Today’s college protests were predicted in 1969

Yale students and faculty rally to demand inclusion on Nov. 9, 2015. At center is associate professor Crystal Feimster. Photo: Arnold Gold, New Haven Register

Yale students and faculty rally to demand inclusion on Nov. 9, 2015. At center is associate professor Crystal Feimster. Photo: Arnold Gold, New Haven Register

Racial preferences marginalize black college students, argue Jonathan Haidt and Lee Jussim in the Wall Street Journal. “Many students spend four years in a social environment where race conveys useful information about the academic capacity of their peers.” Furthermore, creating “ethnic enclaves” such as identity studies centers and departments, and diversity training, is likely to backfire.

Today’s college protests were foreseen in 1969, adds Haidt, a NYU psychology professor, in Heterodox Academy.

Macklin Fleming, Justice of the California Court of Appeal, warned Yale Law Dean Louis Pollack about lowering admission standards to meet racial quotas. (Go here.)

If in a given class the great majority of the black students are at the bottom of the class, this factor is bound to instill, unconsciously at least, some sense of intellectual superiority among the white students and some sense of intellectual inferiority among the black students.

Fleming predicts that “black students, unable to compete on even terms in the study of law, inevitably will seek other means to achieve recognition and self-expression.”

Demands will be made for elimination of competition, reduction in standards of performance, adoption of courses of study which do not require intensive legal analysis, and recognition for academic credit of sociological activities which have only an indirect relationship to legal training.

“To overcome feelings of inferiority caused by lack of success in their studies,” less-qualified students will demand “the employment of faculty on the basis of race, a marking system based on race, the establishment of a black curriculum and a black law journal, an increase in black financial aid, and a rule against expulsion of black students who fail to satisfy minimum academic standards,” Fleming predicted.

“If you read Judge Fleming’s predictions after watching the videos of student protests, and then reading the lists of demands posted at, the match is uncanny,” writes Haidt.

In The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf analyzes Brown’s $100 million plan to meet protesters’ demands.

Study: Charter high grads earn more as adults

Florida students who attended charter high schools earn significantly more as 23- to 25-year-olds than those who went to traditional public high schools, concludes a large-scale study by Vanderbilt and Georgia State researchers. Charter high school students are more likely to complete high school, go to college and stay in college, concluded the study, which was published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Former charter students earned $2,300 more per year, on average, in their early to mid-20s, said Ron Zimmer, one of the researchers.

Test scores weren’t higher at the charters, but these schools may do better at “promoting life skills like grit, persistence, self-control and conscientiousness,” he said.

To create a control group of students from education-minded, school-choosing families, researchers compared charter eighth graders who went on to traditional public schools with charter eighth graders who enrolled in charter high schools. They crunched the numbers five different ways to show their results were “robust.”

It’s not news that charter schools boost “attainment” — years of schooling — for disadvantaged students, even when test scores are no higher. Going farther in school and college pays off.

Zeeconomics has more on the long-term effects of charter school attendance in Boston, Chicago and Florida.

You might be overparenting if . . .

First-gen students unite

At elite colleges where most students come from affluent, educated families first-generation students are uniting to support each other, reports the New York Times.

Ana Barros grew up in a two-family house built by Habitat for Humanity, hard by the boarded-up buildings and vacant lots of Newark. Neither parent attended college, but she was a star student. With a 2200 on her SATs, she expected to fit in at Harvard.

Yet here she was at a lecture for a sociology course called, paradoxically, “Poverty in America,” as a classmate opened her laptop and planned a multicountry spring break trip to Europe. (Ms. Barros can’t afford textbooks; she borrows from the library.) On the sidewalks of Cambridge, students brush past her in their $700 Canada Goose parkas and $1,000 Moncler puffer jackets. (Ms. Barros saved up for two years for good boots.)

Barros decided to “come out” as poor.  She now leads the two-year-old Harvard College First Generation Student Union. Similar groups have formed at Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Brown and the University of Chicago. In February, Brown’s 1vyG hosted the first Inter-Ivy First Generation Student Network Conference. Students came from as far away as Stanford and Pomona College.

Nationwide, about 20 percent of full-time students at four-year colleges and universities are the first in their families to enroll. Numbers are lower at Ivy League schools.

Campuses have designated first-gen administrators, bolstered mentoring programs and added articles about socioeconomics to faculty readings on diversity. Some are careful in assigning roommates. “In a double, we would not put a student not on aid with a student on full aid,” said Thomas Dingman, dean of freshmen at Harvard.

