan scam, where schools can charge infinitely large amounts of money for infinitesimally little education, has clearly warped the minds of our leaders in higher ed…$12,600 for a four day “bootcamp”? This could only happen after years of our leaders noticing that it doesn’t matter what crap is in the classes, they can charge whatever they want. So now they’re charging yearly tuition-level prices for less than a week of “education.”

      What exactly is Design Thinking supposed to do?

 It "fosters creative confidence and pushes students beyond the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines." It equips students "with a methodology for producing reliably innovative results in any field." It’s the general system for change-agent genius we’ve all been waiting for.

     It’s been a long time since I’ve mentioned the special language (“edu-babble”) that our leaders devolve into when discussing their latest crap innovative idea. Basically, they use this language whenever they’re pushing something into higher education ultimately to put more money in their pockets. The uninitiated hear all the long words and figure they’re listening to someone smarter than themselves but, having taken the time to parse the language, I assure you: it’s a laughable method of covering up how they’ve got nothing to say.

      So, how does this magical Design Thinking process work?

"It’s an approach to problem-solving based on a few easy-to-grasp principles that sound obvious: ‘Show Don’t Tell,’ ‘Focus on Human Values,’ ‘Craft Clarity,’ ‘Embrace Experimentation,’ ‘Mindful of Process,’ ‘Bias Toward Action,’ and ‘Radical Collaboration.’" He explains further that these seven points can be reduced to what are known as the five "modes": "Empathize," "Define," "Ideate," "Prototype," and "Test."

      So, are there 7 principles, or 5? Because you’re simply making stuff up here, it doesn’t matter, of course. The important thing is to declare how brilliant you are at it, and admin have that part down.

     Just because you’ve broken something up into arbitrary categories doesn’t mean you’ve discovered great wisdom. The other wondrous example of this in Education is Bloom’s Taxonomy, a completely evidence-free approach to education which has done nothing for education despite it being used for over 50 years now.

     Hey, remember a few paragraphs ago where I created the illusion of greater literacy than I have by simply changing some words around? It’s the same idea here:

Here are the design-thinking "modes" juxtaposed with some rules I was taught in a freshman writing class in 1998:
Empathize Mode: Consider Your Audience
Define Mode: Pick a Clearly-Defined Topic, Neither Too Broad, Nor Too Narrow
Ideate Mode: Think
Prototype Mode: Write Your Thoughts Down
Test Mode: Give What You’ve Written to Someone You Trust to Read It and Tell You if It Sucks

     Bottom line, Design Thinking is just the same stuff we’ve already been doing, but we use different words to describe the stuff.

      And charge $12,600 for a four day workshop covering the material on one page of a freshman English textbook you can buy used for $10. Brilliant!

In the end, design thinking is not about design. It’s not about the liberal arts. It’s not about innovation in any meaningful sense. It’s certainly not about "social innovation" if that means significant social change. It’s about commercialization. It’s about making education a superficial form of business training.

     It’s also about setting up new fiefdoms on campus, filled with “Agents of Change” promising more visions for excellence…just as long as the new Design Thinking Institute on campus has at least half a dozen new Vice Presidents of Design Thinking, each paid at least six figures. And what do these VPs do for the campus?

“…change agents do on their campuses, beyond recruiting other people to "the movement." A blog post titled "Only Students Could Have This Kind of Impact" describes how in 2012 the TEDx student representatives at Wake Forest University had done such a good job assembling an audience for their event that it was hard to see how others would match it the next year. But, good news, the 2013 students were "killing it!" "*THIS* is Why We Believe Students Can Change the World," the blog announced…”

     They give talks and then announce how amazingly successful the talks were…since they live in a bubble, there’s nobody to tell them how their activities are utterly irrelevant and insipid. This stuff has been going on in higher education for close to a decade now. I bet not one person in the country can identify a single new idea, new change, brought about by Design Thinking.

       And yet we’ll keep pouring more money into this abysmal concept, even though there’s nothing here that we didn’t already learn our first week in a basic writing course.

      The article spends a long time taking down this new fad in higher ed, but bottom line, it’s just another boondoggle, paid for by the student loan scam. End that scam, and we can fix this problem, like so many others in higher ed, quickly.

