"Any reform of corporate elections should include ending incumbents’ monopoly over the corporate ballot — the proxy card sent by the company at its expense to all shareholders. Only board-nominated candidates get to appear on this ballot; challengers must bear the costs of sending (and getting back) their own proxy card to shareholders. Providing shareholders with proxy access — the right to place candidates on the ballot — would contribute to leveling the playing field."
In primary and secondary education, measures of teacher quality are often based on contemporaneous student performance on standardized achievement tests. In the postsecondary environment, scores on student evaluations of professors are typically used to measure teaching quality. We possess unique data that allow us to measure relative student performance in mandatory follow-on classes. We compare metrics that capture these three different notions of instructional quality and present evidence that professors who excel at promoting contemporaneous student achievement teach in ways that improve their student evaluations but harm the follow-on achievement of their students in more advanced classes.
We find that less experienced and less qualified professors produce students who perform significantly better in the contemporaneous course being taught, whereas more experienced and highly qualified professors produce students who perform better in the follow‐on related curriculum. ... [W]e can only speculate as to the mechanism by which these effects may operate. ...
One potential explanation for our results is that the less experienced professors may adhere more strictly to the regimented curriculum being tested, whereas the more experienced professors broaden the curriculum and produce students with a deeper understanding of the material. This deeper understanding results in better achievement in the follow‐on courses.
Another potential mechanism is that students may learn (good or bad) study habits depending on the manner in which their introductory course is taught. For example, introductory professors who “teach to the test” may induce students to exert less study effort in follow‐on related courses. This may occur because of a false signal of one’s own ability or an erroneous expectation of how follow‐on courses will be taught by other professors.
A final, more cynical, explanation could also relate to student effort. Students of low‐value‐added professors in the introductory course may increase effort in follow‐on courses to help “erase” their lower than expected grade in the introductory course.
Regardless of how these effects may operate, our results show that student evaluations reward professors who increase achievement in the contemporaneous course being taught, not those who increase deep learning. Using our various measures of teacher quality to rank‐order teachers leads to profoundly different results. Since many U.S. colleges and universities use student evaluations as a measurement of teaching quality for academic promotion and tenure decisions, this finding draws into question the value and accuracy of this practice.
I have a couple of other explanations, both revolving around the satisfaction professors get from teaching a course. The introductory material of any discipline gives students a view of the basics around which the discipline is built. The advanced courses present a more narrow view of various specialties within the discipline. Since most professors perform research within some specialty, professors of advanced courses
may be able to incorporate their research into the advanced course material. This makes it more interesting to teach.
In addition, introductory courses often are required as a part of the university core, so students take introductory courses because they have to take them,
not because they are interested in the subject material. On the other hand, students tend to take advanced courses because they find the course material, or at least the discipline, interesting. Therefore, students and professors are more likely be matched up better in the advanced courses than in the introductory courses. This also makes teaching the advanced courses more pleasurable.
On the afternoon of June 1st, 2010, I observed a funnel cloud violently rotating about 1 mile north of the Mankato, Mn. airport. The storm had been given a severe thunderstorm warning, but no tornado warnings were issued. The funnel lasted approximately for one minute, so the likely reason no tornado warning was issued was because the rotation that I observed did not last long enough to be seen by radar observers. This is one reason why it's important to have human spotters on the ground: human eyes can see things that Doppler radar cannot.
The following picture was taken from the entry way to the Mankato, Mn. airport at about 1:45 PM on June 1, 2010. I had observed rotation in this storm within 5 minutes of taking this picture (click on the picture for a larger version). I the picture below, I am looking north and that is County Road 12 - aka "Airport Road" - on my left. That is the Hiniker construction building on the left of 12 and about 1/3 of a mile north on this location. The wall cloud is approximately 1.5 miles north of my location and about 1.5 miles west of Lake Washington.
Since I had seen rotation in the storm, I decided to chase after it. I drove north on County Road 12 until I saw the funnel. I pulled over on T-309 - aka 240th lane - a road that runs adjacent to the north boundary of the airport. This funnel was violently rotating, but, I never saw evidence of debris swirling on the ground..
Quickly, the funnel became consumed by the storm's rain shaft, and dissipated.
I chased this storm for a little while longer, hoping to see another funnel. I went south on 12 and then east onCounty Road 26 along the north shore of Eagle Lake. I observed no more rotation, but there was a lot of rain. I didn't feel much like messing with a rain-wrapped tornado or any hail, so I buggered off to the south down County Road 27 and away from the storm. Besides, it was time for me to pick up my kids from school. Family before pleasure.
In an article by Mickey Meece in the NY Times entitled "Job Outlook for Teenagers Worsens", you'll find a lot of worry about the staggeringly high unemployment rate of young people aged 16-24. But nary a peep is made about the obvious elephant in the room: the minimum wage.
There is no simple explanation for the large drop-off in summer jobs this decade, though experts say that more high school students are choosing to volunteer and do internships to burnish their college applications. But the Northeastern researchers said a large number of youths had been left out of the work force and wanted to get back in.
The recession didn't start until late in 2007, but the unemployment rate of 16-24 year olds began to increase in the second quarter of 2007. The minimum wage was increased at the beginning of the third quarter of 2007 (July, specifically) for the first time in nearly a decade, but the increase was signed into law by then-president Bush on May 25th (the second quarter) of that year. Employers knew for certain in the second quarter that the minimum wage was going to increase, so they scaled back their hiring of low-skilled workers in that quarter.
The recession and two subsequent increases in the minimum wage - in July of 2008 and 2009 - have driven the unemployment rate of 16-24 year olds from 10% in the first quarter of 2007 to 18.7% in the first quarter of 2010.*
Either Mr. Meece needs some Econ 101 training or his editors do. I don't expect a detailed literature review, a complicated regression analysis of the teenage labor market, or anything like that. But it would be nice if there would at least be a mention that the minimum wage is responsible. That's all I'm asking for. Is that asking too much?