This post is a reflection on the curious character of the English language, drawing on a lovely piece by Arika Okrent, which was published seven years ago in The Week. Here's a link to the original. Her focus is on words that look alike but have entirely different origins etymologically. English is full of such … Continue reading Arika Okrent — Words that Seem Related but Aren’t
Month: April 2022
Response to Student Comments on My “Academic Technicians and Justice Warriors” Essay
This post is my response to student comments about a piece I wrote called "We're Producing Academic Technicians and Justice Warriors: A Sermon on Educational Research, part 2." Both were published in the Swiss journal Bildungsgeschichte: International Journal for the Historiography of Education. The "We're Producing" paper was in turn a follow-up to another piece I … Continue reading Response to Student Comments on My “Academic Technicians and Justice Warriors” Essay
The Power of the Alphabet
This post is a reflection on a recent book by Judith Flanders, A Place for Everything: The Curious History of Alphabetical Order. The most successful inventions are the ones that look like they've always been there. The age-graded classroom was invented in the mid nineteenth century, but it has come to be seen that the natural … Continue reading The Power of the Alphabet
Politics and Markets: The Enduring Dynamics of the US System of Schooling
This post is a piece I that came out last November as a chapter in a book edited by Kyle Steele, New Perspectives on the Twentieth Century American High School. The book was published by Palgrave Macmillan as part a series edited by Bill Reese and John Rury on Historical Studies in Education. Here is a … Continue reading Politics and Markets: The Enduring Dynamics of the US System of Schooling
Steven Brint — What Comes After Meritocracy?
This post is an essay by Steven Brint, from the current issue of Chronicle Review, responding to the recent wave of critiques of the American meritocracy. He asks an important question: If we abandon meritocracy in its current form, what should be put in its place? He suggests that selective colleges should stop the current … Continue reading Steven Brint — What Comes After Meritocracy?
The Triumph of Efficiency over Effectiveness
I published this op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News two years ago, in the early stages of the pandemic. Here’s a link to the original. If anything, its relevance is even more apparent now than it was in 2020. Consider the enormous shipping and trucking backlogs that are clogging up our economic system, and … Continue reading The Triumph of Efficiency over Effectiveness
Cartoons about Schooling
Schools are a great topic for cartoons, and here are some of my favorites. Enjoy.
What Schools Can’t Do
This post is the text of a lecture I gave in 2009 at the University of Berne. It was originally published in the Swiss journal Zeitschrift für Pädagogische Historiographie and then found its way into my 2010 book, Someone Has to Fail. Here is the link to the first published version. It’s about a longstanding problem in American … Continue reading What Schools Can’t Do