NYT education section: lots of good stuff

There was  a special Education section in Wednesday’s New York Times, and you can get there by clicking on the screenshots below. If you’ve already used up your ten free NYT articles for the month, as I have, you can always access any article by simply typing its title into the search box, and maybe adding “NYT’  (without quotation marks) to be sure.
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There’s more, too.

Here are a few articles I found interesting:

In college turmoil, signs of a changed relationship with students” by Frank Bruni. An excerpt:

The rightful passing of that paradigm [the “faculty as priesthood”] created a need for new ones, and Mr.  [Jonathan] Haidt said that the two in vogue now were “the therapeutic model and the consumer model.” In accordance with the first of those, students regard colleges as homes and places of healing. In accordance with the second, they regard colleges as providers of goods that are measurable and of services that should meet their specifications.

And that has imperfections all its own, the best laundry list of which appeared in “Customer Mentality,” an essay by Nate Kreuter, an assistant professor of English at Western Carolina University, that was published by Inside Higher Ed in 2014.

He noted a “hesitance to hold students accountable for their behavior,” be it criminal or a violation of what is too frequently a “laughable university honor code.” He noted an expectation among many students that their purchase of a college education should be automatically redeemable for a job, as if college were that precisely vocational and the process that predictable.

“That’s simply not how life works,” he said in a recent interview. “So we have a lot of students who are disenchanted.”

Affirmative action as a tool for a racially integrated society” by Lee C. Bollinger. An excerpt.

It is, therefore, an oddity of the debate over affirmative action that even as the status quo is challenged, few dispute the ways in which a variety of beliefs and perspectives yields better ideas than would emerge from a single vantage point. Without a truly diverse student body and faculty, a university simply will be unable to achieve the highest levels of excellence in teaching, research and intellectual discovery. And without the instrumental consideration of race in admissions currently allowed by the Supreme Court, that diversity will become an elusive goal for many universities and colleges.

As important as it is to preserve this holistic consideration of race, that goal is insufficient. I believe that the court and society must also come to grips with the fact that any discussion of the constitutionality of affirmative action necessarily forces us to consider a larger question: namely, whether one of America’s greatest engines of individual and communal advancement — our institutions of higher education — shall be enlisted in achieving a racially integrated society that transcends the nation’s legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation.

Making the case for more than just STEM” by Annette Gordon-Reed, a discussant on the NYT debate I posted about several days ago. An excerpt:

I was a member of the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, put together by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The report we produced, The Heart of the Matter, discussed this issue in depth, outlining three goals that America’s educational institutions should advance:

Educating Americans in the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need to thrive in a 21st century democracy; fostering a society that is innovative, competitive and strong; and equipping the nation for leadership in an interconnected world.

The commission took the position — and I agree wholeheartedly — that “these goals cannot be achieved by science alone.”

No doubt we have to improve our schoolchildren’s performance in math and science; we need more homegrown engineers of varying types. But not everyone wants to be an engineer, or can be. And, as leaders in science and the tech industry have acknowledged over the years, innovation is spurred by people who are creative in different ways. The gathering of ideas from seemingly disparate fields often brings new ways to think about problems and allows creativity to flourish.

Teaching inclusion in a divided world,” by Nicholas Christakis, the beleaguered Yale sociologists who, with his wife, was hounded by students out of their residential masterships at Silliman College at Yale. An excerpt:

Students are demanding greater inclusion, and they are absolutely right. But inclusion in what? At our universities, students of all kinds are joining traditions that revere free expression, wide engagement, open assembly, rational debate and civil discourse. These things are worth defending. In fact, they are the predicates for the very demands the students have been making across the United States.

Conversely, it is entirely illiberal (even if permissible) to use these traditions to demand the censorship of others, to besmirch fellow students rather than refute the ideas that they express and to treat ideological claims as if they were perforce facts. When students (and faculty) do this, they are burning the furniture to heat the house.

. . . And so the faculty must cut at the root of a set of ideas that are wholly illiberal. Disagreement is not oppression. Argument is not assault. Words — even provocative or repugnant ones — are not violence. The answer to speech we do not like is more speech.

If we fail to see this, we risk confirming for our students the old joke that we wouldn’t want to join a club that would have us.



  1. GBJames
    Posted June 24, 2016 at 8:39 am | Permalink


  2. Scott Draper
    Posted June 24, 2016 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    “If you’ve already used up your ten free NYT articles for the month”

    Or you can just open them up in a private or incognito window.

    • Posted June 24, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Or in PCC(E)s case he could just bite the bullet and pay the $1.88/week faculty rate for the online subscription….that way he’ll get unlimited access.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 24, 2016 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    I must say that I found the first article about College Turmoil very educational, if I can use that word. Not being in the Academia career field, I had no idea of this complete shift or changed relationship between the schools and the schooled, as the article so well put. Even the idea that a college education should be automatically redeemable for a job.

    No wonder I could not understand any of the things going on in the schools and presented at this site. Have to admit even seeing this attitude just a little by some comments here. As Pogo said some time ago – We have met the enemy and it is us.

  4. colnago80
    Posted June 24, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    One of the things I find most amusing about the campaign against affirmative action is the fact that the related issue of legacy admissions is never discussed. As a matter of fact, legacy admissions and affirmative action have the same consequence, namely that more qualified applicants are rejected in favor of less qualified applicants. The poster child for this is legacy admission George W. Bush (his father was a Yale graduate), who was admitted to Yale with a CBS of 1220, far below the average of his entering class. If Dubya had been named Yodar Critch, he wouldn’t have gotten so much as an interview with the school’s admissions committee.

  5. Posted June 24, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Anyone else notice how there seem to be quite a few articles on affirmative action. Any ideas why?

  6. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 24, 2016 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I personally think it is fine for a student to understand that a college degree in a particular field is the key for getting a job in that particular field. That this translates to an ‘expectation’ is understandable if they get good grades and their field has a market for job applicants.
    What baffles me, and I see this b/c I teach a few hundred undergrads a year, is how many students are spending $$$$ to go to college (or going via student loans), but they don’t put the work in. Why the hell a student will flunk every test, not do assignments, or even not show up for class is pretty much beyond me.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 24, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      To me, who finished school about 1975, the college degree was the opportunity, the advantage over others in the job market. My mother had always told me, go to school, get a degree because it is necessary. It would get you in the door.

      A guarantee, no. It weeded out others who might be in line. Schools who might lead their students along and say a fine job is assured – that sounds like Trump U.

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted June 24, 2016 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      I went to Uni because I wanted to learn. Stuff.
      I have the same job now as I had before I went to Uni (obviously a good enough job).

      I can’t understand people squandering such an opportunity.

      Perhaps they get caught up in the politics or in a few cases personal traumas may hit.

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