The “Tech Class” Reifies the “Two Americas”

The wealth created by tech companies is, if not beyond precedent, is probably beyond most of our comprehension. It is not without precedent because America has already experienced one Gilded Age. It’s merely started another, and we’re well into it. Continue reading

Public Housing Should Be Part of the Recovery

The poor continue struggling to find affordable housing. It seems especially acute in certain areas I’ve read about recently, areas going through drastic economic and racial demographic changes such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Washington DC. It seems to me that an expansion of federally-funded public housing should have had a larger role to play during the present on-going recovery. It certainly helped during the Great Depression, World War II, and postwar periods.

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The Way I See It: Two Lessons from the AHA’s History PhD Study

In case you don’t follow everything the American Historical Association  does (for my pals over in English Literature, the AHA is history’s MLA), the organization released a study of history PhDs who received their degrees between 1998 and 2009. First, let me say that I was pleasantly surprised overall. I don’t think the study warrants the one-liner offered by the authors–that no PhDs “occupied the positions that often serve as punch lines for jokes . . . as baristas or short-order cooks”–cause that’s a pretty damn low bar you’re setting. For me, there are two overriding take-aways: one for history (and humanities) faculty and the other for employers at large.

Visualization of the jobs held by folks who got their PhD between 1998 and 2009

Visualization of the jobs held by folks who got their PhD between 1998 and 2009

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Big Business and Teaching Skills in School

In their daily email update, the education team over at Politico reported that representatives from big business are to sit down with national education policymakers (including Arne Duncan and Jeb Bush) to discuss Common Core. The idea, it sounds like, is to make sure schools are teaching students the things that business wants to see. This is not new. This sort of plan is as old as schooling itself. Continue reading

Something to Ponder: You Are a Bad Person If We Have Bad Public Schools

This is going to be short on purpose. A lot of hay has been made of the recent article in Slate by Alison Benedikt titled “If You Send Your Kid to Private School, You Are a Bad Person.” Then, the National Review took up the issue and cleverly claimed “If You Send Your Kid to a Failing School, You Are a Bad Person” (which sounds like what I propose but is totally different). And finally, The Atlantic gave some good analysis (as it usually does) of Benedikt’s original argument, but even it still missed the larger issue. Continue reading

Chicago’s Messed Up “Public” School Situation

After sitting on it for a couple weeks (well, more than a couple…), I suppose now’s as good as ever to being my musings on the current state of “public” K-12 education in Chicago. (Why the “quotes”? We’ll get to that.) Over the course of this summer, the city government has decided to close some 50 under-attended public schools. Next, and which is a pretty sneaky move, the district is hiring Teach for America instructors to replace those teachers that were fired when the schools were closed. And lastly, the district has decided to open at least 4 new charters (since, apparently, the schools weren’t that under-attended). All of this gives off an unpleasant aroma. Continue reading