Archive for the ‘education’ Category

MBA students dirty from honest toil for the last time in their lives


Seventy first-year graduate students in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University got as dirty as coal miners yesterday gutting four, century-old houses. Another 170 got rained on hauling pallets, pushing wheelbarrows, lugging mulch and collecting litter.

As dirty as coal miners? Really? I am sure that actual coal miners are impressed.

Swetha Bharadvaj lit up at the idea. “This will be great,” she said. “It’s a great project for us. We were talking earlier about ethics and the importance of acting with a broader perspective” beyond business.

“This sounded fun to me,” said Sereana Seim. “They told us we’d get filthy. I said, ‘Sign me up.'”

At five o’clock each student was issued a gray pin-striped suit and assured he would never have to worry about dirt again, barring the occasional mud spatter on his jodhpurs from polo pony hooves.

The Schoolhouse Gate

The Bethel Park School Board, whose meeting room is seen here, voted on August 8 to expel a student who had toys in the trunk of his car.

The student was not invited to defend himself at the proceedings, nor even told that they were underway. This was a wise decision on the part of the school board, as they might have had to explain, had they invited the unfortunate seventeen-year-old and his family, why it was acceptable for “district officials” to poke around in the trunk of his car.

It is, however, an absolute violation of the principle of due process, as, it is likely, was the original search. Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas famously wrote “neither students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” I like to think that other constitutional rights are retained also, such as a protection against unreasonable search and seizure and the right to confront one’s accusers.

Also missing here is a sense of any kind of balance. Even if we accept that, for whatever reason, students no longer are protected by the U.S. Constitution while in the parking lot of their school, how can any sort of crime be seen here? This kid didn’t threaten anyone with the gun-resembling toys. He didn’t bring them into the building. He didn’t even leave them in plain sight of other students.

And let me point out one more time, they were toys that looked something like guns, not actual guns.

Daniel Duff, Charles Koch, Charles Scheuble and Vice-President Connie Ruhl, the members of the Bethel Park Board who voted for this expulsion, should immediately resign their positions in shame and remorse for this decision. As they are clearly too tin-eared and half-witted to recognize this, they will instead have to be removed at the end of their terms in office. This is unfortunate, as it will give them in three cases another two years to tremendously complicate the lives of other children and teenagers with their asinine decisions.

Let’s Ask The Kids

This post is a reaction to the previous one. While I am not sure that Mr. Rogers is at fault, I think that there is something wrong with the kind of power we seem to be giving kids– one that often comes with little interest in instilling knowledge or responsibility in them.

The Heinz Foundation for example just dumped $17,000 into a project to get the input of 40 Middle school kids on ways to create a vibrant downtown. It looks like most of the kids have never lived in Pittsburgh and that their average age is around 13.

“Marissa Maddigan, 13, of Munhall, said her group favors eliminating vehicular traffic in Market Square”.

“Students also suggested allowing buskers; cleaning up graffiti and litter; posting more police officers; and holding winter hot-chocolate festivals and ice-sculpture competitions.”

For the most part, the ideas printed made sense and showed a lot of creativity. The concept of asking for young peoples input and active involvement is also very valid. But what kind of lesson is being taught about taking decision making seriously. Urban planning is a critical issue that will affect the future of the region. Are the kids studying for several months or years to look at the history of the city? Are they traveling to study other cities or exploring the case history or logic behind their opinions?

The suggestion, for example(the only blatantly dumb idea they printed) to put in skywalks is in fact a proposal with a long record of failure in many cities since it helps to remove and not add people to the street while the idea of eliminating car traffic in Market Square needs some a lot of study.

I am not sure if Mr. Rogers is at fault or just kids but we don’t seem to be a society that takes thinking seriously anymore

Single or Double

Yesterday we started an interesting discussion over at workabout spacing. Do you put one space or two after a period. Lynsie and I are both believers in 2 spaces. But others here disagreed. We have even taken the debate to google and found a video of someone strongly advocating for one space.
Apparently the two spaces were historically added when typing on a typewriter because typewriter spacing was so tricky. As the conversation continued through out the day we learned that computers now correct you for adding two spaces.
I thought of James’ (since I am writing about grammar I just had to pause for a consultation about how to correctly make James possessive) post about the governments involvement. I am just not sure I like Word having so much control over my writing. If I want to put two spaces after a period that is my prerogative.
For now Lynsie and I will stick to two spaces – double space forever, single space never.

