Odds and Ends

WordPress was down most of yesterday, preventing me from posting.  Here are some of the topics I was considering for a post:

  • I finally saw The Social Network.  As always, I enjoyed Aaron Sorkin’s clever, rapid-fire dialog, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how creepy it was to write a fictionalized and unflattering account of real, living people.  There is no evidence that Mark Zuckerberg is the status and girl-craving jerk that Sorkin made him out to be, but there is plenty of evidence that Sorkin behaves that way.  I guess the film is really a fictionalized autobiography of Aaron Sorkin, except that Sorkin didn’t create a multi-billion dollar enterprise that tens of millions enjoy using and that has helped topple despots in the Middle East.
  • I saw that my fellow Manhattan Institute-refugee, Walter Olson, has a new book out on how law schools perpetuate a political ideology that gives more power to lawyers and government. Schools of Misrule sounds like it has a fascinating thesis except I suspect that the same argument could be made about almost every department at universities.  I can assure you that the social sciences are filled with people who sit around in their offices dreaming about how the rest of the world should be structured if only the world would listen to them.  I guess the difference is that law school grads are actually more likely to have to power to put their dreams into action.
  • Jim Stergios has a great post over at Pioneer comparing Bill Gates and Steve Jobs on their visions for education.  He writes:

So Bill Gates lets us all know what he really has in mind on standards and the liberal arts. In a speech to the National Governors Association in late February, he suggests that higher education spending be devoted largely to job-producing disciplines.

In his view we should drop funding at the higher ed level for the liberal arts, because there is not much economic impact/job creation impact from the liberal arts.

Compare that to Steve Jobs, who during his release of the iPad 2 (admittedly not the most successful launch I’ve seen of an Apple product), trumpeted the liberal arts.

Be sure to read the full thing because the quotations from Gates and Jobs are illuminating.

7 Responses to Odds and Ends

  1. Greg Forster says:

    There is a lot – a lot – of backstory to Sorkin and The Social Network. If you’re curious, start here and follow the links.

    And great news! Sorkin’s next project is a biopic of . . . John Edwards! How can that possibly go wrong?

  2. I didn’t know that Sorkin was interested in communicating with the dead:

    Oh, there’s an “s” on the end. Same difference.

  3. Stuart Buck says:

    Diane Ravitch told the American Association of School Administrators recently:

    . Researchers used to argue about whether voucher students were making greater progress than those in regular public schools. But there is now a research consensus that the children in voucher schools get no greater performance gains than the children in regular public schools.

  4. matthewladner says:

    Sounds like she reached a consensus among the voices in her head.

    • Patrick says:

      LOL… I’m still disappointed that my “debate” against Diane Ravitch on Vegas Public Radio was limited to her on a pre-recorded interview….

      That said, I can understand Gate’s argument especially since we spend so much money on higher education today…one begins to question the value of non professional degrees like the liberal arts. That said, while they can be useful, there is no reason why a liberal arts degree should cost student and taxpayers alike $20,000 a year.

  5. Stuart Buck says:

    Whoops, I meant to leave that comment on the voucher post above.

  6. Daniel Earley says:

    Gates once again meets my slumping expectations. His intent to prepare students for “work, life and citizenship” appears to translate more accurately as “workers, with a pulse and a citizen number.”

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