I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Another humdinger of a week. What did you miss? The Democratic Primary is heating up, but none of the candidates seem to be asking the obvious ed question. Or how about that time Methodists burned their underwear? Or perhaps you missed Ken Ham’s angry response to a newish documentary about the Creation Museum. This week’s roundup has all that and more!

From the perspective of the 1820s, it seems like there are obvious questions Democrats should be asking about charter-school policy. In the recent debate, though, no one did. Why not? My two cents at WaPo.

a real watchdog for the needs of charter students must go further, asking whether teachers are fairly compensated and supported and whether students are treated with respect and dignity. America’s first system of free schools, designed to educate the poor, was plagued by poor compensation and training for teachers and cruel discipline for students — undermining the very purpose of education. When considering whether charter schools are good for kids or bad, today’s leaders need to start with a tough question: Do they repeat those centuries-old mistakes?

bloomberg debate

They nailed him on stop-and-frisk. Why give him a pass on charter school policy?

Methodists gone wild: David Swartz remembers an 1891 revival where women burned their corsets, at TGC.

It was a weird scene, the dusky evening, the crowd of religious enthusiasts quivering with excitement surrounding a fire which shot up long tongues of flames. “Throw off the garment,” shouted the revivalist. “Burn them!” cried a feminine voice in the crowd, and pushing and panting a young woman of twenty-five forced her way to the center near the bonfire. She was tugging at her dress. There was a sudden gleam of white shoulders in the glare of the firelight, and she flung her corset into the flames, saying she would die as God had made her and not as she had made herself. Her example was contagious, and in less than half an hour not a woman in the crowd wore a corset, and nothing remained in the blaze but a mass of grotesquely twisted corset steels. The excitement was too great and several women grew faint, but they had burned their corsets and were happy: The Free Methodists consider the revival a great success, and talk of carrying the war into the States.

Documentary about the Creation Museum screens on PBS: We Believe in Dinosaurs.

Ham lets loose a volley of unsubstantiated attacks, including references to “deceitful producers,” an “agenda-driven propaganda piece,” a “supposed ‘documentary,” “clever camera angles and selectively-edited interviews,” and more. But as is Ham’s wont, over half of this article is devoted to claiming that the Ark has not received huge tax breaks.

The first school deseg case, at CS.

In 1913, a railroad foreman in Alamosa tried to enroll his 11-year-old son in the school closest to the family home. The school district denied him, and instead forced Miguel Maestas to walk seven blocks across dangerous railroad tracks to what was known as the Mexican School.

maestas 1913Review essay on technocracy and higher ed at NR.

Both books consider the realities behind the soaring ideals in which universities drape themselves and through which they are too often uncritically imagined by the educated public. That universities are tightly entangled in political power, the production of elites, and the administration of society has been a fact for centuries, whether the curriculum was designed to produce masters of classical Latin or shareholder value. But what happened in the twentieth century to render American universities, in particular, such enthusiastic accessories to capitalist technocracy?

Colleges are closing. What will it mean for evangelical higher ed? At TGC.

having a distinctively Christian mission — much as I might value it — certainly doesn’t protect a school from the risk of closure.

First the Democrats turned against them. Then Trump dumped them. Tough times for charter schools, at NYT.

“We’re used to being favored by both sides, and not used to the controversy at the national level,” said Nina Rees, the president and chief executive of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Why Did the Democrats Give Bloomberg a Pass on Charters?

Some of you might have better things to do with your time. Not me. I sat spellbound during last night’s Democratic debate. Beyond the obvious lesson that we need some adult supervision of these events, another point bugged me: The candidates were not shy about calling Bloomberg a flat-out racist. Yet they gave him a pass when he waffled about charter schools.

bloomberg debate

They nailed him on stop-and-frisk. Why give him a pass on charter school policy?

At the Washington Post this morning, I offer a few lessons from the archives. I think history gives us a better way to evaluate charter schools, one that seems to fit with today’s Democratic vibe.

Bloomberg Bashes College Liberal Orthodoxy

It’s not news when conservative intellectuals complain about liberal orthodoxy at America’s colleges.  But recently former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told Harvard’s commencement audience that colleges needed to include more conservative voices.

The conservative intellectual world has long been aghast at the purported liberal bias of American higher education.  After all, it was in many ways William F. Buckley Jr.’s enfant-terrible critique of Yale that launched the post-war conservative fusion movement.  More recently, as we’ve noted in these pages, conservatives in Colorado managed to insert a prominent conservative into the faculty of that state’s flagship university.  And conservatives have offered prescriptions to heal America’s blighted leftist ivory towers.

In this commencement season, the world of higher education has been aflutter with commencement cancellations.  Rutgers pulled the plug on Condoleeza Rice, Brandeis said thanks but no thanks to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Asuza Pacific University cancelled Charles Murray’s talk.

Mayor Bloomberg warned that universities must welcome a real intellectual diversity.  Chanting and protesting to shut out conservative voices, Bloomberg warned, threatened the very purpose of the university.  “In the 1950s,” Bloomberg told Harvard,

the right wing was attempting to repress left-wing ideas.  Today on many college campuses it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.

Not surprisingly, conservatives have embraced Bloomberg’s theme.  Richard D. Land of the Southern Evangelical Seminary agreed heartily in the pages of the Christian Post.  Bloomberg, Land enthused,

has done the nation a great service by speaking bold truth to intolerant power.

Liberal intolerance was prevalent when I was a Princeton undergraduate in the 60s. It has become far worse in the intervening decades. Too many students are being brainwashed and indoctrinated, instead of educated, in our nation’s colleges. Unless such dangerous trends are reversed, it will increasingly imperil everyone’s liberties – personal, civil, and religious.

Similarly, Glenn Beck gushed, “you have to respect his willingness to speak so definitively about the intolerant culture at far too many universities and colleges.”

As I argue in my upcoming book, conservatives have worried about the ideological slant of America’s elite colleges throughout the twentieth century.  Now they have a prominent ally in former mayor Bloomberg.