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  • unc70 Jan 4, 2011

    It is nearly impossible for anyone now to imagine just how bad things were in NC of my youth. Segregation, of course. But horrible poverty, poor schools, few paved roads, outhouses the norm, no electricity in rural areas, and more.

    Try to see the documentary "Change Comes Knocking" through UNC-TV or the pictures online at the UNC Law School center on poverty ... (the one Edwards started, that one).

    The rest of the country viewed Southern blacks AND whites as so genetically and morally inferior, lacking initiative, work ethic, and intelligence that the entire South would forever be inferior and a burden on those hardworking, enlightened, upstanding citizens of the rest of the country.

  • unc70 Jan 4, 2011

    You ask HOW we have a "top university" and "the worst public school systems". Easy answer. We do not have anything approaching "the worst public school systems". Our schools in NC are far better than one is lead to believe by those who whose alarmist attacks have changed little in fifty years.

    What has changed is public education in NC, the enormous gains by all our people, the common good, in the face of resistance by those, whether for financial or political gain, ideology, prejudice, or their individual rights -- their freedom to be ignorant, proud of it, and ready to rise up against the threat posed by those who are not.

    It was true in 1960, NC was at or near the bottom among states, competing with Mississippi for worst schools, highest poverty, lowest literacy, most rural, worst health.

    MS remains near the bottom. NC has made huge gains, working together, avoiding major racial conflict, and by investing in public education at all levels for all the people of NC.

  • scientistjo Jan 4, 2011

    "how can the state of NC have one of the top university systems in the country and the worst public school systems in the same country at the same time. Anybody ?"

    There aren't a lot of kids from downtown Durham going to UNC.

  • unc70 Jan 4, 2011

    Even if all sections have the same tests, mid-terms, finals, many other confounding factors that still make it hard to really see what is going on. You can't really do any statistics and not much else, unless the students in each section were assigned completely at random or randomly from constrained subsets of similar students -- for example based on SAT scores and gender.

    In practice, the self-selection of students makes the sections quite different in many ways. Sections at the same time as the large lectures for intro chem or physics would not include any of the students taking those other courses, who I would expect to be good in calculus.

    German classes might have a similar pattern involving chem majors. Practice schedules for varsity sports would cause other ripple effects. Many such patterns carry over from year to year.

    The large intro course with common exams are mostly taught by grad students, leaving after a year or two.

    A real mess. Typical.

  • rollinsox007 Jan 4, 2011

    State and UNC both made the list. Both great schools. Goes to show you how good of a state university system we have. Only issue I have with the rankings is why graduation rate was included in the decision making process. Just because a school can graduate people, doesn't make it a better school than another. I know UNC has gotten in a bit of hot water with that in the past 10 or so years.

  • I am not who you think I am Jan 4, 2011

    how can the state of NC have one of the top university systems in the country and the worst public school systems in the same country at the same time. Anybody ?

  • Mr. French Jan 4, 2011

    It may come as a surprise that I and several generations of my family attended UNC. I hope my children do as well. No one can question my UNC credentials or loyalty to my alma mater.

    What I can question, however, is how supposed supporters of my alma mater can continue justifying activities in Chapel Hill with the childish excuse that "Everybody else does it." That used to be unacceptable at UNC. That's what the "Carolina Way" was all about.

    There is a know fact among academics that my alma mater has the most highly inflated grades of any nearly any large university, private or public, in the state. The article I sited recognizes this as well. I thought we were on our way to fixing things, but the football scandal has convinced me otherwise.

    The "Carolina Way" has now come to mean that we justify our sins by saying "everyone else does it" and we pad our pockets by lowering our standards in the classroom.

    That's the truth, like it or not.

  • jscott13 Jan 4, 2011

    So...has anyone else spoken to a number of UNC kids lately and asked about the difficulty they are having getting classes, especially in their majors. We know a good many and they can"t get into classes...all full. I don't think that the people who rate these universities ask all of the pertinent questions.

  • Proud Black Constitutionalist Jan 4, 2011

    That's why I came to school here.

    kikinc,

    Promise me you left your Northeast political viewpoints in New York. We have enough Northeast liberals here already.

  • unc70 Jan 4, 2011

    Private schools in NC directly receive $1,950 per year for each NC student enrolled under the NC Legislative Tuition Grant program. Campbell over $5 million last year; Gardner-Webb, $3 million; Mount Olive, over $3 million; Duke, $1.7 million. Not based on need, only that school be nonprofit and based in NC, students must be NC residents, and their studies are not for the ministry or similar religious studies.

    There are several other State programs that provide tuition grants, etc. to the students that in turn benefit the private and religious colleges and universities.

