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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

College Dropout Has 26 Million Students - and No Teacher's License!

Each year, I have between 80 and 150 students. This is called 'having influence over young people'.

In NY State, you need at least 18 'education credits', a BA and then an MS/MA from a University.

Then you need to take a Content Specialty Exam (CSE), the LAST (a liberal arts exam), and an ATS-W (teacher theory / jargon) exam.

The State has implemented more exams to take for people who went through the system after I did. Each one of these exams has a fee attached to it. It must be a great moneymaker for NY state government and colleges - seeing all the people going to college to become teachers.

I've mentioned and Here is another site run by a guy with 26 million students. He dropped out of college. This means he doesn't have a teaching credential. Just like Salman Khan over at How many millions of young people use khanacademy? It is, according to Alexa, 694th most popular in the US and 1700th in the world. This is a huge amount of traffic, seeing that there are millions of websites around the world.

From the article: "Zach Sims, a college dropout founded Codecademy, a website which enables users to learn six popular programming languages, via a simple interface, for free. Codecademy is three years old now, and Sims has 26 million students."

Does this mean college is useless? Of course not. It also doesn't mean all of your certified teachers are morons. Now that we're past 7th grade it's clear there are no absolutes, that there are always exceptions. But here's what you're told, and what I was told, and what is still told to students nationwide: "go to college, get a diploma, and if you want to become a teacher get certified and then get a job". This is what we're told - repeatedly - in schools. I hear it every day, and see signs in the hallway saying it as well.

Place that quote next to what the article says, under the subheading 'Relevant Skills': ""We were spending our days learning about Greek mythology, and our nights studying thick financial modelling textbooks. We figured if students at Columbia - a top five school in the country, can't find jobs when they graduate, there was probably a problem." So Zach started to teach himself to code. "We built the first version of Codecademy for me," he explains, and with the help of a friend, Ryan Bubinski, he expanded the site. Mr Bubinski became co-founder and together they launched Codecademy, in August 2011. In the first weekend more than 200,000 people used the product - "it gave the ability to send emails to all those people who said the market size was limited," Zach quips, unable to suppress a smile."

There's never just one way. Perhaps in the hard sciences, engineering and high order mathematics the top tier university route is the way to go. I have a suspicion that your top intellect peers, coupled with a few amazing professors will really be the goldmine you'll find at that level - not the 'credential' you'll get.

People told these young men that the 'market size was limited'. Did they listen? No.

The market for your skills is out there. Think of what you do well, what relevant skills you have, and sell them to the market. If you fail, fail quickly and start over.

The internet is moving faster than the dinosaurs in your school. They are going extinct, and some of them will give you advice that will make your job prospects extinct.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

With Isaiah “Elite Buckets” Rhodes

We discuss the Josh Smith release, along with the shocking state of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and some other aspects of the NBA. Intelligent commentary only – if you want screaming and empty analysis, you must go elsewhere.

The Decline and Fall of the ARC, and the Entrepreneurial Skill of Mike Dolce

The ARC is no more, not that it ever was anything to speak of – just the usual farce of school. Mike Dolce shows you how to do something entrepreneurial that ‘has been done before’. A lesson in entrepreneurship.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


It used to be one of the major arguments I would get into on Facebook. I would talk about how people don't think, don't read, don't pay attention, don't ask questions, don't recognize logical fallacies... - inevitably someone would come after me and tell me that literacy rates are the highest they have ever been. The only way that is possible is if what what passes for literacy is at a lower level now than in the old days.

How do I know this? Where is the evidence?
  • Look at Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies". Do you see 'soporific' on the first page? That's a children's story. From a hundred years ago. What children's book did you read that had SAT vocabulary? I didn't think so. 
  • Go to google and type in "Kenny Hignite" and look at his junior high school civics exam. Not only couldn't you do as well as he did, they don't teach civics anymore. It might hurt someone's feelings. 
  • Look at McGuffey's sixth reader. That is a book intended for the 10th grader - of 1880. Graduate students at today's universities would curl up in the fetal position and soil themselves. Don't believe me? Look it up - it's easy to find in pdf form. I have a copy on my laptop in case I'm in the mood to have my literacy level placed on HGH and steroids. 

Those examples come from memory - it wouldn't take much to find others.

The article referenced in the title talks about something that is going on today, and seems to be true. What it talks about that's important is twofold. The first is that the expert quoted is the only academic on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) committee. She now tours the country speaking out against common core. She quit the committee, as did the mathematic professor, in disgust and refused to sign off on what was produced. This was the legislation that was eagerly signed by your state legislators via bribe and is touted by your 'school leaders' as the thing that will save the flagging academic performances at your school. I had no idea about this back story to common core, it wasn't shared with us in the teacher meetings. Our 'leaders' followed it because they were told to by the Big Shots in State Gov't.

The second main point is that this lack of literacy is easily overcome. You can get past it and be the best by NOT doing what the students in the article do. They read at a low level on their off time. Their down time is spent reading things at a junior high school level. If you constantly practice on an 8 foot rim, you'll never be skilled on the real thing. You need to read at a level that will stretch your mind a bit - push your capabilities. I have always recommended Hawthorne, Dickens, Poe, Doyle and Melville. There are other authors who will give you an intellectual workout as well. Find them and read them. I can help you with this.

Quotes from the article that are noteworthy: 

  • "Dr. Sandra Stotsky is best known for serving on the Common Core Validation Committee in 2009-10 and refusing to approve standards she called ‘inferior', along with colleague James Milgram, Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University." 
  • “We are spending billions of dollars trying to send students to college and maintain them there when, on average, they read at about the grade 6 or 7 level, according to Renaissance Learning's latest report on what American students in grades 9-12 read, whether assigned or chosen.” 
  • Stotsky clarified, “The average reading level for five of the top seven books assigned as summer reading by 341 colleges using Renaissance Learning's readability formula was rated 7.56.” That means, a large number of college freshman are basically reading on a level of grade 7 at the sixth month mark. 

That means get YOUR reading level up, on your own, and read at a higher level than your peers, and do all the pre college exams and essays better than they do.

Full article here:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Water Freezes at What Temperature?

Here I go into how my 3rd period class of HIGH SCHOOLERS did not know the temperature at which water freezes. This is not hyperbole or silliness. They didn't know. How does that happen? What is the school system teaching in 'science' class in the younger grades?