January 19th, 2006

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I read about the Knitting Olympics and would be interested in doing them.

But, finals are right smack dab in the middle of that, so I would need something very small. Maybe that would be the time to try a worsted weight sock or something. Or maybe a fingerless mitten (with the other to be done afterward). I'll have to think on it. Using DPNs wouldn't be completely new

And I know we need the snow, but why does it always have to come just in time to royally screw up rush hour? I'm sure there's an explanation somewhere.

I'm actually kind of pouting as I can't take my walk today. I was so happy that I was able to yesterday.

Spook and Boo have figured out that going in my closet is off-limits. The closet doors are the sliding panels that have top tracks. Normally I've seen these with a bottom guide (that doesn't look great when installed over carpet, but it does the job), but my current place doesn't have the bottom guide and you can pull the doors outward (so they are swing from the top). Wizard has figured this out and will either swing the door, make a major racket banging it on the other door and wake me up or go in the closet. Since the doors are closed, I can't tell what he's doing in there, but I've had a couple times where I've discovered cat pee in there and I don't want a repeat. This morning Spook and Boo woke me up by tattling on Wizard. Boo guarded the closet and meowed at it (and not to get in, because she can without help), while Spook walked all over my chest and head, meowing at me. I'm not sure it had any effect on Wizo.
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College graduates cannot handle many complex but common tasks

I just ran across this article and the implications are kind of scary to me.

Many of the tasks in the article were things I was doing in high school. I cannot imagine a near college graduate unable to do them.

From the article:

That means they [the students surveyed] could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.

The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.

Critical thinking and basic math are skills that I learned in high school. The people surveyed in this article are all most-likely high school graduates. While this article does explain why I feel some days that people don't understand what they read and goes a long way to illustrate the perils that our debt carries (people aren't going to realize just how far in debt they are), it makes me wonder, how did we get here? Didn't our parents know this stuff? The people surveyed in the article are about six years younger than me, so I'm not really that far removed from them.

Has education changed so much in the past decade? Have expectations? I've read several things about how parents don't want kids held back in school and school no longer posting honor rolls and such. Articles and parents attribute it to not wanting to harm a child's self-esteem, but I've always seen it in a less charitable light: parents don't want their self-esteems trampled because their children aren't the cream of the crop. It seems like this is a bad situation, and I feel like the bar is coming down because the competition is being removed.

What could cause these type of results to come up in a study? Are my parents just smarter than average? Did critical thinking get removed from the curriculum?

Also, compared with all adults with similar levels of education, college students had superior skills in searching and using information from texts and documents.

"But do they do well enough for a highly educated population? For a knowledge-based economy? The answer is no," said Joni Finney, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, an independent and non-partisan group.

With so many complaints of jobs going overseas, we are becoming a service economy and the higher-tech portion of that is knowledge-based. We need a highly-educated population to get ahead.