DREAM Act

So, I was listening to an interview on NPR with a person who illegally immigrated to this country at the age of 5 with her parents.  She was quite smart, ambitious, and successful (insofar as she could be), but right now she has no chance of becoming an American citizen.  If there’s anybody we want as citizens it is people who have the motivation to succeed by putting themselves through college or the US Military and who, although they came here illegally, did it through no fault of their own as they were minors immigrating with parents.  Yet, the rabidly xenophobic and policy-ignorant anti-immigrant crowd things it would be some horrible thing to let persons like this earn citizenship.   From a simple costs/benefit perspective this is an absolute no-brainer.  These are people who are going to be paying taxes and a net plus to American’s economy and society.  Yet, they had the temerity to be born in Mexico.  So frustrating that such a completely sensible policy as the DREAM act will disappear for at least the next two years.  These are the kind of people I want as my fellow citizens, not the knee-jerk xenophobes who get upset by the cashier speaking Spanish at McDonalds.  Thanks to 1) the absolute absurdity of the 60 vote Senate and 2) the moral weakness of former Republican Senate supporters in the face of the rabid base this is not going to happen.  Its just a shame and a sad commentary on the state of American politics.

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Class Evaluations

A study from a University of Northern Iowa professor has demonstrated that… prepare yourself… students lie on course evaluations!

About a third of students surveyed at both schools admitted they had stretched the truth on anonymous teacher evaluations, which teachers at colleges circulate at semester’s end. A majority, 56 percent, said they know other students who have done the same. Twenty percent of participants admitted they had lied on the comments section of the evaluations.

I’m not exactly in a position to overly criticize course evaluations– they’ve worked out pretty well for me (and I’d like to think there’s a reason for that).  But, there is absolutely no doubt students do use them to carry out personal vendettas and that they are related to grades.  You give me straight 5’s from a student who received a C and I consider that a job very well done.  It’s easy to earn 5’s from students who get A’s.  In my case, students probably don’t have to lie to much to say bad things about me– I certainly give them legitimate opportunities– they just have to choose to focus on these out from among the many positives.

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