    See http://www.cfnc.org for details on this and other financial assistance for students in NC.

    Since these are non-profit colleges and often under some religious affiliation, they are exempt from many taxes themselves.

    The most conservative religious colleges probably don't advertise how much taxpayer monies they are receiving each year.

  • mpheels Jan 4, 2011

    "I am assuming all sections take the same tests, midterms, and finals."

    They did not in the past, but they're starting to standardize more and more. When I was in freshman calc, profs had a lot of flexibility with homework and midterms, but there was a single common final for all sections. According to the students in my office, all math tests are computer based now, with multiple choice questions selected from a pre-determine set provided by the text book publisher/software provider. All scoring is computer based, and I assume that means the department can track disparities across sections. In some ways, the change is good, but there are also drawbacks. The biggest problem I see is that multiple choice math exams leave no room for partial credit when a students gets almost everything right but misses a single step.

  • BigUNCFan Jan 4, 2011

    "Grade disparity always a problem. When I took Intro Calculus as a freshman, there were dozens of Math 31 classes, plus two of 31A (min 700 SAT math). One section, mostly A's & some B's; mine, bell curve C midpoint, almost all got C/D/F's (a shock since for most first grade less than a B ever) instead of likely A/B in other sections."

    I'll have to agree that is just poor on the math department's part. They should normalize across all sections so that it does not matter by luck which section you got.

    It would also expose bad teachers since your normalization would be comparing against other students taught by other teachers. If you normalize within the section and your raw scores are 20 percent lower on average than the other kids in other sections, you can hide that with a curve in your section.

    If you normalize all sections, that 20 percent disparity would be revealed. I am assuming all sections take the same tests, midterms, and finals.

  • ncguy Jan 4, 2011

    not for long as the unc leaders continue to raise tuition on a yearly bases.

  • BigUNCFan Jan 4, 2011

    Yep, grade inflation is everywhere and it is an arms race. No kids want to go to a school that gives out bad grade because they look bad to employers on transcripts. It is all about marketing and schools are out there to make money so they go along.

    In fact a lot of schools are scrapping grades all together and going with pass fail, especailly in the freshman year. You have to have a pretty big name like MIT though to get away with that one.

  • early exit Roy Jan 4, 2011

    They have great tutor programs. Just ask the football players.

  • unc70 Jan 4, 2011

    UNC no "diploma mill", but grade inflation an issue everywhere. Many changes since I was at UNC in the 1960's: +/- vs simple letter (e.g. B-, B, B+ vs just B); more selective admissions (higher SAT scores, class rank); much better high-school preparation; impact of AP courses (equiv of 1 or 2 semesters!); dramatic change in M/F ratio (from almost 0% to over 60% women); fewer admitted with HS "deficiencies" (e.g. no foreign language).

    75% of both SAT math and verbal scores at UNC over 600; 25% over 700. While much lower than Princeton or Yale (25% near 800!) and lower than Duke by about 50 points each, Carolina students are among the very best.

    Grade disparity always a problem. When I took Intro Calculus as a freshman, there were dozens of Math 31 classes, plus two of 31A (min 700 SAT math). One section, mostly A's & some B's; mine, bell curve C midpoint, almost all got C/D/F's (a shock since for most first grade less than a B ever) instead of likely A/B in other sections.

  • mpheels Jan 4, 2011

    "yeah that's why there has been published reports from all the other schools right???"

    Yep, even in the very article Mr. French cited. Grade inflation exists at pretty much every major university in the country. It's a function of the Gen-Y entitlement attitude.

  • BubbaDukeforPresident Jan 4, 2011

    If you consider brain-washing by former anti-establishment hippies who've worked their way into the education system a good value, I suppose your standards are pretty low. UNC-CH is a liberal bastion of intentional ignorance, and common sense is unheard of.

  • flyingcheetah92 Jan 4, 2011

    "Which brings about another point. When do over priced, private universities start to fairly price their tuition?"

    What do you mean? There is a very good reason why private schools cost more than public ones, and it is because they are not linked to tax money! So while some of your money goes to help UNC, State, App state etc. None of it goes to Elon, Duke, Wake Forest or any of the other private schools. So they must charge a higher tuition.

  • keeter Jan 4, 2011

    "Grade inflation is a problem everywhere though."

    yeah that's why there has been published reports from all the other schools right???

  • keeter Jan 4, 2011

    Free tutors and free grade inflation....

    that IS quite a value.

