Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Today's Random Thoughts

-College enrollment is at an all-time high, according to an article in the NY Times, at about 40% of the nation's 18-24 year-olds.  But I wonder how meaningful that number is.  It seems like the percent who are completing college is more important.  As I pointed out before, the rate of college completion seems to have stalled out somewhat -- with slightly below 30% of 25-29 year-olds possessing a bachelor's degree or higher.  If that number shoots up over the next few years, I'll be more excited about the increase in enrollment.

-How do we reduce recidivism among juvenile offenders?  I'd imagine the answer is somewhat similar to the best solutions for discipline problems in schools.  According to a reliable source, forthcoming research finds that programs like boot camps increase recidivism while programs involving things like extra counseling reduce recidivism.  I'll have more on this if and when I get my hands on the actual research.  But for now, here's a local article on a counseling program that has supposedly reduced recidivism rates.

-Susan Engel described a worthwhile idea on how to attract and retain talented teachers in the Times a couple days ago -- essentially by creating a residency program not dissimilar to the way med schools do it.  I don't know if it would work or not, but I'd definitely like to see some ed schools try to more closely mimic the med school model.  Other than a possibly prohibitive cost, I see two problems here though: 1.) The fact that you immediately get your own classroom is a big draw for TFA and TNTP -- I probably wouldn't have taught if I had to wait a year or two before I got a chance, and I have to believe other overly eager and ambitious recent college grads feel the same way.  2.) Engel wants the program to be selective, and sets a rather arbitrary 3.5 GPA as one criterion for acceptance.  Maybe I'm missing something.  Can anybody show me the research that says people with a 3.6 GPA are better teachers than those with a 3.4, all else equal?  This is, of course, the problem with any certification process -- there's never really a good place to draw the line.

-Don't expect anything else from me this week, as I'm up against a deadline today and conferencing the rest of the week.


Sherman Dorn said...

Good luck with your conferencing and other stuff!

Briefly on attainment: it would be important to look not only at bachelor attainment for the 25-29 range but also for the 30-34 range, since my brief looks at this suggest that there are enough who finish college in their 30s to keep looking at the over-30 population.

I am also not sure how to think about immigration here. We know from other stuff (summarized in Rob Warren's methodological work) that those who immigrate to the U.S. in adolescence often fail to enroll in high school, and that leaves them unlikely to enroll in (let alone finish) college. I do *not* think that we should leave them out of the picture, because their attainment will affect their children's education and lots of other things. But to say that B.A. attainment stagnated while we *know* that a small but significant portion immigrated to the U.S. after age 14 means that the raw proportion is somewhat misleading.

Then there are the sub-baccalaureate programs... but I think that's enough for now.

Corey Bunje Bower said...


The number of 30-34 year-olds enrolled in school has been pretty flat as well, but I agree it's worth keeping an eye on: