Tag Archives: Education

Stick With Toilets and Condoms, Bill Gates

Why does a Thinker for Hire waste even a fragment of a second?

A fragment of a second is 3 seconds too long on these cover stories about (I can’t even TYPE the phrase “education reform” without feeling queasy) in national magazines.

But when it’s spread out on the kitchen table, and reading is a temporary but welcome respite from weekday morning chaos, and her eyes must rest somewhere while chewing her sugary cud, where else should a TfH look?

And here’s what those fragments of time taught me: that as bad as I already thought Bill Gates was for education, with his self-made billionaire high school dropout hubris,

IT’S WORSE THAN EVEN I THOUGHT.

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Disrupt This!

Disruption is popular these days. Maybe you  noticed.

Maybe you heard a corporate type complete a full sentence, with complex clauses and maybe even a metaphor, without uttering the word aloud. But you know she was thinking it.

Even if she says the word without salivating, the way I might say “train station” or “zoology,” even when delight or greed or hubris is not evident on her face or in her voice, you know she’s thinking about disruption as the ticket to her new life as Steve Jobs.

I realize I generalize.

But this is the Internet.

Sometimes a Thinker for Hire needs to make a point.

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Thinker for Hire Fixes Education

Pre-K to infinity.

1. Pay and train teachers at prestige levels

2. Include career educators in all policy reform conversations and decisions

3. End poverty, mothertruckers

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Child Abuse Prevention

Hey friends!

I don’t often bring up my day gig here (mostly because it prevents me from spending an hour+ of daily blogging about the brain tussles I have with myself), but this is pretty dope:

Teva Sienicki, President and CEO of Growing Home, got published in our hometown rag.

Today’s the last day of Child Abuse Prevention Month. At Growing Home we’re doing a wide variety of things to prevent child maltreatment among low- and no-income people in Denver’s north suburbs.

You get your short-term, emergency interventions, like 3 days of healthy food and 60 days of emergency shelter. But you also get your long-term supports. Like parent education and after-school programs that focus on social and emotional development alongside academics. Life skills classes for shelter residents. Nutrition demonstrations in the food pantry.

After years of (academic) focusing on big, abstract social forces with zombie noun names like “post-industrialization” and “financialization,” I’ve been enjoying working in an environment that, against all my dissertation-trained cynicism, actually helps people. Actually breaks the cycle of poverty. Actually closes some of the achievement gap.

Please share Teva’s op ed! We wanna get some serious page hits.

Relatedly, the NY Times published an op ed about new research showing that for the first time in decades/ever, upper income levels are outperforming middle income levels at college. Researchers believe that this change is due to new intensive (time and $$$) investments in early childhood education.

Yup. Early childhood education matters. It does, in fact, influence children’s life chances. Their ability to stay afloat in a hostile globalized economy 20-30-40 years later.

That means, among other things, you can stop blaming and punishing teachers for the effects of poverty.

Hah! Just kidding. I know you love to blame teachers. With their “tenure” and “summers off” and used Hyundais.

Da noive.

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UC’s New Logo

You guys, my number one guilty pleasure is branding.

I’m not even sure what that means.

I went to this seminar by a firm that re-brands nonprofits. I emerged with stars in my eyes. These re-branders seemed to do exactly what I taught hundreds of students to do: Complete a ton of research, synthesize all the information, and develop a thesis statement. A central argument for why this organization (or essay) matters.

Then in my market research job, I had the opportunity to learn about corporate branding: its jargon (equity!), its hypotheses (a brand is emotional!), and its vicissitudes (brand equity rises and falls like tides, or the stock market!). Brands are ephemeral. They capture human essence: our desires, our aspirations, our beliefs. They also help big companies make a ton of money by channeling all that’s important to us and selling it back.

But the UC thing is just funny.

Cal prof Michael Eisen’s take on the new UC logo.

 

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An Education Mini-Festo

I was thinking about my recent post about cultural conflicts within higher ed while I read about the Chicago teachers’ strike and listened to the latest This American Life podcast about education.

I had some thoughts.

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