Thing a Day 1: Razib Khan’s Latest Article Was Not Good

 

So the last time I wrote a post was July 17, 2018. Sure, I comment around here from time to time (last time: April 16, 2019), and I was on quite the streak of promotions. However, I feel I am not contributing much to the conversation around here, and given I submitted grades this morning and am more or less on my own clock now, I’m going to attempt -this week -to have a thing a day I say something about. Doesn’t have to be long. Doesn’t have to be profound. My goal is just to say something about five things this week. Once a day. We’ll go from there.

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Thing a Day 3: Notes on the Corporate University

 

As I was in the car today, I listened to the latest Power Line Podcast, with Steve Hayward and Phillip Magness — of yesterday’s Thing a Day. In the course of the conversation, they discuss the idea of the “neoliberalizing” of the university, subjecting the university to the market, and some similar ideas. In particular, they discuss the death of the humanities being accompanied by an increase in humanities professors and more humanities requirements — even as humanities majors decline. They also discuss the idea that the university is being undermined by exposure to the market — which they do not agree with.

I don’t know whether neoliberalizing is the right description — I definitely don’t think the problem is “exposure to the market” given how regulated the higher education sector is. However, I would like to push back a little in a couple of places.

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Thing A Day 2: Equivocation and History

 

I had never heard of Kevin M. Kruse, of Princeton, until this semester. There’s nothing particularly shocking about that — he’s a historian and I am not. I think his name bounced around the edges of my awareness, but this semester I was on a panel discussing religion in the Founding Era, and one of the panelists was using Kruse’s book One Nation Under God as the primary source for his argument. Today, I saw this exchange on twitter:

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Brown v. Board of Education, 65 Years Later

 

The Monroe School historic site of Brown v. Board of Education, which is considered the start of the Civil rights movement in the United States.
The House Committee on Education and Labor held a hearing on April 30 to address the state of education in the United States sixty-five years after Brown v. Board of Education (1954) put an official end to legal segregation throughout the United States. When Brown came down, there was much uneasiness over whether that powerful assertion of judicial power could be justified by an appeal to what Professor Herbert Wechsler famously called the “neutral principles of constitutional law.”

Those doubts have largely vanished, but litigation in Brown was only the opening chapter of a protracted struggle that, as political science professor Gerald Rosenberg showed in his historical study of Brown, The Hollow Hope, ultimately required Congress and the Executive to overcome massive resistance from many southern states. By now, the original mission of Brown—formal desegregation—has been unquestionably achieved. There is also widespread agreement that while much progress has been made, much more work has to be done to increase educational opportunities for all students. But this consensus on ends has not been matched by a consensus on means, as was evident in the prepared testimony before the House Committee.

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Member Post

 

At first glance, the latest legislation passed in the Florida State Senate is a step forward. It allows all teachers to be eligible for the “guardian program,” which would allow them to carry guns in school. But there is a catch: School districts would have to approve participation in the program and teachers would have […]

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They caught a bunch of parents using a “consultant” to bribe various college people, like soccer coaches, to get their little Olivias into “elite” colleges. (USC? are you kidding?). I won’t wax moralistic. I don’t care. The world has real problems. Whether one one rich white kid goes to Ivy U and another one has […]

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Kevin Williamson just published an article at National Review where he advocated eliminating all government and bank-financed student loans. While I understand the logic behind his ideas and support getting rid of government-based student loans, I think his ideas are woefully insufficient at dealing with one of the root causes for the over $1 trillion […]

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Hold on to Your Wallet: Elizabeth Warren Has an Idea

 

Elizabeth Warren fixed her gaze on the White House the moment she arrived at the US Senate. Today, she’s actually running for the presidency, but it is not going well. Monday morning, a poll out of New Hampshire showed her with just five percent. Residing next door in Massachusetts makes the Granite State a must-win for the senator, yet she trails Bernie, Biden, and Buttigieg by double digits.

You can’t say she isn’t trying. Each week she unveils another progressive plan to win over the woke. Today, she announced not only free college but debt cancellation for most grads. Here are the details:

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Sign of our Times: A Culture of Fear

 

Robby Soave: “On Monday, the boys were forced to meet with an assistant principal and an anti-bullying specialist, who quickly decided to punish them for clearly constitutionally-protected speech.”