1.  There are also mandatory meetings where faculty and admin are in the same room, but this does not count as “interaction” as faculty are understood to simply nod and applaud whatever admin wants to force down faculty throats.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Professor Tries To Give Females Better Grades For…Being Female

By Professor Doom

     It truly is astonishing how common the racism and sexism is on campus today. Oh, our leaders prattle on about diversity and equality, but it takes little effort to discover they don’t know the meanings of these words.

     In times past, they did know what the words meant…but being racists and sexists themselves, they made sure to advance racist and sexist policies in a covert way. So, there was no written policy about hiring, but you better believe most (probably every) campus in this country gave priority hiring to females and “protected minorities” as they were called. I don’t make this claim lightly, as every hiring committee I’ve been on used the gender or race of the applicant as part of the decision making process, stinking “equal opportunity employer” notices be damned. We’d put the equal opportunity notice in writing to be sure, but there were many unwritten policies we used.

      It was all done with a wink and a nod in the past, but bottom line today’s administrators and faculty aren’t nearly so clever as before, and certainly not clever enough to do things with a wink and a nod. So, now we have documented job applications for physicists or university admin which are clearly racist and/or sexist (particularly against whites),  even math faculty positions requiring specific political views (social justice warriors only).

     Now, obviously, this behavior is still wrong, and eventually someone in admin with half a brain shows up (takes a while) and points that you can’t be so blatant, and knows that you can’t make such behavior as written policy. It’s all wink and a nod, you know.

      Time and again we get to see this stuff in writing, particularly racist stuff, but today we’ll focus on the blatant, and very common, sexism on campus:

     Isn’t it interesting how this stuff never seems to hit the mainstream news? Anyway, let’s see what prompted the professor to set up a sexist grading policy:

…he wanted to “test the water” to see if this approach could “attract female students into future classes” and help correct chronic gender imbalances in his field…

     It’s only one sentence, but it says much about the madness infecting higher ed right now.

     First, this “test the water” thing. I’ve been forced to listen to, and adopt, so many cockamamie, clearly stupid ideas that I actually see the professor’s thinking here. Most of these ideas are so obviously bad, so lacking anything to do with education, that absolutely, “screw it, let’s just give higher grades to the females” makes sense in this context. I mean, it’s not like integrity or decency ever seems to get in the way of ideas, time and again I’ve seen admin propose new policies which could only come from a depraved mind.

      Second, the “attract female students” thing. Again, I’ve been bombarded time and again with programs to attract female students, and, again, never has integrity been a factor in any of those programs. So, again, I see the professor’s point: “let’s just flat out promise females better grades” seems like perfectly good bribery, little different than, say, a missionary murdering all the adults in a village just so he can claim credit for taking care of many orphans. Honest, higher ed is just that messed up now that this sort of deranged thinking is consistent with other ideas in higher ed.

      Finally, the “chronic gender imbalances” thing. Again, this concept was hammered into my skull many times when I was at questionable schools. I couldn’t ask questions there, but this is my blog, so I will ask three obvious questions: “Who says the imbalance is a bad thing?,” “Why will the world be a better place if we change the imbalance?,” and “Do we have any evidence what balance would be optimal, so that we can even say there’s an imbalance now?” These questions are never, ever, asked in higher ed, or if they are you can’t hear them over the endless shouting to fix the gender imbalance.

     What kind of imbalance are we looking at here, anyway?

 …classes have “one or two female students” on average in a class of 20 to 30, and they are “not doing well,” he told The Fix in an email. These women will probably have to “repeat the courses or leave the program” without a grade boost…

      It always turned my stomach when admin would heap praise upon some faculty for “successfully passing” (I still hear the voice saying that abominable phrase in my head) some female or protected minority. Truth be told, I’d sometimes get that praise as well; it still turned my stomach. I passed, and pass, students because they demonstrate they understand the material, their genitals or skin color have nothing to do with it, not that admin sees much beyond race and gender.

       Of course, I’m not a racist or sexist like your typical college administrator, so they saw nothing offensive about praising me for passing people of certain races or genders. But I always felt uncomfortable with such praise, and am grateful to no longer be at a place where I must be subjected to it.

