so it turns out that 11% of american children have been diagnosed with adhd, and the figure is twice that for high-school age boys. there are many theories, evidently, including something in the water, overdiagnosis, and so on. but i am going to explain this to you clearly and, i believe, decisively. even though psychologists want to go with 'chemical imbalance in the brain' and so on, with the usual completely vague scientific-sounding hooha designed to flummox and reassure us and establish their epistemic authority, adhd is not a condition of the brain. it is a condition of a person in a context. what has changed, i propose, is not anyone's brain, but the institutional context in which those brains are embedded. the american educational system has become ever-more authoritarian, rigid, mindless, and unconnected from anyone's actual body. the dedication to standardized tests means that sitting still and doing the prescribed task in exactly the same way everyone else does it at the same time are more or less all that's left. my daughter, who's in seventh grade, does not have recess. etc etc. 'adhd' the supposed dysfunction or illness or imbalance, would be perfectly normal or useful in a less structured or authoritarian context, or in a context that deployed any basic understanding of or connection with children as human beings. these institutions are really merely diagnosing themselves.
let me just remark that by a state of perfect chemical balance or health, these people just mean capitulation and extreme passivity. psychologists, far from being scientists of any sort, merely reflect the authoritarian institutions from which they emerged and the effortless self-subordination to authority which they literally define as health. say you're an inquisitor. the harder you crack down, the more sinful everyone appears, the more heretics you detect. you are manufacturing heretics by your definitions and the way you conduct your church, but then you think, as you define your arbitrary dogmata ever-more narrowly, that society is degenerating because there are more and more heretics. that's exactly as scientific, as reasonable, and as reflective as this.
Mark Burstein, the University’s executive vice president, told The Daily Princetonian Sunday morning that he has decided to remove his name from the search for the 28th president of Dickinson College, where he was one of two final candidates. Later that day, the school announced that it had chosen Nancy Roseman, the other top contender and a former dean at Williams College, for the position.
Burstein’s announcement came after he visited the Dickinson campus in Carlisle, Pa., on Thursday to give a speech and take questions from the college community.
“The visit ... reminded me of how much I enjoy to lead Princeton, so I decided to remove myself from the search,” Burstein said in an interview.
i'm glad burstein is where he wants to be; he also might want to spend some time mastering the infinitive. i guess i love the insincerity that accrues around something like this; had burstein gotten the job, he'd have been paying stirring tribute to our amazing excellence. we'd be all he ever wanted, as we are for roseman. i wonder what went so horribly wrong. possibly he met our faculty and students, known far and wide for their extremely thorough prep. just joshing; i love y'all!
from my amazing convention coverage, on condi rice: "10:11 'the crisis in k-12 education is a threat to our future," etc. well, that there sentence could have produced at any time since the early sixties. it's been a half-century-long crisis so far. we must do something, but we won't. get over it. give up. you can't force people to learn. i guess you could grab a new fad."
as this memo from my daughter's middle school indicates, we've got it! hook each student up to an mri. look! the science center lit up!
Join us for an amazing and inspiring evening with Dr. Mariale Hardiman, our past Principal and author of Brain-Targeted Teaching for 21st Century Schools (Corwin Press, 2012).
On Wednesday, October 17th at 7PM, Dr. Hardiman and current RPEMS teachers will share with parents how the model has influenced instruction at Roland Park and how its components can be used at home to foster deep and meaningful engagement in learning.
The presentation with Dr. Hardiman is FREE.
Her book, which features many Roland Park teachers, is available for purchase, through Dr. Hardiman, at a discounted price of $30.
Checks should be written to Dr. Mariale Hardiman and can be left in the Wellness Committee mailbox by Oct 1st. Only these pre-purchased books will be available for pick up on the evening of October 17th and Dr. Hardiman will be happy to sign them!
Please consider buying two books and donating one to our teachers.
