Saturday, March 16, 2024

This was the most astonishing thing about teaching freshmen at Cornell this fall: students who had never read anything longer than a reading comprehension excerpt for the SAT.

For all the flaws of the balanced literacy method, it was presumably implemented by people who thought it would help. It is hard to see a similar motivation in the growing trend toward assigning students only the kind of short passages that can be included in a standardized test. Due in part to changes driven by the infamous Common Core standards, teachers now have to fight to assign their students longer readings, much less entire books, because those activities won’t feed directly into students getting higher test scores, which leads to schools getting more funding. The emphasis on standardized tests was always a distraction at best, but we have reached the point where it is actively cannibalizing students’ educational experience—an outcome no one intended or planned, and for which there is no possible justification.

A Stanford professor and editor of N+1, linking idiot Adam Kotsko. 
And this, at CT. 

My blogging is about two things: (1) the radical changes wrought by modern communication technology; and (2) the inability of the epistemic technologies of the written word to understand point (1).

I find this dialectical tension to be generative, but I can see how readers looking for answers might find it unsatisfying.

A recent paper in Nature, titled “Online images amplify gender bias,” makes the point in a more familiar format. Consider the first full clause of the first sentence of the abstract:

“Each year, people spend less time reading and more time viewing images”

BOOM. Footnoted: “Time spent reading. American Academy of the Arts and Sciences (2019).”

I’ve frequently claimed that the age of reading and writing are over,...

Maybe Kevin Munger should stop writing.
On the declining abilities, and general resilience, of students. repeats 
It took years of indifference and stupidity to make us as ignorant as we are today. Anyone who has taught college over the last forty years, as I have, can tell you how much less students coming out of high school know every year. 
The technocrats who rule our world are not going to start communicating only in memes. But the fact of fading literacy is only the problem now of how the class of designers and managers communicate with the managed. The era of "citizenship" is over.

And Farrell is as sleazy as ever
So Noah Smith has a quite negative review of Acemoglu and Johnson’s recent book, Power and Progress, a book that I myself liked very much. Before letting rip, Noah says nice things about Acemoglu and Johnson, and I’ll do the same here for him. There are a lot of people on the left who detest Noah, but I know him to be a genuinely decent person. What he says of Acemoglu and Johnson is what I’ll say about him – his heart is in the right place. Sometimes … he does not go out of his way to make himself lovable to lefties, but as someone who has been known to get involved in stupid and tendentious spats on the Internet myself, I’m in no position to heave rocks at glasshouses.

And Gaza, on actual politics (class and foreign relations, social in every sense), as always, useless: passive, hand wringing, willed ignorance and worse. Anglo-American  left liberals are unreadable. I don't even pay attention anymore. I'm not going to waste my time with CT. If you're not following opinion outside the bubble, including the bubble of the western left, and the west itself, there's not much to say. I try. I follow what I can.

Again, the importance of Palestinian political scientists and Arab academics (writing in english) is that they exist. It's got nothing to do with any inherent value in academia.

Sometimes, in his lofty condescension, a film-maker seeks to bring enlightenment to the great unwashed and force feed this or that trendy political pap to an audience which has not had the opportunity, or perhaps even the wish, to participate in either the experience or the mind of the film-maker. This, which might be called the ‘Carlos’ fantasy, suggests to the filmmaker that he is important to the world. Documentaries like plays, novels, poems – are fictional in form and have no measurable social utility.
jumping ahead, June

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