  • snowplow Jan 4, 2011

    "That's why if I transfer to State from Chapel Hill, all my A-'s evaporate and suddenly turn into 4.0's. (Not that I would ever do that, but that was told to me by an NCSU transfers rep)"

    baloney, for one NCSU has a +/- system and two transfered credits do not count towards you GPA.

  • madamwuf Jan 4, 2011

    "There are no A+ like at some schools. You should not be able to graduate with higher than a 4.0, it does not make sense-that means you can fail calculus but take Intro to Gym and make an A+. You couldn't bolster your GPA with Phys Ed classes at UNC..."

    At State you cannot earn more than a 4.0 either. A student can get an A+ and earn 4.33 points, but the GPA is not allowed to be higher than a 4, so a student who earns all A's will have the same as a student with all A+'s. The gym classes are also purposefully difficult to get an A in as to discourage students from taking the gym class route. A gym class is also only worth 1 credit hour, versus a calculus course worth 3 or 4, so, no, a 1 hour gym course A will not bolster your failing calc grade.

  • Crankyone Jan 4, 2011

    I dare any of the geuises who think UNC is a diploma mill to enroll and maintain just a 2.0. I know their critics could not even get admitted to Carolina much less pull a C-.

    Which brings about another point. When do over priced, private universities start to fairly price their tuition?

  • citizensoldier16 Jan 4, 2011

    Best? How about "Most Liberal"? "Most likely to muzzle conservative groups" or "Most violent towards differing points of view" (Tancredo reference).

    99% of the faculty at UNC are Liberals. It drips from their teaching and they quell anything else. It's amazing how skewed these polls are.

  • kikinc Jan 4, 2011

    I paid less at NC State than I would have at an in-state school up in NY. That's why I came to school here. More affordable education AND a better education. Of course, this was more than 10 years ago. I don't think it's like that anymore.

  • NC Reader Jan 4, 2011

    I hope our out-of-state tuition is at least as high as the highest in-state tuition would be for those students. I remember students from other states who paid less as out-of-state UNC students than they would have paid at their own state universities.

  • NCStatePack Jan 4, 2011

    Props to the local schools who made the list

  • davido Jan 4, 2011

    I would hardly call UNC a diploma mill. They are the most competitive public U in the state, and successfully recruit a highly motivated, involved, and bright student body. Grade inflation is a problem everywhere though.

  • UNCFarva Jan 4, 2011

    "I guess so. It's a diploma mill with the highest grade inflation of nearly any school in North Carolina."

    That may have been the case prior to the past decade...I assure you my first day there was with a Professor that headed up the board to reduce grade inflation. I then promptly dropped that class. Carolina is hard to get in and hard to get out. There are no A+ like at some schools. You should not be able to graduate with higher than a 4.0, it does not make sense-that means you can fail calculus but take Intro to Gym and make an A+. You couldn't bolster your GPA with Phys Ed classes at UNC...

  • tarheel_2014 Jan 4, 2011

    "I guess so. It's a diploma mill with the highest grade inflation of nearly any school in North Carolina."

    That's why if I transfer to State from Chapel Hill, all my A-'s evaporate and suddenly turn into 4.0's. (Not that I would ever do that, but that was told to me by an NCSU transfers rep) Give me a break.

  • Alex25 Jan 4, 2011

    Will be interesting to see what happens to their Image with all the NCAA investigations into their athletics. A liberal arts degree isn't difficult on balance.

  • AF Flight Nurse Jan 4, 2011

    UNC-CH is an EXCELLENT place to receive an education, particularly within their graduate programs where the students tend to be a little more mature and decidedly focused on their efforts. Their faculty members are academically STRONG based on my personal experience. In North Carolina, we are immensely blessed to live in a state where Carolina, State, Duke, Wake Forrest, East Carolina and a lot of other respected universities co-exist close by. Did I leave one out? Key word: respect.

  • terrible terrier Jan 4, 2011

    Sounds like you didn't get in.

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Jan 4, 2011

    So, no complaining when tuition goes up. It is still a good deal.

  • Mr. French Jan 4, 2011

    I guess so. It's a diploma mill with the highest grade inflation of nearly any school in North Carolina.

    See: http://bbedit.sx.atl.publicus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110102/NEWS0107/101020302/1159/NEWS04&nav_category=NEWS04

    "At UNC, the average GPA was 3.21 in the fall of 2008, up from 2.99 in 1995. A’s have become the most frequent grade, and together, A’s and B’s accounted for 82 percent of the 2008 grades. Last spring, the faculty called for the creation of Perrin’s committee to help the registrar give context to undergraduate grades by providing statistics on what percentage of students got each letter grade, what percentage are majors in the department and what percentage are seniors, juniors, sophomores and freshmen."

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