History News Network | The Historical Ironies of the Right-Wing Movement Against Common Core

Andrew Hartman’s brief review of the history of education reform is very revealing in light of the current education “reform” movement. I think you’ll find it very interesting. He states that “[r]esistance to liberal curricular reform reveals the perplexities of a conservative movement that housed both religious conservatives and neoconservatives. Religious conservatives have long railed against the state as an agent of secularism. Yet since the 1980s they have formed alliances with neoconservatives who sought to reshape the national curriculum more to their liking from within the hallowed halls of government. This contradictory historical development underscores the ironies of the right-wing assault on Common Core, which, as we shall see, has roots in the neoconservative education reform movement.”
The Culture Wars A Battle for the Soul of America

“What Does Marriage Equality Have to Do with Dred Scott?” – The New Yorker

Many of those who object to the Obergerfell ruling have compared it to the disgraceful Dred Scott (1857) decision that declared that even free blacks could not be citizens and that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional thus effectively nullifying the idea of slave free states. Amy Davidson debunks this flawed analogy in a discerning article at The New Yorker.  The analogy basically fails because “Dred Scott constrains liberty and Obergefell expands it,” but Davidson further breaks down the failures of this analogy by diving deeper into the Scott case. Thus Davidson’s exposé is also a reminder of the shameful racism that is part of our historical legacy.

Why are some using this analogy? Davidson concludes, “In part, Dred Scott is simply being used to give Obergefell a bad name—as pure invective, another way to call the decision rotten and the Supreme Court deluded. This is low enough; Dred Scott is a truly degraded decision, in a way that no other of the Court, conservative or liberal, has since matched. And, in part, the analogy reflects the notion, held by some contemporary conservatives, that they are now the ‘real’ victims of bigotry.”

Read the entire article here: What Does Marriage Equality Have to Do with Dred Scott? – The New Yorker.

 Eliza and Lizzie Scott, children of Dred Scott. Credit Image by Getty/MPI

Eliza and Lizzie Scott, children of Dred Scott.
Credit Image by Getty/MPI

“The Conservative War on the Humanities” | History News Network

What would happen if we completely abandoned the humanities in higher education? The world would be very bleak! (see interview with Michael S. Roth)

This subject is related to my previous post on public education, but here the focus is on the humanities since much of the animus towards higher education is directed at the humanities. Conservatives insist that they are a luxury that we can no longer afford. This is a new stance in the conservative platform as pointed out by Andrew Hartman, author of A War for the Soul of America. Hartman thinks that new conservative position is “not only because most conservatives now dismiss the value of the humanities,” but  as a product of “the traumatic culture wars, when left and right angrily battled over radically different visions of a humanities education.” Read Hartman’s discussion of this topic here:

History News Network | The Conservative War on the Humanities.

The Culture Wars A Battle for the Soul of America

“This Is What Happens When You Slash Funding for Public Universities” | The Nation

In Arizona the state legislature cut $99 million dollars from the higher education budget, and it is even worse in places like Wisconsin and Louisiana. This trend has been going on for some time, but the economic crisis prompted even more severe cuts to higher education. As Michelle Goldberg notes, many states have begun restoring funding, but “[e]ight Republican-dominated states, however, have kept cutting. Among them are North Carolina, Wisconsin, Arizona, Louisiana, and South Carolina.”

What is driving this trend? It is partly political (animus towards the “liberal” academia), partly ideological (absolute devotion to privatization and taxing cutting), and partly financial (the opportunity to make money off of education).

What are the consequences? 1) Higher tuition that will increasingly make college accessible only to the wealthy. 2) University’s are turning to solutions that will harm the long-term quality of education, such as larger class sizes and corporate partnerships that put the focus on making money rather than educating students. 3) There will be less time and money for faculty to do the research that is vital to the health and wealth of our nation. 4) Higher education will start to become more of a job-training program, rather than an educational institution that creates well-rounded and thoughtful citizens in addition to preparing them for their careers. 5) Inequality will increase.

Please read the entire article here:

This Is What Happens When You Slash Funding for Public Universities | The Nation.