All posts in Education

The Importance of Black Professors

The first group of responses to George Yancy’s New York Times op ed piece that I want to talk about are those responses which deny that he could be an intellectual or even someone who reasons. He received comments like: “This belief that niggers even reason is blatant pseudo-intellectualism,” “The concept of there being an intellectual Negro is a joke,” “Another uppity Nigger. Calling a Nigger a professor is like calling White Black and Wet Dry,” “This coon is a philosopher in the same way Martin King was a PHD and the same way that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton

Books That Were Important To Me

A little while ago there was a Facebook challenge circulating among my friends: quickly list 10 books that were important to you without thinking about it too much. Not being one to be constrained by the rules I wanted to do it but with some thought rather than quickly and not necessarily with 10 books. My list is considerably different from those of my friends and colleagues but I always was an odd duck. The first book is one few will have read but many will have heard of: Moby Dick. I read it for the first time when I checked

Sexual Harrassment

A Facebook friend recently asked me what I thought about Anthony Weiner’s attempted political comeback from sexting scandals as a mayoral candidate in NYC and the San Diego mayor being accused of sexual harassment.  In the last few weeks I have also been sent this article about the University of Southern California being investigated for policies that condoned rape and this one about sexual abuse at a well known prep school. I thought therefore I would make public my thoughts on sexual harassment and abuse particularly in politics and education. I was at different times a member of the board

Why do poor states vote for conservative candidates?


I was reading an article by Harlan Green (here) which raised the question of why the poorer states, particularly those who receive more in federal aid than they pay in taxes,  support candidates who promise a smaller government and fewer entitlement programs. He refers to an article by Paul Krugman which lists three answers to that question:

The answer that Thomas Frank gives in his book What’s the Matter With Kansas, that is, Republicans and conservatives have used social issues like abortion, gay marriage etc. to convince people to vote for them even when it was against their economic interests to

3 Reasons conservatives should oppose the Arizona Anti-ethnic studies law

News that Arizona has censured its first public school ethnic studies program has prompted me to write about it.  I first did so in this blog about a year ago.

It is counterproductive, i.e. it stirs up more anger and resentment than it prevents

H.L Mencken has written, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” This reminds me of what we called in my un-politically correct youth a “Chinese handcuff.” That was a woven tube into which you placed the forefinger of each hand and then tried to free them. If

Why I went back to Kindergarten

My wife and I are volunteering in a program called ABQ Reads which takes us into a local elementary school to help kindergarteners work on their reading skills.  It is based on reading recovery programs developed elsewhere. Albuquerque schools face an enormous challenge in that by third grade only about 60% of students are reading at grade level and none of them meet No Child Left Behind standards. Rather than addressing this problem the politicians are squabbling about “social promotion” in which kids are passed on to the next grade for social development reasons rather than because they have achieved

College Teaching and Digital Enhancements

Recently while reading  Cathy Davidson and David Theo Goldberg’s article “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age” I read  a sharp criticism about the viability of digital enhancements to teaching.  Davidson and Goldberg’s future book extols the virtues of a digital future which allows students to be educated in a way that spurs their independence, curiosity, and connection with the world.  I will discuss their argument in a future post.  Right now I want to address one of the criticisms of their view on by Kevin Nenstiehl (here).

Though some students love learning enough to be self-motivated, they

Information Overload or Something Else?

Neal Gabler, with whom I seldom agree, has written a recent article in the NYT Magazine bemoaning the lack of “big ideas” in American society. One passage in particular struck me:

It is no secret, especially here in America, that we live in a post-Enlightenment age in which rationality, science, evidence, logical argument and debate have lost the battle in many sectors, and perhaps even in society generally, to superstition, faith, opinion and orthodoxy. While we continue to make giant technological advances, we may be the first generation to have turned back the epochal clock —

Tunnel Vision and Education

To the extent that university level education gives in to student demands to learn only how to make money particularly by doing one thing it has failed in its mission.

Piano Dreams

“Well what did you dream of doing in retirement while you were grading those papers or in all those faculty meetings?,” my son asked.  I told him that I dreamed of learning to play the piano in my sixties. I have been a music fan all my life (mostly jazz, R&B, blues) and being a participant and creator rather than a consumer in anything is a worthy pursuit.  If I just wanted to learn to play the piano however I could have done so while I was working, but there was more to it than that.  I wanted to learn