A response by American physicists (signed by well over 2,000 in a few days) repudiating questioning from Antonin Scalia and responding to question from John Roberts about the value of promoting equity and inclusion in physics.
The tie between American colleges and near-professional sports is almost unique in the world. While a few programs make a lot of money, most don't break even. In many programs, even those that are profitable, some of the money comes from student fees. With the dramatic escalation of the cost of college and the student debt crises one wonders how sustainable this form of sport is. The Washington Post has a piece on the subject.
Outside the Power Five, athletic departments lacking annual windfalls from television networks are even more reliant on student fees.
Jeff Smith, a business professor at the University of South Carolina-Upstate who has studied financial records from hundreds of schools, estimates students across the country borrow nearly $4 billion per year to pay off athletic fees.
Some smaller schools charge more than $2,000 per year in athletic fees, Smith found.
“They do it because they can. Most schools, it goes through the student government . . . and you’re always going to have kids who like sports and don’t understand the big financial picture,” Smith said. “When you have a president or a dean saying ‘This is good,’ most students will just go along with it.”
Sometimes, students don’t. In the last few years, students in Texas, South Carolina and Kansas have looked at their tuition bills and the surging amount of money flowing into athletics departments and asked administrators variations of the same question: Why do you need my money?
Many schools can't afford lab equipment. Some of it is fabricated using expensive materials and construction, but some can be built using 3d printers and other low cost techniques using non-critical materials. Open source hardware is appearing. A word of warning - printer choice is still tricky requiring some experience and budget.
Salonnotes that a majority of Americans under 30 believe in some form of evolution. The average citizen is still profoundly ignorant of science and a large number are anti-science - a major failure considering the areas growing importance. It is sad/frightening that all of the candidates for President in one party promote ignorance of and hostility towards science. Still a shift in belief towards empirical evidence is good.
Much has been said on the Finnish school system. It was dramatically improved over the span of a generation and by many measures is now one of the best systems in the world. Critics suggest it only works because Finland is small, close to a monoculture (it isn't) and Finland is a mostly middle class socialist state. Others look for elements that would make sense to bring into other school systems.
“Whatever it takes” is an attitude that drives not just Kirkkojarvi’s 30 teachers, but most of Finland’s 62,000 educators in 3,500 schools from Lapland to Turku—professionals selected from the top 10 percent of the nation’s graduates to earn a required master’s degree in education. Many schools are small enough so that teachers know every student. If one method fails, teachers consult with colleagues to try something else. They seem to relish the challenges. Nearly 30 percent of Finland’s children receive some kind of special help during their first nine years of school. The school where Louhivuori teaches served 240 first through ninth graders last year; and in contrast with Finland’s reputation for ethnic homogeneity, more than half of its 150 elementary-level students are immigrants—from Somalia, Iraq, Russia, Bangladesh, Estonia and Ethiopia, among other nations. “Children from wealthy families with lots of education can be taught by stupid teachers,” Louhivuori said, smiling. “We try to catch the weak students. It’s deep in our thinking.”