The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Education]
2015-10-01 06:00 by Karl Denninger
in Education , 325 references

So students are "struggling" with common adult matters, eh?

A year ago I received an invitation from the head of Counseling Services at a major university to join faculty and administrators for discussions about how to deal with the decline in resilience among students. At the first meeting, we learned that emergency calls to Counseling had more than doubled over the past five years. Students are increasingly seeking help for, and apparently having emotional crises over, problems of everyday life. Recent examples mentioned included a student who felt traumatized because her roommate had called her a “bitch” and two students who had sought counseling because they had seen a mouse in their off-campus apartment. The latter two also called the police, who kindly arrived and set a mousetrap for them.

If you're fragile enough that being called a "bitch" constitutes "trauma" or there's a mouse in your apartment and this led you to call the cops, you're not ready for college -- or, for that matter, in any other way to be an adult.  What the hell are you doing driving a car, renting a hotel room or even ordering food at a restaurant or drive-through?

I've noticed this incidentally; there's a real issue among young people generally in that they're seriously fragile in some very disturbing ways.  This is a relatively-new thing as well; 20 years ago it was rare, today it's common.

It would be nice to pretend that we can somehow cater to this but the real world doesn't work that way and turning a college into an extension of a pre-school is going to do a lot of harm rather than help.

Faculty also noted an increased tendency for students to blame them (the faculty) for low grades—they weren’t explicit enough in telling the students just what the test would cover or just what would distinguish a good paper from a bad one. They described an increased tendency to see a poor grade as reason to complain rather than as reason to study more, or more effectively. Much of the discussions had to do with the amount of handholding faculty should do versus the degree to which the response should be something like, “Buck up, this is college.” Does the first response simply play into and perpetuate students’ neediness and unwillingness to take responsibility? Does the second response create the possibility of serious emotional breakdown, or, who knows, maybe even suicide?

Want my answer?  Life is rough in the real world.

Guess what bucko: Those competing with you for jobs don't give a flying **** if you're emotionally fragile or even if you will blow your own brains out if you lose.  And even if you manage (somehow) to make your city, state or even this nation become "more sensitive" so your "unique needs" are catered to guess what -- there are other nations, like China, for example, that don't give a flying **** about any of this and will steamroller your crying ass and eat whatever remains.

This clown-car brigade wants to blame "helicopter parents" but the problem goes much further than that.  I wrote an article on this many years ago -- on 6/8/2008 to be exact, in which I said this:

Let's continue today with how we got here, that is, why we seem to think that we should be able to poop out babies without regards to whether we can pay to raise them, have risky sex and bill someone else for the HIV treatment, or stuff our pie holes until we weigh 400lbs and then expect society to buy our diabetes medication.

Or, for that matter, "deserve" a $500,000 house if we make $8/hour cutting hair.

(If you want the run-up to this, read yesterday's Ticker)

Someone commented today that I forgot to rant about the government schools that are at the base of all this crap.

Well, guess what? Yesterday I got yet another dose of it as my daughter "graduated" 5th grade (where did THAT stupidity come from; when I was in school you graduated exactly once, at the end of your 12th grade year) and got to sit through something that I have ranted to the school about before.

As I was checking my daughter out of that particular part of the government indoctrination unit for the last time, I managed to corral one Ms. Norris, the Principal, and give her my screed about their "ceremony". She had not heard it before, although her predecessors had - this was her first year.

Specifically, they "recognized" every 5th grade student for "outstanding achievement in art education, musical education and physical education", just as they had in every previous year.

Some students were also recognized for actual achievements - you know, something that exceeded waking up and going to school?

Everyone like this so-called "Principal" who has done this sort of crap starting in elementary schools across the land, created this problem.

That's right -- and now these colleges are trying to simply blame the parents.

Wrong, although I will note one thing -- out of the hundred or so kids that "graduated" on that fine day I was the only parent who raised hell with the Principal over what she had just done.

