Inclusion At What Cost?

The current protest movement in Israel—similar to but also different than from the much more urgent, anguished, and even bloody revolutions now sweeping the Arab world—brings into focus for me a dilemma that affects my teaching. For the protesters the question is whether to “depoliticize” the mass movement in order to draw in as many people as possible by focusing on broadly shared civic demands: housing, healthcare, and education. This strategy assumes that once you get people active in one cause they may expand their activism to causes that previously seemed out of bounds, notably Israel’s occupation of Palestine and Read More …

What’s “Radical” About Colleges Supporting K-12?

I was fortunate enough to be on leave during the spring semester and so was surprised to learn at the first faculty meeting that Trinity College, where I teach, had launched a new initiative to partner with the Hartford Magnet Middle School (HMMS).  The Hartford Magnet Middle School, located right across Broad Street from the College, is one of the nation’s most successful.  About half its students, selected strictly by lottery, come from Hartford, one of the nation’s poorest and largely minority cities; the other half come from the surrounding towns.  Trinity is a small, selective, and expensive liberal arts Read More …

Solidarity With Wisconsin: A How To Guide

To my out-of-state and international friends who want to know what to do: I recommend you do your own phone banking or mass emailing event. With a little review online you can find out the names/numbers of Wisconsin state GOP senators and Assembly reps who are supporting this bill. You can also find out which ones are in danger of recall. Then, you can have your callers explain to the legislator’ staffers on phone or in email that you consider the Wisconsin state line a PICKET LINE. No more dollars into Wisconsin. No more purchasing of Wisconsin products. Publicity ALL Read More …

Update on the Wisconsin Labor Fight

As I write to you from inside the Wisconsin State Capitol, the jubilant cacophony of tens of thousands of peaceful protesters both inside and surrounding the building is echoing off the walls.  People have arrived on this Saturday from all over the state of Wisconsin – firefighters from Eau Claire and Green Bay, teachers from every corner of the state, steelworkers, iron workers, municipal workers, police, teamsters, nurses, graduate students, and their friends and families.  Solidarity caravans of people have come from Illinois, Washington state, Iowa and elsewhere to support the people. All have descended upon the state capital of Read More …

An Open Letter About the Situation in Wisconsin

I’m writing to you to share with you a little bit about the unprecedented events in Wisconsin, and to ask how you might like to make a presence and show of solidarity with brothers and sisters to the north. As you probably know, the Tea Party-backed recently elected Governor, Scott Walker, introduced a sweeping anti-labor, anti-family and union-busting budget last Friday afternoon, hoping to avoid public discourse and using a trumped-up fiscal crisis as his excuse (http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_61064e9a-27b0-5f28-b6d1-a57c8b2aaaf6.html). He did so with no warning, and refused all negotiation on his measure. In addition, he made a menacing and disturbing suggestion that Read More …

Is Higher Education the Golden Goose or a Dead Duck?

Dick Ohmann’s provocation on the contradictory messages being put out by politicians, corporations, and the media about the fiscal crisis of American education sent me back to a critique I’ve been drafting of conservative economist Richard Vedder on this issue. In the following, I’ve sketchily pasted together sections of that piece and modifications suggested by Dick’s notes. Recent public debates on both the financial decline of American universities and the escalating costs and debts incurred by students have increasingly been framed by conservative scholars such as those surveyed by Jacques Steinberg in aNew York Times article, “Plan B: Skip College” Read More …

Wait, Why Do We Have Colleges Again?

In keeping with a suggestion of the Radical Teacher board that (1) our blogs be more like provocations than like articles, and 2) we bloggers think of one another as our primary readership, with others hopping in as they choose, here’s a puzzle for you all. For 30 years, government and think tank reports have built on the premise that schooling and higher education are valuable chiefly for their contribution to US prosperity, and more particularly, US “preeminence in commerce, industry, science and technological innovation. . . .”  (A Nation at Risk, 1983).  International competitors were overtaking the US then, Read More …

Dangerous Partnership: The Academy, Anthropology, and U.S. Military Occupation and Invasion

Dear Colleague, I am an anthropologist who has been working to expose the U.S. role in supporting last year’s military coup and its resulting administrations and policies in Honduras. Here are several of the articles I have written over the past year: Message Control: Field Notes on Washington’s Golpistas WOLA vs. Honduran Democracy Saving Honduras? I write to let you know about a dangerous new turn in the use of the academy, and of anthropology in particular, to legitimate U.S. military occupation and invasion of Latin American countries, and to ask for your help in challenging it. The threat in Read More …

Get Me Out of Here: Dispatches From the For-Profit College

I’m not an activist, a writer, a journalist or any of these things so please bear with me. I have been attending Keiser University since July of last year and only recently have I seen it for what it really is. When you first come to this school they’ll have you believe that this is a quality institution, only concerned with providing a top notch education to every student. Once you’re here for a while though that illusion starts to fade. This school’s primary concern above all else is making a profit. Then maybe they’ll address some educational issues. The Read More …

Meanderthal, Part II

Glorious, heroic, fruitful for his own Time, and for all Time and all Eternity, is the constant Speaker and Doer of Truth! If no such again, in the present generation, is to be vouchsafed us, let us have at least the melancholy pleasure of beholding a decided Liar. Thomas Carlyle, “Count Cagliostro” So here I am in my second year at ZU at a fall faculty meeting. And, after twenty minutes in, wondering, What the hell are you doing? Who is this person? Do I know you? The one suddenly shouting at the college’s President, Dr. D’main, and not only Read More …