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Monday, December 3, 2012

The midday round-up

Posted By on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Dale Stephens
  • Via dalejstephens Flickr used under the CC license
  • UNCOLLEGE FOUNDER: Dale Stephens
*WILSON SIGNS: Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson has signed with CAA agent Tom Condon, who represents the likes of Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan.

*LOVE TO LEAD: The Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus has selected Rep. Fred Love (D-Little Rock) as its leader. Other officers: Sen. Joyce Elliott is vice-chair, Rep. Reginald Murdock is secretary and Sen. Linda Chesterfield is treasurer.

*NEAL FENDS OFF BURRIS: At the Republican Party of Arkansas's annual meeting on Saturday, vice chairman Duane Neal was reelected over Rep. John Burris (R-Harrison) as vice chairman. Burris is seen as one of the architects in Rep. Davy Carter's (R-Cabot) surprise successful candidacy for Speaker of the House over Rep. Terry Rice (R-Waldron), and the public endorsements of Neal, according to Democrat-Gazette reporting, seemed to play off that. Rep. Jonathan Barnett (R-Siloam Springs) nominated Neal and said he would be "a team player" and "predictable." Doyle Webb was elected as chairman of the party.

*UNCOLLEGE GETS ANOTHER PLUG: Dale Stephens, a drop-out of Hendrix College and the founder of UnCollege, a DIY-approach to higher education, has become somewhat of a media darling. Yesterday, the New York Times featured him in a trend story on gifted students opting not to go to college.

Mr. Stephens, a dropout from Hendrix College in Arkansas (he later earned a Thiel Fellowship), started UnCollege less than two years ago, and already its Web site attracts 20,000 unique visitors a month. “I get on scale of 10 to 15 e-mails a day from people who say something along lines of, ‘I thought I was the only one out there who thought about education like this, I don’t feel crazy anymore,’ ” he said.

There are other groups, too, like Enstitute, which offers two-year apprenticeships with entrepreneurs in lieu of college, and Zero Tuition College, an online support network for students looking for alternatives.

The goal is not to foment for a mass exodus from the ivy halls, Mr. Stephens said, but to open people’s minds to a different set of opportunities.

Sounds nice. But it is not an easy decision for students whose future is on the line. Jean Fan, a high school senior in San Mateo, Calif., is an editor for UnCollege, where she hopes to help inspire students to evolve “from passive to active learners.”

Even so, she is busy applying to elite universities right now. She recognizes the irony.

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