November 28th, 2013


Turkey Day

Dad in Florida (alas, Grandpa is ailing, but that will no doubt be another post, all too soon) & Mom is... well... Should I get into this? Her world has become narrow and circumscribed. She wanted to have us over, but only to go out to eat at a restaurant. I have reservations about making people serve me on a family holiday, but I have even stronger reservations about not having a family meal on a family holiday. So we passed. We counteroffered making dinner at our place. They passed. We doublecounteroffered bringing fixings and making dinner at their place. They passed. Allrighty then.

Fortunately jason_brez sent out the call, and so we had a fantastic Thanksgiving meal with him and his parents at their awesome Dana Point place. We brought wine and some cauliflower to fry up with tahini sauce, an idea started by our fond remembrance of the cauliflower at Bucato. They gave us everything from turkey to pork terrine, homemade rye to fresh rolls, pickles to sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie for afters. The conversation was just as fantastic as always. And I scored the loan of some of nihilistic_kid's work, which I have strangely avoided, because he's just that dude who's a friend of friends. But of course my friends are awesome, so he's probably awesome, too.
atheist teacher

Getting more poor students with smarts to apply to good schools

The best article in this month's Smithsonian magazine is the profile of Caroline Hoxby, who has studied the relationship between family income and the likelihood of a high-performing student applying to a top tier school. Maybe the most interesting tidbit of information is the relationship between income and students who perform at the 90th percentile or better on the college tests.

Yes, it's weighted toward richer students, but honestly it is nowhere near as skewed as I expected. The poorest 25% of families still produce 17% of these higher achieving students. BUT, these students just do not apply to Harvard. Harvard wanted to do something about it, so they made tuition FREE for poorer students. This had very little effect on their applications pool. So Hoxby's next step has been to work with the ETS so that high performing students on the college tests get a special packet, which not only encourages the students to apply to top schools, but also includes vouchers for free applications to these schools.

The other interesting tidbit was that, although many schools focus on urban areas to locate disadvantaged students of promise, her work discovered that there is also a lot of untapped potential in smaller towns and rural areas, where bright students do not choose to apply to faraway top tier schools.