      To the school’s credit, they stepped in and stopped the professor from overtly giving female students better grades just for being female:

…the University of Akron “follows both the law and its policies and does not discriminate on the basis of sex,” and that Liu “has been advised accordingly, and he has reaffirmed his commitment to adhering to these strict standards.”

      So, yes, in writing, the university here will follow the law but…the professor’s policy didn’t happen in a vacuum. He didn’t wake up one day and say “We need for females passing my courses and this must be done in any way possible, integrity is not a factor here.” He got a memo with that directive.

       I assure the gentle reader, the professor was told many times how important it was to get more females in his classes. He was also told many times how important it was that females get better grades in classes. He saw with his own eyes that academic integrity was of no concern to how any administrative policy could be fulfilled.

       He saw it so often that, much like my examples in the beginning of the article, he was under the impression that sexism favoring females was perfectly legal, possibly even moral, and so he adopted the kind of policy admin was telling him to adopt.

      His mistake was putting that policy in writing. But, I’m sure now that admin has spoken (not written!) to him, he’ll do that sort of thing with a wink a nod.

      Because that’s how it’s been done in higher ed for decades now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Campus Hiring Bias: 78% of Departments have ZERO Republicans

By Professor Doom

     The whole point of a university is to include the entire universe of ideas. It seems noble enough, but what happens when you allow people in whose ideas don’t allow any other ideas in? The seed for the takeover was planted decades ago when it was decided letting such people in was nevertheless part of the university mission.

     Eventually, you get a lockdown. It’s not a fast process, mind you, but as these people with exclusionary ideas put their chokehold on campus, it accelerates. Past a certain point (namely, control of the hiring committees), the only people who can become faculty must hold those ideas, and nothing else.

      And so it is that we now have campuses drowning in ideology, more importantly, drowning in exactly one ideology. How bad is it?

     How clear is it that there must be bias in the hiring process at these schools? Our schools scream about how much they want diversity…but as far as hiring goes, there is to be no diversity in political views. It is worth noting that even at the schools which may have some Republicans…they’re pretty rare.

      Looking at the statistics further, we get more interesting details, but first let us consider the data set:

Langbert sampled 8,688 tenure track Ph.D.-holding professors from the top 51 liberal arts schools, …used only full-time, tenure track faculty (full, associate, or assistant professors) and excluded all part-time professors (adjunct, visiting, and emeritus).

     They removed all the adjuncts and temp workers from the data, for good reason. The majority of college professors are adjuncts today, with minimal pay and no benefits. You can spend a decade or more as an adjunct, and if you make any waves (and God forbid you have a pro-Trump bumper sticker…), you’re gone. These poor adjuncts aren’t about to interrupt the ideological narrative being instilled in the students, so it’s fair to look at just the full-time tenure track faculty.

     He also excluded 101 professors—a little more than one percent of the total sample
—from the analysis, because they were registered as members of minor parties (cue big-L libertarian weeping).

      Our “two party” system is ridiculously corrupted at this point. My entire life it seems my only choices from the two big parties in a Presidential election are either the candidate for “massive debts, huge social programs, and endless war” or the candidate for “massive debts, endless war, and huge social programs.” There are other parties, and allow me to at least mention the Libertarian party, which thinks you should be allowed to keep your money, believes it’s far better for you to take care of yourself, and understands that murder is bad—basically diametrically opposed in every way to the only two parties you can realistically choose from in any election.

     Throwing out these “weird” third parties from the study is a little unfair but, seeing as that’s how alternative political parties are treated everywhere else, I guess I’ll overlook it here.

      While there is a definite Democrat bias on campus, there are some exceptions in certain departments:

…the hard sciences—engineering, chemistry, physics, and mathematics—had more even ratios of Democrats to Republicans…

     It’s “almost” curious that Republicans are often described as Bible-thumping, science-denying ignorant rubes, while the data from our campuses indicates that if you’re in a discipline which requires scientific thought and respects empirical evidence, you’re vastly more likely to be Republican. I put the “almost” in quotes because those offensive descriptions of Republicans are being provided by the media…which in turn is predominantly Democrat (incidentally, there are many hysterical videos on YouTube watching these media guys lose their minds at the outcome of the last Presidential election, and I encourage the gentle reader to watch a few, to see just how strong the bias evidently is).

     What departments are heaviest with the Democrats?

