Who’s Responsible for the Demise of America’s Public Research Universities? – The Atlantic

Jonathan R. Cole accurately calls out the main driver of this “demise”: “The withdrawal of state funds is often one of the direct causes of increased college tuition—not necessarily an increase in faculty size, spending on construction, or administrative costs.”

It is an unfortunate situation that affects all of us. As Cole points out, “A type of delusional thinking seems to convince American policymakers that excellent public colleges and universities can continue to be great without serious investment. As the former Secretary of State and Stanford University provost Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein, the former New York City schools chancellor, wrote in a Council of Foreign Relations report, higher-education investments are a form of national security at least as important as direct investments in bombers, military drones, missiles, or warships. In other words, these education investments have a very high payoff for states, the nation, and the larger world.”

Read the entire article here: Who’s Responsible for the Demise of America’s Public Research Universities? – The Atlantic

History News Network | The Zionists Censor a Textbook – An Analysis

Lawrence Davidson takes McGraw-Hill to task (and rightly so) for taking “the extreme step of withdrawing from the market a published text, Global Politics: Engaging a Complex World, and then proceeded to destroy all the remaining books held in inventory.” This radical solution was the result of pressure from pro-Israel groups who didn’t like the story that the above map told. If it had been incorrect, McGraw-Hill’s actions might have been warranted, but as Davidson explains the maps are not “historically inaccurate.”

Did the group pressuring the publisher have any legitimate claims? No. In fact, as Davidson points out, their claims were “historically perverse – the sort of grasping at straws that reflects a biased and strained rewriting of history.”

“The sad truth is that the suborning of textbooks addressing culturally sensitive subjects has become a standard practice. Thus, the process of education is indeed threatened by incessant propaganda. This includes the culture war that swirls around American biology textbooks. It also includes the powerful Zionist drive to literally wipe the Palestinians off the map.”

Read Davidson’s detailed explanation of the whole sorry affair: History News Network | The Zionists Censor a Textbook – An Analysis

Ron Briley: I’ve Taught History for 40 Years. I’m Alarmed.” | History News Network

I share the same concerns as Ron Briley. He is rightly troubled by the side lining of history in favor of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses. He notes, “This view of higher education as simply providing the basis for job placement within a technological society may be understandable in light of the student loan debt burden, but it is shortsighted and fails to address the larger goals of a college education.”

A knowledge of history in all its complexities remains vital to the health of our democracy. History is more than names and dates. It helps us make sense of the world around us. It teaches us humility as we struggle to understand the complexities of human nature and the world. It shakes us from our simplistic worldview so that we can better address the problems of the world. It offers lessons and warnings if we are willing to learn from it. It forces us to see the world from different perspectives. And, of course, it offers us great stories. We should resist the transformation of education into a job training program. We are human beings not worker bots!

Read the entire article here: History News Network | I’ve Taught History for 40 Years. I’m Alarmed.

“Anti-Gay, Pro-Creationism Birther Could Change America’s Textbooks” – The Daily Beast

Mary Lou Bruner, who is likely to win a seat on the Texas School Board, “believes the Civil War was not caused by slavery, Barack Obama is a former gay Arab prostitute, and gays are abominations.” Her views get even crazier (see article)!

First: Where do they find these people?!!

Second: This is further evidence that school boards should not have any say concerning school curriculum or textbooks!

Read the entire article here: Anti-Gay, Pro-Creationism Birther Could Change America’s Textbooks – The Daily Beast

The Destruction of Our Public Education System: “Splintering And Shattering Our Communities” Ed Berger

“There are forces at work that are so destructive they can shatter the hopes and dreams of our citizens and splinter our communities. Our communities serve the needs of citizens via good schools, good medical facilities, good policing, good and […]”

Ed Berger gives an impassioned plea to save our public education system from the corporate “reformers.” Please read his thoughtful piece:  Splintering And Shattering Our Communities

(Thanks Diane Ravitch for the pointer!)


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

Comments on the Rising Cost of Higher Ed: “Check, Please! An Itemized Tuition Bill for College”

As a response to the high cost of tuition Erik C. Banks proposes offering “parents a transparent itemized tuition bill that shows them exactly where their money goes and how much of it is spent on things having nothing to do with education.” I think it’s a great idea! We need some way of making it very clear where money is being spent in our institutions of higher education. Despite popular perceptions that excessive tuition costs are the result of the bloated salaries of professors (there may be some examples of excessive salaries, but they are the exception, not the rule. Trust me!), the main culprits are the combination of decreased state funding and higher administrative costs.

But if we’re going to have a productive debate about the costs of higher education, we also need to make sure that we address the motivations that are driving both of these trends. Banks points out one of the driving factors behind the administrative bloat: “college presidents and administrators embarking on massive spending programs to hype their ratings and impress students and parents with extras which do not directly add to education.” (see also an early post for more on this problem )

The other problem of decreased funding for public education is the result of irresponsible tax cuts and ideological movements to privatize education (see posts about Scott Walker’s campaign in Wisconsin and the struggles at the University of North Carolina).

Please read Banks informed discussion on this very important topic! I would also recommend reading the “2015 Ohio Education Report” that Banks provides at the bottom of his post. It breaks down the increased costs of higher education in Ohio (the trends are similar across the nation) and the decreasing state funding. It also gives a compelling defense of the value of higher education.

Check, Please! An Itemized Tuition Bill for College.

education higher costs