Skip to content

A Side Effect of Austerity in K-12 Education: Stillborn Democracy

I love this story. These kinds of student interstate, urban-rural field trips and exchanges should be more common. This story should not feel novel.

I can’t help but think that oppressive austerity in our schools, not to mention the unrelenting focus on “basics” and testing, has fostered an environment that prevents understanding of the “other” via activities such as field trips.

A personal aside: Read more…

Intellectual Euphemism of the Day

Cognitively frugal: It’s like when you shop for groceries, but only buy stale ideas, in-stock notions, corporate-brand aphorisms, and thoughts sold near, or after, their expiration date.

Idea Stores & Their Goods: The Hierarchy

7-Eleven = Limited range, lacking in freshness, and thoughts sold after their expiration date. It’s the home for vices in thinking: all anti-intellectualism, all the time.

Safeway-Jewel = Proverbial newspapers and magazine content. All corporate, all the time. Lots of anti-intellectualism and pseudo-intellectualism. Coupons get you excerpts of bigger ideas, but you’ll have to pony up elsewhere the entire item.

Aldi’s = The blogs of intellectual magazines. You get high-quality and freshness at affordable prices, but are disappointed in the selection and in-stock items.

Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s = The home of high-quality magazines, journals, and books. Nice range, excellent freshness, and everything is in stock. But it’s all expensive. This is where you are teased with paywalls.

Higher Etiquette: The Case For, and Against, Fogeyism

As has been the case recently with Molly Worthen’s essays (especially these two, on lecturing and the great books), I have an opinion, or three, about this current piece. Before I continue, it’s nothing personal with Worthen. She just happens to write about things that pique, or have piqued, my interest—that trigger responses from me. And she has a platform that attracts a lot of attention.

In the current piece, regarding etiquette in communications between students and professors, Worthen argues in favor of formality. Read more…

Coeducation, Naked Swimming, and a Little History of Chicago Education

This DNAInfo piece looks back on the gender integration of one of Chicago’s math-and-science focused secondary schools, Lane Tech.

Here’s a key passage that helps explain the need for integration—beyond mere legal considerations: Read more…

Jerks and Adversarial Culture in Academia

This Chronicle Review article is paywalled, and it’s a shame. I don’t agree with everything in it, but it brings up good points that could and should be discussed widely in relation to other disciplines. Read more…

On Ben Op Christians and Rod Dreher

As a moth is drawn to the flame, I confess that I’m drawn to comment on works by, and about, orthodox Christians and evangelical Catholics. Hence my reading of Joshua Rothman’s essay on Rod Dreher. But, in order to avoid being singed this time, I’ll limit my commentary. (Aside: I left a superficial, reactionary comment on Corey Robin’s Facebook page about this essay. After rereading, I realized I had burned myself and deleted it.)

First, I’m with Andrew Sullivan: Rod Dreher is “a mess.” Read more…

A Three-Step Process for Solving the Campus Speaker Problem

I disapprove of the title and larger point of this New Republic article by Aaron Hanlon. That said, I was following along through the passages I excerpt below, and even nodding in agreement. Hanlon’s passages: Read more…