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.

Study: ‘Hybrid’ learning works in college

“Hybrid” or “blended” learning worked well for college students in a University of Maryland experiment. Students taught in the hybrid format earned similar grades and answered more exam questions correctly, compared to students in a traditional course.

In college courses, interactive online learning typically involves video lectures, extensive opportunities for discussion and interaction with instructors and peers, and online assignments and exams. Hybrid forms of such courses combine online learning components with traditional face-to-face instruction.

In this study, college students enrolled in hybrid sections of biology, statistics, pre-calculus, computer science, or communications or in sections that used the traditional face-to-face format.

Disadvantaged and underprepared student did as well in hybrid as in traditional classes.

Interactive online learning has the potential to lower college costs, the researchers believe.

Higher ed a la carte

To qualify for federal aid, students must enroll in accredited, degree-granting programs. Utah Sen. Mike Lee proposes letting states accredit alternative postsecondary programs, such as job training, apprenticeships and distance-learning options. People seeking skills — but not necessarily a degree — could assemble the education they need, a la carte, using federal grants and loans to pay their costs.

Too much information

College students get more consumer information than they can handle, say financial aid administrators. Streamlining regulations — and eliminating some requirements — would help students focus on what they really need to know.

College dreams ‘melt’ over summer

As many as 40 percent of low-income students — and 20 percent of all students — give up on their college dreams not long after collecting a high school diploma. It’s known as “summer melt.”

I went to college and all I got . . .

Hegemonic Representations of Women’s Sexuality on Hurricane Katrina Souvenir T-shirts — Macomber, Kris, Christine Mallinson, Elizabeth Seale (equal authorship), Journal of Popular Culture.

Via Edububble.