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Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Family is becoming “more important” in America

Writing in Forbes, Joel Kotkin argues that the American family, despite claims of its decline, “is becoming not less but more important”. Some facts that Kotkin marshals to establish his case: “80 percent of Americans eventually get married, often after cohabitation” “Since 1982 the number of those over 35 who give birth have more than tripled” “According to […]

NBC TV shows tell us to recycle, eat organic and exercise

You’ve heard of “product placement,” whereby companies pay to have their products displayed in the midst of movies or television programs. Well, now NBC Universal deploys “behavioral placement” in its TV shows, according to an interesting item in today’s Wall Street Journal. It turns out that it is no accident when “Tina Fey is tossing […]

“Race to the Top”: an irrational way to run education policy

The Obama administration’s “Race to the Top” competition among states for federal education funding was problematic from the start – and now its inherent irrationality is starting to show. The administration is offering $4.35 billion to states that it deems are the most innovative in reforming their education programs. Last week, the White House selected two […]

Misanthropic greens call for “no kids”

In the environmental website Grist (“we’re making lemonade out of looming climate apocalypse”), Lisa Hymas espouses her GINK Manifesto – Green Inclinations, No Kids: I am thoroughly delighted by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is to have no children at all. Making the green choice too often feels like […]

Send Jamie Oliver back to Britain!

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has his first reality TV show on a major network, ABC. It’s called Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, and its first full episode was aired this evening. Rob Lyons warned us in spiked about Oliver. And God, is he obnoxious and patronizing. In his new series, Oliver parachutes into Huntington, West […]

Tiger Woods is a golfer. Let him golf

Tiger Woods has announced that he will return to golf at the Masters in April. This has led a number of commentators to question his decision. Mike Walker at golf.com says the Masters is “sports at its best” while the Tiger saga is “sports at its worst”, and the Masters is likely to suffer from the circus surrounding Woods. Michael […]

Restoring teacher authority

Guest Post by Alex Standish Good teaching is essential to learning, yet interference by politicians, policymakers and business in schools has undermined the authority of teachers. We need to value the transfer of knowledge for its own sake and give teachers the freedom to educate. Elizabeth Green’s recent article the New York Times Magazine (“Building a better teacher”) contains some […]

Education: society doesn’t affirm adult authority

Last week I posted about the Obama administration’s support for closing schools, and Diane Ravitch’s response. Elizabeth Green’s feature in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “Building a better teacher,” certainly provided a helpful corrective to the Bush and Obama top-down approaches, as it highlighted how much depends on the skills of the individual teacher. But as education professor […]

Ravitch: school firings “mean and punitive”

Speaking to the US Chamber of Commerce on Monday, President Obama praised the Rhode Island school board that dismissed the entire Central Falls High School faculty and staff (93 in total). This came as he was outlining his proposal to offer $900 million in federal grants to states and school districts that take drastic steps to address under-performing schools. […]

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