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Helicopter Scouter-ism Goes Nanotech

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Helicopter Scouter-ism has harnessed nano-technology and applied it to the old concept of small potatoes. Now we can make federal case over whether or not someone has earned a merit badge they buy.

See here: http://www.scouter.com/Forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=321335

and we can have "restricted" blue cards" http://www.scouter.com/Forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=320761&p=3 what's next? witnesses, attorneys, and notaries for the signatures?


Military items aren't controlled like this. You can buy and wear nearly any gewgaw you like. But that doesn't make you more accomplished or experienced; it may make you a fraud. If other folks are fooled... who cares much about impressing fools?


"...a parent is sneaking in advancement under false pretenses" ....sneaking advancement to what? Fraud? And how would we know it was false pretense? Because it was a parent? Non-parents can cheat too. Parents might cheat, scouts might cheat, scouters might cheat, and Tim Geithner might have difficulty using Turbo-Tax. But honestly, do we think these boys don't know whether or not they've earned their spurs? They know it ain't the hat that makes the cowboy. And the fakes will feel small when a real one shows up. Tell them that. They'll get it... or not.


Helicopter Scouters' overprotective impulses kick in here and they want safeguards in place to shield the poor innocent (or maybe not) scout from his parents' unrelenting pushing. But integrity can be a lonely road. You can't walk it for someone no matter how much you think unjust barriers have been put in his way. You and your intricate procedures won't be around to protect that scout's integrity forever. They will deal with their own monsters... or not.


Back in the day, we might worry that production of ersatz Eagle Scouts would debase the rank's currency. But if the complaints about that are half true, that horse may have already left the barn. Anyway, at the rate progressives are bringing us progress, today's scouts might be better off not mentioning they were scouts at all when it comes time for applications to schools and jobs. A recent study found that "while most extracurricular activities increase your odds of admission to an elite school, holding a leadership role or winning awards in organizations like high school R.O.T.C., 4-H clubs and Future Farmers of America actually works against your chances." (you can guess why - and if you doubt the findings, you can google up Russell Neili's research and judge his methodology yourself). It wouldn't surprise me to see BSA joining that list; it's as good an organization as those others are. That could even be a good thing if word got out... paranoia about cheating might wither.

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I'm assuming this is the correct Nieli...


Russell K. Nieli is a lecturer in Princeton Universitys politics department. Author of an important study of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, he has written numerous articles on public policy topics and edited an anthology of writings on affirmative action. Nieli graduated summa cum laude from Duke University, received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1970, and taught at several colleges before returning to Princeton. He is the author of a paper published by the Pope Center in March 2007, Russell K. Nieli is a lecturer in Princeton Universitys politics department. Author of an important study of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, he has written numerous articles on public policy topics and edited an anthology of writings on affirmative action. Nieli graduated summa cum laude from Duke University, received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1970, and taught at several colleges before returning to Princeton. He is the author of a paper published by the Pope Center in March 2007, The Decline and Revival of Liberal Learning at Duke: The Focus and Gerst Programs.



Do you have a link for the recent study? The sites I'm finding are basically requoting the above.


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I couldn't find the quote in the article. Nevertheless, it does not include scouting, and there's no reason to assume it should.


Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are much different than those other organisations. Other threads have already discussed that scouting on a resume, admissions, and scholarship applications is most often an asset -- rarely a liability.


Even progressive institutions are looking for members with the stick-to-it-ivness required to be granted BSA or GSA awards.


I was at a major university's engineering department graduation a couple of years back and in the program the valedictorian noted his Eagle; and another of the top 10, his Life rank. I'm sure in the four years since graduating high school, these boys had a chance to accomplish other things, but they chose to acknowledge their scouting experience before an audience of thousands.


I'm not sure anyone did a fact-check before printing the program. But I have no reason to doubt these boys' declaration anymore than I would the young lady who's best accomplishment was founding the "Harry Potter Society".

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Well! Good thing Duke rejected me as it seems I would have wasted 80K and never met my husband. Go 'Hoos!


I've just finished reading the paper Lisabob linked to, but didn't see any assertion that leadership roles in high caliber extra-curriculars during high school lesssened the chances of acceptance at a highly competitive university or college.


Maybe it's in a different paper?

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Well, I'd like to read the study Callooh! is referencing.


