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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 23, 2006 / 30 Sivan, 5766

Quit protesting, profs!

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It's exam time. I have spent much of the last week marking final papers written by undergraduates and graduates. I would guess I have been doing this kind of thing for more than 15 years now at four universities — Cambridge, Oxford, New York and now Harvard.


There have been times when I confess I haven't much enjoyed it. This year, however, examining has been a positive pleasure. This has been my first semester of teaching Harvard undergraduates, and I now understand why so many of them get A's. It's not all due to "grade inflation" by overgenerous professors, as critics have sometimes alleged. So many of these papers are outstanding that it's hard to impose a rigid distribution, imposing C's or worse on the lower third.


Returning to England, I had rather expected to find my British counterparts toiling under comparable circumstances. But no. In pursuit of a pay claim by the Assn. of University Teachers, a substantial proportion of the lecturers at British universities are refusing to grade examinations.


Now, I don't claim to be the perfect prof. But, busy though I have been in the last week, it would never have occurred to me not to get my final papers graded, whatever the circumstances. My students have worked hard this semester. Some of them are about to graduate and cannot do so if I don't deliver. Even if it means one more cup of coffee and one less hour of sleep, that last paper — all 21 pages of it — is going to get read and graded.


So I am frankly disgusted by the spectacle of dons downing tools. It's proof that those concerned are not professionals at all but merely a kind of academic proletariat who conceive of their institutions as nothing more than degree factories. If I were a student, I'd be furious. And many are, in a wonderful inversion of the late 1960s, demanding that their protesting professors get back to work.


This go-slow is more than merely irresponsible, however. It's also absurdly unrealistic. Professors are demanding a 23% pay hike over the next three years. Where do they think British universities are going to find this money? The fact of the matter is that British higher education is close to broke as a direct consequence of a massive expansion that has been systematically underfunded.

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In 1979, the proportion of British teenagers who went on to higher education was just 12%. Today, the proportion is close to 45%. But because British universities depend overwhelmingly on the state for funding, the resources available per student have declined steeply.


In essence, Britain has a National Higher Education Service, and it is afflicted with many of the ills that afflict the National Health Service — among them, chronically underpaid staff. On average, professorial pay is less than half what it is in the United States, which is one reason why so many British academics have migrated across the Atlantic in recent years. But the idea that this problem can simply be solved with a whopping pay raise misses the point.


There is a reason why higher education expenditures in the United States amount to 3% of gross domestic product, while in Britain it is just 1%. The reason is private funding. Harvard's $26-billion endowment alone exceeds the assets of all British universities combined — by a factor of roughly two. Oxford and Cambridge, the wealthiest of British universities, would rank roughly 15th on the U.S. rich list if they were somehow relocated across the Atlantic.


Ah, I hear you object, but what about those enormous fees? And it's true that annual tuition and fees at Harvard total more than $32,000. But — and here's the key point — not if you can't afford it. Because Harvard is rich, it can follow a "needs-blind" admissions policy, based purely on academic criteria. If you get in and your family turns out to be poor, it's free. That can't be claimed by any British institution. Oxford and Cambridge scholarships were long ago so eroded by inflation that they are now purely honorific.


Does it matter that British universities are funded as badly as British hospitals? Yes. More than most people realize, higher education has become globalized. The number of foreign students studying in developed countries has doubled over 20 years to 1.5 million. In the academic year 2004-05, the number of international students enrolled in U.S. higher education institutions exceeded half a million.


This is beneficial in more ways than one. Not only do they generally pay, they bring talent to their host institution. In effect, there is now an international competition among the world's universities to attract the most able students, particularly at the graduate level. As Western economies depend more and more on brains rather than brawn — on minds rather than on manufacturing — elite universities have a vital role to play not only for those working within their walls but for the society that surrounds them. They are gold mines for gray matter, oilfields for ideas.


The truly remarkable thing is that in this global market for brains, Britain is the No. 2 player after the United States. More than one in 10 students at British universities are from abroad. Oxford and Cambridge are the only two European universities in the internationally recognized top 20 rankings produced by Jiao Tong University in Shanghai (all the rest, apart from Tokyo University, are in the U.S.). That's pretty impressive for a state-run National Higher Education Service.


But the question is obviously this: What kind of signal does it send to an ambitious young Chinese student when British lecturers go on strike at examination time? Let me see … how about — in big, red letters — "APPLY TO HARVARD"?

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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.


05/23/06: World markets' wild ride: Economic volatility is back with a vengeance
05/16/06: The Cold Wars are coming
05/09/06: Many commentators are missing dangerous political shift
05/02/06: Put some sugar in your tank
04/25/06: Hu and the dog that didn't bark
04/18/06: Should Americans be less optimistic?
04/11/06: Globalization's second death?
04/04/06: So many ‘special’ friends
03/28/06: Let's get it right about what has gone wrong
03/21/06: Congress is trying to give the world a globotomy
03/14/06: Lame ducks can still bite back
03/07/06: A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president
02/28/06: The crash of civilizations
02/21/06: Not the president, but close
02/14/06: Want historic trouble? Look south
02/07/06: Greenspan advising Britain? It's housing bubbles, deficits and potential meltdowns all over again
01/31/06: Missing the Cold War
01/24/06: It's a sick, Thick World
01/17/06: Tomorrow's world war today
01/03/06: Scotland, it's over, but keep the accents
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
11/22/05: Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair
11/22/05: Can it happen in Britain too?
11/15/05: Red plus blue equals purple
11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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