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  #626  
Old 11-02-2012, 07:04 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

I can't imagine that a degree from a school with such terrible students and administration would be worth much. My friend who was working at UC Davis switched to Southern Florida, she noticed a huge dip in the learning abilities and drive of the students.

Also I keep wondering if there are a lot of students with undiagnosed learning disabilities getting into these schools.
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  #627  
Old 11-04-2012, 06:36 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

TLR nailed it earlier, most schools don't teach critical thinking, learning or even facts. They teach filling in the box to match the box on the teachers answer sheet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
Or they require you to earn only a 1.0 (out of 4.0). And frankly, a brain-dead chimpanzee could earn a 1.0 in most of the Introductory-level classes.]
While it's probably against school policy, you could always shame them by claiming an experimental device will allow a brain damaged chimpanzee to take the class, and include the chimpanzees scores when handing them out. Perhaps mention that while the chimpanzee lost an eye in its horrific accident, it is still able to do some of the reading. Bonus for having a fake camera and speaker that occasionally throws a fit over a low score.
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  #628  
Old 11-04-2012, 08:03 PM
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Reading Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
So, this morning's lab in the Introduction to Science class was about the Hertzspruung-Russell diagram
I recently been exposed to the H-R Diagram. It's pretty cool. What a coincidence. I find places like this forum, and surrounding yourself with conversations like this are great ways of learning new things. But the rest is up to us.

Here's an example, I always read about Eukaryotes and prokaryotes. But lately I wanted to purchase a Microscope and see the cell structure for myself.
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  #629  
Old 12-18-2012, 07:02 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Saw this and thought of TLR:

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  #630  
Old 12-24-2012, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Lol, RA has been besieged by students trying to get bumped up in the curve to the next letter grade. I think my favorite excuse is "I tried to learn, give me credit!" Not that they learned, but that they tried. RA says usually when he goes back to check their grades, they didn't attend classes or their break out/labs. So they didn't really even try to learn, according to my definition of trying.
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  #631  
Old 12-24-2012, 02:32 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

"I tried to bump your grade up..."
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  #632  
Old 12-24-2012, 03:44 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

A young woman whom I used to date is now a middle-school counselor. She has told me on occasion that she thinks "No Child Left Behind" has been an unmitigated disaster. She further claims that every teacher she has talked with about has similar impressions.

Her claim is that, under NCLB, schools are all but required to "teach to the test." And so it's all about rote memorization of the "facts" that they'll need in order to pass the test. No context that would allow them to make sense of these fact and fit them into a larger framework, no critical-thinking exercises -- just straight teaching to the test.
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  #633  
Old 12-31-2012, 01:23 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

And hell, if they can't memorize the test, then teachers can just fix that for them.
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  #634  
Old 01-04-2013, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

For the past 2 days, those of us in the Science Department have had to attend a seminar on "Teaching Students How to Read for the Sciences." It was ... interesting.

I don't really have much complaint about the seminar itself, much less the speaker. It was more about how badly it was managed. First, from discussions with her, it became all too evident that the speaker hadn't been told that this would be the subject of the seminar -- at least, not until the last moment.

So, she comes in and starts talking about metaphors and whatnot, and gives us an excerpt from Moby Dick to read. As we got more and more restless, she became more and more aware that something was seriously wrong. So, we rather pointedly explained to her that metaphor has no place in serious science writing, and that if you're reading a science textbook or an article in a science journal and you're looking for the symbolism and trying to decide what metaphors the author is trying to put across -- then you're missing the point entirely. ("Yes," we explained, "scientists often use analogies to help explain concepts. But an analogy is a very different thing from a metaphor.)


So then, as an example of actual science writing, she has us read an article from Time magazine. A really badly-written article. An article in which it was abundantly clear that the author didn't understand the subject matter -- so what was there was oversimplified to the point of uselessness, and several of the claims were flat-out wrong. At this point, the natives were growing very restless indeed.