I can easily see why 4-H, FFA and ROTC are not considered positives for elite schools. The first two are extremely rural in nature, which is something that the elite schools aren't accustomed to. The third isn't even allowed in many of the elites. ROTC is basically thought of as working class and militaristics. Again, I'd like to read the study, not just a vague admonition to google it.

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It's actually Neili's commentary on another study: http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2010/07/how_diversity_punishes_asians.html


"Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student's chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis."


The actual study is by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and his colleague Alexandria Radford. It appears to be this book or something similar: http://www.amazon.com/Longer-Separate-Not-Yet-Equal/dp/0691141606/vdare


I would expect that Scouts would be considered very much the same as the other organizations, if not worse, given that it's the only such organization with an anti-gay policy.

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Yah, OK, perhaps another troll, eh?


I think da essay he's referring to is http://www.mindingthecampus.com/originals/2010/07/how_diversity_punishes_asians.html


It references a study by Thomas Espenshade and Alexandria Radford based on one of those big survey pools (National Study of College Experience). It's actually a thought-provoking essay.


An early pre-review copy of da research study I think is here: https://www.princeton.edu/~tje/files/Standardized%20AdmissionTests.pdf


They also have a book published by Princeton University Press and available from Google Books: http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=47rORpFmuBwC&oi=fnd&pg=PR1&dq=Espenshade+and+Radford+NSCE+study&ots

=1U2O4vgR6U&sig=Fz7EePEj1MpvQaKKcKxHi9V7Vx4#v=onepage&q&f=false (This message has been edited by a staff member.)

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(sighhhhhhh - apparently research is a lost art)


The contention that career oriented orgnizations like ROTC, 4-H and Future Farmers is associated with lower admission odds to elite private colleges comes from the book No Longer Separate Not Yet Equal released in 2010 by Thomas Espenshade, a professor of sociology at Princeton and Alexandria Walton Radford, a research associate at a Washington DC based consulting firm.


In this book, the authors do NOT try to explain why this is the case - they just mention that it is the case because it's an interesting side note.


Russell Neili comes to the table with a blog entry at the Manhattan Institutes web site claiming that the statement shows that there is a bias against "Red State activities" despite the fact that the boook itself notes that the research by the authors show that there appears to be an advantage in gaining admissions to to schools they studied if one comes from conservative-leaning, Republican-dominated states such as Alabama, Montana and Utah.


In other words, the book makes an offheanded mention about career-oriented activities lowering admissions odds without giving a reason why, mentions that coming from conservative-leaning Rpublican-dominated states apparently is an advantage to gaining admissions to private elite schools and a culture warrior from the right makes spurious claims that are now treated as gospel by people who can't be bothered to take the time to learn what it's all about.


I've taken the challenge, I've investigated Neili's methodology, and I'm declaring it to be nothing more than idle speculation with no foundation - in other words, BOGUS.


(ps - I found this information by a simple Google Search: Russell Neili ROTC)(This message has been edited by calicopenn)

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ED I'm interested in learning those differences.


I think the differences are perception only. I've seen great results from jr ROTC and 4H. But BS and GS are far more general programs. It would be easier to believe some progressive admissions office would hold a lower view of seemingly narrowly focused activities, even if there is no data out there to support such an assertion.


Calico - I had no doubt that the original assertions were based on zero facts. Thanks for confirming that.

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Hit and run. Being somewhat of a "subject matter expert" in nanomaterials and their toxicology, I fail to see the connection.

And he is correct...military items are not controlled, except to those who can legally enter a military exchange (or buy them on Ebay). But wearing an Admiral's shoulder boards to impersonate somethine you are not will land you in jail.(This message has been edited by papadaddy)

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The point I apparently obscured with that apparently fascinating distraction about ROTC, FFA, and 4-H at the end of my post was this:


That angst in the thread from which this was spun... angst over the purchase of a merit badge w/o proper authorization and documentation... with words like "defamed," "wrongdoing," "misconduct," and "disciplinary action" employed. Maybe I'm mistaken, but it didn't seem like the OP was using hyperbole promiscuously, being sarcastic or otherwise fooling around with how they presented their ideas or point of view (as some of us are prone to do - I'm guilty as charged on that count).


I typically don't go to internet forums to read or share stories of romance, tragedy, or emotional uplift. But, that poster's writing communicated genuine emotional distress (that's how I read it anyway). I noticed that distress, felt a little sympathy and was bit peeved that someone would threaten the poster over such an issue (or even make an issue of it at all really). Now, maybe the poster overreacted or maybe they were just having us on (people do). But I took them at their word and it seems a shame that they're dealing with a system in which people treat other people like that - "disciplinary action" for buying a merit badge?


