Oh, please. What about all the kids who are homeschooled for their entire K-12 education and then go straight to college?
By Dan Sinker
“Are you muted?”
The first thing my five-year-old learned in kindergarten, set up at a tiny desk in the corner of our dining room, is to always stay muted. It’s probably the wrong thing to teach a child, but not everyone remembers, and then life bleeds in. Zoom school becomes a portal into worlds you never see as a parent making awkward smalltalk at pickup.
You can hear a mom working a job doing collections for medical billing. Call after call.
A dad who calls his sister on speakerphone. They fight most days.
Grandparents asking how long it’s going to take. There are babies wailing.
TVs, so many TVs, an endless buzz of TVs. The weather. The news. Game shows and talk shows.
Are you muted?
Transracialism is apparently becoming a thing. So be it.
By Kaelan Deese
A University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) graduate student resigned from a teaching position after they admitted on social media to falsely claiming to be a person of color.
CV Vitolo-Haddad apologized for the claims in two posts on the writer platform Medium last week and and said that they were leaving their post as co-president of the university’s Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA), according to CNN.
“So deeply sorry for the ways you are hurting right now because of me,” Vitolo-Haddad said in a post Sept. 6. “I have let guesses about my ancestry become answers I wanted but couldn’t prove. I have let people make assumptions when I should have corrected them.”
Vitolo-Haddad published a second post on Sept. 11, stating they were of southern Italian/Sicilian heritage.
“It was my choice and error to identify any differently,” they wrote.
By Daniel Bessner
The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the glaring contradictions in American higher education. State research universities are preparing to decrease services in light of anticipated budget shortfalls as small liberal arts colleges teeter on the brink of financial ruin. Meanwhile, Ivy League and other rich universities have refused to dip into their massive endowments and have instead chosen to pursue austerity while increasing tuition—and increasing debt—for their students.
A study conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2006. Virtually all research on this topic shows that those who don’t vote are most likely to come from disadvantaged sectors and that they don’t vote because they know there is nothing in it for them. “Liberal democracy” is by nature an oligarchical state-capitalist class dictatorship and has been since at least the time of the Roman Republic. Liberal democracy may be preferable to outright dictatorships just as the Roman Republic was preferable to the later Caesarian state cults. But only because there is a wider “circulation of elites” (Mosca). The problem is not people who don’t vote. The problem is people who take the state seriously and actually believe in this stuff.
A recent survey of voting patterns conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, in collaboration with the Associated Press, finds large differences among Americans who are not registered to vote, vote only rarely, are intermittent voters, or regular voters. Who Votes, Who Doesn’t, and Why (5 pages, PDF) also suggests that whites, college graduates, the wealthy, and frequent churchgoers are more likely to vote than young people, Hispanics, and citizens with less education and lower incomes.
Most people aren’t nuanced enough to recognize that systemic racism against black and brown people can exist in some sectors (like the economy and criminal justice), against white and Asian people in other sectors (like higher education) with both of these happening in the wider context of globalized multicultural technocratic statism and rainbow corporate neoliberalism.
This article provides a pretty good overview of the actual role of ideology in higher education. Noam Chomsky created a minor stir sometime back when he argued that universities are actually “far-right” in reply to the usual complaints about universities being dominated by liberal and left ideologues. However, in the context that Chomsky was speaking, he wasn’t entirely wrong. Universities function basically like this: Science and technology departments conduct the research that is necessary for the maintenance of the military-industrial-complex and the high-tech economy. That is particularly true of schools like MIT where Noam spent most of his career.
Business schools and economics departments generally teach from a neoliberal perspective, which reflects the dominant ruling class ideology, the occasional token libertarians, Marxists, or unreconstructed Keynesians notwithstanding. Technical and professional schools are mostly about churning out skilled workers and technocratic managers. It is only in the humanities and liberal arts departments that liberal and left opinion flourishes. Political science and international relations professors tend to be mostly technocratic centrists, mainstream liberals, left-of-center progressives, with a minority of neocons and occasional libertarians. Traditional humanities fields like history tend to be dominated by left-of-center types (the kinds of folks who would be enthusiastic Obama voters). Education, social work, and social sciences departments tend to be further left, often functioning as seminaries for “progressive activists.”
The craziest SJW types tend to be in “fringe” departments that didn’t exist a few decades ago like gender studies, cultural studies, ethnic studies, etc. Some English departments, mass communications programs, and art schools have a large number of these types (mostly because many creative types often have far-left political and social views). “Diversity mania” is found in a wide range of fields, including seeming non-ideological ones like healthcare, although this is more about technocratic management than an ideology per se.