Babysitting will be available.
maybe they've realized that the most thorough ediucation is a kill shot to the temple. or maybe they ought to target persons.
you know the idea that we should favor 'people with advanced degrees' in immigration basically means: we welcome you as long as you're bourgeois. also these are the people whose situation is least desperate wherever they go. i guess it's a justification in terms of our own economy. one thing i want to say is that to make an economy you need all sorts of people doing all sorts of things, including manual labor, skilled and unskilled. there seems to be a vague notion that if everyone had an engineering degree, everybody would be making a six-figure salary, that 'education is the key to economic advancement'; look that just can't be quite right, and it certainly cannot be extrapolated from what people with advanced degrees make now in relation to high school grads etc. maybe it's someone's road out, but the economy has to be conceived as a whole structure, in terms of the actual needs that can be satisfied by various sorts of people. also the actual skills and preferences of various sorts of workers; which they're suited to and what is needed.
i've changed my mind on standardized testing. our children need much much more of it, and none of anything else. what convinced me is that exxon-mobil is spending millions to push it.
here's a useful piece of statistical information: According to the American Psychological Association, approximately "40% to 80% of school-age children experience bullying at some point during their school careers." possibly the apa is using forward-looning rather than backward-looking statistical techniques. instead of reporting what has actually happened, the statistics try to make something happen in the future; they are antedata. at any rate, i won't even need a grant to agree: ditching approximations, -17% to 136% of children have been bullied. it's an epidemic!
so emma sullivan, a high school student, is, against my advice, taking part in the 'youth in government' program in topeka. she's listening, against my advice, to sam brownback, her governor. and she's tweeting, in keeping with what i'd advise: 'he blows a lot,' a simple statement of the evident empirical facts. but brownback's staff is being paid with kansans' hard-earned tax dollars to monitor mentions of his name on social media (irrefutable evidence - as though more of that were needed - that he indeed blows a lot). pretty soon, emma's principal is demanding that she write a letter of apology, and is drafting it for her: a pure and classic forced confession, like the iranian state likes to put on tv. now, this is a beautiful refutation of public education and of governorships, of principals and brownbacks, of youth in government and government in youth. that she's resisting is a lovely little chunk of hope.
the promo for anderson cooper's special on bullying: "everyone's a bully, and everyone's a victim." damn, gettin rough out there!
no walk of life is more subject to fads and sudden profound bland moral commitments than education. this year, it's bullying. it is a very slippery notion of course, though there are egregious cases about which any institution would want to do something. but no one can make even a decent notion more meaningless or irritating than a school administrator. my daughter jane (who started middle school today! first two days canceled by power outages in baltimore) is so tired of the whole thing that the mere word or any sort of depiction on a tv show or the psa's make her actually angry, as many a student in the previous cohort was mighty tired of drug education. her objection is simple: it's everywhere, all the time; it's insanely repetitive; it's an obsession; maybe we could talk about something else for a bit? her school is wallpapered in anti-bullying posters. there are assemblies. every teacher talks about it etc etc. that's the only idea these folks really have about changing the way kids behave: a barrage of non-stop propaganda until you can't hear it anymore, or are tempted to bully someone or do drugs just to defy these people who so evidently despise your intelligence and moral insight. this is no way to approach or persuade human beings; it's more like training pigeons. i tell her not to worry. by the time high school rolls around there'll be another obsession.
so let's say i kidnapped and detained you. then, when you got pissy and insulted me, i called the cops, and the law was such that, in virtue of these insults, you turned out to be the criminal. that is what we call 'education' or, alternately, 'investing in america's future.'