Yea, I guess it's odd to be troubled over such a thing, as we do have far greater troubles in the world to concern us. But this trouble brings to mind the thinking that is behind it, the Helicopter Scouter mindset. It's behind some other disgruntlements we see tooth-aching their way around, so I figured I'd point it out. A Helicopter Scouter mentality metastasized in that community to such an extent that merit badge controls went beyond old-school micro-management and harnessed the power of nano-management (thus the reference to nanotech that one respondent to the original post mentioned he/she didn't see as connected).


Now, regarding the distraction of the ROTC, FFA, 4-H thing that apparently was more interesting than the topic I intended to address: After the first two responses to the post that started this thread I penned the response below and had some difficulty posting it - new account, password not what I thought I had typed. Then my schedule took me away from this little fireside chat. Anyway here is what I was going to reply to the fist couple inquiries about the study: "Confused author. Espenshade and Radford crunched the numbers in this study: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9072.html -The quote is from a review Neili (also of Princeton) wrote of the study. There has been some controversy over the data. Espenshade himself seems to have been uncomfortable with what his data suggest to others. It's a controversial subject, preferences and discrimination on racial, religious, and cultural bases for college admissions. It wasn't my intention to open that particular can of worms. It's just that the idea of pushing Eagle as a possible positive discriminator for college admissions reminded me of this. As scouting defies changing cultural norms (the gay issue for example - it's the issue that some universities offered as their reason for keeping ROTC of campus), it may invite ostracism from some spheres." (end original reply)

So that's what I was going to post but now it's OBE and all got figured out without any effort on my part.


And then, boy howdy, does this campfire transmogrify into an auto-da-fe right quick. Already I'm admonished for offering vague admonishments, unmasked as a troll, debunked as a poster "who can't be bothered to take the time to learn what it's all about," and who makes "assertions based on zero facts." That's high praise, and I'm not so humble that I won't own up to it mostly fitting on most counts. Thanks for noticing but don't have high expectations. I may have gussied up my first post with a lot of fancy sarcasm, hyperbole, assertions based on zero facts, and knuckle dragging culture warrior stuff. But really it's nothing personal. It's just ideas expressed in an acerbic style. Yea, I know... you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. But who wants flies? Not the lively bunch that have read this far; no sir, this is a no fly zone and I been shot down.


Anyway... back to distraction, that research about college admissions (not the subject of my post, but apparently was more interesting)... it's controversial and the controversy predictably splits along partisan political lines. On one side of that debate we find, as has already been pointed out, "culture warrior from the right makes spurious claims." On the other side of the debate from those knuckle dragging mouth breathers, we find dispassionate, cerebral, fair-minded empiricists who dismiss the spurious claims of culture warriors because those claims are spurious and we know they are because they are made by culture warriors who make spurious claims.


As a paid-up member of the ladies-culture-warrior-auxiliary (I couldn't pass the unsubstantiated assertion test to get into the crack culture warrior hit sqaud), I cede this field and I admit the indictment; I really "can't be bothered to take time to learn what it's all about." So let it be known henceforth that it is a spurious claim to say that some institutions of higher learning are manned (or rather, peopled) with decision makers who hold low opinions of ROTC, FFA, and 4-H; and it is furthermore especially spurious... (Is that proper usage? can something be spuriouser than just plain spurious? or would "especially spurious" connote a particular spuriousness rather than a greater degree thereof?)... ahem, that is also spurious and knuckle dragging-ly culture-warrior-ish to sling around vague references to data one thinks might support one's foolish culture warrior prejudiced inkling that membership in ROTC, FFA, or 4-H, might degrade one's standing in the eyes of the aforementioned decision-makers at some institutions of higher learning.


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"But, that poster's writing communicated genuine emotional distress... was bit peeved that someone would threaten the poster over such an issue.... Now, maybe the poster overreacted or maybe they were just having us on (people do). ... it seems a shame that they're dealing with a system in which people treat other people like that - "disciplinary action" for buying a merit badge?"


Really now, really? There is no "system" for people to impose disciplinary action for buying a merit badge! "Genuine emotional distress" does not equate to reality. Such drama!!


Here's an idea - get real... go take some boys camping.

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