By Jon A. Shields
When concerns over the homogeneity of university faculty are raised, conservatives and liberals tend to hunker down into a battle of grievances. Conservatives point to instances of political bias and the need for “real” diversity in higher education, while liberals remind their conservative opponents of the still-low number of minority professors and the importance of their perspectives. It should be possible to overcome this impasse. Both the right and left tend to define diversity too narrowly and inconsistently, and both would benefit from broadening their appreciation for the value of diversity in higher education.
Schools are essentially prisons for children and adolescents serving a 12-year sentence for the crime of having been born. Consequently, I would support the right of school kids to display any kind of flag they wish. An American flag, a Confederate flag, a Blue Lives Matter flag, a Black Power flag, a Rainbow flag, an Aztlan flag, the Christian flag, an Israeli flag, the Islamic crescent, or a flag depicting a hammer and sickle, fasces, swastika or anarchist “circle A” symbol. Fuck schools.
Universities, corporations, tech companies, banks, and media conglomerates should all be considered agencies or branches of government, just like Congress or the Division of Motor Vehicles. The Bill of Rights should apply to all of these institutions and organizations.
James Lindsay on the theology of the new theocracy. The two most important things that are happening in the developed world at the present time are the re-feudalization of class relations and the growth of totalitarian humanism as the self-legitimating ideology of the rising ruling class. Just as neo-feudalism is reinstating the kinds of class societies that existed in the premodern world, totalitarian humanism is resurrecting premodern caste systems based on ascribed status, but within the technocratic framework of modern totalitarianism. The principal differences between totalitarian humanism and the 20th-century models of totalitarianism are two things: 1) the commercial values of capitalism require a certain degree of cultural openness that is not possible in a Stalinist type of system (hence, “soft totalitarianism” rather than “hard totalitarianism”) and 2) contemporary methods of propaganda and ideological control are far more sophisticated than those of 20th-century totalitarians, more Edward Bernays than Joseph Goebbels.
This is a great discussion.
The right-wing of the ruling class is fracturing. The neoliberal/neocon right clearly wants to purge the Trumpist insurgency within their own class.
This is an interesting discussion of education.
By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
I have always been fascinated by secessionist movements. It goes back to my childhood love of maps, flags and geography. I use to spend hours poring over atlases and fixating on the strange autonomous zones that only existed inside fluid borders drawn in dotted lines. Strange places no American ever spoke of, with exotic names like Transnistria, Gaza, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Western Sahara. I would eventually grow into a commie, Third World, war nerd who fastidiously followed and supported these esoteric independence movements from afar.
Fragmentation between the educationist and law enforcement wings of the managerial class. Interesting.
By Ryan Faircloth Star Tribune
Minneapolis Public Schools has severed its decadeslong relationship with the city’s police department in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody.
The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to terminate the MPD’s contract to provide school resource officers. The district will cease further negotiations with the department and Superintendent Ed Graff must come up with a new plan for school safety by the board’s Aug. 18 meeting.
It seems like it would be best to just forget about the whole school thing for now.
Imagine that. The student loan industry is a nationalized, state-run industry functioning in collusion with the banksters and the educationist wing of the new clerisy. Not being dischargeable through bankruptcy, student loans are modern-day indentured servitude. No way they’re going to give up that win-win scenario for the ruling class.
Another silver lining?
By Sean Gabb
The latest turn in an increasingly dull coverage of the Coronavirus panic is a proposed reopening of the schools. The Government wants them open as soon as possible for at least some of their students. The teaching unions are bleating that no one should go back until their members can be sure of not catching anything. The headmasters are worried about compliance with the social distancing rules. As a conservative of sorts, I think I am supposed to side with the Government and the pro-Conservative journalists – denouncing the teachers as a pack of idlers where not cowards, and insisting that those factories of essential skills must be set back in full production before the summer holidays. Of course, my settled view as a libertarian is that the teaching unions deserve all the support I have never so far given them. The schools must remain closed until no one is in any danger of so much as an attack of hay fever. The schools have been largely closed since the end of March. The longer they stay largely closed, the better. Best of all if they never reopen – or never reopen as they have been since attendance was made compulsory at the end of the nineteenth century.
It seems that most people even on the far left and far right have a limited perception and definition of what concepts like the “state,” “ruling class,” or “power elite” actually mean. It would also seem that we need a much more modernized and expansive definition of these concepts if we are going to be intellectually and strategically prepared to fight our common enemies in the future (assuming that is what we want to do, which many apparently do not).