Capstone Follies, no fiction writing for mamma edition.

I came up short on my own writing goals, including a big fat zero on fiction wordcount because I spent the week helping one of my kids with a massive capstone project.  And yes, I didn’t think it would take all week and that I’d have some time to write.  But it didn’t work out that way.

There’s always next week though!

10% of BAs and higher among 15-24yos go to those under 21.

This appears to be about the right range.  Due to the variations in how dual enrollment and other early college access are handled by states, counties and school districts, it’s hard to nail the exact number down and thus have a 99.99% estimate.  But about 1 in 10 matches up with the available surveys and estimates on educational attainment.

For under-18s, girls are often slightly more likely to secure the 4 year degrees than boys, but it’s not consistently so.  For 18-20yos, boys are mostly ahead compared to girls on that.  Currently 15-17yos get a small but consistent chunk of early degrees, but we have yet to see them cross 100k/yr average as a group.  Maybe 60k tops by now annually.

Right around 4 million BAs and higher degrees are completed each year by the under 25 crowd, and the split is around 5% to 20yos, 2-3% to 18-19yos and 1-2% to 15-17yos.  I only have pure anecdotes and social media scraping to add in under-15, but they could be as high as half a percentage point to these totals, which would be 20k preteens with bachelor’s degrees.  It’s impossible to say though without more technical social media deep digging, and that’s probably the ceiling anyhow.

The interesting thing is that it appears we are at or near the tipping point in which college education (including the college prep high school and junior high system) must transmute under the strain of being secured at increasingly early ages.  What’s ahead?

Scutwork Diary, Day 2

Progress was mixed on clearing out the clutter so we could round up all the homeschool stuff. But we have help on the weekends, and the Chinese virus isn’t getting in the way of that. We will thus be able to do more work for day 3 and still finish up Homeschool Consolidation on time. There is something to be said for maintaining social connections with rural folks, something good.

In any case, it’s been really challenging to sit down and be methodical about decluttering and general tidying. You think it’s just a matter of bulling through throwing a lot of stuff out, or just making yourself sit there for hours asking the question “Where is the home for this?” for ten, twenty, a hundred items. But it’s not. It’s really about whole-life thinking and accepting how you really “do” life before you throw out this or that.

My kids can cook very well, but they are atrocious at cleanup, and like the excellent nine year old cook in L.M. Montgomery’s Story Girl duology, my own kids will be extravagant with eggs and butter beyond what an adult would prefer them to if left to full autonomous process. I don’t have to do a lot of supervising as a result, but I do have to make a lot more rules and restrictions around the cooking process than I previously thought were necessary. And it’s hard, it’s like writing software. So.many.instructions.that.have.to.be.very.precise.and.specific.

But in a way it will be practice for my return to coding and programming. For reasons beyond the scope of this entry anyhow it’s become obvious I have to get back into that realm. Interestingly, and I have some anecdotal evidence in this direction, higher maths have proved to unlock bits of comprehension that used to be confusing. Many women seem to do better going from math to coding, rather than just trying to tinker their way through as noncollege male programmers do. It’s an interesting possibility, if it’s broadly applicable. Perhaps I’ll code a tool that can clarify those matters one of these days.

As is perhaps expected, I thought this entry would take quite a different form. I forgot to put gas in the car before running an errand, and then had a fiasco trying to get gas at a branded station that wouldn’t recognize my brand key fob, so I had to get gas closer to home on fumes. I listened to an 80s playlist the whole time. The kids are very 80s tolerant, which remains very amusing, but also challenging, as you learn the hard way how many times you have to slam that skip button when some song lyrics start up for 80s songs that were blasting from radios in your youth and you had no idea that the singer was talking about *this* or *that*.

We finally got a Census form with the online code. But I’m going to wait for the paper form and fill it out in colorful pen ink.

Project 1: Homeschool Consolidation, 2 days of estimated 3 complete.

Scutwork Diary, Day 1

This is a diary about boring scutwork. Why boring scutwork? Because the main obstacle to an ordered life in my specific and personal case is social. I can do boring scutwork, but being too ashamed to say that it has to be done has meant that as soon as there’s a crisis or emergency or just a sick day, work and life pile up like crazy. This is because those are the times that the boring scutwork’s boringness rushes to the fore and it gets put aside. Then a lot of interlinking pieces of daily life start coming undone and we end up in survival mode as a household for weeks or months. And then it’s another action plan or buying a piece of organizing furniture and the cycle repeats, but with incrementally more disarray as the kids get bigger and, well, messier if unchecked. All because I don’t talk about it except to my husband. Until now.

