Category Archives: education

November 19, 2011, 12:09 pm

On the Nature of Change in Higher Ed (Part III): Assessing the Costs

Students at UC-Berkeley marching on behalf of public education last week. Photo credit: Judith C. Brown.

We return to guest blogger, historian and former Zenith provost Judith C. Brown.  Her full biography and Part I of this series, which asks us to think about what modern higher education is, and can be viewed here. Part II, where she addressed the larger economic context for higher education, can be viewed here.  In this concluding post, she responds to the question: “What is to be done?”

Many who are impatient with the slow pace of change in higher education see the key to success in Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring’s, The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out (2011). The authors’ main argument is that traditional colleges and (more…)

October 24, 2011, 10:48 am

How Does Occupy Wall Street Speak To A Broken Education System? A Manifesto

Today’s lesson is: thanks to the absence of leadership from the political class; the failure to nurture an empowering dialogue between high school and college teachers that might have a broad impact on education policy; the domination of university Boards of Trustees by the 1%; and Wall Street’s destructive attempts to transform education into a tradable commodity, educators are increasingly drawn to the Occupy Wall Street movement.   There could not be more chaos in the education world than there is now. It is a world in which school reform = a takeover of public schools by profit seekers, or by philanthropies that funnel tax-free corporate profits into shaping the world that corporations want. Hence, contemporary activism creates an unprecedented opportunity for progressive change in education.  Let us observe the impact that Occupy Wall Street is having on national political culture…

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July 26, 2011, 6:33 pm

Who Needs A Faculty Advisor When You Can Have An Adaptive Advising Tool?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is giving Tennessee a $1 million grant to help college students take the most efficient steps to a degree. The grant will fund a new computerized advising program….The computer software looks at students’ transcripts and experience and suggests areas the student may be interested in – and the courses to take to follow that path. Joe White, Nashville Public Radio, July 26, 2011

When the neoliberal education professionals adjunctified higher education, I always wondered how they were going to solve the problem of not having full-time faculty available to actually meet with students. Now we know:  getting a good grade in a course will be similar to clicking “Like” on Facebook; students can be advised by a computer to take other courses like that one.  Thanks to the Gates Foundation, students at Austin Peay State University will also be…

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January 26, 2011, 8:26 pm

On The Idea That Merit Is Actually A System: An Intervention On Behalf Of Affirmative Action

These remarks were delivered on Saturday, January 22, at the Third Social Justice Leadership Conference, organized by students at Zenith University.  I appeared on a panel about affirmative action policies and academic admissions with colleagues Alex DuPuy (sociology); J. Kehaulani Kauanui (American Studies and Anthropology); and Sonja Manjon, Vice President for Diversity and Strategic Partnerships.  The panel began with remarks by Theodore M. Shaw, Columbia School of Law and formerly head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  The conference followed a keynote by Geoffry Canada, of the Harlem Children’s Zone, given the previous evening.

On left, a self-identified “victim of a hate crime.”  Credit.

The analysis that follows was shaped by what I observed in the fall of 2009 during a conflict provoked by some of our students over Zenith’s affirmative action policies; it was also shaped by…

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January 17, 2011, 4:29 pm

Old Racism, New Clothes: Middle Class Child Abuse Is Not An Asian Thing

White women can be good mothers too, Amy!

It isn’t news that Yale Law prof Amy Chua has written a book about what she calls her “Tiger Mother” philosophy of parenting.  Most of us would never have known about it if her publicist had not arranged to have an op-ed placed in  the Wall Street Journal called “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.”  It went viral, at least on academic Facebooks, almost immediately.  Re-packaging the model minority thesis as a tough love philosophy, rather than the genetic predisposition to excellence that ignoramuses talked about for years, it raises a fascinating set of questions about the social construction of race as it intersects with ideologies of parenting.  It has also, according to ABC News, caused Chua to receive death threats from readers who were outraged at parenting techniques that include yelling at her children, forcing them to practice the violin…

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October 26, 2010, 3:13 pm

Hey, Is This Going To Be On The Test? Confederates In The Classroom

Cartoon by Walt Handelsman.

Let’s hear it for the Virginia Department of Education, which approved a textbook called Our Virginia: Past and Present for fourth graders in its public schools.   It features the information that, according to this story in USA Today “thousands of black troops fought for the Confederacy….author Joy Masoff told The Washington Post that she found the passage on the Internet.”  In case your brain is busy stereotyping Masoff as a renegade Daughter of the Confederacy, she is from Westchester, NY, and is the author of numerous children’s books.

Masoff’s Wikipedia entry has one account of the three Internet sources Masoff used that it claims link back to this document generated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group which works hard to separate the rebellion from the stink of involuntary human servitude.   One way to do that is to imply massive black support …

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