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.


The College Bubble and the Public Defunding of Colleges | Rortybomb

The College Bubble and the Public Defunding of Colleges | Rortybomb.

The key insight of this article:

The debt that is fueling the current costs of college are the result of a long-term set of decisions to shift the costs away from taxpayers and towards debt burdens for individual students.

If there is an education bubble (and I’m skeptical), it is important to recognize that it is willful defunding of an essential public good.

Are Colleges Over-Charging Students?


Colleges Spend Far Less on Educating Students Than They Claim, Report Says

American Enterprise Institute…hmmm, can we assume that this report is written in an unbiased fashion?  I also wonder why only “classroom instruction” counts as educating students.  If we narrowly define educating students in this manner, then it would seem highly likely that students are paying for a lot more than “classroom instruction.”

The inherent problem with this report, it would seem to me, is that it separates classroom instruction from many other supplementary elements of higher education.  These elements are NOT, indeed, unrelated to educating students,” rather, they are a vital part of the educational process.

This is equivalent to suggesting that professors only teach 8 or 10 hours a week, and therefore should only get paid for part-time work. All that “stuff” we do in our offices, at meetings, or attending professional conferences has nothing to do with “educating students” if you define it narrowly enough.

It’s unfortunate that the Chronicle is even taking this study seriously.