Friday, September 23, 2005

I've been following some of the coverage on this new higher education panel that Margaret Spellings is putting together. Great idea, let's form a committee with no students, parents or teachers on it and talk about how to improve college outcomes.
It seems to me that colleges have to deal with the material that high schools send them. Whether they want to be or not, high schools and colleges are part of a vibrant but flawed American mass culture. Yeah, that's the same mass culture that can't seem to learn how to use an apostrophe or do simple arithmetic. The only scientific knowledge that most Americans will admit to is that Darwinian evolutionary theory isn't complete.
I'm not so worried about the number of facts we haven't memorized, but I do wonder how many people these days are even willing to think about anything.

I do think that the surge in for-profit colleges and community colleges is probably a good thing. We've gotten to a point where everybody is expected to get a bachelor's degree for even the most unrelated careers. I'm pretty sure that the percentage of people who really want to pursue academic study is about the same as it has always been.
Here's my elitest take on all that: Why should those who are interested in something like "Symbolism in Medieval and Renaissance Art" have to endure a watered-down version for those who just need another credit to graduate and get a decent-paying job?
I'm not sure yet where I'm going with this.....



Here is Ruth's cucumber recipe. The beauty of it is its simplicity.
Peel a couple of cucumbers and slice into disks. Sprinkle very sparingly with a lttle salt and wine vinegar. Let soak in the refrigerator for about half an hour, then drain thoroughly. Put cucumber slices in a bowl with just enough sour cream to coat. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
Don't use too much of the seasonings or soak for too long; you want the cucumbers to be crisp and flavorful. Use cucumbers from your garden if you have any.

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