We explained to her -- again, rather pointedly, and in some detail -- that not one of us regarded this as a good or even acceptable example of science writing.

To her credit, she freely admitted that she had very little knowledge of science or science writing herself. But then, she hadn't known she was supposed to be teaching about science writing. So most of us were inclined to cut her some slack.

What actually happened, is that we spent most of the time teaching her about how to read a science article. How to read a graph, and why graphs are so important. That sort of thing. She freely told us that she had learned a lot more from us than vice versa.

In an odd sort of way, it was kind of satisfying.
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  #635  
Old 01-04-2013, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

One valuable thing about the seminar was that most of us are so used to thinking this way that it doesn't occur to us that a lot of people don't understand that the entire point of good science writing is to convey information as concisely and as accurately as possible. And so pretty-much any scientist is going to be aghast -- if not outright horrified -- by the notion that you should be looking for "higher meaning" or "symbolism" in science writing.

Something else that drew us all up very sharply -- and had some in the seminar responding less than entirely politely, I must admit -- was her complaint that she couldn't read science articles because they had all these "pointless" graphs and charts, and they made no sense.

Oh, that really set some people off! [She also made the mistake of using the word "believe" on a few occasions when talking about DNA function. Oh, don't ever use the expression "Scientists believe." That really pisses us off!]

Anyway, the entire point of a properly-constructed graph is that it shows you processes or relationships in a concise and [relatively] easily-understood way. A popular saying is that "a good graph is worth ten-thousand words." Indeed, I'd go so far as to say -- as several of my colleagues did say -- that in a properly-done research paper, you really only need to read the Abstract, plus the Charts and Graphs. All the remaining writing is just filling in the details.

This actually lead to a very enlightening discussion. There were a couple of people who had become a bit ... confrontational ... by this point. So at the lunch break, Pat and I took it upon ourselves to very gently walk her through a graph, and to emphasize that a properly-constructed graph actually provides a lot of information, and in a very simple-to-understand format.

If only you know how to read it. Since she had actually shown us an ECG as an example of a seemingly-"meaningless" graph that really conveyed no useful information, I quickly sketched an ECG for her, and then walked her through how one can glean a lot of information from it, if only you know what it means.


Here's an ECG (electrocardiogram). It measures the electrical activity of the heart:

The X-axis measures time. The Y-axis measures electrical activity. With just that, we can see quite a lot in the graph.


First, note the P wave. This corresponds to the firing of the SA Node, which initiates the heartbeat, and the movement of electrical impulses that cause contraction of the atria of the heart. Note that the 2 atria contract simultaneously (otherwise, there would be 2 P waves). Note also that the atria are relatively small and contract with relatively little force (indicated by the relatively small deflection of the P wave). A little less obviously, the atria contract from the top downward, and so pump blood downward, into the ventricles (otherwise, the P wave would be inverted).

Then there's a distinct pause of about 0.1 - 0.2 seconds before the larger AV node fires, generating a much larger impulse. You can see in the QRS Complex that the AV Node generates a much larger impulse than does the SA Node. (The ventricles are much larger and much more muscular than are the atria.) Note that the impulse reverses direction, as is clearly shown in the chart. It first moves downward to the apex (bottom) of the heart, and then moves upward through the myocardium of the ventricles, triggering ventricular contraction. So you've no-doubt noticed that this means the ventricles (unlike the atria) contract from the bottom upward. This means that the ventricles pump blood upward, and into the great arteries (the Pulmonary Trunk and the Aortic Trunk) that carry blood out of the heart. And they generate a lot more force to pump the blood than do the atria (which only have to pump blood to the ventricles). Also, the chart shows that, like the atria, the 2 ventricles contract simultaneously.

Finally, there is another pause before the ventricles repolarize. (This is the T wave.) If you think about it, this means that there is necessarily a limit to how fast the heart can beat, since the ventricles cannot contract again until after they have repolarized.