A fund was set up four years ago at Georgetown to cover classroom clickers, winter coats and, when dining halls are closed, grocery money. Low-income freshmen get bedding as a welcome gift (not a handout), said Melissa Foy, director of the Georgetown Scholarship Program, which oversees the fund. “Messaging is everything.” The program crafted a “Survival Guide” (how to access financial aid refunds, cheapest days for air travel), a “Cheat Sheet” for parents (what is a midterm?), and airport pickup and move-in help for those arriving alone. During a special orientation, freshmen rehearse conversations with roommates about chipping in for dorm furnishings.

My first year at Stanford, I had a very wealthy roommate who moved out. She may have flunked out. She was replaced by a Native American girl who was very poor and an orphan. She was the hardest working person I’d ever met. It was educational, at least for me.

I realized she had no money to go out for pizza, but wanted to socialize. So I got a classmate with a car — he was the one who organized outings — to bring pizza back to the dorm and hide the full cost.

The Boston Globe has a similar story quoting many of the same people.

Obama: You don’t need a degree

After years of encouraging young Americans to earn college degrees, President Obama is telling them they just need technical skills, not a degree. The $100 million TechHire initiative will try to persuade employers to hire technical workers with alternative credentials.

“It turns out it doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are at writing code,” Obama said in a speech to the National League of Cities conference. “If you can do the job, you should get the job.”

Dev Bootcamp promises to turn novices into web developers in 19 intensive weeks

Dev Bootcamp promises to turn novices into web developers in 19 intensive weeks

High-tech employers see “non-traditional training as a viable alternative,” writes Issie Lapowsky on Wired. “Training startups like Codecademy and General Assembly, as well as online course companies like Coursera, have been pushing” the idea for years.

TechHire will try to develop “standards for alternative education” and “a guide for employers on how to recruit tech workers from less traditional places,” reports Lapowsky. A company called Knack will “make a standard tech aptitude test free to employers and training organizations.”

The president says employers are losing money by leaving technical jobs unfilled. So, don’t they have an incentive to figure out how to test technical aptitude?

The $100 million would fund programs that help women, minorities, veterans and people with disabilities qualify for tech jobs. More than 300 employers have agreed to consider hiring graduates of these programs.

‘Better job’ is #1 for college students

Source: The Cooperative Institutional Research Program at the Higher Education Research Institute at U.C.L.A., 2014 Freshman Survey. Responses refer to incoming college freshmen.

Why do Americans go to college? asks a UCLA survey of first-year students. First and foremost, they want better jobs, observes Catherine Rampell in the Washington Post.

The survey has been given every year since 1971. Students today are more likely to rate every objective as “very important,” Rampell writes. “Entitled millennials just expect colleges to do everything for them!”

But the biggest jumps, in percentage-point terms, were for the share saying they went to college to “make more money” (44.5 percent in 1971, versus 72.8 percent in 2014; an increase of 28.3 percentage points that was mostly gained in the earlier years of the survey) . . .

Women are more likely than men to cite intellectual curiosity, notes Rampell.

Black college men outnumber prisoners

“There are more black men in jail than in college” is “the most frequently quoted statistic about black men in the United States,” according to Ivory A. Toldson, a Howard professor and deputy director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It’s not true.

The phony stat comes from a 2002 report, Cellblocks or Classrooms by the Justice Policy Institute, which claimed, “Nearly a third more African-American men are incarcerated than in higher education.”

Toldson discovered the report lacked data for at least 1,000 colleges — including state universities and historically black colleges, reports Jenée Desmond-Harris on Vox. In addition, the numbers are out of date. black male college enrollment more than doubled to 1.4 million students in 2013.

The comparison is an “apples-to-oranges exercise,” Desmond-Harris points out. “Men (of all races) can be incarcerated at any point in their lives for any length of time, while enrollment in college typically happens during a narrow age range and a short timespan.”

Santa’s transcript

He may be a slow learner, Santa Claus has earned mostly A’s and B’s over the centuries at North Pole University, according to a transcript released by National Student Clearinghouse.

Santa passed courses in Reindeer Behavior, Quantum Mechanics Time Travel, International Business Logistics and Behavioral Science: The Naughty vs Nice Debate to complete a bachelor’s degree in business administration and adolescent behavior.

His only C’s were in a beard-trimming elective and a course called Avoiding Grandmas and Other Pedestrians. He took a P.E. course on weight management pass/fail and managed to pass.

Have a merry Christmas — or enjoy the Chinese food.

40% of transfers lose all credits

More than a third of college students transfer, losing an average of 13 college credits, according to a new federal study. Nearly 40 percent of transfer students get no credit at all, losing nearly a full year of credits, on average. That costs them time and money.