 …sociology, english, religion, and anthropology. Communications ranked highest in terms of ideological homogeneity skewed toward the left.

     Hmm, a few of those departments have the reputation of being academic slums. I’m rather surprised Education isn’t here, but the study is focusing on the higher tier schools, which probably don’t have Education departments.

…could not find a single Republican with an "exclusive appointment" to gender studies, Africana studies, or peace studies.

--and yet somehow Communications was most skewed? The article doesn’t explain the contradictions here.

   I’ve never even heard of “peace studies.” In any event, we clearly are seeing a trend as far as the most disreputable departments also being the most filled with Democrats. It’s funny, our metropolitan areas most controlled by Democrats also have a vile reputation. Hmm.

      Now there are some small schools with a number of Republican faculty, but they tend to be religious or military schools. You can’t shout “ah ha!” here, because while it’s trivial to find schools which are exclusively Democrat schools, there are no schools with exclusively Republican faculty. It’s almost as though one side actually believes in diversity, while the other only uses it as a tool to grab power.

       Overall, the bottom line is a student can easily go his entire college education without exposure to any non-Democrat ideas:

…around 78 percent of departments did not contain a single full-time professor who identifies as Republican.

      Now, higher ed is already making holding certain political views part of the job requirement for faculty, even to teach mathematics. It’s safe to say that these departments with “perfect” Democrat representation are going to be that way forever more. Meanwhile, the departments which allow Democrats in are clearly endangered, because, sooner or later, there will be a Democrat lockdown, and then it’s all over for them.

     As I’ve said before, once a school becomes converged, controlled by this particular set of political beliefs, the only quick solution is bulldozers. This solution is not on the table, of course, and so instead these schools will die a slow death, as they invariably get a reputation for race riots and, more importantly, extreme indoctrination at the expense of all education. People don’t want to go to such schools, much less go deep into debt for the privilege of doing so.

       Will these schools take all of higher education down with them? I hope not, but at this point I can’t be certain.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

“4 Year” Community Colleges Highlight Administrative Incompetence

By Professor Doom

     Soaring tuition costs are forcing people to reconsider going to university, but we still have this ingrained belief that you need a “4 year degree” to get a good job.

      Community colleges, the “cheapo” option of higher education, are starting to satisfy this need. Hey, I’m all for lower tuition, so I should be for this even though I’m justifiably quite hard on community colleges. Heck, if some clown offered 4 year degrees out of his garage I’d be ok with giving him a fair shake, but the government has something of a chokehold on how degrees are granted, so that’s not an option, alas.

      Now we have community colleges in many states granting 4 year degrees. While this does somewhat make one wonder why bother with universities, the responses to this new phenomenon really highlight just how incompetent our “leaders” in higher education are:
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     What kind of degrees are being offered now at a CC? The above article cites an example:

Starting in fall 2019, students at Ohio’s Sinclair Community College will be able to enroll in a four-year degree program in unmanned aerial systems…

     Hey that sounds nice, until you realize that “unmanned aerial systems” means “drones.” This new technology is pretty amazing. I can absolutely see someone studying 4 years to learn how to make these tiny flying machines. Is that what they learn here?

They’ll learn mission planning, maintenance, laws, data analytics and more.

      None of that sounds like their students will learn how to build drones. That’s a shame. Instead, they’ll learn how to operate them.

      Um…they sell these things in stores. The laws are covered on an insert in the box, a quarter page of text, as are maintenance instructions. Seriously, everything you could need to know about maintenance you can master in a few hours at most. “Mission planning”? C’mon now, even the most advanced military drones don’t require years of training to figure out how to plan a mission.

      Does this even remotely sound like enough material to require 4 YEARS of training? I know, there’s an “and more” there, but I just don’t understand why it didn’t occur to the admin at the CC that they could fill all this material into a 3 month course and probably have 11 weeks left over. You can join the military and be flying and maintaining the most advanced drones on the planet in less than 4 years, after all.

     Bottom line, it’s clear they’re just taking some fad people will sign up for, and slapped together a program stretched out to maximize the revenue from the student loans.

      A nearby university offers something more involved:

Just up the road, Youngstown State University offers a somewhat similar four-year degree, in mechanical engineering technology — but tuition there is double Sinclair’s.