Yes, obviously, you need some specialized knowledge to read the chart. But the point is, far from being "meaningless" or "incomprehensible," the chart actually conveys a lot of information, and in a very compact and fairly intuitive form. A student who knows what the X-axis and Y-axis on the chart represent can actually glean a lot of useful information about how the heart functions from that simple ECG.


Here's a nifty animated graph that more clearly shows the relationship between heart activity and the ECG:



Anyway, the take-home message is that we received a very pointed reminder that most students are not receiving proper instruction in what most working scientists regard as not just important but essential knowledge -- like the purpose of scientific writing, how to read a graph, and why graphs are so important. And the speaker gained a much better understanding of the differences between what scientists are looking for in "good writing" and what people in other fields may be looking for.
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  #636  
Old 01-05-2013, 01:32 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

So, I just finished Tony Danza's book about being a teacher in a Philadelphia high school for a year. It started out a little weak, but by the end of the book it had really drawn me in.

I thought he did a good job of articulating the plight of the average public school teacher in America. I have a number of teachers in my extended family, and all of his themes jived with things I've heard them say. There are no easy solutions to raise the quality of public education in the U.S., and the book is a good read because I think teachers (and their unions) have gotten a bad rap in the press as of late. The cool thing to demand now is teacher accountability, but if you look at what they're dealing with, many of them are already doing the best they can with scarce resources and students with tumultuous home lives (to put it mildly).

Wasn't sure whether to post this here or in the "What are you reading" thread, but I thought it belonged here more. It's a good book, and at 245 pages, it's a breezy read.
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  #637  
Old 02-03-2013, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Ga.’s back-door voucher program riddled with deception | Jay Bookman
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  #638  
Old 02-04-2013, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Hmm. Georgia government program full of corruption; starts a program to help the rich white kids? There's a new one. /sarcasm
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:14 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by curses View Post
rich white kids
Don't forget Christian and straight! :awesome:
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  #640  
Old 02-04-2013, 12:54 AM
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I read some of your foolish scree, then just skimmed the rest.
 
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Fucking welfare queens wasting tax payers money on... oh they're white? I mean using their hard earned taxes to defend American values!

Yep nothing questionable going on hereIn fact, in 2011 legislators passed a law making it a crime to release any information about the inner workings of the program.

Unlike those dirty people on strict government controlled Temporary assistance programs, I bet they are using it to buy drugs.
Don't worry about those poor people taking your money! Governor Deal to the rescue!
Governor protecting 'our' money"This program [Mandatory drug testing of TANF recipients] is intended as a safety net, and this requirement guarantees that the benefits are used for their intended purposes -- to care for children and assist with job preparation."
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  #641  
Old 02-08-2013, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

I just got back from working with a bunch of 5th graders. Some of my colleagues and I were teaching them to dissect frogs.

Lots of fun for everyone involved. But one thing I couldn't help but notice was that though she was admirably enthusiastic and patient, the teacher was trying to keep track of and minister to the individual needs of 29 different, highly energetic 10- and 11-year-olds. Just her; no assistants. A virtually impossible task, if you ask me. [There were 7 of us teaching the dissections -- me, 4 of my colleagues, and 2 student teachers that we corralled into helping us. And still, it was hard to get all of the students organized and working together. I think the experience would have been better for everyone if the student/instructor ratio had been lower than 4/1.]


Sometimes, I'm amazed that kids manage to learn anything at all under the conditions that prevail in the primary schools.
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  #642  
Old 02-12-2013, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Here, TLR. Someone wrote you a letter:

Quote:
You are a college professor.

I have just retired as a high school teacher.

I have some bad news for you.
A warning to college profs from a high school teacher
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  #643  
Old 02-15-2013, 06:59 PM
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Found this article somewhere, probably Fark. Thought it was stating the obvious having just come out of a college setting. I can't draw a parallel between the kids I went to school with over the past four years versus my previous college experience due to the fact it was "art school" or more of a technical college environment. Most of the kids at Art Institute, though...:no2:

Dropouts weren't prepared in first place, study finds
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  #644  
Old 02-15-2013, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ensign Steve View Post
Here, TLR. Someone wrote you a letter:

Quote:
You are a college professor.

