Archive for the Education category

September 2nd, 2010

Down by the riverside and study
war no more

As part of the protracted transition back to Manhattan, I just sold all my Avalon Hill war games to an enthusiast, cutting a tie to passionate childhood, wishing to lay burdens down by the riverside and study war no more.

August 25th, 2010

The Gadfly
January 23, 1980
St John’s College, Annapolis

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Came across this while spring cleaning, and the author of a deeply felt piece on the state of student-body politics therein suggested scanning was in order.

Here are legible scans. (Enlarge once they open in yer browser.) Eight pages cover to cover.

Page One

Page Two

Page Three

Page Four

Page Five

Page Six

Page Seven

Page Eight

August 21st, 2010

A terrible thing to waste

This new ad on the NY subway (like Starbucks) seems asking and aching for a stencil campaign.

The old NAACP (if memory serves) motto comes to mind: “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” I see it stenciled, shouting, across this wannabe actress’s face.

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The caption up top (clipped as I snapped the photo) reads in full: “Education for the Real World.”

Indeed:

– The world of Arne Duncan, our Secretary of Education, who spent the first decade of the New American Century turning five public schools in Chicago into ‘military academies.’ No need to even begin going through the motions of education. Just teach’em how to spit and shoot and salute and send them off to patrol the mideast.

– And the world of our First Lady — who a few weeks ago explained that America’s kids need to lose weight so they qualify for military service.

August 11th, 2010

Free their minds and their asses would follow

There’s general alarm about Net Neutrality going away.

I’ve been saying for ten years that our Owners would not allow the internet to go on in its free form. The surprise is that Google is the lead dog.

It’s rather like education itself, which was suddenly made plentiful and cheap post 1945, as a kind of Thank You card to the Citizen Soldier, and looking forward to decades in the US when skilled labor would otherwise be in short supply.

But by 1974 our Owners had realized that an educated working class is a pain in the ass. And the dawning Globalization would mean they didn’t need one.

The defamation and starvation of the public schools began, quite abruptly. Direct federal aid to colleges was frozen in the 80s and has never been thawed.

The Pesident of St John’s College in Annapolis, Christopher Nelson, spoke in public for five minutes about the Fed freeze at a fancy fundraiser in New York three years ago, in response to my question re same (itself a response to being told the news by a man who served on the SJC Board of Governors for 20 or 30 years).

Mr Nelson explained that, indeed, the face dollar amount of direct Fed aid was frozen, during the Reagantime, and now, degraded by inflation, gets spread across millions of more students.

Thus the Buying Power Per Student that SJC receives in Fed aid is a pittance of what it was when I was a student in the early 80s — a big part of the reason why tuition skyrocketed not long after we left. And the story, of course, is the same all over.

Put this together with the so-called pension reform of … 1987, if memory serves. (Defined Benefit plans out, Defined Contribution plans in. The 401k Casino.)

What could be clearer? Fordism died under the Reaganauts. Maybe “The Fourth World” is the best name for where most Americans are headed.