Got that?  None of the other parents thought there was a damn thing wrong with it!

This **** starts in kindergarten and it's not the parents doing it although they're sure enabling it.  Oh sure, some are certainly helping it along but I can tell you that even if you push back hard against it as a parent (and I did) you will get damn near nowhere if not nowhere at all, especially if said kid decides that they can get along somehow by playing the game (and many will.)

I'm sure my kid has plenty of hatred for the fact that I rode on her ass hard from time-to-time to try to counter this garbage because there will be a time when I'm gone and irrespective of my desire or willingness to help it will be damn hard to do when I've been eaten by worms!

This sort of "fragile" crap might work in school and it'll work in life for a little while but eventually you have face the reality that as an adult you don't get to hide behind Daddy and Mommy any more, nor does a college hand out "excellence in physical education" awards to everyone who can fog a mirror.  If you manage to get colleges to do it then you're simply compounding the damage that will be served up in said adult's first real job.

The unfortunate reality is that the wolves out in the real world (and there are a lot of them) will eat you alive and once you're an adult the only person who can stop them is you -- and that means that when things get dicey in life you had better not fall apart or you are food!

To those young people out there: Deal with whatever demons you have in your head and learn how to beat them.

You have to figure out how, because everyone's different and nobody in society as a whole owes you a damn thing.  Some people have to go for a run or find some other strenuous activity.  Some want a drink (but be careful with addling yourself; addiction is very bad news and very easy to have happen too.)  Some grab a camera or just a blanket and head to the beach or the woods.  Others retreat into a book, write computer software or in some other way stimulate their minds.  Figure out what your means of coping with life is and the devil(s) dancing around in your head -- the dirty not-so-secret is that we all have one or more -- and get it together.  Keep your **** together when you have to, cry if you need to when you're out of the immediate situation and then pull your crap together through whatever means you need to use and go on with life.

As for those in our "educational system" that have led our youth to this view of the world may you all burn in Hell where you belong, whether you're a principal, teacher or otherwise involved in this crap.  If I get the opportunity should you pass before I do I will***** on your grave and willingly take the indecent exposure charge for having done so.

You bastards and bitches did this through your own intentional and stupid acts so how about we rob your pension to cover the expense of fixing all these kids-now-adults you broke before they wind up raining down on our society -- and the entirety of our economy, including your pension fund, goes bankrupt for lack of young people willing and able to study calculus, say much less do a damn job without collapsing into a quivering emotional train-wreck the first time something doesn't go their way?

As for the parents who have failed to stand up and demand this crap stop throughout our society: If you get eaten down the road as a result you deserve it.

The BBQ sauce is on me.

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But remember, they deserve the respect of not only students but also parents in all cases...

OKEMAH, Okla. -- A 4-year-old was allegedly forced by his teacher to write with his right hand, even though he’s left-handed.

The child was sent home with a letter about how left-handedness is often associated with evil and the devil.


In 2015.  Was the teacher immediately fired?  Not as far as anyone can tell.

NewsChannel 4 called the school and were told the superintendent was out Monday, so they transferred us to the principal at Oakes Elementary.

She said she’s aware of the situation and the district is investigating. She hung up before we could ask any questions.

Riiight.... they're "investigating" -- which is required beyond authenticating that the note was really sent home by the teacher for....... exactly what reason?

Yeah, students and parents should "respect" public education and both teachers and administrators in public schools......


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This is something new?  Like hell it is.

I usually say the hardest part of running a tech startup is raising money, but that’s a bit of a smokescreen: We spend the money on software developers, who are an incredibly hot commodity in scarce supply. Finding them is the toughest task.

Part of the problem is that startups have to compete with hegemons likeGoogle and Facebook that offer extraordinary salaries for the best talent.


A small startup has to compensate for its relatively anemic cash offers with more generous stock grants, and—our best feature—a lifestyle of low authority and high responsibility, where each developer sees his work changing the product on a daily basis.

