Monthly Archives: July 2015

Why blog your field work?

Over the last week I’ve posted every day about the ethnographic research I was doing at the Tate Summer School, research carried out with the Tate Schools and Teachers team. Why? Why did I interrupt my normal flow of writing about academic writing and research with a set of posts about my own research? Why […] … learn more→

Universities are no more illusory than journalists

This week Kevin Carey wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he argued that the recent academic and athletic scandal at the University of North Carolina could happen because, basically, universities are “illusions.” There is no real oversight of what happens in the classroom. Therefore it was easy for some professors […] … learn more→

A village of academic boondoggles

A report on NYU, an institution notorious for predatory practices on students, tracks the money it plunders. Administrative pay (and ridiculous perks, like 7 figure “forgivable loans”) only accounts for some of it, the rest is pouring into real estate deals. I’ve mentioned the madcap building spree at our institutions of higher education, and many […] … learn more→

Final exams or epic finales

\”Goodbye,\” she whispered. And I never saw her again. The course was introductory astronomy, a popular elective for students fulfilling a science requirement. After 15 weeks of lectures, discussions, problem-solving, quiz-taking, and group projects, she and her fellow students had nearly reached the end. The classroom was mostly silent as they worked on their final […] … learn more→

The decline of the conservative mind

These are dark days for conservatives: 7 years of President Obama, gay marriage spreading across the land, health insurance coverage growing every day, and a collection of mediocre Republican candidates that make the words “President Clinton” seem like the future rather than the past. It’s enough to make a conservative blurt out “Jiggery-pokery” and bemoan […] … learn more→

The absurdity of English spelling and why we’re stuck with it

Ghoti. How would you pronounce that? According to urban legend, it was George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright, who coined the term in his quest for spelling reform. He pronounced it “fish” because of the sounds touGH; wOmen; and naTIOn. It probably wasn’t Shaw, but it does make an interesting point about the absurdities in […] … learn more→

The ex-pimp who remade black culture

My search for the story of Robert (Iceberg Slim) Beck — the pimp turned African-American writer of bestselling paperbacks — began long before I knew his name. I grew up in a white working-class area of Seattle back in the days before Microsoft and Starbucks changed everything. My father was an exterminator. Starting at the […] … learn more→

NYU epitomizes administrative plundering?

NYU is a private, nonprofit university that’s notorious for being extremely expensive, with tuition rising every year. As always, these increases are justified because “not enough money,” but a number of faculty got together and did some research. Their findings are collected in a series of essays called The Art of the Gouge. These essays […] … learn more→

The same genes influence exam results across a range of school subjects

Could it be that genetic differences can affect how well children perform in exams? Our research suggests that this may well be the case and that individual differences between children are, to a large extent, due to the inherited genetic differences between them that predisposes them to do well academically, whatever the subject. We also […] … learn more→

Out-of-State tuition: A DREAMer barrier to College

Last week, dozens of undocumented high school and college students attended hearings in the Massachusetts state house. They urged lawmakers to extend in-state tuition and state financial aid to all undocumented immigrants who have graduated from Massachusetts high schools, not just those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. Several students testified they were […] … learn more→