Posts Tagged ‘Harvard’

T’ain’t What-cha Pay

November 3, 2013

The lyrics of a 1939 popular music hit said that “T’aint what you do, it’s the way how you do it” also apply to paying people for the work they do, according to a group  of Harvard professors.  A study they conducted showed that simply paying people more did not increase their productivity.  The best results came when employees percieved the increase to be an unexpected gift with no strings attached. They felt they were being payed more simply because their employer chose to do it. They reciprocated by increasing productivity.

You can read the Harvard Gazette story by going to this  link.

Alabama is Not Number One

October 16, 2012

The University of Alabama may be number one in football nationally,but academically it’s number 77, according to the U.S. News rankings.  Harvard, whose football coach makes less than $90 thousand a year, and whose professors make an average of $198 thousand, is in first place.  Alabama’s professors make an average of about $130 thousand a year, while the football coach makes more than $5.3 million.

The highest ranking University in Georgia and Alabama is Emory in Atlanta. It’s 20th in the nation. It’s professors average pay is $153,000, and it has no football team.  The second highest ranked university in the two states is Georgia Tech.  It is 36th in the nation. The average pay for a professor at Tech is more than $141 thousand, higher than Alabama, Georgia, or Auburn.  Yes, it does have a famous football team that even beats Georgia every now and then.   

One of the main justifications for paying more than $5 million a year to Alabama coach Saban is that having a winning football team causes alumni to donate big bucks to the school.  The best endowed university in the world is Harvard,  and it offers no athletic scholarships.  Emory, with no football team.  also has huge endowments.  There are people with a lot of money who value academic achievement more than football.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good college football game and watch some Georgia, Tech, Alabama, and Auburn games on TV, and always want them to win when they aren’t playing each other.  When they are playing each other, I usually pull for the underdog.  My son went to Tech, three great nephews of mine played in the Georgia Redcoat Band, another great-nephew of mine played in the Alabama Million Dollar Band.  

Then there is the Georgia-Auburn game that was played in Columbus until 1958 (I think it was 1958).  I always enjoy that one because it brings back memories when I got to see All-American Charley Trippi play back in the 1946.  I was 15-years-old.  My family sat in the cheap seats in the end zone and were glad to be there. Hey, it’s the best place in the stadium to see touchdowns.  I loved it when the Auburn Band played the Tiger Rag with the tubas waving back and forth when they roared.  Does the band still do that?  And I always got a kick when the Redcoat Band played Glory Glory to Old Georgia. I know they still do that because I heard it at a Dawg Walk before a relatively recent game with Auburn in Athens.  

Yes, I enjoy college football, but I do not value it over academics, and I don’t think coaches should make millions off the hard work and talent of college kids who get paid nothing for their efforts and taking the physical risks inherent in football. No football coach is worth forty times as much as a professor. 


The Education Solution: Two Tracks?

February 28, 2011

Jordan Vocational High School cupola, Columbus, GA

  When I was a student at Jordan Vocational High School, I majored in wood shop. That put me in line for making a living with my hands.  The only time I have used my hands to make a living has been to  operate a radio control board,  play records (that was way before CD’s and iPods),  shoot and edit film and videotape, type news stories, and hold a microphone to do news interviews.  I must admit that wood shop did come in handy decades later when I screened-in a back porch.   However, a lot of other Jordan students did go on to make decent livings using the vocational skills taught there. 

The diploma that Jordan students earned, however, was no different from one earned at any Georgia High School.  It didn’t say it was a technology/ career preparation diploma. And a lot of the students who got them went on to college, with some becoming  teachers, preachers, doctors, lawyers, bank presidents, board chairmen…and, yes,  TV news anchors.

The point is that we had vocational schools in Georgia long before the idea of having dual diplomas was raised. Not only was it raised, but Georgia put it into effect for a few years, but it was recently abandoned.  Now, there is a move to go back to it, which Georgia’s new state superintendent of education believes might not be necessary.

Dr.John Barge, Superintendent of Schools, Georgia Department of Education

  Speaking to Columbus Rotarians,  Georgia Superintendent of Education John Barge said legislators have told him, “This single diploma is not working. You need to fix this or we are going to. And we know that some legislators have written some legislation – the governor has asked them to hold it – that would return our state to a dual-diploma system.  I think we can make the single diploma system work, but the way that we have to do that is through career pathways.

“We have students in our schools that will never learn, let’s say, the Pythagorean Theorem sitting at a desk with pencil and paper. But, if you put those students in a construction lab, building a rack or a tool shed learning the three-four- five rule, they will learn the Pythagorean Theorem. That’s the education of the hands part.  That’s taking the knowledge of the Pythagorean  Theorem and putting it to application.  So, how do you engage students? You engage them with – I think this is important to me – it’s called relevance…making what they do in the classroom relevant.”

He cited the study by the Harvard Graduate University School of Education called the “Pathways to Prosperity.”  It supports the idea of career pathways, and, he asks, “What better economic development tool? There is no better economic development tool than an educated, prepared workforce.”

Naturally, after hearing that, I Googled Harvard’s Pathways to Prosperity web page.  It backs up what Superintendent Barge said.  It refers to the success of the  European model. Lessons from that show that high quality vocational education programs ease the path into the adult work force.  And, more importantly, it says, “Most young people learn best in structured programs that combine work and learning, and where learning is contextual and applied. Ironically, this pedagogical approach has been widely applied in the training of our highest status professionals in the U.S., where clinical practice (a form of apprenticeship) is an essential component in the preparation of doctors,architects, and (increasingly) teachers.”