The thing I look for in a developer is a longtime love of coding—people who taught themselves to code in high school and still can’t get enough of it.


The thing I don’t look for in a developer is a degree in computer science. University computer science departments are in miserable shape: 10 years behind in a field that changes every 10 minutes. Computer science departments prepare their students for academic or research careers and spurn jobs that actually pay money. They teach students how to design an operating system, but not how to work with a real, live development team.

This is not a "new" program -- it dates to at least the 1980s and probably before that.

"Computer Science" departments are somewhat about computers but only marginally about science.  Never mind the utterly ridiculous devaluation of advanced degree credentials, and not just in this department either.  In time gone by you had to break genuine new ground to obtain an advanced degree -- your thesis had to be on something never before done and in some way materially advance the field.

That just doesn't happen any more but more to the point Universities have been five to ten years behind the times forever in the computer field and it's intentional.  They were teaching you how program on an IBM mainframe or DEC PDP-10 years after the IBM PC was introduced and long after the adoption of those machines had peaked and was in terminal decline.  Why?

Because they're job farms rather than educational institutions -- and have been for decades.

The author of the cited piece goes on to talk about departments preparing students for "research" or "academic" careers.  Nonsense.  They spend their time teaching students about spent technology instead of thinking forward, about learning about what was instead of trying to create that which doesn't exist, they grant advanced credentials to people who break no new ground of any sort and then those people go out into the world with the ability to program in "X" or "Y" to some degree but most of them can't pick up an instruction manual for a microcontroller or the book on a language and learn, in a few days or weeks, how to use it productively!

Why not?  Because they don't understand, at the core, how a computer is organized and how and why it works.  They don't think "in computer" because that wasn't they needed to be able to do in order to "succeed" at their degree program.  They took a set of programming classes instead of learning how the computer "thinks" (really computes, not thinks) because they began not with having to learn that and then move forward but rather at a level that eschewed the knowledge and process by which a computer operates right up front.

This is not an accident; there are a whole bunch of academic folks running around universities with the title of "Professor" in the computer science department who cannot describe to you how to interface an I/O device at an electrical and programmatic level.  In other words given something (such as an analog temperature input that ranges from 0-5V over some range of temperature) they are incapable of figuring out how to get that temperature into the computer in a form it can use to make a decision on something.  Then there are those teaching about specific machines who haven't read and don't understand the published manual containing the instruction set for the machine they're teaching on.  This is considered "irrelevant" by many of them, in point of fact.

But if you understand how a computer thinks and works then given such a machine, some way to load a program into it and display a result along with an instruction manual for the device and its pinout you can devise and construct what's necessary to make the above example work.

That's not an advanced class, incidentally.  It ought be the first thing you learn.

You cannot productively learn how to organize data -- that is, data structures, databases and similar, without first understanding how the computer represents, moves and processes said data.  Yet to productively build an application that does something for someone you must know how to organize data and to do that effectively you need to know how the computer represents and processes the data internally.

All of this in the commercial world leads to bloated, broken code that sort-of runs but is insecure, consumes a lot of resource to do little and much of it is difficult or impossible to maintain on top of it.

The problem isn't that Facebook and Amazon are spending a ton of money on good software people.

It's that the so-called university system is ill-focused and manages to produce so-called "degree holders" who can't program their way out of a paper bag -- they simply cannot take a language manual and a week, wind up rationally competent in same.  Throw this together with the modern bloated "development environments" that give you a monstrous set of libraries to do virtually everything under the sun, often without decent documentation and full of bugs, and you get crap code out the other end.

$100,000 in tuition, fees, dorm charges and such, along with four to six years of your life for that?

That sort of "education" isn't worth three dollars -- in other words it's worth less than a half-ass beer at the local pub and until that changes I'm in complete agreement with the above author that such a "degree" is actually a negative on someone's resume.

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