Thanks again for the response, Khadijah! You are one of the researchers who can add the context that I was unable to in a 6-minute piece. I serve on a local school board, and I am very aware of the critique of GT programs. In fact, I am a product of a GT program in Alabama in the 1970s — the history of GT education goes back a very long way in my home state of Alabama, back to the 1930s (we did research on it as a class back in 7th or 8th grade). I don’t specifically know about Florida higher education — I am a professor at a university in a neighboring state — but I have been a student or faculty member at Southern universities for 23 years, and I am also an amateur scholar of American higher education. I think my inferences regarding UF aren’t too far off. I would have elaborated, but I have crunched the data and found that the read rate declines from near 50% for 5- or 6-minute pieces to about 40% for 15-minute pieces. If I’d gone into detail on this and other areas that I skimmed over and made this as long as my pieces on CSX and friendship, I would have literally lost about 500 readers even if I’d still gotten the same number of views (by my regression; see my story about Medium stories that I did after the UF story!). Of course, the number of views would have been much lower for a longer piece, but a loss of 500 readers is the absolute most conservative estimate. I was willing to keep the essay shorter and let the experts infer, rather than to lose 1000 eyeballs.

Thanks again!

John

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A geography professor and meteorologist at UGA in Athens, GA. I write about news, sports, weather, climate, education, journalism, religion, poetry, the South.

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