“Proof that Eastern Michigan University’s EAA affiliation is hurting College of Education student teachers”

From the site eclecta blog comes “Proof that Eastern Michigan University’s EAA affiliation is hurting College of Education student teachers.” I had received an email about this the other day, but this is a more full-blown article so I’ll just link to this and share a long quote from the beginning:

The faculty and students of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education have been actively seeking to end the institution’s affiliation with the Education Achievement Authority, Gov. Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit students. Among the many horror stories coming out of the EAA, we learned this past week that they are literally experimenting with 100-student kindergarten classes.

I’m not kidding.

There has been a protest rally, a petition, and open letters which I have posted HERE,HERE, and HERE.

Each time, the students and faculty have been rebuffed by their Board of Regents.

Things have gotten so bad that nearly a dozen school districts refuse to accept EMU College of Education students as student teachers.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Aimee Hayden is a student in the EMU College of Education and she has been unable to land a student teaching position, an unfortunate situation that is direct result of the university’s EAA partnership. What follows is a letter Aimee sent to a colleague and fellow member of the Kappa Delta Pi sorority Carol Janowski, seeking help in securing a position. What you’ll learn from her letter is that EMU’s connections to the EAA are harming their students’ teaching careers in a very real, very tangible, and very negative way.

When are we getting out of this EAA thing?


“Eastern Michigan football players bury jersey of Demarius Reed in new turf at Rynearson”

From mLive comes this in turf news,”Eastern Michigan football players bury jersey of Demarius Reed in new turf at Rynearson. A quote:

Eastern Michigan football players and coaches gathered Friday morning at Rynearson Stadium to honor Demarius Reed.

Demarius Reed was killed during a robbery attempt in October.

According to the EMU Athletic Media Relations Office, the players and coaches gathered in a private ceremony to bury Reed’s No. 2 jersey in the new, gray FieldTurf surface that is being installed.

This happened the same day that one of the guys charged with Reed’s murder plead guilty in a plea deal that will have him testifying against his co-defendant. That article is here.

I understand and respect the need for the players and athletic program as a whole to memorialize Reed. But doesn’t this seem a little weird and/or creepy? Is that just me?


A couple of advising and graduation rates articles

From mLive comes “Lack of academic advising costing college students time and money.” It is mostly about the conditions on the ground at Central Michigan University, but it could just as easily be about EMU. A few paragraphs:

Twelve of Michigan’s 15 public universities have four-year graduation rates lower than the national average, and that extra time on campus is costly to students, families, and the Michigan economy.

A majority of college students don’t earn a four-year degree in four years. Some switch majors or work part- or full-time. Others are enrolled in programs, such as engineering or education at some colleges, that are structured to take five years. But more should graduate on time, said Charlie Nutt, executive director of the National Academic Advising Association.

One reason cited for the low on-time graduation rates: inadequate academic counseling.

Counseling is critical for students who are making the huge adjustment from high school to college. “(Students) underestimate the amount of time it takes compared to a high school class,” Nutt said. “It’s a different type of preparation that they’re not prepared for.”

“There’s no question that in some cases, students don’t get the counseling,” said Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. “Proper counseling keeps them taking the course that keeps them on a steady path towards graduation. Budget crunches, however, cut back on that (counseling) staff.”

Sure, we could/should probably have more advisors, but I also think there are two things that places like EMU could do right now to help the situation. First, require students to see an advisor throughout their college careers– say once a year. And by “require,” I mean they physically have to go speak to someone who is authorized as an advisor and to get some kind of approval/signature before they are able to register for anymore classes. Second, faculty should do what is already contractually mandated and advise students on a regular basis. In other words, we don’t need to hire more advisors necessarily; we need to have more people who are already here doing some advising.

EMU is not likely to do either of these things. I think the powers that be are afraid of doing anything that might delay students from registering for classes (and paying those all-important tuition dollars), and making students do something other than self-advising would do that. If I were super-cynical, I’d also guess that EMU actually kind of likes it when students take classes they don’t need because that’s extra tuition dollars. As far as faculty advising goes: in my experience, too many faculty pass off that work because they claim they don’t know enough to tell students what classes to take when. That strikes me as silly. Besides the fact that basic advising isn’t rocket science, there’s always asking others for the right answer.

Also in mLive is another story along these lines,  “Tuition incentives pay off for students graduating in four years.” This one is mostly about Grand Valley State, which has doubled its graduation rate since 1990. Here’s a quote with an interesting info-graphic:

Twelve of Michigan’s 15 public universities have four-year graduation rates below the national average of 31 percent; at nine public universities, one in five students or fewer earn a four-year degree in four years.

