Pipes and Theories: “Report Concludes That Big Classes Enroll More Students Than Small Classes”


Here is a great take down by Joe Ura at Pipes and Theories of a really dumb analysis of “productivity” of college professors. Studies like this are very upsetting because they come from places that should know more about empirical analysis. The validity of framing the measures in this way and making conclusions that universities could cut their instructional faculty significantly (as long as all the classes were 300 person classes) seems utterly ridiculous!

Pipes and Theories: Report Concludes That Big Classes Enroll More Students Than Small Classes
Here is the article he refers to in the Austin Statesman.

Here is the “scientific” productivity study by Richard Vedder.


Alright Atlanta!

Atlanta Makes the (bottom of the) List

So, ATL is 91st out of 100 in public transportation in terms of coverage and usefulness in accessing place of employment. Is there another city on that bottom 10 even close to Atlanta’s size? Well, at least we don’ have a traffic problem or smog to deal with!

Tea Party “Adopt a School”…

MoJo: The Tea Party Wants to Teach Your Kids About the Constitution

So, does your institution commemorate “Constitution Week” in any way since Senator Byrd was able to pass a law requiring it? (Is that even constitutional?)  At my institution we do have a ceremony every year.  Typically, we honor the Constitution by asking a speaker to come and discuss a relevant constitutional issue.  For instance, last fall, we had a speaker come and discuss the implications of Arizona’s Immigration law. Previously, we’ve had political cartoonist Mike Luckovich speak about 1st Amendment issues.  I very much enjoy this annual chance to stop and reflect on the meaning of the Constitution today.  Certainly, as a political scientist, I place a great deal of importance on emphasizing civic education, but can we mandate such behavior?  Is it meaningful to force feed democracy to unmotivated citizens?  Are their ways to make disengaged and disenfranchised citizens care more about the political process?

That being said, isn’t there some politically active group out there rallying under the slogan “Don’t Tread On Me!” that would surely want to stop any such state sponsored indoctrination?  Man, we should figure out who that group is and let them know about this so they can stop it…right?

True Cost of Health Care…It’s not Obesity!

Aaron Carol, at the Incidental Economist, presents some nice tables looking at Heath care costs in the United States.

These tables compliment the nice infographic that was used by Ezra Klein earlier this week in his discussion about the cost of health care.

Source: Medical Billing and Coding

Another Myth Illuminated

Another Myth Illuminated?

Ezra’s Article

Ezra Klein offers a nice resource with several sources of data on various social security projections that would run counter to what most of our students believe regarding this program. Is it important to you to demonstrate the exaggeration of this problem to your students?

Gallup: Republican Presidential Support Breakdown

Romney’s GOP Supporters Tilt Upscale; Palin’s, Downscale

This table pretty much tells the story of the Republican base. I would love to see this compared to the size of each category. That is, does this profile mean that it will be very hard for Romney to get mass appeal in the Republican primaries?

USA Today – U.S. tax burden at lowest level since ’58

Taxes are way too high, right?

USA Today – U.S. tax burden at lowest level since ’58

This is one of those “myths” that seems to sneak into the public consciousness that we have to deal with as political scientists.

How do you handle presenting students factual information about taxation, something they are predisposed to disbelieve?