Links, 4/9/10

  • I don’t much like the line about conservatives showing minorities less respect than others, but otherwise, David Boaz’s “Up from Slavery” is a powerful critique of our tendency to romanticize the American founding and implicitly ally with some very dubious groups. Freedom is work, and when you’re truly free, you work for others. (h/t aldaily.com)
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article on how some professors are outsourcing grading (I’m still wondering if this is an April Fool’s joke or not): they’re shipping off assignments to be graded by low-wage workers. I ask that if you know any professor doing anything like this, you demand nothing less than their resignation from them at any given moment, in any given place. There is no argument for this position: it is the ultimate triumph of consumerism over the academy, and it is absolutely a breach of professional ethics. I share my knowledge currently for virtually nothing (the donate button never got installed). Anyone who claims to be an educator in any sense should be willing to do the same to a reasonable degree. (h/t aldaily.com)
  • Megan McArdle, “Polling the Budget” – from the article: voters consistently say they’d rather cut spending than raise taxes to reduce the deficit.  But when you ask them what they want to cut, the only program there is strong support for cutting is foreign aid . . . which is like trying to pay off your credit cards by slashing your chewing gum budget.
  • Nicholas Kristof, “Postcard from Zimbabwe” (h/t Josh) – from the article: In Kizita’s village, for example, I met a 29-year-old woman, seven months pregnant, who had malaria. She and her husband had walked more than four miles to the nearest clinic, where she tested positive for malaria. But the clinic refused to give her some life-saving antimalaria medicine unless she paid $2 — and she had no money at all in her house. So, dizzy and feverish, she stumbled home for another four miles, empty-handed. As it happened, the clinic that turned her down was one that I had already visited. Nurses there had complained that they were desperately short of bandages, antibiotics and beds. They said that to survive, they impose fees for seeing patients, for family planning, for safe childbirth — and the upshot is that impoverished villagers die because they can’t pay.

2 Comments

  1. I’m not sure I see such a big problem with the outsourcing grading idea… did you see where it said she has 1000 students in her class each year? There’s no way she, personally, can spend enough time on each paper to give decent feedback. She already has TAs helping out, which is standard practice, I believe. What is the difference between a hired TA and a hired professional grader?

  2. @ Christine – As always, your comment is appreciated, and you cut right at the heart of the matter. What is the difference between a hired TA and a hired professional grader nowadays?

    The Chronicle, which reports these matters to us, is notable for how little it actually talks about what is learned in school, and discusses the university as a business more or less. That sort of discussion is inevitable, I grant. How much should it dominate?

    (Not asking you to answer these, this is for discussion)

Leave a Comment