Observed

There seems to be an inverse relationship between my colleagues’ talent and skills as educators and their desire and willingness to employ authoritarianism and control with the children. I feel like there is something which might be generalized from this, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Thoughts?

Meanwhile, Our Children Continue Their Undaunted Assault on Mammon…

I have a piece up at the Atlantic called “What’s Really Behind the Ever-Rising Cost of Raising a Child in America“. You should go read (and comment) there. To summarize: the cost of raising a child has increased substantially since 1960, but almost all of this increase is in areas such as education and health…

Back to School, Back to War? A Review of David Kirp’s Improbable Scholars

How do we balance urgency against responsibility in education reform? David Kirp’s recent book is a valiant attempt to square these two priorities. But can we really put aside “The Education Wars” so easily?

Eric Cantor’s Plan to Save the GOP

Ron Fournier of National Journal is following Eric Cantor around as the House Majority Leader terrifies DC’s infants (“Eric Cantor grabs a plastic dinosaur from the pile of toys in front of 1-year-old Mekhi Scott, taps the beast on the table and growls, ‘RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!’”) and fact-finds for a big speech intended to compel the Republican Party to…

What Chicago’s Schools Want to Evaluate In the District’s Own Words

Dylan Matthews lays out the rift between Chicago’s teachers and the city’s management in some numerical detail. Bottom line, teachers are being asked to do more with less. Less pay, more accountability, but still no real authority. As the education reform movement has made clear, teachers are to be the most responsible for student achievement, despite having…

Which “Market-Based” Education Reform?

After I finished college, I went to teach first grade at a charter school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, so I have complicated, conflicted views on education reform that are at once personal and political. Nothing bothers me so much as attempts to reduce these serious policy debates to a fight over pejorative rhetorical categories. As I’ve written…

“College is not for everybody”

A caller on NPR’s Talk of the Nation offered a very interesting story about whether a college degree is a sound investment.  Note the reflexive defense from Kathleen Shea Smith, a student counselor who advocates in her earlier comments on the program that “it’s worth the investment” to get that bachelor’s degree: ABRAHAM: Yeah, well,…

The Moral Treatment, Hygiene, and Education of Idiots

The Moral Treatment, Hygiene, and Education of Idiots and Other Backward Children is perhaps not the most auspicious book title. Nor is Idiocy: and Its Treatment by the Physiological Method. Recently I’ve had the opportunity to read them, and would like to take this opportunity to praise the author, Edouard Seguin, for his truly impressive insight, dedication,…

Getting at first principles in the education debate

~by Shawn Gude The shift in E.D. Kain’s thinking on education reform of late has been an interesting and, I think, beneficent one for reform discourse. Kain basically blanched when he began to perceive he was too strongly in the “anti-reform” camp (few are actually anti-reform, but that’s the unfortunate appellation ascribed to opponents of…

Meanderings on the Liberal Arts Education and Humanities Major

~ by Anderson Tuggle In reading recent studies about the smaller salaries and employment numbers of students with humanities/area studies majors and, in turn, colleges cutting back these very programs (or, as Stanley Fish calls it, “The Crisis of the Humanities”), I thought it appropriate to reflect upon my own choice of school and major. I attend a…

Anti-Intellectualism and Magical Thinking

A couple follow-up thoughts on DougJ’s response to my Little Republics post. First of all, I think the charge of anti-intellectualism is a little off the mark. I have absolutely nothing against intellectuals or experts in any field (or at least most fields). Here’s my position in a nutshell: experts and intellectuals should be utilized…