And Still Another Key Blog

We set aside the Sunday after Thanksgiving every year for the key blog. It’s a tone-setting effort that reiterates the environmental theme that is intended to be the overarching orientation to all the other blogs, serious and irreverent, that get written every other Sunday of the year. There is a backstory to the key blog …

More

The view from here

A mind of von Neumann’s inexorable logic had to understand and accept much that most of us do not want to accept and do not even wish to understand. This fact colored many of von Neumann’s moral judgments. — Eugene Wigner, in John von Neumann (1903 – 1957), Year book of the American Philosophical Society …

More

Urban Charter Schools Are More Likely to Succeed Than their Suburban Counterparts

Charter School Concentration: Demand in Urban Areas The University of Michigan’s Susan Dynarski recently added her voice to the ongoing conversation around charter schools in America’s urban areas. Rather than comment on the more salient charter controversies around oversight concerns, authorizer policies, or competition with neighborhood schools, Dynarski addressed a less-examined topic: the contrast in …

More

Feynman’s War

Radar and nuclear weapons could not have been developed without the big brains. Feynman’s War: Modelling Weapons, Modelling Nature Peter Galison* What do I mean by understanding? Nothing deep or accurate—just to be able to see some of the qualitative consequences of the equations by some method other than solving them in detail. — Feynman …

More

Three Years to the Day

Today is three years to the day I decided to try and blog about “possibilities”. While they have been rather sparse over the past couple of months, in total this is number 197 that I’ve published along with another dozen started but left dangling. The purpose for me was to share inspiration that we might …

More

Reflections on AERA’s Warning About Value-Added Models

On November 11, the Leadership Council of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the nation’s largest professional association of education researchers, released a statement admonishing researchers and policymakers against the excessive use of value-added models (VAMs) in high-stakes evaluations of teachers, principals, and educator preparation programs. Coming on the back of a special issue of …

More

Nuremberg Chronicle (1493)

The Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) is renowned for its fantastic woodcut illustrations. A total of 1,809 illustrations adorn the book, but only 645 woodblocks were cut.  Most of the illustrations are re-used throughout the book – some as many as 11 times! Above are six instances of the same illustration, as seen in the copy owned …

More

Contemplating the Future

A great profile of Nick Bostrom in the New Yorker. I often run into Nick at SciFoo and other similar meetings. When Nick is around I know there’s a much better chance the discussion will stay on a highbrow, constructive track. It’s surprising how often, even at these heavily screened elitist meetings, precious time gets …

More

Who’s Narrating the “Teacher Shortage” Narrative?

  Photo credit: http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/2015/08/newsletter-teacher-shortage-ny-times-got-it-wrong/ A recent column by Stephen Mucher, Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Bard College, has attracted a lot of attention from those concerned about the health and vitality of public education. And for good reason. Mr. Mucher mentions the recent history of campus protests across the country, which …

More

On Statistics, Reporting and Bacon

I’ve previously ranted about the need for a “journalistic analytics” college major, to help with reporting (and editing) news containing statistical analysis. Today I read an otherwise well written article that inadvertently demonstrates how easy it is for even seasoned reporters to slip up. The cover story of the November 9 issue of Time magazine, …

More

Eastern Michigan University holds Urban Education Summit

Partnership between Practitioners, Researchers, and Policymakers Faculty and students at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) held a conference to discuss current issues in urban education on Saturday, November 14th. Often characterized as under resourced and failing, large, urban districts in Michigan have had successes that are frequently overlooked by the general public. The summit highlighted positive …

More

Michigan Program Shows Hope For Struggling Schools

A recently released report by the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has promising findings for improving the climate and student outcomes in struggling high schools. Schools that participated in Michigan’s think.respect. program saw higher graduation rates, measurable increases in school safety and decreases in bullying, and higher levels of student achievement. The program was funded …

More

Comparisons

There is rhetoric in the United States that keeps insisting on making the comparison between Nazis and ISIS/Daesh. And as an American Germanist/Auslandsgermanist, I feel compelled to articulate why this comparison falls short. One of the most disturbing instances I have seen comes from a meme circulating on Facebook. Vice News notes that this image was tweeted …

More

From Surgical Theater to Trash Pit: The Resurrection of a Listerine Bottle and What It Can Tell Us About Campus Activities

Listerine Bottle from  Level B Lisa Bright, the reigning Campus Archaeologist, wrote to me recently to say that she had discovered a Listerine bottle in the Admin/Gunson assemblage that was excavated during the CAP field school this past summer. While a Listerine bottle may seem like a fairly innocuous item (especially when found in the …

More

Presentations!

