NYT: Tweet lazy students to get them to apply to college

Researchers have discovered a shocking disparity:

A child born into a poor family has only a 9 percent chance of getting a college degree, but the odds are 54 percent for a child in a high-income family. 

Is this really true?  Who knows?  But don't worry; they found a solution: text messages.  No, really.

While they were graduate students at Harvard, two young professors designed and tested a program to help students stick to their college plans. Benjamin L. Castleman, now at the University of Virginia, and Lindsay C. Page, at the University of Pittsburgh, set up a system of automatic, personalized text messages that reminded high school students about their college deadlines. The texts included links to required forms and live counselors.

The result? Students who received the texts were more likely to enroll in college: 70 percent, compared with 63 percent of those who did not get them. Seven percentage points is a big increase in this field, similar to the gains produced by scholarships that cost thousands of dollars. Yet this program cost only $7 per student.

How silly is this?  Students need to be tweeted to fill out their financial aid forms, or else they drop out.  And why do they need to be reminded?

At every step of the way, low-income students are more likely to stumble on the path to higher education. Even the summer after high school is a perilous time, with 20 percent of those who plan to attend college not actually enrolling -- a phenomenon known as “summer melt.” Bureaucratic barriers, like the labyrinthine process of applying for financial aid, explain some of the drop-off

Oh, of course, it's the "summer melt"!  Let me suggest an alternative to educational global warming.  If some kids don't fill out financial aid forms, or don't show up for college, it means they're not really interested in doing so.  By calling it "summer melt," it sounds like an external factor, like the weather.  The fault is squarely on the shoulders of the student, who doesn't particularly value education, and/or the parents, who don't instill a value of education in their children.

Why should we spend a penny to send reminders to students about such basic things?  If they don't even have enough interest to apply to college unprodded, what kind of students are they going to be?  Will they be sent text messages every time they need to go to class, write a paper, take a test?  "DONT FORGET STUDY TONITE! AND BRUSH TEETH AFTER DNR!!!!"

Right now 45% of students nationally drop out of college.  In some schools, especially state schools, the 4-year graduation rate is much lower.  Nineteen percent at California State University: Chico.  Eighteen percent at Delaware State University.  Seven percent in San Jose State University.  Five percent in California State University: Dominguez Hills.  Three percent at the University of the District of Columbia.  (Only three percent?  Why is this school still open?)

And enormous sums of taxpayer dollars, in terms of financial aid, and, in the case of state schools, teacher salaries are going to pay for students who will never graduate.  So do we want even more unmotivated students to go to college?

I think we should be doing the opposite, discouraging the unqualified from going.  There are many jobs in the real world, such as retail, and vocational trades such as plumbing and auto repair, that don't require a college degree.

But liberals aren't done.  In the same article, they also talked about programs to get parents to teach their kids to read.  Seriously.

Researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Toronto are also working on methods to develop literacy. Ariel Kalil, Susan E. Mayer and Philip Oreopoulos sent families texts with tips about how to read with their preschoolers. The result was that parents spent substantially more time reading with their children.

Parents have to be nudged to read to their children?  While they're at it, should they also be reminded to feed their children and give them clothes?  (I can see the text messages now: "DONT FORGET TO PUT CLOTHES ON KIDS BEFORE LETTING THEM OUTSIDE").

Good parents are going to be good.  And regardless of what this egghead study says, bad parents are going to be bad.  If a parent has to be prodded into reading to his children, how long do you think he's going to do it for?

Is it the responsibility of the government to teach parents how to be parents?  Do we really want a further expansion of the nanny state?

That's not to say, however, that the idea of government-sponsored tweets might not be totally without merit, in certain situations.  Here is an idea for a tweeting program:

In states that have waiting periods before abortions, a tweet to women planning abortions that says, "DONT ABORT UR BABY. HE WILL THNK YOU LTR. LOL!"

Pedro Gonzales is editor of Newsmachete.com, the conservative news site.