I have just retired as a high school teacher.

I have some bad news for you.
A warning to college profs from a high school teacher
Oh goody! I wasn't feeling sufficiently depressed today. :kickscan:


Actually, though, several of us in the department were talking about that very article earlier in the week. And also about a recent spate of articles about students suing schools when they don't get the grades that they want.

Part of that, doubtless, can be attributed to a sense of entitlement. I've said it before, but I think it bears repeating: if we treat education as a commodity, then students will naturally tend to assume that you [deserve to] get what you pay for. I've certainly encountered students who will -- without a trace of visible embarrassment -- tell you that they've paid their tuition and that they therefore expect to get a certain grade. And then, said student will make absolutely no effort to earn that grade.

And it makes sense. After all, if I've paid for something, then why on Earth should I have to earn it?

That's why so many of us start grinding our teeth every time we hear our illustrious President talk about how "our students are our customers" and how we need to improve our "customer service." [No, students are not our customers. They are our product.]


That's why I've fallen into the habit of telling students on the first day of each class that they most-definitely have not paid for a grade, and I don't "owe" them a good grade. They have paid for the privilege of attending my class -- and if they want a good grade, they'll have to earn it.


Even so, I frequently get students who express surprise when they don't get the grades they think they deserve. Even students who have failed every single test sometimes complain and say that they nonetheless deserve at least a "B" in the course -- having paid their tuition and all. For example, I had a student last semester who failed every single exam, and who did not turn in any of the homework assignments. And I'm more or less certain that she didn't do any of the reading assignments, either.

And she didn't fail by a little, either. She failed spectacularly. Honestly, I'd be willing to bet that a random person pulled off the street, a person who had never taken the course, would have done better on the exams. And despite me first suggesting and eventually all but begging -- she would not come to see me during office hours to discuss her performance and how she might improve it.

So, the day after the final grades were turned in and posted, and she learned that she had failed the course, she sent me a long, indignant e-mail in which she insisted that she deserved a "B" in the course, and couldn't understand why I had given her a failing grade. She also asked if there was anything she could do to bring her grade up.

Naturally, of course, I sent her a detailed reply, in which I pointed out that she really shouldn't have been surprised that she had failed the course -- not after failing every single exam, after refusing to do any of the homework assignments, and after showing up for maybe -- maybe -- half of the classes (and even when she bothered to actually show up, she seldom showed up on time). I further explained that no, there would be no "extra credit" and that I had explained in the very first class that "extra credit" is a scam, that the syllabus lays out very precisely what is expected in order to earn a passing grade, and that there would never be any "extra credit" assigned.

[I realize that "extra credit" is not always a scam; only 99.99% of the time. If a capable student missed class for reasons not his/her fault, I would be amenable to giving him or her some "extra" assignments so that (s)he could make up the work that (s)he had missed. That's not "extra credit" in my book, however. In such a case, the goal would be for the student to learn the material that (s)he should have learned, but didn't, due to circumstances beyond his or her control. But don't come to me and ask for "extra credit" because you want to "earn" a few extra points when the reason you didn't get those points in the first place is because you didn't do the assigned work when it was due.]



On a related note, a student walked into my lab yesterday morning, holding a cup of coffee. I very bluntly told her to get out and not come back into the room until she had disposed of the coffee, one way or the other. This earned me a "how dare you?" death glare, but she complied.

This sort of thing happens, on average, at least once a week.

This, despite the fact that I have put a great big, laminated sign on the door of the lab that says "ABSOLUTELY NO FOOD OR DRINK ALLOWED IN THE LAB." And despite the fact that I very pointedly told them that absolutely no food or drink is allowed in the lab during the first lecture. And despite the fact that it's on the syllabus. And despite the fact that I frequently remind them that there is absolutely no food or drink allowed in the lab. And why.

