About Me

In writing the "About Me" portion of this blog I thought about the purpose of the blog - namely, preventing the growth of Socialism & stopping the Death Of Democracy in the American Republic & returning her to the "liberty to abundance" stage of our history. One word descriptions of people's philosophies or purposes are quite often inadequate. I feel that I am "liberal" meaning that I am broad minded, independent, generous, hospitable, & magnanimous. Under these terms "liberal" is a perfectly good word that has been corrupted over the years to mean the person is a left-winger or as Mark Levin more accurately wrote in his book "Liberty & Tyranny" a "statist" - someone looking for government or state control of society. I am certainly not that & have dedicated the blog to fighting this. I believe that I find what I am when I consider whether or not I am a "conservative" & specifically when I ask what is it that I am trying to conserve? It is the libertarian principles that America was founded upon & originally followed. That is the Return To Excellence that this blog is named for & is all about.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Enhanced ACTA Report Aids In College Selection Process

"The performance of our school systems is disgraceful.  I think roughly a quarter of the population never graduates high school.  We have a lower level of literacy today than we had a hundred years ago.  That's not despite, but because of the poor schools, particularly in low-income areas." - Professor Friedman 
Click on graphic to enlarge
The above graphic is another in a long list of statistics attesting to Professor Friedman's above remark – it is a disgrace that 48% or more of students, grades 3 to 7, do not meet expectations regardless of which test they take.  The results are even worse for high school students who took the above NJ test – for instance 25% of 10th graders met expectations while 11% surpassed them meaning 64% did not meet expectations.
I still wonder how you get to the 8th grade while reading @ a 3rd grade level?  In fact I am not the only one wondering about this because employers regularly complain about labor shortages due to skills gaps – a point made in interviews with employers after the October Unemployment Report was released Friday.  The NJ Business & Industry Association reported that a member survey found most entry-level employees had poor skills in critical thinking & math prompting one executive to say this "really hurts NJ's potential for economic growth."  See graphs below – the graph on the left shows the nationwide deficit for construction workers & the graph on the right shows that there are one million more job openings than people being hired in America.
Click on graphs to enlarge.
The skills gap helps explain why the average weekly earnings of a worker age 20 to 24 is $537 ($27,924 per year) while those 25 to 34 average $778 ($40,456 per year).  Source BLS. 
Remember that no one earns the average meaning that if a 24 year old graduate chemical engineer is earning $70,000 per year (& there are many of them all over the country earning that or more) others in the first cohort above are earning in the teens to make the average come to $27,924.  Also, a 34 year old should be reaching the highest earning years of their working life so having the average of the second cohort above being only $40,456 is not a good sign for a prosperous American citizenry – either during their working years or in retirement, if any.
Click here to see a vivid example of the poor critical thinking skills found in the NJBIA member survey.  Actually the college students in the link do not use any critical thinking (
the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment
) in this example & potential employers have recognized this as a common trait of young poorly educated adults.
But there is good news for the high school juniors & seniors who meet or exceed test expectations & are planning to select a college in the near future.
The American Council Of Trustees & Alumni (ACTA) has just issued the 2017-18 edition of their annual study entitled What Will They Learn?  I have recommended previous editions of this report as an excellent starting point to compare a student's perception of a school with the reality of what the school offers.  Over 1,100 institutions are evaluated in the above ACTA report providing unique information regarding what the schools expect their graduates to study outside their majors, the tuition cost, & the four year graduation rate.  The 24 (out of over 1,100) schools that are rated "A" are listed & they can all be put on a one page comparison summary for easy analysis.  Two thirds of the schools surveyed earned a "C" or below.
In addition to the usual excellent academic analysis that ACTA has always provided Dr. Michael Poliakoff, ACTA President, writes "this year we've partnered with Heterodox Academy to incorporate their Guide to Colleges' viewpoint diversity scores for individual colleges.  These scores, along with a school's Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) rating, should help students and parents determine how committed a university is to freedom of speech and intellectual diversity."
The above Heterodox Academy website also includes information on whether the listed universities endorse the Chicago Principles on free expression (i.e., without a vibrant commitment to free and open inquiry, a university ceases to be a university), the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) ratings of how welcoming a school is to conservative & libertarian students, & a Relevant Events rating that indicates the commitment by faculty, administration, &/or students to protect or protest free inquiry & viewpoint diversity.
Students & parents who are in the process of choosing a college will find the above information provides an indispensable start in the selection process even if it is only used to make a list of questions to be answered by the prospective schools considered.
Please do not hesitate to contact me for further detail or help.  I work with both ACTA & ISI on higher education for Americans – which is one of my two passions in this world.
The other is the FairTax.

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