One of the joys of the fact that my train gets me in so early is that I could go up to Teele, which is 10 minutes past where I work, do paperwork for half an hour, and still be at my office by 9:30.
Harvard's Confidentiality Standards, or whatever they're called, are so broadly worded. I was rather taken aback. My dad says that because it's so broadly worded and presented as take-it-or-leave-it, the narrow burden on *them* were they to prosecute.
Filling out the tax forms, I was reminded of my wish that high schools/colleges taught actual useful stuff. I mean, they're fairly basic, but I always get intimidated by paperwork like that, worried that I'll do it wrong somehow.
Amusingly, that same day paper_crystals linked to
Study: Most College Students Lack Skills
By BEN FELLER, AP Education Writer
Fri Jan 20, 1:56 AM ET
More than half of students at four-year colleges — and at least 75 percent at two-year colleges — lack the literacy to handle complex, real-life tasks such as understanding credit card offers, a study found.
The literacy study funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the first to target the skills of graduating students, finds that students fail to lock in key skills — no matter their field of study.
The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips.
Without "proficient" skills, or those needed to perform more complex tasks, students fall behind. They cannot interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.
"It is kind of disturbing that a lot of folks are graduating with a degree and they're not going to be able to do those things," said Stephane Baldi, the study's director at the American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social science research organization.
Most students at community colleges and four-year schools showed intermediate skills. That means they can do moderately challenging tasks, such as identifying a location on a map.
There was brighter news.
Overall, the average literacy of college students is significantly higher than that of adults across the nation. Study leaders said that was encouraging but not surprising, given that the spectrum of adults includes those with much less education.
Also, compared with all adults with similar levels of education, college students had superior skills in searching and using information from texts and documents.
"But do they do well enough for a highly educated population? For a knowledge-based economy? The answer is no," said Joni Finney, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, an independent and nonpartisan group.
"This sends a message that we should be monitoring this as a nation, and we don't do it," Finney said. "States have no idea about the knowledge and skills of their college graduates."
The survey examined college students nearing the end of their degree programs.
The students did the worst on matters involving math, according to the study.
Almost 20 percent of students pursuing four-year degrees had only basic quantitative skills. For example, the students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the service station. About 30 percent of two-year students had only basic math skills.
Baldi and Finney said the survey should be used as a tool. They hope state leaders, educators and university trustees will examine the rigor of courses required of all students.
The college survey used the same test as the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the government's examination of English literacy among adults. The results of that study were released in December, showing about one in 20 adults is not literate in English.
On campus, the tests were given in 2003 to a representative sample of 1,827 students at public and private schools.
It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The day was full of last-minute stuff, but not gerbil level like my mom's work so often is.
My mom and I went to Emmanuel Lutheran evening prayer.
According to them, it's still Epiphany Season. The votive candles were in green holders this time.
The Scripture reading was 1 Samuel 3:1-20, and after the woman read it and put the Bible back I mentally recited "Holy wisdom, holy word -- thanks be to God" because that's what's always said. It's interesting, getting familiar with a ritual even when you wouldn't actually choose to keep them all your own self.
The Reflection was excerpts from Max Lucado's "And the Angels Were Silent" and "A Gentle Thunder: Hearing God Through the Storm," talking about how God doesn't always answer in the ways we're expecting, not the usual "Sometimes God says no" (which is one of my favorite sermon themes) but in the sense of "If you ask God to send fire, He's not necessarily gonna send the kind of fire you had in mind" (the whole thing is readable here).
The Scripture reading made me think of last Thursday when we sang Here I Am, Lord which makes me think of Isaiah and the Reflection then included this Samuel passage, and I also thought about Epiphany season and the Magi and not just revelation but calling and how it would be interesting to hear more sermons on that theme.
The Prayers of the People went "We pray:" / "Hear us, God of light." I miss the "Lord have mercy" chanting.
Afterward, I introduced my mom and Pastor Saling, and we had good discussion about silence and Jesus and suchlike. I miss theological discussion.
During Millionaire, I learned that a venti at Starbucks is a 20 oz. *facepalm* After so many years of Spanish I should have made that connection. Since they also use ridiculous terminology like "tall," I just figured "venti" was Italian for something like that. (I never go to Starbucks, so I only have a vague sense of the terminology used and no sense of what any of it means.)
At lunch, Mary Alice was talking about her son was trying to get her to watch The Last Samurai and she just couldn't bring herself to watch a Tom Cruise movie, and I said I was fairly indifferent to him and tried to remember what movies I'd actually seen him in, and she managed to name 4 movies he was in but that was in. After lunch, I IMDb-ed him and e-mailed her the link, saying: "I'm impressed at how many movies we managed to forget."
Her reply: "I guess that doesn't say much for Tommy-boy does it? lol"
We watched The Nanny afterward and when Eric came back after the seminar, Mary Alice (riffing on a running joke in that episode -- 4.22 "No Muse Is Good Muse") said something to him about being "jealous of your sensual energy." I nearly died. Eric was just like, "Clearly I missed something. Anyway, moving right along . . . ."
Alyssa came back from her meeting with Jessica and said that she had talked about working on the book and admitted that I basically did all the Excel formatting and Jessica was surprised/impressed. Telling me, Alyssa was all, "Not like I have any pull or anything, but I just wanted to let you know." Her concern was so sweet, and it is true that "the first three months of employment are the orientation and review period, and during this period either the staff member or the University may terminate the employment if, for any reason, the placement is unsuitable." This, of course, amuses me as I've been in this position for over 3 months as a temp. Whatever.