Nonetheless, a very significant portion of the students seem to honestly believe that this does not apply to them, and that they should be free to do whatever they want -- after all, they're paying for the privilege, right? -- including bringing food and drink into the lab.

And I have to admit, the next time some idiot tries to bring food or drink into the lab, I'm tempted to say: "You know what? If you really feel that you must have an open container of food or drink in the lab, despite the fact that there's every chance of spilling it onto your or your partners' notes and books -- if you want to be that rude and inconsiderate, then go right ahead. Oh, by the way, you do remember that we do dissections in here, correct? And chemistry labs? And microbiology labs? But hey, if you're so stupid as to think that it's okay to have open containers of food and drink in a lab where dissections are done, and chemistry experiments, and god forbid, microbiology labs, then you know what? Frankly, the gene pool really doesn't need you."
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Last edited by The Lone Ranger; 02-15-2013 at 09:37 PM.
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  #645  
Old 02-15-2013, 09:38 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
... and that they should be free to do whatever they want -- after all, they're paying for the privilege, right? --
If I had $100 for every time I heard this, or the popular "I'm paying your salary" then my student loan would be paid off. So damn frustrating.
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  #646  
Old 02-15-2013, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Honestly, I'd be willing to bet that a random person pulled off the street, a person who had never taken the course, would have done better on the exams. And despite me first suggesting and eventually all but begging -- she would not come to see me during office hours to discuss her performance and how she might improve it.
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This, despite the fact that I have put a great big, laminated sign on the door of the lab that says "ABSOLUTELY NO FOOD OR DRINK ALLOWED IN THE LAB."
As one might expect this was the policy in the lab where I worked. I broke this rule on one occassion. We had an intern working the second shift. Being a young and attractive coed she turned the heads of the hard working technicians working hard downstairs. Downstairs, mind you, was where the breakroom lay. One late evening she leaves for her lunch break only to reappear a little later. She pokes her head in the lab and asks if she could have her lunch in the lab. See, the hard working guys working hard downstairs were giving her the creeps by gawking at her like half evolved jackanapes.
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  #647  
Old 02-16-2013, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

At least the courts haven't completely lost their minds. They ruled against a student who sued over a C+ grade. The thing that really gets me about that story is that her father is a professor at the college she sued. You'd think he would have taught her more respect for her teachers.
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  #648  
Old 02-16-2013, 11:36 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

I am Sooooo glad I got out of teaching when I did. I really don't like the idea of spending a lot of time in prison for killing a student, and that was one of the things I said to my wife, "I've got to get out of teaching before I kill someone".
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  #649  
Old 02-18-2013, 04:59 PM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Actually, though, several of us in the department were talking about that very article earlier in the week. And also about a recent spate of articles about students suing schools when they don't get the grades that they want.
It's rather like an overweight person suing a gym because they've paid all the dues but they didn't become thin, despite never once entering the gym and working out at the weights and cardio machines that their dues paid for.

These people are going to find out that a reputation for being litigious when everything isn't arranged just as they would like it is going to harm them far more than C's on their transcripts. Now their names are irrevocably in the news and on the internet in association with frivolous lawsuits.
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  #650  
Old 02-19-2013, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: Fucking education! How does it work?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Lone Ranger View Post
Actually, though, several of us in the department were talking about that very article earlier in the week. And also about a recent spate of articles about students suing schools when they don't get the grades that they want.
It's rather like an overweight person suing a gym because they've paid all the dues but they didn't become thin, despite never once entering the gym and working out at the weights and cardio machines that their dues paid for.

These people are going to find out that a reputation for being litigious when everything isn't arranged just as they would like it is going to harm them far more than C's on their transcripts. Now their names are irrevocably in the news and on the internet in association with frivolous lawsuits.
Is this some new social network where people rate each other on their social behavior that I haven't heard about? It sounds just like the sort of place that litigious people would want to sue.
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