Category Archives: High School Confidential

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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January 30, 2012, 7:26 pm

Oooooooh Nooooooooo! Vassar Lays a Big Admissions Egg

One of the ways that colleges and universities have adapted to the stress that they are responsible for creating among applicants is by making information about acceptance and rejection available over the Internet.  This, of course, would be better than watching the mailbox for the envelope that is fat or thin, because for several days the applicant would know that the decision had been made but be burdened with the rage and anxiety that s/he did not know what the decision was.

For those of you who were moose hunting with Sarah Palin and her family over the weekend and missed the news, imagine the surprise of early decision applicants at Vassar who first learned over the Internet that they had been accepted (yay!) and an hour later discovered that they had not been accepted (wahhhh!) As the New York Times reported it on January 28, Vassar is describing this mistake in the passive…

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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…

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September 2, 2011, 11:50 am

Since 9/11: Did Phyllis Schlafly Win the Foreign Policy Debate?

As we approach the anniversary, I will do you the favor of not sharing my memories of 9/11 with you. I am sure that half a dozen people you saw at work this week have had almost exactly the same thing to say: that it was a dark and scary day ten years ago, that it was a clear blue sky in the east (just like today), that their lives took a turn in some critical way. Mine actually did take a dramatic, although not unpredictable, turn for the worse a year or so after 9/11, but the terrorists were local and not international.  At the many memorial services and on the television specials, we will  hear repeatedly that “everything” changed.

But how has it changed?  One of the things that has struck me is that the relationship of the United States to the rest of the world is pretty much what Phyllis Schlafly outlined in her 1964 self-published blockbuster, A Choice Not An Echo. (more……

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January 15, 2011, 11:16 pm

Department of Snark: Or; Who Put A Tack On Gordon Wood’s Chair?

Where did people get illustrations before the interwebs?

Historiann famously stepped in all kind of horse pucky by calling out one very dead white man as a tool.  She comments on this episode in our fabulous Journal of Women’s History roundtable (winter 2010/11), hot off the presses from its new home at SUNY-Buffalo. Read it, and you’ll understand that it’s been done by a pro and even if a person were willing to put up with the flak, it would only be imitation from here on out.

But on a related note:  did you know a group of very senior and live white men in a prominent East Coast history department referred to themselves informally, until quite recently, as “the Barons?”  Presumably this is how they distinguished themselves from women and more recent arrivals in the department.  One can’t help but believe that one of these good old boys could have been Gordon Wood, who recently…

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February 11, 2009, 10:34 pm

On, Wisconsin! The Sex Prosecution of the Month

Despite everything I had to do today, I could not help but read this article in today’s New York Times. As a historian who is working on late twentieth century federal campaigns against pornography in the United States, I read anything with the phrase “Sex Predator” in the headline. When that headline also includes the word “Wisconsin,” as in “Sex Predator Accusations Shake a Wisconsin Town” — well, hold onto your hat, Harry.

Anthony R. Stancl, a good student who particularly loved political science, was expelled from Eisenhower High School last fall when he emailed a bomb threat to the school. Oh yeah. Can we spell “federal domestic terrorism laws?” Left with time on, and perhaps something else in, his hands, Anthony set up a Facebook page, using a female pseudonym and a fake profile (also actionable, as a recent verdict in a cyberbullying case establishes.) As a “woman,” Anthony …

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