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Marauders, Bake Sales, Tablets, etc.

The blogging will be light this week (maybe some posts like this one, but probably nothing terribly profound), as I will be entertaining my former PhD advisor this week. We are hosting him at Western as a Visiting Scholar.

Here are a few tidbits to keep you occupied:

Item #1 “It’s an interesting study, but what’s the bottom line?”
Edwonk reports on an interesting study of public vs. private schools. Here’s how Ed begins:

When adjustments are made for differences in family income, public schools compare more favorably with private schools than many would think, writes The New York Times:

Yes, but those adjustments bother me. Take for instance, this line from the NY Times article:

The report found that among the private schools, Lutheran schools did better than other private schools. Nevertheless, at the fourth-grade level, a 10.7 point lead in math scores evaporated into a 4.2 point lag behind public schools. At the eighth-grade level, a 21 point lead, roughly the equivalent of two grade levels, disappeared after adjusting for differences in student backgrounds.

I’m curious to know what kind of adjustments can lead to a two-grade adjustment at the 8th grade level. And, as I commented over at Ed’s post, I wouldn’t be singing the praises of this study if I were the American Federation of Teachers.

Item #2 “Let’s change our mascot to The Florists; they’re not mean to women”

On the Fox News website, I found an interesting tidbit about the University of Mary (yes, that’s right!), a school in North Dakota, contemplating changing its mascot. They are currently known as the Marauders, which I guess is a kind of pirate, and pirates are, well, mean:

University of Mary Athletic Director Al Bortke says the idea of changing the mascot was first broached by the school’s religion and philosophy department, which objects to its negative image.

“Marauders were pirates and they weren’t nice to women, and things like that,” he said.

“Things like that.” Looks like we’re sliding down that slippery slope.

Item #3: “Please buy our muffins. We’re not Marauders!”

FIRE reports on DePaul’s latest foray into suppressing free speech: taking on an “Affirmative Action” bake sale:

Earlier this month, DePaul University shut down an “affirmative action bake sale? protest, and is now investigating a student organizer for “harassment.? DePaul’s latest offense against liberty follows its 2005 dismissal of a professor for arguing with pro-Palestinian students and its censorship of students’ peaceful protest of controversial professor Ward Churchill. With this incident, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is intervening at DePaul for the third time in less than a year.

“DePaul cannot seem to resist punishing its students and professors for expressing their political viewpoints,? stated Greg Lukianoff, FIRE’s interim president. “Fighting repression at DePaul is becoming a full-time job.?
Note to DePaul President Dennis Holtschneider: that last quote by Greg Lukianoff won’t exactly make good copy in your next informational brochure.

Item #4: It’s a PC; no, it’s a dessert topping; no, it’s a new way to take notes.”

Have I mentioned that the university gave me a Tablet PC to experiment with last year. I tried it in the classroom a year ago, but in the absence of other technology (e.g., wireless connections to the classroom projectors), it feels like an uphill battle to use the Tablet in an effective manner.

But students! Now, students might find the Tablet quite useful in the classroom, and there’s a blog where you can learn more, called (appropriately enough): The Student Tablet PC.

If you’re interested to see how students are using these machines in class, check it out.

2 Responses to “Marauders, Bake Sales, Tablets, etc.”

  1. Robert Says:

    I had a student in calculus last semester who had a tablet, and I was kind of amazed by it. She could take text notes, intersperse graphs (in color!) alongside them, and send them to me as a PDF… and the text was searchable. Very cool. However, it’s still an emerging technology as far as I’m concerned and they are currently way too expensive for my blood. It’ll be interesting to see if they ever really take off; they’ve been around for 4-5 years now and not much has really happened with them.

  2. Ticklish Ears » More On Mean Mascots Says:

    […] After my post earlier this week on the University of Mary’s consideration that their mascot (the Marauders) were “not nice to women,” I decided to see what other offenders we should consider. Here’s the beginning of my list of collegiate mascots that should be changed: […]

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