Posts tagged ‘Ann Althouse’

December 20, 2013

Is the Pajama Boy message directed to moms?

by Grace

The Obamacare Pajama Boy has been getting a lot of ribbing this week.  Most people seemed to agree it was not the best image to use for the purpose of encouraging young people to buy health insurance.


Surprisingly, pajama onesies in adult sizes are available for purchase, just in case anyone would like to recreate that look.

It’s true that many young people could use some advice on appropriate job interview attire, but I hope Pajama Boy at least knows that red plaid does not convey a sense of professionalism.


Ann Althouse suggests the Pajama Boy message is directed not to young people, but to their parents.

What is the message in the original Pajama Boy tweet? Pajama Boy is home for the holidays, reintegrated into his parents’ concept of him, as if he is still a little boy. He accepts that — the chocolate and the Christmas/holiday pajamas — because he loves his parents and he wants a good visit. But the subject of health insurance can be talked about in that milieu. For some reason, it won’t be inappropriate, won’t spoil the home-for-the-holidays spirit, it can fit. Pajama Boy is not a “douchebag.” He’s an average young guy, trying to do what’s right, including visiting his parents and living up to their expectation,s and he needs a little prodding to talk about getting insurance, which is part of what a good little boy should do.

But maybe the message is not so much for the boy but for the parents. The parents may think that when their little guy comes home for the holidays, they just want to baby him. But they really should also make sure he’s got his insurance. Don’t completely pretend he’s still a child. He’s your kid and you need to make sure he’s safe and sound. Jammies and warm milk are comforting, but he needs more protection than that. Do what you can to protect your little sweetheart now, before he once again leaves the bosom of the family and exposes himself to the danger of the world beyond the home. He may not quite yet realize what the risks and helping the “young invincibles” get insured is a parental responsibility just like the clothing and feeding you did when he was young. He doesn’t really need those jimjams and cocoa. He needs insurance. Help this dear boy one last time, Mama.

Appealing to helicopter moms, perhaps?

Related:  Can young college graduates burdened by student loans be convinced to buy health insurance? (Cost of College)

June 28, 2013

Are climbing college completion rates a good trend?

by Grace

College completion rates continue to climb, as shown by these charts from the Pew Research Center.


Slightly higher rates for the younger population:


For years, the idea has been growing that college is as necessary as high school was 40 years ago. In 2010, 75 percent of Americans said college was very important, compared with just 36 percent in 1978, the report notes.

President Obama has set a goal for the US to lead the world by 2020 in the percentage of young people earning college degrees or postsecondary certificates.

The increases in the Pew report indicate a “rather slow climb” that would need to accelerate to meet the president’s goal, says Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

While the long-term trend is up, recent increases could be related to the difficulty of finding jobs during the latest recession.

During better economic times, education attainment rates have been more stagnant. It’s possible, Fry says, that rates will tick downward somewhat as the labor market improves.

Maybe lower education attainment rates would be a positive change, since we have too many college graduates chasing too few college-level jobs.


Ann Althouse speculates about the reasons “Young adults are earning college degrees at a record rate.”

Good question. Why? Doing what you’re told? Nothing better to do? Putting off the time when the consequences of your decisions become apparent? High self-esteem leading you to think you’re the exception to the trend? Being part of the trend, going where everyone else is going?

Related:  College graduates are no longer ‘special’ (Cost of College)

October 10, 2012

Quick links – entitled kids, Moody’s on MOOCs, learn fractions before algebra

by Grace

—  Do kids today have a heightened sense of entitlement?

Ann Althouse wrote about a mother seeking advice on how to handle her “daughter’s ongoing disappointment” because her dream college was unaffordable.  Althouse recalls her own situation about 40 years ago when she felt bad about having to attend a public university instead of a more expensive private college.

My parents paid all my college expenses, and the notion of taking loans to make up the difference never came up. It was a different culture back then, at least at my house. You understood that you bought what you could afford, and it showed bad character to mope about it, and you didn’t want to be ungrateful or selfish. And if I had crossed the line into a display of such bad character traits, my parents would never have considered writing to an advice columnist about what to do about their complaining, ungrateful daughter who won’t value what is good about the college we are able to pay for….

The culture has truly tipped, with everyone feeling entitled to things they can’t pay for and assuming somebody else over there will pay somehow, some time, and I shouldn’t have to think about them.

This reminds me of a line I learned from another parent that I used with my kids when they were little.

You get what you get and you don’t get upset.

—  Moody’s on MOOCs

A new report by Moody’s Investors Service suggests that while MOOCs’ exploitation of expanded collaborative networks and technological innovation will benefit higher education in the United States as a whole, their long-term effect on the for-profit sector and smaller not-for-profit institutions could be damaging.

Moody’s takes the perspective of how MOOCs affect credit rating – good for elites, not so much for lower tier colleges and for-profit schools.

In the end, elite institutions are positioned to capitalise most effectively on the MOOC platform, by increasing their global presence and deriving greater credit benefits from new markets. Those institutions with limited brand identities, however, will have to compete more intensively to retain – or develop – a competitive edge.

MOOCs – The revolution has begun, says Moody’s (University World News)

—  Knowledge of fractions and division predicts success in algebra

Elementary school students’ knowledge of fractions and division uniquely predicts their high school mathematics achievement, even after controlling for a wide range of relevant variables, suggesting that efforts to improve mathematics education should focus on improving students’ learning in those areas.

Siegler, R. S., Duncan, G. J., Davis-Kean, P. E., Duckworth, K., Claessens, A., Engel, M., Susperreguy, M. I., & Chen, M. (2012). Early predictors of high school mathematics achievement. Psychological Science, 23, 691-697

Knowledge of fractions and division at age 10-12 was determined by testing students’ computational proficiency.

This finding is consistent with the recommendations of the 2008 National Mathematics Advisory Panel Final Report.

Fluency with Fractions. Before they begin algebra course work, middle school students should have a thorough understanding of positive as well as negative fractions. They should be able to locate positive and negative fractions on a number line; represent and compare fractions, decimals, and related percent; and estimate their size. They need to know that sums, differences, products, and quotients (with nonzero denominators) of fractions are fractions, and they need to be able to carry out these operations confidently and efficiently. They should understand why and how (finite) decimal numbers are fractions and know the meaning of percent. They should encounter fractions in problems in the many contexts in which they arise naturally, for example, to describe rates, proportionality, and probability. Beyond computational facility with specific numbers, the subject of fractions, when properly taught, introduces students to the use of symbolic notation and the concept of generality, both being integral parts of algebra….

Difficulty with the learning of fractions is pervasive and is an obstacle to further progress in mathematics and other domains dependent on mathematics, including algebra. It also has been linked to difficulties in adulthood, such as failure to understand medication regimens. Algebra I teachers who were surveyed for the Panel as part of a large, nationally representative sample rated students as having very poor preparation in “rational numbers and operations involving fractions and decimals” (see Panel-commissioned National Survey of Algebra Teachers, National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008).

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