3 Quick: Engineering, For-profit schools, CIPA

Three quick items today:


I've been thinking about engineering in schools and student (& teacher) perceptions of engineering as a discipline and skill set.

My take: It's misunderstood as being dorky, nerdy, science-y. Educators (& politicians) sell engineering as a great profession that will save America- but then don't do much to actually let students DO engineering during the school day. On that note, I'd love if you educators out there could spare 5 minutes of your students time to have them take this survey. It asks two basic questions: "What do engineers actually do?" and "What do engineers need to know?" As a reward for helping me, I present Sheldon Cooper on engineers for your enjoyment. I'll keep the survey open indefinitely.


I've never liked for-profit organizations running schools. Also, I've never been very good about articulating what exactly skeezes me out about them. Chris Lehmann is good at articulation, and his post Why I'm Against For-Profit Schools nails my feelings on the topic. Read it.


Every try to convince your network administrator that they should unblock twitter? or blogs? or any social networking site? If your experiences are similar to mine, you'll get told that they're required to categorically block these sites if they school is going to get e-Rate funding through CIPA. Turns out that's bogus. CIPA makes no such claims. In fact, the FCC (the government agency behind CIPA & e-Rate) goes out of their way to point out:

"Declaring such sites categorically harmful to minors would be inconsistent with the Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act’s focus on “educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.”

Hat tip to John Pederson for finding and posting this. If you visit his post, you'll find the link to the original FCC document.