Why Aren’t College Students Learning Anything?

In this article, Brad Polumbo (currently a student at UMass) notes the following

In his book Academically Adrift, sociologist Richard Arum of New York University reports that 45 percent of undergraduate students show little advancement in their ability to think critically, reason, or write well after their first two years of college.

As a professor this is embarrassing. I don’t know if this statistics applies to my university or my discipline. But I think it is a problem. I don’t have any great insights. However, it seems that universities and professors are the ones that set these lower expectations. I have no doubt that if we challenged and encouraged our students, they would embrace the opportunity. Not everyone of them. But college never was for everyone. Maybe that is one of the problem. In our culture college is assumed to be necessary and useful to all. That wasn’t the case last generation and it certainly isn’t true.

Some Inconvenient Truths About Recycling

It has been long known that curbside recycling programs at best are break-even and in many cases lose money. This article from IBD shows that it may actually hurt the environment. One fun fact I learned from the article is

The claim that recycling is essential to avoid running out of landfill space is hogwash, since all the stuff Americans throw away for the next 1,000 years would fit into “one-tenth of 1% of land available for grazing,” Tierney says.

Thus the primary reason I had for supporting recycling (reducing the impact of land fills) is inconsequential.