The 90s were a beautiful time in history. Besides the abundance of woolen sweaters and teenage angst, the era managed to make science cool for children and encourage them into a world of grueling competition and pain, oh the pain to pursue a fulfilling lifetime education in the sciences. Perhaps that’s an exaggerated, nostalgic view on our part. In any case, it seems that today’s Californian youth are not quite as happy — they are lagging behind in terms of science education. read more »

4624971087_f42857220dIf you’re anything like us, you may have been intrigued by the name of Dale Stephens’ entrepreneurial brainchild. “UnCollege?” we thought. “Sounds edgy.” But if you’re anything like us, that interest was probably notably diminished after reading the associated subtitle: “Home-Schooling for College Students.” Hmm.

According to the website, the goal of UnCollege is to:

“[connect] a network of independent learners to mentors to support learning from real-world experiences and self-designed projects to complement traditional higher education.”

Stephens, a freshman at Hendrix College and the founder of UnCollege, was home-schooled throughout childhood and sees no reason why the at-home learning experience shouldn’t carry over into higher education. “I don’t feel that I’ve learned things that I couldn’t have learned on my own,” he stated recently, maintaining that traditional colleges are not only lacking in academic rigor, but also that — with more than 70 percent of high school graduates attending college — degrees no longer guarantee success.

That all seems fair … and almost noble. After all, it’s about restoring the primacy of learning to higher education! Knowledge, enlightenment and all that.

But while we can appreciate the sentiment, we just can’t see something like this catching on. Despite the fact that UnCollege won’t grant any official degrees, it still “costs $100 per month to attend and has a few required assignments.” Assignments? Money? UnCollege is starting to sound a bit too much like regular college, just perhaps with a higher acceptance rate into UnEmployment. Sign us up!

Uncollege: Home-schooling For College Students [Huffinton Post]
Image Source: AlisonEmmert under Creative Commons

3004717988_06761377b7Well, not entirely. He simply wants to extend the amount of time students spend in the classroom by calling for an extension to the school year. The president declared that American students are lagging behind their international counterparts in subjects like math and science, to the detriment of our country’s future.

We can’t object to raising academic standards for primary and secondary education. But summer has historically been a time of blissful intellectual atrophy! Forcing students to toil over schoolwork in the blazing heat of summer … that’s just … actually that’s just like the last few days here. (Hello, triple-digits!)

Okay, so maybe it’s not too bad an idea, especially considering that the school year wouldn’t necessarily have to be extended by much: Schools in the United States offer an average of 180 days of instruction per year, in contrast to the average of 196 offered in the countries touting the highest student achievement levels: Japan, South Korea, Germany, and New Zealand.

That’s less than a month, but “[it] makes a difference,” Obama insists, “especially … for poorer kids who may not see as many books in the house during the summers, aren’t getting as many educational opportunities.”

The president also called upon teachers, noting that their performance is as integral to the success of our education system as the performance of their students. He stressed accountability, read more »


It’s Welcome Week–freshmen are loaded down with swag and more information about acronyms than anyone would care to have. It’s enough to make you start chucking promotional bags out the window (but don’t, because that’s a dorm violation). And the poor freshies are also getting advice from another source: a letter from public policy professor Michael O’Hare about how elderly Californians scammed our generation.

The letter begins on an up note, mentioning how Berkeley is pretty much number one and that whole gambit. But then it starts getting depressing. According to O’Hare the entire incoming class (and presumably the rest of the generation) “have been the victims of a terrible swindle.” O’Hare believes that read more »


Just in time to make your summer a little bit hotter, we bring you the one, the only, the 2010 UCB suggested summer reading list. Technically it’s supposed to be for incoming freshies, but the last time we checked, there were no laws preventing reading. And just imagine all the self-righteous goody-goody points you’ll score.

Professors pick their recommendations on a specific topic each year and this year’s topic is … wait for it … “Education Matters.”Books include “Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson (about building read more »

No Dissertation from ticoneva on Vimeo.

In what is just the latest in a series of unconventional educational videos, it seems some graduate students have created several economics videos, which include singing, Berkeley landmarks and statistical analysis.

What could possibly go wrong?
Apparently the videos have been used in some actual classes, and are a “a much-anticipated staple of the department’s annual spring skit.”

Who knows, maybe they’ll even help you through your econ homework.

Metrics Videos [Vimeo]
Money rocks (and raps) in economics’ grad students videos [Newscenter]