• Confessions of a Community College Dean

    In which a veteran of cultural studies seminars in the 1990s moves into academic administration and finds himself a married suburban father of two. Foucault, plus lawn care.


Friday Fragments

Great kids, community college popularity, algebra, Taylor Swift and more.

June 25, 2015

The kids’ school year finally ended this week. They’re leaving Agawam in style; The Boy won “Most Likely to be President of the United States,” as well as top student in science. The Girl won “Outstanding Achievement in Reading,” as well as another recognition of her science fair project.

We aren’t completely sure yet which NJ school district will get them, but if they were free agents in baseball, I’d expect a bidding war. The school that gets them will be lucky to have them. And yes, I’m biased, but they’re handling the move with uncommon grace.  Here’s hoping that remains true...


Apparently, Americans rate the quality of education at two-year colleges as comparable to that at four-year colleges.

Sounds to me like an argument for seamless transfer…


According to a study published at Project Muse, Algebra II does not independently affect college degree attainment. It’s a proxy for self-selection.


Say what you will about Taylor Swift, but the argument she made to Apple was correct.  

I’m consistently impressed at just how good she is at being a pop star. She plays the game like she invented it. Well done, Taylor.


My browser is spying on me? Creeeeeepy.  

You’d think this would be a bigger story.  


You know that feeling when you read something that makes the argument you’ve been carrying around in your head, but fills in the gaps and takes it farther than you have?

I’m reading Rise of the Robots, by Martin Ford, and it’s creeping me out. It’s about the increasingly rapid advance of labor-saving technology, and its increasing effects on middle-class employment. Bluntly, Ford argues that as technology gets more sophisticated, the jobs it will displace will be progressively higher on the skill ladder. Worse, the jobs created are far fewer than the jobs lost. As more labor is displaced by machinery, the economic rewards will flow disproportionately to the owners of the machines.

I’ll take a crack at a full review when I’m finished, but I’ve already had several readerly moments of “deja vu” in which Ford completes thoughts I’ve been unwilling to complete.  

You know you’ve crossed a certain threshold of “policy nerd” when a dense, nonfiction piece of political economy is your version of a summer page-turner.  Alas...





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