William J. Turkel dreams up lunchtime conversation with first-years:
Â If I were chatting with freshmen, say over lunch, I’d be looking for students who had heard of Eliza and the Turing test and had a well-developed sense of anachronism. That hasn’t happened to me yet.
Love the last sentence: Turkel’s a master of understatement.Â I’d need to check with my wife, but it’s probably safe to say I’d buy a yearlong meal plan for a first-year student capable of having that chat.
And, at the Chronicle,Â Mark Bauerlein laments the impoverished diction of his students:
Â â€œTry an experiment,â€ I sometimes urge students. â€œThe next time youâ€™re in the cafeteria with four friends and the colloquy turns to Obama, mutter this: â€˜Such mellifluous sonorities the man produces.â€™ See how they react.â€
My students already think I’m crazy.
Meanwhile, closer to home, the local paper yesterday published this cheery claim about the New Britain public schools:
â€œWe have 70 percent of fourth graders who arenâ€™t meeting the standard and canâ€™t read at the proficient grade level,â€ [Enrique E.] Juncadella said.
Now, I am not a mathematician, but I think that means only 30% of fourth-grade students in New Britain read at grade level.Â That’s terrifying.
But what’s really scary is that the superintendent told the parents a couple of weekends ago that 84% of New Britain High graduates go on to college.Â Now, granted, those are different cohorts, but those two figures suggest only a couple of interpretations: either NB public schools are populated by stone pedagogical geniuses,Â who get 54% more students up to grade-level by the time they graduate, *or* a certain subset of those students are going off to college without the reading skills necessary to succeed.