Bite the Rich Man’s Hand That Feeds Us

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation plans to spend $3 billion in the next few years on K-12 education.  It had assets of over $30 billion at the end of last year, and presumably a lot more where that came from–Bill Gates’ bank account.  Warren Buffet, his fellow trustee, is the second richest man in the US.  Maybe their visible hands can feed our struggling schools just the diet they need. Or maybe not.  The July 10 cover story in Bloomberg Businessweek (“Bill Gates’ School Crusade”) notes that the Foundation spent “hundreds of millions of dollars” starting in 2000 “to Read More …

Deregulation Comes to Public Higher Education

At the moment of this writing, New York Governor David Paterson is playing a game of political chicken with the state legislature.  Paterson (a Democrat) is counting on the state senate to pass a budget that effectively deregulates tuition at the state and city universities, SUNY and CUNY.  At the CUNY campus where I teach, the cost of each year of college for full-time students who are residents of New York State is $5,050 ($4,600 tuition + $550 in fees).  It’s not much by today’s standards, but it’s not nothing either…which is exactly what CUNY used to cost.  Should Paterson Read More …

University of Puerto Rico Student Strikes

The silence in the English-language press about the student strikes at the University of Puerto Rico stands in stark contrast to the roar produced by the growing number of students who have moved to shut down UPR to protest state disinvestment from public education. The basic terms of the strike: As the state legislature has systematically diverted money from Puerto Rico’s only public university system, UPR has been left with a $100 million budget shortfall. In response, the Board of Trustees wants  to make up that gap on the backs of the students, more than 60% of whom qualify for Read More …

Classifying Disaster

As oil gushes into the Gulf in quantities too large to understand (millions of barrels, with no end in sight), it’s perhaps worth thinking a little about the controlled vocabularies that collate coverage of this and other petroleum disasters. If oil spills, drilling catastrophes, ground seepage, and general pollution are simply part of the oil industry-as-usual, how does starting from the point of the event make these seem like exceptions rather than the rule of dependence on petroleum-based fuels? Since the BP disaster, news stories in the Proquest Newspapers database have been tagged with general headings likePipelines, Oil spills, and even Read More …

What Next–More Partitions?

A recent edition of India’s left-liberal daily, The Hindu (3.30.2010), included an op-ed piece, concerning yet another demonstration by Hyderabad’s Osmania University students, this time off campus, in front of the home of Kanch Ilaiah, the op-ed writer. The students were Telananga separatists, protesting his non-support for their cause because he came out in support of the region’s “Tribals” who are seeking their own state within the current debate over partitioning the state of Andhra Pradesh into two states. If the tribals have their way, Andhra Pradesh would be divided three-ways, with the proposed “Many Seema” biting into both the Read More …