Truly a sign of our times. Two boys go to a shooting range, train with legal firearms. Post some pictures and innocuous comments about their training and are immediately punished by their school because of the complaints of one panicked parent.

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Member Post

 

I am giving a presentation on the current culture on college campuses to a local conservative group on Tuesday evening. My awareness stems from having three children in college over the last four years, teaching as an adjunct, and a keen interest in the subject. I follow FIRE, Campus Reform and similar organizations and will […]

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Because no one else is. But if someone else is, that may be helpful, as your duplication of them obscures your identity further. I presume, from the profusion of pseudonyms (I hope they are pseudonyms) as well as the absence of bios, that many subscribers don’t want to be unmasked. That may be wise. But […]

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More Misconceptions About College

 

Now that we’ve all had a good airing of grievances about elite colleges and their attendant injustices, let’s get some perspective.

While the number of high school graduates heading off to college has increased in recent years, the percentages graduating with a four-year degree have not increased much. Many students, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college, drop out before receiving a degree. (They cannot drop out of student loan payments though.)

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are a bit surprised by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff signaling they don’t plan to pursue impeachment of President Trump unless there’s a bipartisan consensus for it. They also look on sadly as New York City’s exorbitant taxes […]

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School Voucher Plans Can Stop the Propaganda Machines of the Left

 

Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, has been going at warp speed to make changes in the state. His latest effort is to deal with a 14,000-student waiting list for a state tax credit scholarship program. But he’s getting resistance from the usual suspects—the school unions and traditional administrators. I realized, however, that the fight is about much more than union control; it’s about who controls the minds of our children.

Gov. Jeb Bush started the first-in-the-nation private voucher program, enacted in 1999. Unfortunately his efforts were stopped:

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review ‘Class Dismissed’ argues college isn’t the only answer By MARK LARDAS […]

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Greg Ashman distills his wisdom on a complex topic. Is there application to fields besides education? Probably the clearest sign that an expert knows what he or she is on about comes from the way they present their arguments. They will tend to take a position on something and they will explain how the research supports that […]

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Just in time for the long holiday weekend, an early edition of the Power Line Show, with special guest Justin Buckley Dyer of the University of Missouri. Prof. Dyer is the co-author (with Micah Watson) of a terrific book on C.S. Lewis on Politics and the Natural Law. Though Lewis was known as a literary […]

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When I first took Portuguese lessons, in San Antonio in 1985, I was told by my tutor and her husband that Campinas, Brazil was like Austin. Both are, by repute, college towns. This sounded good. But was it? Is it? And most important: should it? Not much given to political philosophizing, I’ll nevertheless venture this: […]

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Granny grammar grumping: who mainstreamed the unnecessary “of” in sentences like the following (from PJ Media)? You could make just as good of an argument that America is a matriarchy as a patriarchy. Is that now correct? Do we all have to do it?  More

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The Hidden Costs of the LA Teachers Strike

 

The recent teachers strike in Los Angeles was resolved on terms that have generally been regarded as a victory for the teachers against the embattled Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). The LAUSD is financially strapped because of ever heavier pension obligations for retired teachers and high operating expenses. Nonetheless, the LAUSD capitulated to the demands of the teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). It agreed to a 6% pay raise for the teachers to be phased in over two years, and class size was reduced by two students per class. The District also vowed to beef up its employee base by hiring 300 nurses, 82 librarians, and 17 counselors by 2020.

LA mayor Eric Garcetti, who has higher political ambitions, crowed: “When we see a problem, we fix it.” AFT President Randi Weingarten noted optimistically, “Everything teachers are demanding would strengthen public schools.” Going out on strike, she said, was about “ensuring that all public schools have the conditions they need for student success.” But those remarks, as Jason Riley of the Wall Street Journal notes, must be taken with a large gain of salt, for self-interest offers a better explanation of the AFT’s strategy than its supposed altruism. The AFT thought that its gambit was worthwhile for its members, but a closer look at the settlement shows that in the long-run, the union teachers got less than they hoped for, while everyone else lost big time.

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