I’ve decided to diarize my journey from scutwork to gruntwork, and ideally beyond that. But first I want to succeed at the initial scheme and it is possible to overshoot by yapping about plans that are years away. In the short term, though, that hasn’t been the reason there’s piles of unfiled papers, stacks of books with annotations and notes and endless waves of unsorted kid schoolwork lying around along with unfolded laundry and dish towels in the strangest places. All that stuff has happened because not talking about the daily niggling details except with my husband has meant that I feel like all the scutwork is pointless since nobody knows it’s happening except the two people doing it. So I’m going to open this process to the world.

It’s pretty simple, I will write 500-1000 words 6 days a week about what scutwork I plan to do or have already done. The scutwork itself will be broken down into 2-3 day projects and goal-assessed every 13 weeks or 90 days, whichever is needed to round out a quarter. The initial scutwork project is Homeschool Consolidation. I have two bookshelves I was using to collect all the books I planned to read and discuss before this summer, along with some old children’s books I wanted the kids to read. They did read a fair amount of them, but the location of the bookshelves was not optimal for treating them as bookshelves and instead they’ve collected clutter and only had about half books in them anyway.

So the goal is to clear the books out and just use them as a homeschool shelving and storage system. Currently schoolwork is scattered across the house and the upshot is that it can be hard to find books or papers or manipulatives during school days. Consolidating everything in one place even though it’s not the place I wanted and which I just fought using because “bookshelves are ONLY FOR BOOKS NOTHING ELSE” will allow for the possibility of shaving time off teaching by not having to scramble for missing elements.

This is going to be a three day project. For the first day, T.W.O. and I removed some clutter and put most of the books in the library. We made enough progress that we will aim to finish removing clutter and the rest of the books tomorrow. Then after that we’ll put all the homeschool stuff on those two bookshelves. It’s boring scutwork, but once it’s done, quality of life will improve.

Project 1: Homeschool Consolidation, 1 day of estimated 3 complete.

We really are under a Labor vs. Capital divide.

The problem is that a big chunk of it is college-educated knowledge workers having their wages driven downwards and not understanding that they have class interests.  Instead, many of them buy into titles-over-pay and are happy to receive lower pay over time adjusted for inflation so long as they earn just a bit more than non-college workers.  And it is “just a bit” after you’ve bothered to adjust for the costs of the education ratchet and the fact that increasingly these knowledge workers are talking themselves into 2-3 degrees before getting that first job.

It doesn’t have to be this way, they could demand to be paid in money rather than ego-boost of making a few pennies more than those despised not-college types who probably don’t even have decent politics.  But it would mean they’d been bad at being smart and were instead talked into, er, voting against their own interests.

This is, by the way, misleadingly represented on the fringe socialist left as “professional managerial class” or “pmc”.

Is dual enrollment “watered down”? Maybe…not.

It turns out that most of the time that students taking college classes in high school come in to regular college and fail, it’s because they were allowed to take classes they didn’t meet grade or score requirements for.  Letting a D student take classes that are supposed to be restricted to B students and up doesn’t answer the question of whether the class itself is “watered down” at all.  It merely shows that a lot of people are willing to commit fraud either for cash reasons (more enrollments and thus more funding) or ideological reasons, thinking they’re “reducing inequality” by ignoring the logical rules.

Additionally, dual enrollment has matured enough that it’s much more typical for states to just teach the exact same course on both high school and college campuses, or online.  The evidence is poor that dual enrollment courses are particularly watered down compared to any other college coursework.  The evidence is far stronger that dual enrollment is used fraudulently to push low-performing students into college coursework they can’t complete in order to boost statistics about different groups having college prep or early college exposure.

Nearly 1/3 of US high school students do dual enrollment.

The title says it all.  The most current estimates hover around 30% nationwide.  Dual enrollment refers to any instance of high school students taking coursework that is college-credit equivalent.  This is usually AP classes or arrangements with local colleges to offer college coursework to high school students (either at the local high schools or via online access or via special access to local colleges).

The average amount of credit completed varies by state from a semester to around a year of college.  This means, of course, that a substantial fraction of high schoolers are normalizing taking up to a year’s worth of college classes while being under age 18.  Kind of puts a lot of claims about what a college degree measures into different perspective.  In some parts of the country, most students are taking a year of college coursework in high school.

The steady rise in dual enrollment is related to my previous post about the increase in youthful PhDs.  There is a growing pool of students who are responding to credential pressure by simply starting much earlier in the process.  The interesting question is how far we are from the tipping point of something like  1/5 or even 1/3 of college students getting BAs before 20.  It’s hard to say.