Category Archives: Dear God Not Again

October 1, 2013, 10:15 am

How the Government Shutdown Affects Historians

Screen Shot 2013-10-01 at 10.13.30 AM

September 10, 2013, 10:35 am

Tenured Faculty Tie Shoes; Crowd Cheers Wildly

good-job-not-done-anything-stupid-in-five-minutes-funny-retro-posterDo you ever wonder how anyone graduates from college if tenured and tenure-track faculty are as hapless, incompetent and unmotivated as we are said to be?

The latest argument for reducing all faculty to positions to piece work performed by casual laborers is this study out of Northwestern University claiming, according to the title given to it by The Atlantic, that “Tenured Professors Make Worse Teachers.”

Oh No-o-o-o-o-oes!

As Jordan Weissman writes, “Turns out, tenured and tenure-track professors underperformed on both the inspiration and preparation fronts. Controlling for certain student characteristics, freshmen were actually about 7 percent more likely to take a second course in a given field if their first class was taught by an adjunct or non-tenure professor. They also tended to get higher grades in those future courses. (more…)

January 30, 2013, 10:17 pm

News Flash: Sandy Hook Massacre A Left Wing Hoax

Were Americans ever this off the rails? I mean ever, in the history of this country?

In case you thought the right wing could get no stranger, a TEA Party dude, gunnie, birther, and blogger named Nathan M. Bickel is forwarding the theory that the Sandy Hook Massacre was an elaborate deception perpetrated by the media and their shadowy liberal allies.  Bickel, who calls Bay City, MI, home. has a second page on a blog devoted to the Lutheran faith. On a third blog, he identifies himself as a former pastor.

Among other feature of this grand hoax which has been an excuse to persecute people who need to defend themselves by firing multiple rounds every second, Bickel argues that:

  • Adam Lanza could not have committed the murders at Sandy Hook because he had died the day before; 
  • Dylan Hockley, one of the murdered children, is still alive;
  • supposedly grieving parents were…

Read More

September 28, 2012, 2:48 pm

A Cheating Heart: There Are Reasons, But No Excuses

Did Bernie Madoff’ cheat on tests in high school?

I am in Ithaca for a conference honoring a distinguished scholar. This conference began — as many do — over an evening of drinks and informal chat as we awaited the proceedings that would commence today.   After the usual introductions (this includes assurances that one has met before — which is likely among historians, even if neither of us is sure where we met) folks got down to the business of launching conversations and extracting wine from cunning banks of mechanical dispensers.

One topic was the prevalence of cheating among college students.  Specifically we discussed this article in the New York Times (9/26/2012) in which students at Stuyvesant, a prestigious New York public high school, opened up to a reporter about how they cheat and why…

Read More

August 13, 2012, 12:15 pm

American Bromance: Paul Ryan, the Tea Party and the Recent History of Political Conservatism

Romney and Ryan: “I’ve got the money, honey, but you’ve got the brains.”

I felt so lucky to have read Ronald Formisano’s The Tea Party: A Brief History (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), since those of us who receive smartphone pushes from Politico.com woke up Saturday to a GOP conservative bromance of epic proportions. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, had at last decided on a running mate: it’s the cute little brother with a big mind, Paul Ryan.

As Yale political scientist Chris Lebron said on Facebook, “The most striking thing about Romney’s VP pick (and indeed Romney’s own candidacy) is not the nature of Ryan’s politics but the fact that it illustrates the GOP’s continued faith in, reliance upon, and commitment to the authority of white men. It’s 2012:…

Read More

May 1, 2012, 11:50 am

It’s Always Football Season In Florida: Computer Season? Not So Much

Every time the state of Florida expresses its contempt for education you wonder how things get worse for students in that state.  But they can. Although Education Week gave the state high marks for standards, assessment and accountability, and good marks for equity, two big F’s stand out: funding and college readiness. However Education Week forgot what the F in Florida education really stands for:  football.

Steven Salzburg at Forbes reported last week that the University of Florida flagship plans to save a cool $1.4 million by cutting its computer science department. (Hat tip to Comrade PhysioProffe.) As Salzburg pointed out, this is a strange way for the state to prepare students for the demands of a 21st century technology and information economy.  ”The school is eliminating all funding for teaching assistants in computer science,” he writes, and is “cutting the…

Read More

March 31, 2012, 4:20 pm

Republican Policy for Higher Ed: Starve It, Bleed It — While You’re At It, Build A Football Stadium

Those of you who have friends at Rutgers University, New Jersey’s flagship R-I, know that, like many public institutions, it has had to absorb deep cuts in state funding over the past few years:  last year it lost 15% of its budget.

Those of us who have been in the position of managing cuts at the departmental and divisional level for the last few years have all kinds of stories to tell. Personnel cuts are often directed at the most vulnerable workers: remaining secretarial staff and administrative assistants have to take on more work; food, sanitation and maintenance services get “outsourced” to for-profit companies; and the adjunct teaching force is cut (see how flexible it is to hire faculty by the course?  Milton Friedman told you this was a good idea!) Best case scenario for all non-administrative staff is that positions vacated through retirement or other voluntary means (this…

Read More

January 27, 2012, 12:18 pm

What a Real Education Policy Would Look Like

Photo Credit: Associated Press

I have repeatedly complained in this blog that the Obama administration has no education policy. Part of what is horrible about the Republican presidential field turning into a political version of  the Human Centipede is that Barack Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and the Democratic party will not be challenged on four years of education non-policy. They are operating under No Child Left Behind with a policy nip here and an administrative tuck there. And now they want to extend this non-policy to higher education. (more…)

December 9, 2011, 1:26 pm

Chapter Seven Hundred and Seventy-Seven: In Which Tenured Radical Responds To Her Critics And Joins the Ryan Gosling Meme

Feminist Ryan Gosling is a fan of Tenured Radical

If you are looking for a safe space, the blogosphere is not that, and it is particularly not that if you are a feminist academic.  We who are out there typing the type, Tweeting the Tweet and breaking the rules have to have — or acquire — a particularly thick skin.  Criticism is an acquired taste. You either learn to love it or you get out of the business of feminist bloggery.

Feminist blogging is definitely not for wimps, which is why the vast majority of us do it pseudonymously. The condescension and mansplaining is hard to bear, particularly if you have to deal with a fair amount of this in the meat world. More importantly, perhaps, is that you really don’t want the people who write really hateful things having access to your home address or…

Read More

December 3, 2011, 12:24 pm

Friday Night Fights: Protecting Football At Every Level, Any Cost

Questions about why college football programs breed scandal and off the field violence might want to look at high school football for clues.  Today’s New York Times has a story about Wayne Hills High School in New Jersey, which will take the field against Old Tappan in the state sectional championship game tonight minus nine players.  The nine were suspended from playing only this week following aggravated assault charges filed well over a month ago: “The nine players, all but one of whom are minors,” Harvey Araton writes, “are accused of beating two students from the district’s other high school, Wayne Valley, after an earlier confrontation at a house party. One of the victims was said to have been left unconscious in the street.”  The second victim, although not beaten until he was unconscious, was kicked and stomped after having been knocked to the ground.

No sport but…

Read More