excellent article comparing for-profit schools and the sub-prime mortgage crisis

August 28, 2012

Gary Lapon’s College, Inc. discusses the findings from a two-year investigation by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. For a clear wake-up call on education, please read this article. If you wonder about student-loan default, read this article.

Here’s one chilling passage:

According to the Harkin report, the Apollo Group, the largest of the for-profit education companies and operator of the infamous University of Phoenix, “$3.1 billion in federal student aid, in addition to $46 million in military education benefits…86.8 percent of the company’s revenue, and $925 million of their profit, is attributed to federal taxpayer sources.”

Watch any of the ubiquitous TV ads for for-profit schools and some other online programs, and you’ll notice that the core image is attaining the American dream through education. Instead, students remain undertrained, overcharged, and indebted. Who profits? Not the students.

for the right, academic freedom = conservative indoctrination

May 26, 2011

Fascinating article by Brian Tierney — Attacking the Memory of Workers’ Struggle details the smear campaign against two U. of Missouri labor relations professors, Judy Ancel and Don Giljurn. Footage of their lectures were doctored by Andrew Breitbart (right-wing blogger) to distort their statements. Both almost lost their jobs. Did Andrew Breitbart ever have an ethics class in college? Did he ever go to college? Ah, yes — B.A. in American Studies from Tulane. Tierney writes this:

On one level, this was just another sleazy attack by Breitbart and his cohorts. Recent attacks like this one involved edited videos to disparage ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, Planned Parenthood and NPR – attacks that revealed the vile racism, Islamophobia, and anti-women bigotry that are the bread and butter of right-wing attack dogs like Breitbart and his ilk.

second life avatar

April 4, 2009

Just had to show my Second Life avatar. I hang out at the ISTE Island and Cookie Island, where the writers are.
Second Life avatar

anti-intellectualism is not a virtue

November 7, 2008

I woke up this morning thinking that on some levels, the state of our nation is due to rampant anti-intellectualism. So let me just say this: It is not OK to have a president who says, “This foreign policy stuff is a little frustrating”  (23 April 2002) and “Rarely is the questioned asked: Is our children learning?” (11 Jan.  2000). It is not OK to have a vice presidential candidate who thinks Africa is a country and not a continent or who believes the First Amendment guarantees the press will not criticize her. Our educational system continues to slip further and further into a pedagogy that fails to inspire and challenge our students. Reform tends to focus on K-12, but I think our colleges and universities need to be rethought — fundamentally. The teachers who work in the K-12 system graduate from these colleges and universities. Why should K-12 change when the places that educate the teachers and administrators keep up the status quo of mediocrity?

double-entry journal

February 26, 2008

I just finished writing my double-entry journal for Kenneth Bruffee’s article, “Collaborative Learning and the ‘Conversation of Mankind,'” one of the readings we’re doing tomorrow in Writing Pedagogy. I asked everybody to do a double-entry journal for one of the Cross-Talk articles and then to do one-paragraph reactions to the remaining three articles we’re discussing.

And it took me probably three times as long to read the article doing the double-entry journal as it would if I just highlighted and penciled in marginal comments. Agh. Of course it takes longer. That’s important information! And I don’t use that information effectively. That is, I’ve taken to using  double-entry journals to ensure that students do the reading in my 102 classes, but I think I’m really wasting their potential to build that community of knowledge-makers that Bruffee’s article discusses.

Strange to read Bruffee AND write a double-entry journal AND be aware that double-entry journals can be a hugely effective tool in the Bruffeeian enterprise — and I need to think how to do that. Give enough time. Use journals as part of class conversation. Use journals as springboards for writing. More conversation.

conflicts of politics and ignorance

September 25, 2006

I heard Philip Reeves’ report on the Aga Khan on “Morning Edition” this morning and was fasinated by the long excerpts from the Aga Khan’s speech. The first problem: education. He specifically mentioned the lack of knowledge about Islam in the west, and also in the east. He argued for pluralism, which I understood to mean a deeper familiarity with the complexities and differences of Islam. The Aga Khan spoke in a measured, highly-educated English, that was strangely neither British- nor American-accented. I was struck by his emphasis on education. He also said that the conflict today is not religious but political. And he urged nations to put those political issues on the “front-burner” and “press as hard as possible on the accelerator” (something like that). That is, political conflicts can only be resolved if they are discussed openly. And he mentioned that these conflicts have been around a long time, much longer than we had hoped they would be. He never mentioned Palestine and Israel, but I’m sure that was implied.