I did a bunch of photocopying as the day closed and RA said: "Thank you so much. You're amazing." It wasn't even intensive photocopying. Always nice to be appreciated, though :)
My mom told me about this meeting they had at work where the participants hadn't read the page-and-a-half bullet point list of preliminary thoughts (which they were supposed to read and think about and respond to and add to) so they read the whole thing aloud point by point and discussed at the meeting. It's a processing thing. I would have been ready to claw my eyes out, though, ‘cause I can't stand people reading aloud information I've already read (and my mom wrote this list) and it would feel screamingly inefficient to me and I had fantasies of threatening bloodshed. Part of what drove me so crazy was that it felt so self-centered on the participants' parts, ‘cause they know my mom's hella busy, but they couldn't take the time to do some work before the meeting and instead wasted everybody's time. I mean, I know they're busy too, and they process better talking things through aloud (hi, that's what you have families and non-work friends for) but it's one of those things that hits so many of my buttons. I had much rage.
We got Chinese food and my fortune cookie fortune said: "You long to see the great pyramids in Egypt." What kind of fortune is that? And "in bed" so doesn't work for it either.
After dinner, we went to Singspiration.
A quartet sang a piece called "I Shall Wear A Robe And Crown" which I wasn't a huge fan of the words to, but the opening line -- "Watching, therefore, you know not the hour" (Matthew 25:13) -- was really catchy, so I keep getting it suck in my head even now. They were really good singers, definitely the best of all the guests that night, and the one guy did a couple solo pieces early in the program.
Afterward I chatted with John and Joe, two of the few people at UCN I actually care about keeping in touch with, and later with Don, whom I liked better than I sometimes have.
Went to Foxwoods with the library. At Babel's parking lot at 8am. Last time I talked to Terry he was all, "8am, bus leaves," but of course we left 10 minutes late. They showed Chevy Chase goes to Vegas movie. I watched intermittently, trying to read my book, but yeah, not something I ever need to experience again.
The drive was about 1hr 20min, and slot machines got boring after um, one play. The Pompeii nickel machine was fun, though. Marcia wanted to play, and I actually had a nickel, so she put it in, and I think she won ten cents and then said I should play ‘cause it was my nickel and somehow I won $1.25, and I just kept playing until I'd used up all the credits and it spit a nickel back at me. I played slots some and occasionally won like $1.25 (usually after having spent about that much) and also just watched people. Playing tables coulda been fun if I knew how to play said games, but $15 minimum was too much.
We got free lunch and I actually found food I liked at the buffet -- spinach, cream of broccoli soup, a banana, spring rolls, lemonade. My fortune cookie said: "All the news you receive will be positive and uplifting." And I learned that Annette is 40, which astounds me. And I'm honestly not sure I would wanna look that young when I'm 40. I complain about looking young now and people say I'll be grateful for it when I'm older, and leaving aside the fact that I'd rather look my age all the time than have to suffer through this, I've honestly never been sure that I would be so excited about looking younger than my age even decades from now. Influenced I'm sure by growing up with so many strong women, but while yes some older people look frail and of course I don't wanna be frail, I don't see white hair and wrinkles and so on and think bad things, I just think you're of a certain age range.
Annette has one of those PRIDE bracelets (*Googles* like this) and seeing it kinda made me wanna get one myself, but it feels so declasse with my work clothes, plus I'm just not used to wearing bracelets, and then I was thinking about how the whole bracelet trend bugs me ‘cause there are a million of them so it's gotten to the point where, like ribbons, you can't even tell at a glance what their purpose is, which then got me thinking about how the original one was for cancer and it feels disrespectful to have one for such a minor thing.
[Edit: Annette and I talked about, among other things, Catie Curtis, and she said she'd recently gotten an e-mail and she was supposed to be a couple places in MA -- Northampton and somewhere else. Pulling up catiecurtis.com tonight, she's actually a bunch of places in MA this spring, the most convenient for me being Natick Friday May 12. She's in Northampton the previous Friday.]
We spent nearly 2 hours at lunch and then window-shopped for about an hour. Good to look at things other than slot machines. [Edit: Annette says Mohegan Sun has more non-gambling stuff to do.] When we were in the slot machine rooms I kept thinking of the creepy commercial (I think it's for Mohegan Sun) with the woman talking about how she knows this machine is a "thoroughbred" and so on, and also about the Angel episode "The House Always Wins" (4.03). And you can smoke inside. So weird. I don't know it's ‘cause it's CT or ‘cause it's tribal land. Even weirder than in the slots rooms is walking through the hallways (which are so open space airy, white floors and walls, windows and even skylights, and trees, and occasional statues to remind you that this is Indian -- without that one would never guess; I didn't even see Native Americans working there; lots of whites, some blacks, a few Hispanic looking people who might have been part-Native, and that was it) and people smoking. When I got home I realized I smelled of smoke. Yuck. I actually changed my shirt it was bothering me so much.
Possibly because of blue laws we saw no beverage vendors before lunch, but after lunch I did get a Sea Breeze (and learned I'm not a huge fan -- vodka, cran, grapefruit, though it came with two cherries, which was nice). So I spent $20 for the bus deal, got a good lunch and a free drink out of it, had a decent enough time, and broke about even with the money I did spend on slots. Not bad.
Oh, and killing time at the end, Marcia's friend Carol played another nickel machine -- Mr. Cashman/Panda Pays -- and it all sorts of crazy line options (in a screen of like 4x4, you have 20 line options, ‘cause lots of them are all sorts of diagonals and crooked) and we didn't even quite get how its three of a kind thing worked, but after playing a bit, she hit the Mr. Cashman button where you play all 20 lines and she won like 800 credits, and then she kept playing at 50 credits a bet until she eventually lost it all, but it was fun to watch which at that point was really the point.
So much love for Beth's religious studies professor.