THIS IS A THING
omg i am excited for this web series
a queer desi woman playing the forgotten kardashian sister
also i met her IRL this weekend and she is pretty awesome/hilarious
Check out season 2
My idea of heaven.
I can’t even begin to state how much I adore this week’s Crush, Janet Mock, and how much I loved interviewing her!
While I calm my happy ass on down, please check out the first half of the interview at the main blog, then come back for this second part, in which Janet and I talk about…
Indigenous people of Brazil trying to prevent their eviction from an old indigenous museum which they have been living in for the past 7 years.
On March 22nd all of the inhabitants and their supporters were forcibly removed or arrested.
The building is being destroyed to make a parking lot :(
Art and protest.
We entered teaching because we wanted to make a difference in the lives of the students who passed through our classrooms. Many of us are leaving sooner than we had planned because the policies already in effect and those now being implemented mean that we are increasingly restricted in how and what we teach.
Now you are seeing the results in the students arriving at your institutions. They may be very bright. But we have not been able to prepare them for the kind of intellectual work that you have every right to expect of them.
The whole piece in the Washington Post is worth the few minutes it will take to read it … but processing and discussing the author’s message might be difficult for those who weren’t taught critical thinking skills in school.
Indeed, that’s the central point that Kenneth Bernstein makes in the piece, namely that we’re educating students to know a bunch of facts rather than to think in a serious way about the topic at hand; that students are adopting this way of thinking about their education more generally because they lack the tools to do otherwise; and that, from the outset, a great many students lack the basic goods — like libraries, reasonable student-teacher ratios, and the like — required for a successful liberal education.
This is a serious look at the realities behind our current [failing] educational model from the perspective of an award-winning high school teacher, now retired, who worked within the strictures imposed on him by governmental policies. His warning to college professors is one that I’m sure many of colleagues will agree is coming too late; we already know — and complain about — the lack of reading, writing, and critical thinking skills in our students.
I’ve just spent the weekend at a teaching and learning conference with a few hundred of my political science colleagues, the vast majority of whom teach at very small schools, satellite campuses of big schools, or community colleges — very different from the Big Ten campus on which I teach. These professors are well aware of the challenges outlined in Bernstein’s piece and are trying to find new ways to teach students social science research methods or political theory.
In my session on teaching political theory, a great paper from Francis Moran focused on engaging students through new media like mash-ups and YouTube video projects. My own paper — on using Tumblr blogs in place of traditional essays in an ancient political theory course — begins from the notion that students aren’t doing well with the argumentative essays I’ve assigned for the past decade and aren’t really benefitting from my continued insistence on that form.
But we need to do more than simply change assignments around in order to take into account the fact that our students are less and less able to write a successful argumentative essay. What we need to do instead is to use these new assignments to engage students, as Moran and I are suggesting, but we also need to continue to demand the sort of reading and critical thinking skills that we have always demanded from our students. Recognizing that they aren’t getting these tools in middle school or high school doesn’t mean that we can’t find innovate ways to teach them even at the advanced age of nineteen or twenty.
One way to do this is to model these skills for them in our classrooms, providing them with examples of successful writing; fostering discussions that encourage them to think critically rather than to memorize the right answer; working with them to deeply examine their own beliefs and opinions on the subject at hand; allowing them to take chances on wrong ideas or possible dead ends; and letting them pursue ideas as far as they can run with them.
It’s here that a subject like political theory has a great deal to contribute to the study of political science at the undergraduate — and even the graduate level — because all of these ways of teaching and learning are the central features of any political theory course. In other words, it’s almost impossible to study political theory without honing critical thinking skills … even though theory professors must work a lot harder today to first imbue those skills in students who come in without them.
But, of course, we should also fully heed the call of Bernstein in his piece. Rather than grousing about the poor performance of our students, we ought to be lending our voices to the debate about education in this country lest we find the debate already over by the time we realize we could lend support to the side of it that will, in the long run, produce the kind of student about whom we won’t complain.
The Seattle teachers’ rebellion & the flawed test that inspired it
February 10, 2013
High school teachers in Seattle are saying no to the spread of high-stakes standardized tests. On January 10, the staff of Garfield High School voted unanimously to refuse to administer the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test to their ninth-grade students. For two weeks they’ve held firm, even as the superintendent of schools has threatened them with a 10-day unpaid suspension, and teachers at other schools have joined their boycott.
“Garfield has a long tradition of cultivating abstract thinking, lyrical innovation, trenchant debate, civic leadership, moral courage and myriad other qualities for which our society is desperate, yet which cannot be measured, or inspired, by bubbling answer choice ‘E.’” wrote Garfield High history teacher Jesse Hagopian in a Seattle Times op-ed.
Garfield High’s Parent-Teacher-Student Association and the student government have issued statements backing the teachers, and their union, the Seattle Education Association (an affiliate of the National Education Association) has been holding phone banks and rallies in support. NEA president Dennis van Roeckel called the teachers’ stand a “defining moment within the education profession.”
The boycott has become national news and attracted support around the country; a letter in solidarity with the teachers has been signed by close to 5000 educators, authors, and activists including former US Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities, Deborah Meier of the Coalition of Essential Schools and Pedro Noguera of New York University. The American Federation of Teachers posted a letter of support from president Randi Weingarten on its Facebook page.
Jean Anyon, professor of social and educational policy at the City University of New York Graduate Center and a supporter of the boycott, called what the Seattle teachers are doing “amazing.” “There have been very few groups that have decided to defy these tests,” she pointed out. “In terms of an outright boycott by a school, if it’s not the first it’s close to it.”
The tests, Anyon noted, are notoriously unreliable, with results varying from year to year and nearly impossible to replicate.
Ira Shor, professor of rhetoric and composition at CUNY Graduate Center, who writes on composition theory and urban education, commented, “The tests themselves are known as ‘junk science’ because of their pseudo-scientific basis in metrics while they notoriously produce unreliable, unreproducible, and even faked results. Yet these tests are used to judge what students know and how well teachers are doing their job.”
These tests, he explained, emerged around World War I as “intelligence” tests for the US Army. Public schools took them up at a time when dropout rates were high among working-class students and young people were “sorted” into tracks, pushing working-class students into vocational programs while the more elite students were tracked for more rigorous academic work. During the Cold War, students were tested more rigorously, but the ’60s and ’70s saw pushback from social movements on the way education was set up. But, Shor noted, for the last 40 years, there has been a strenuous public relations campaign pushing for more testing — more “accountability” to keep American students “competitive.”
“The long attack on public education and the public sector amounts to a culture war where the first prize is public opinion,” he said.
The MAP test is a particularly egregious example of the problems with standardized testing. It was acquired by the former Seattle Schools superintendent while she was on the board of the company that sells it; a state audit in 2011 found that she committed a serious ethics violation by not disclosing this fact when the school district spent about $4 million on the test. Ninth- and tenth-graders in Seattle already take five additional tests, required by the state, and 11th- and 12th-graders take three. The MAP is not required by the state and doesn’t affect students’ grades, but it is used to evaluate teachers, who point out that students are unlikely to take the test seriously, so educational time is being diverted for tests used simply to punish educators.
Some knowledge for you…
Beautiful group. :)
Black women are beautiful.
No one is above critique. This is a phrase that I too use quite often because it’s true. However, Black women face a level of critique and scrutiny that is unmatched. We’re deemed the problem of Blackness. We’re deemed the “others” that the label “woman” rarely includes. It’s not a coincidence…
Some food for thought…