Category Archives: education

March 10, 2014, 10:55 am

Why Charter Schools Should Pay Rent — or Close


It’s a “free” market system, children: that’s why our exclusive charter school gets space from New York City for free!

Here are two stories about education, both printed this week in the New York Times. I would like to put side by side because together they tell a bigger story about urban public schools than they do separately.

The first describes Mayor Bill De Blasio’s plan to charge rent to privately funded charter schools. As the story explains, charters divert public tax money into schools; and they cream the students they want and reject students that are difficult to teach. They also gobble up space in school buildings that the Board of Ed decides existing schools either don’t need, or don’t need exclusive access to: gymnasiums, libraries, playgrounds, and cafeterias.

Furthermore, charters create…

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December 10, 2013, 9:38 am

Education Shorts for the Snowbound


A dendrite snow crystal, which occurs when the temperature is between 27 and 30 degrees Fahrenhite (see? You have learned something already!) Photo Credit: Kenneth Librecht

I don’t know what it is doing where you are, but in the mid-Atlantic States and New England, we are getting snow and everyone is canceling stuff. In New York City, of course, you can get around pretty well in the snow because of all the underground transportation.

Nevertheless, if you are home anywhere in the country (or worse, grading), here are some education news items from around the web, full of commentary by Tenured Radical:

  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg is ending his term with a few career-buffing moves. The most recent is to rename a new school located at Brooklyn Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant The Nelson Mandela…

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June 23, 2013, 9:10 am

The Ins and (Coming) Outs of Being Gay in the Classroom

safe-zoneToday’s guest post is on a topic that many queer people taking first jobs, or new jobs, in the fall are thinking about: should I come out? How should I come out? Does it matter to my students — and will I be viewed as unprofessional if I bring my personal life or views into the classroom?

Lauren Kientz Anderson is a visiting assistant professor in Africana Studies and History at Luther College in Decorah, IA. She received her Ph.D. in African American History from Michigan State University in 2010. Her book, “A Spirit of Cooperation and Conflict: Black Women and the Politics of Protest and Accommodation in the Interwar Era,” is currently under review.

I have a friend who is a non-traditional undergrad at a big state school. She has walked into rooms the first day of class and instantly pegged her teachers as gay—“Prof Bling” (her nickname for him) and the Queer Theory …

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April 5, 2013, 11:48 am

Good News Friday: Teaching is FUNdamental

It’s rare that you hear anything good about educators nowadays. If they aren’t huddled in the closet boosting students’ standardized test scores with an eraser and a number 2 pencil, teachers are pulling the Miss Jean Brodie thing, being charging little kids with assault and battery, or being arrested themselves for organizing extended, unnatural nap times.  Oh sure: every once in a while there’s a magazine feature about a hero teacher in a burned out district of a major American city who teaches sends former gang members on to MIT  by running his advanced calculus class as a hip hop poetry jam, but the next day we are back to  stories about middle school teachers who are so despised that their students conspired to poison them with hand sanitizer.

So imagine my surprise and…

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January 27, 2013, 10:34 am

Want Helicopter Parents Gone? Teach Your Students To Fly

In today’s New York Times KJ Dell’Antonia weighs in on helicopter parenting, speculating that one outcome of articles like his is to give some parents the warm and fuzzies. After having read about how other people’s  kids wander clueless through their educations, “most readers get to give themselves a pat on the back. They would never do such crazy stuff! Therefore, they are not helicopter parents. Case closed — off to drive the kid to hockey practice as soon as I pack up his bag.”

Dell’Antonia missed the second audience for this article. College teachers and university administrators will be re-posting it to Facebook, with hair-raising stories about the heli-relllies who have been camped out in the President’s waiting room, grimly awaiting action on last semester’s Epic Fail. Parents intervening on behalf of young people who have screwed up in some dismal way or another is a fact …

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November 28, 2012, 5:00 pm

AFT Prez Randi Weingarten, Russian Prez Vladimir Putin — What’s the Difference?

Please to keep your clothes on, Arne. Photo Credit: Jacquelyn Martin, AP

Why should do-nuthin’ Secretary of Education Arne Duncan be the next Secretary of State?  According to Thomas Friedman in today’s New York Times,

…anyone who has negotiated with the Chicago Teachers Union, as Duncan did when he was superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools before going to Washington, would find negotiating with the Russians and Chinese a day at the beach. A big part of being secretary of education (and secretary of state) is getting allies and adversaries to agree on things they normally wouldn’t — and making them think that it was all their idea. Trust me, if you can cut such deals with Randi Weingarten, who is president of the American Federation of Teachers, you can do them with Vladimir Putin and Bibi…

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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…

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August 22, 2012, 1:52 pm

When An Evangelical Christian Candidate Sneezes, The GOP Catches A Cold

It’s not allergies — my fallopian tubes are spasming to prevent conception!

This is my hope, at least, following Representative Todd Akin’s (R-MO) recent explanation that women who have been “legitimately” raped don’t get pregnant, and hence have no need for abortions. These words prompted a call by GOP conservative kingmakers for Akin to voluntarily withdraw from a key race against Senator Claire McCaskill, which he has (rightly) refused to do.

What Akin actually said, according to a Sunday news interview transcribed by the WaPo, was this:

“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, I think there should be some…

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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…)

January 16, 2012, 9:41 pm

Happy Birthday To You

I present to you the radicals without tenure:

Happy Birthday, Martin.