Why I Like Point Park

Pittsburgh is the home of a solid number of very important colleges. But if someone asked me which one is the most important to the life and future of the city- I would say Point Park. This is because it one of the few schools here that seems intent on embracing it’s location; integrating itself into the fabric of the city and developing synergistic relationships here– In this case with the downtown theater and art scene..

New York is a city with dozens of colleges which play a huge role in it’s life. There is Columbia, NYU, Fordam, Pratt Institute, Saint Johns and the huge City University system. There are also tons of smaller schools scattered throughout the city. Parsons, SVA, FIT, Cooper Union, Hunter College, The New School, Juilliard, Baruch College and John Jay are a few. Not surprisingly a lot of these schools have strong specialties in the major “industries of NY” – art, film, media, fashion, theater, music, law, business , design and food.

One is sometimes struck, by the rather unassuming nature of some the schools. Few have stadiums, elaborate sports facilities, fancy campuses or massive buildings. Many of the most respected are pretty low key and functional. But looks can be decieving in that few of these schools beg for applicants and degrees from a lot of them are highly valued. A few like SVA, started small but have grown into sizable institutions. A lot of them do a booming and I think lucrative business in continuing education.

So what makes these schools so popular and successful. What are they selling if it ain’t fancy campuses, winning teams and hot cheerleaders? What these schools got is NY and they have learned to work it. Courses taught by major executives, takeover artist’s, art dealers, former mayors, film or television producers and the like are the norm. Internships with major law firms or media companies are integrated into the deal. This is easy because many of these people live and or work blocks away.

These schools have a symbiotic relationship with the city. Their street level harmony with NY feeds the city and the city in turn feeds the schools. Few Pittsburgh schools seem to have or want much of a relationship with the city. But Point Park does and is expanding in away that should benefit the school and enhance the life of Pittsburgh. I also like it’s marketing spin which proudly positions itself as an urban school in a great city.

I also want to give a shout out to to other schools in the downtown which play a very positive role in the city and have a strong pro-urban history. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh is the flagship of a huge for profit education empire and the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute has held on doggedly to a downtown that most ignore. I think that anyone looking for answers to why Pittsburgh has failed to develop a self supporting organic art scene and retain large numbers of it’s out of town students should look at the design of the city’s colleges and their relationship to the city.

18 Other Things That Do Not Promote Judeo-Christian Values That the Upper St. Clair School Board Can Discontinue

(see Mac’s post for details)

– football
– baseball
– swimming
– volleyball
– typing
– art
– sociology
– writing
– history
– mathematics
– economics
– chemistry
– physics
– geometry
– biology
– incredulity
– critical thinking
– common sense

Live from your computer, its me

Web 2.0 lesson of the day… Web + Seminar = Webinar.

For the past month I have been presenting a biweekly webinar with my boss, and every time I mention the word webinar my friends tell me I am crazy. One person even asked me to stop making up words. Well I am not making anything up. Webinars are here – Wikipedia even has an entry for webinar. So if you are in Pittsburgh or if you are anywhere with a computer you can log-on and watch or even participate.

So as you have guessed this is for a tech company, Spreadshirt, which is a tech company that sells custom apparel via the internet. When I am not writing for Metroblog I am writing the Spreadshirt blog –
We have been covering topics about how to sell t-shirts on the internet, marketing, merchandising. We do use lots of examples from Spreadshirt but we have some great ideas that apply to anything web.

This week we have a double feature in the world of webinars.
TODAY – Tue Feb. 6, 5-6pm EST
20 Top Tips for Low-to-No Cost Marketing
Register Here:

Thurs. Feb. 8, 2-3pm EST
7 Ways to *BLING* Your Spreadshirt Shop
Register Here:

These are not commercials for Spreadshirt, we do talk about Spreadshirt, but we really try to create a discussion so people can share best practices about web business. I think it is super cool that webinars exist and that these crazy web companies are located right here Pittsburgh? What are some other cool companies that are doing interested things here in Pittsburgh?

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