Many go on to graduate following a fifth or sixth year, but those extra semesters are costly to students, parents and the state’s economy. “Should we accept a 20 percent grad rate over four years?” asked Blue. “Heck no. Not as a parent or a taxpayer.”

All good points, but one of the things for me with this chart is there is a correlation between test scores and the selectivity of the institution and the graduation rate of its students. Now, I’m not saying that a place like EMU ought to turn students away; I value the mission we have for extending access to higher education to those who wouldn’t have it if the only choices were the more elite institutions. But we also have to recognize that one of the impacts of that is we’ll never have the graduation rates of places like U of M.

At the same time, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for folks at EMU to study what’s going on at Grand Valley State, an institution not completely different from us. According to this chart, their six year graduation rate is 66%, while ours is 37%. Clearly there are lessons EMU could learn.

“Construction of the Factory Breaks Ground”

Want to see photos of “Construction of the Factory?” Look no further than emueagles.com and their story and photo gallery of the whole grey turf thing. So far, it’s about as exciting as the construction of an actual factory, or the construction of a parking lot.

We’re #126! We’re #126!

My father actually alerted me to this little piece in The USA Today: “Ranking every college football FBS for 2014.” This must be one of these things that they do in installments or something because as I’m looking at this on Sunday night, they’re only up to number 57, which is Ball State.  But no worries; coming in at number 126 out of 128 FBS teams– just ahead of UMass and Florida International– are the EMU Emus Eagles. To quote:

No. 126 Eastern Michigan: Chris Creighton steps into Ypsilanti and assumes one of the toughest coaching jobs in the country. The Eagles’ new coach will have a promising young quarterback to work with but not much else. It’s going to be another down season for EMU.

A long season at the factory….

“Student Debt: The Rising U.S. Burden”

Here’s a “QuickTake” from Bloomberg I thought folks here might find interesting, “Student Debt: The Rising U.S. Burden.” To quote the opening paragraph:

In terms of American exceptionalism, student loan debt stands out. No other country imposes the kind of costs on college and university students that the U.S. does, and nowhere else do loans cover so much of those costs. Experts think that the $1.2 trillion in outstanding education debt in the U.S. is more than that of the rest of the world combined. It’s a situation that educators, consumer advocates and members of both political parties all decry. Agreement on solutions is harder to find. In the meantime, the level of student loans is increasingly seen not just as a burden on students but as a drag on the nation’s economy. Young adults are delaying setting up their own households in the face of a mountain of debt while default rates rise to dangerous levels. Recent studies also show a growing economic divergence between young Americans with and without student loans. There’s widespread agreement as to who is worst off: college dropouts. They’re stuck with debt but without the higher earnings a degree might have brought to help pay it off.

This piece mostly rehashes news most folks in higher ed already know about, and it skips by the real cause/solution here (at least in public education), which is more money for universities from the government. But still a good read.

“Ypsilanti area ‘safety alliance’ among 3 police departments to be announced Tuesday”

I still kind of feel like I’m on vacation/summer break, so I suspect posting here will remain slow for a while. But I saw this in mLive this morning and thought it might be interesting to folks here:  “Ypsilanti area ‘safety alliance’ among 3 police departments to be announced Tuesday.” The opening paragraphs:

A press conference has been called for Tuesday morning by State Rep. David Rutledge where he is expected to announce a “safety alliance” among three police agencies to offer better coverage of Ypsilanti and the campus of Eastern Michigan University.

The alliance is expected to be a partnership among the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, the Ypsilanti Police Department and the EMU Police Department.

This is all fine and good, but didn’t this alliance already exist?

EMUTalk.org on summer vacation– a few reading ideas in the meantime

As the “spring” term (or “Summer 1″ or whatever they call it now) wraps up and as I prepare for my first break from all EMU-related teaching and quasi-administrative duties in about five years, EMUTalk.org will also be going on summer vacation, more or less from now until about the second or so week of July.

But before I go, let me leave you with a few other reading suggestions:


Weird emu thing

I found this video via HuffPo:

The Huffington Post described this as a guy hypnotizing a flock of emus by moving his legs, but I don’t know if I’d describe it as “hypnotism” exactly.  It’s a pretty weird video though.

A new EMU video….

I was looking for something on the EMU web site and I came across this new video. I think it’s pretty well-done, but we don’t have a real eagle around here on campus someplace, do we? I hope that was borrowed for this….