16.5.08

NORFOLK SKATE? In the matter of the Norfolk State firing of biologist Steven Aird, the Inside Higher Ed column now includes statements from Professor Aird, a dean at Norfolk State, and a graduate of the biology program. Joanne Jacobs has the story, and the bull session at her place is, shall we say, not complementary to Norfolk State. Casting Out Nines summarizes the tradeoffs of the case. Observation of the Day honors go to the dean at Anonymous Community.
And as a left-leaning sort, I like the idea that a kid without the money to 'go away' to college has access to the same academic rigor as the kid with rich parents. A former colleague of mine used to say that algebra is a civil right, and I agreed with him. To offer the less-well-off a diluted product offends my egalitarian sensibilities. If we're serious about access, it has to be access to academic rigor. Otherwise we're just babysitting. The rigor should be fair and impartial, and we need to explore the right mix of support services, tutoring, and the like to help students succeed, but that's okay. At the end of the day, the best service we can do is to provide a truly higher education, even if it takes some doing.

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