Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Keeping up with the Times

Tomorrow marks the first day of the fall term here at Central State University College, where I teach.

StraightMan will be sitting out the academic year. He is on sabbatical!

To mark the occasion, here are links to two Times features marking the start of the semester that caught my eye:

How American families pay for college today. I have been thinking about this quite a bit, as I had attended a presentation on children and finance during a visit with friends at the Chautauqua Institution. The audience clearly came from a privileged strata of American society: When the question was posed how much families should be saving for college, the rule-of-thumb figure suggested was $500 to $800 a month per child.

Another reason that I love StraightMan is that he is the kind of guy who, when I quoted him this figure, retorted that their kids would be heading to Hampshire and Bennington. Which is an elitist joke in itself, but still funny to me, as we are nowhere near saving what we are "supposed" to - I thought we were doing well just saving at all!

Redshirting in kindergarten. Look, I think there can be good reasons for why parents, in consultation with teachers, might consider delaying a particular child's entree into school, but at least some of the reasons for redshirting might be addressed more systematically - for example, I think the concerns about schooling boys ought to be addressed more broadly, for the good of more than a select few children who have especially engaged parents.

As an aside, Bubbie, age 3, just started his first week in the "pre-school" room at his child care - I feel a little like he is just too young (i.e., immature) for it, but the other boys (all 14! and only 2 girls...) seem equally too young.

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