Researchers have discovered a shocking disparity:

A child born into a poor family has only a 9 percent chance of getting a college degree, but the odds are 54 percent for a child in a high-income family. 

Is this really true?  Who knows?  But don't worry; they found a solution: text messages.  No, really.

While they were graduate students at Harvard, two young professors designed and tested a program to help students stick to their college plans. Benjamin L. Castleman, now at the University of Virginia, and Lindsay C. Page, at the University of Pittsburgh, set up a system of automatic, personalized text messages that reminded high school students about their college deadlines. The texts included links to required forms and live counselors.

The result? Students who received the texts were more likely to enroll in college: 70 percent, compared with 63 percent of those who did not get them. Seven percentage points is a big increase in this field, similar to the gains produced by scholarships that cost thousands of dollars. Yet this program cost only $7 per student.

How silly is this?  Students need to be tweeted to fill out their financial aid forms, or else they drop out.  And why do they need to be reminded?

At every step of the way, low-income students are more likely to stumble on the path to higher education. Even the summer after high school is a perilous time, with 20 percent of those who plan to attend college not actually enrolling -- a phenomenon known as “summer melt.” Bureaucratic barriers, like the labyrinthine process of applying for financial aid, explain some of the drop-off

Oh, of course, it's the "summer melt"!  Let me suggest an alternative to educational global warming.  If some kids don't fill out financial aid forms, or don't show up for college, it means they're not really interested in doing so.  By calling it "summer melt," it sounds like an external factor, like the weather.  The fault is squarely on the shoulders of the student, who doesn't particularly value education, and/or the parents, who don't instill a value of education in their children.

Why should we spend a penny to send reminders to students about such basic things?  If they don't even have enough interest to apply to college unprodded, what kind of students are they going to be?  Will they be sent text messages every time they need to go to class, write a paper, take a test?  "DONT FORGET STUDY TONITE! AND BRUSH TEETH AFTER DNR!!!!"

Right now 45% of students nationally drop out of college.  In some schools, especially state schools, the 4-year graduation rate is much lower.  Nineteen percent at California State University: Chico.  Eighteen percent at Delaware State University.  Seven percent in San Jose State University.  Five percent in California State University: Dominguez Hills.  Three percent at the University of the District of Columbia.  (Only three percent?  Why is this school still open?)

And enormous sums of taxpayer dollars, in terms of financial aid, and, in the case of state schools, teacher salaries are going to pay for students who will never graduate.  So do we want even more unmotivated students to go to college?

I think we should be doing the opposite, discouraging the unqualified from going.  There are many jobs in the real world, such as retail, and vocational trades such as plumbing and auto repair, that don't require a college degree.

But liberals aren't done.  In the same article, they also talked about programs to get parents to teach their kids to read.  Seriously.

Researchers at the University of Chicago and University of Toronto are also working on methods to develop literacy. Ariel Kalil, Susan E. Mayer and Philip Oreopoulos sent families texts with tips about how to read with their preschoolers. The result was that parents spent substantially more time reading with their children.

Parents have to be nudged to read to their children?  While they're at it, should they also be reminded to feed their children and give them clothes?  (I can see the text messages now: "DONT FORGET TO PUT CLOTHES ON KIDS BEFORE LETTING THEM OUTSIDE").

Good parents are going to be good.  And regardless of what this egghead study says, bad parents are going to be bad.  If a parent has to be prodded into reading to his children, how long do you think he's going to do it for?

Is it the responsibility of the government to teach parents how to be parents?  Do we really want a further expansion of the nanny state?

That's not to say, however, that the idea of government-sponsored tweets might not be totally without merit, in certain situations.  Here is an idea for a tweeting program:

In states that have waiting periods before abortions, a tweet to women planning abortions that says, "DONT ABORT UR BABY. HE WILL THNK YOU LTR. LOL!"

Pedro Gonzales is editor of Newsmachete.com, the conservative news site.