Sometimes we get too close to our research. Ok, all of the time we’re probably too close. If you’re like me, you’re fascinated by what you do, and even when things are slow-going, you’re still excited to wake up and think about things. The problem is, you might spend all day, every day, thinking about …

More

The Plan is Coming Together…

  Careful readers have noticed a flurry of reformster activity over the past week or so, highlighted by two big announcements. First was the rollout of #TeachStrong, an education improvement scheme allegedly dedicated “to modernizing and elevating the teaching profession,” and involving a murderer’s row of reformer groups, like Teach for America, the Relay Graduate School of …

More

A Disconnect Between Support and Service: Low Voter Turnout and Participation in School Board Elections

Another Election Day has recently passed and an online search for “uncontested school board elections” yields an abundance of recent news stories where only incumbents were vying for open school board seats or in some cases, no one was running.  Uncontested Candidates and Empty School Board Seats This year in New Jersey, there were a …

More

TPACK Newsletter #25, October 2015

TPACK Newsletter, Issue #25: October 2015 (Updated) Welcome to the twenty-fifth edition of the (approximately bimonthly) TPACK Newsletter! TPACK work is continuing worldwide. This document contains recent updates to that work that we hope will be interesting and useful to you, our subscribers. [Editors’ note: This document is an update to a previously distributed version …

More

Dreaming of a Sports City

The Football Scholars Forum, the online think tank based at Michigan State University, recently explored fascinating aspects of the long and complex relationship between fútbol and politics in the history of Buenos Aires, Argentina. In its second session of the 2015-16 season, FSF co-founder Alex Galarza, PhD candidate in History at Michigan State, shared a …

More

What now?

In the days after the Paris attacks, as France bombs the Syrian city of Raqqa, and American politicians use this tragedy to further their own political campaigns; as family members are called to account not only for the death of their family members, but also for their inability to discern radicalism developing in their brothers, whom …

More

I Dared to Teach

I received the following story from a teacher who wanted to share the ridiculous things that are going on with her/his evaluation process, but was worried about retribution from her/his administration. Sadly, these kinds of stories are becoming all too common as the pressures of the accountability era exert tremendous stress on all involved, as …

More

Beirut, Nairobi, Paris

After I had posted my “Paris, City of Love” design on FB, my friend Pilar Quezzaire posted on my wall the following question: What about Beirut and Nairobi, Punya? Can you make one for them as well? In another posting she linked to the website http://www.warsintheworld.com/  and a quick glance through it shows just how much conflict …

More

Overheard at Ellyington’s

It’s hard to avoid a little inadvertent eavesdropping when you are waiting for breakfast by yourself at a quiet restaurant. The two guys at the adjacent table are also waiting for their food, but they are engaged in an intense conversation over things like “core samples” and some sort of foibles that have occurred of …

More

Paris City of Love

Paris has been on my mind for the last 24 hours (as it has been for many others around the world). I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to spend some time in the city – and Paris is one of my favorite places in the world. Paris, anyway you look at it (a new 180 …

More

Discipline in the Black Classroom and Alternatives to School Militarization

Since the violent altercation between a white officer and black female student in South Carolina last month, there has been much conversation about discipline and the role of police in America’s public schools. While not a new debate, questions about the disproportionate use of physical force and exclusionary discipline policies against black students in urban …

More

David T. Bailey

On Saturday, November 7, a dear friend and colleague, David T. Bailey, passed away. I always find it difficult to write about friends who have left us.  I can write the straight forward — like about his digital work in a blog post for Matrix. I will just make a few notes; difficult to sum …

More

More Than Just Nightsoil: Preliminary Findings from MSU’s First Privy (MAC Poster Presentation)

At the Midwest Archaeological Conference, Lisa, Amy and myself got the opportunity to present some of our preliminary findings from the privy that we uncovered during Summer 2015. Here, I’m going to share some of the findings from our poster, and the poster itself for those who are interested! In June, 2015 during routine construction …

More

“Skin in the game…”

Gov. Bobby Jindal, a participant in the Republican “undercard” debate last night, joined the list of conservative pundits in demanding that every person in the nation, regardless of their income or employment status, must be required to pay some taxes–“even $1!”–on the premise that everyone should have some “skin in the game.” The term “skin in …

More