     I rather suspect the graduates of the engineering program know quite a bit more than how to fly a drone anyone can buy for a few bucks. It really is striking that community college couldn’t strip out the harder material, just offer a 2 year program in drone operation, and call it a day.

      Our leaders in higher education have Ph.D.’s in “Leadership Curriculum” and other strange fields…it seems like they could have come up with something better than the university, instead of just changing the words around, hacking off the hard material, and lowering the price.

     Halving the price while stripping the content, while still taking just as many years, doesn’t strike me as much of an achievement. Simply lowering the price by half under these circumstances just doesn’t cut it.

     Other places do better with different 4 year degrees:

…will have spent about $2,000 a year to go to the community college. Tuition and fees at Loma Linda cost more than $33,000 a year, according to College Factual, a website that tracks college costs…

     That said, a 90% reduction in price, while an extreme example, illustrates that there really is room for improvement in our “4 year degree” programs already on offer at universities.

  In California, 15 community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in health and technology subjects such as biomanufacturing and health information management. In Georgia, students at two-year schools can get their bachelor’s in nonprofit management and respiratory therapy.

One California student, Elvia Esquer, is a mother of two college-age children who has worked as a medical coder for 22 years near her home in San Diego. She is going to a community college, San Diego Mesa College, to get her bachelor’s in health information management. 

     Perhaps I’m just picking on the Ohio CC, as it’s clear other community colleges are offering 4 year programs on topics more advanced than what an interested hobbyist can learn in an afternoon.

      Now, universities aren’t happy at all with this muscling in on their territory, but listening to their shrill protestations really highlights what higher education today is all about:

“We live in a state with limited resources for higher education,” Youngstown State’s provost, Martin Abraham, said. “We’re continuously cutting back — not increasing funding — for higher ed. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to set up a competing system for the same set of funds.”

--hey, at least his title isn’t twice as long as his name, that’s quite the rarity.

      Wow, they’re continuously cutting back? How did student loan debt get to over 1.5 trillion dollars, then? Why is tuition perpetually rising? Why does nobody else ask these questions when this Provost spouts these talking points?

“There’s a reason the tuition structure is different at a four-year university versus a two-year university,” Abraham said. For example, he said, Youngstown State’s career fair attracts 70 companies to campus every year...

      Aren’t the schools in the same state supposed to be on the same team, with a shared mission of educating the state’s citizens to create a more powerful state? That’s what they say, but it’s clear the provost doesn’t believe any of this, instead he sees a problem with an upstart competitor who can offer the same product for much less.

      If this supposed educator was really on a mission to help people in his state, he’d invite the community college graduates to the job fair as well, right? The state schools really are on the same team and should help each other out, and providing employers with more candidates would be a plus as well. But the provost sees none of this, and only fears a competitor endangering his (overpriced) monopoly.

      I assure the gentle reader, this provost isn’t the only admin in higher ed so incompetent he has no idea what his job actually is.

      He continues his display of total confusion:

 “That’s economy of scale. It drives up the cost of our education,…

      (pause for laughter)

      I can’t make this stuff up. Our leaders in higher education honestly think “economy of scale” means the price per unit should go higher as you increase in size. This is the kind of idiocy you learn when you get an administrative Ph.D.

     To illustrate my point that this provost isn’t alone in his total confusion, the article quotes another utterly clueless leader:

And C. Todd Jones, president and general counsel of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio, said the argument that baccalaureate degrees are unaffordable is a “red herring.”

"Financial assistance makes degrees affordable, particularly for low-income individuals in our state," he said. There's no reason in terms of costs for creating a community college baccalaureate degree, he said.

     How do you even find someone this ignorant to be president of an administrative association? Seriously, anyone with even vague knowledge of higher ed knows student loan debt is insane right now, that “financial assistance” is mostly a trap into perpetual debt servitude, especially for low income individuals.

      This dude actually thinks there’s “no reason in terms of costs”? Again, I couldn’t imagine this level of stupidity if I tried. If community colleges can offer the same thing for half the price, this in and of itself is a reason. What’s *wrong* with our system that it chooses leaders who can’t understand this basic idea?

      The gentle reader should keep this in mind when he sees another tuition increase, because our education system really is ruled by people who think “we’re bigger, so it’s economical to cost more” and “customers see no benefit to having a lower price.”