se you're actually creating a situation where the only sane thing to do is cheat. "Of the 56 schools that were examined, cheating was discovered in 44 of them — that’s more than 78 percent — and 178 teachers and principals were found to have cheated on standardized tests." nor are schools run by michelle rhee immune. the assessment instruments are completely external to the process; the goal is not built into the activity, but imposed. the assessment regime is mechanized; it requires no agency. it's not particularly invented or administered by anyone; no one is really responsible for its content; there's no one holding people accountable; people are just enacting routines. the regime does not have a human face. it's like stealing from exxon-mobil; how bad do you really feel? and people's livelihoods depend on it. if you thought another school was cheating and was going to take your money, you'd cheat too; it actually has nothing to do what anyone's actually learning. anyway, i think it's likely that the whole thing could crash, based not on its palpable pedagogical bankruptcy, but on cheating administrators.
the commencement ceremony at roland park elementary school yesterday was a flashback to the halcyon days of 2008, when obama was still the redemptive force that would save us all. the student speech went completely gaga: you can be anything! you can make a difference! then it appealed to 'the great figures of history: king, gandhi, and president obama.' then the assembly went into a chant of 'yes, we can!' i leaned over to my gf/ex-wife/greatest enemy/best friend and said: 'palin will make a difference.' indeed, no one better illustrates the idea that anyone can be president; no one has had a more meteoric, unlikely rise; no one has greater self-esteem; no one would, as president, represent as big a change; no one has as much courage to be herself. if that isn't what y'all mean, then what do you mean, exactly? wait. content underneath the form? deserved self-esteem? change of a certain kind? courage to be an admirable or worthy self (according to some standard)? why didn't y'all say so?
i often ask myself: how can we make the future as much like the past as possible? and i always reach the same conclusion: as we were children in the past, our children will be adults in the future. education, of course, has turned out to be a dead end. so i have turned to mole rottling. children don't see what they do. but they do what they see, slavishly imitating cars or trees. from now on, like plaxico burress, i will be a mole rottle for all the world's infants. who will join me? let us gather up moles by dozens, by thousands, and rottle them thoroughly and for a long time. rottled moles are our future.
cuny has ditched tony kushner from its graduation ceremony (=honorary degree) on the grounds that he's "disparaged the state of israel." sometimes i agree that new york should secede from the union, or that it already has. or maybe it should just be annexed by "the state of israel." obviously the settlements in manhattan are expanding. yo i wonder what the propaganda value is supposed to be of always using the phrase "the state of israel."
“I think it’s up to all of us to look at fairness and consider these things,” Mr. Wiesenfeld said. “Especially when the State of Israel, which is our sole democratic ally in the area, sits in the neighborhood which is almost universally dominated by administrations which are almost universally misogynist, antigay, anti-Christian.”
just for the hell of it, i'll point out that turkey is a democracy. but what you're doing with trustees that just mutter word-for-word the propaganda of other governments, or engage in exclusions or repressions of speech to enforce the conventional yapyap of their bureaucrats, is a question cuny should ask itself.
while we're at it, we might ask what the attitude of the state of israel actually is to the spread of democracy among their neighbors. at any rate, the question here is whether kushner's positions as articulated disqualify him for an honorary degree from an american public university. i would have said that the idea that they do is ridiculous.
dickinson had a big spontaneous beer-soaked celebration after the osama announcement. then it went into controversy. a small group of students had misgivings; they took a bunch of grief and had their fliers - saying things like, "celebrating a person's death: is that the campus we want to be" - ripped up. reportedly people getting called unamerican as well as 'fag' and 'fucking cunt.' then the admin sent a memo which among other things described the antis as taking a 'more thoughtful' position, though basically just saying everyone should feel safe in expressing their views. etc. for dick, quite the little tizzy, and i guess one that's appeared in some form all over. like i say, i wouldn't have gone out cheering, and i also get uncomfortable about waving the flag and chanting usa in a militaristic context. now on the other hand i'm a partriot at least in that i feel utterly american and that i am only possible in this culture, and that american culture (music, specifically) and various elements of our political tradition are great things. and i do regard that killing as more than justified and as a moment of justice, long deferred. and if people want to wave flags and chant usa without actually fucking with anyone, i say that was a good time to do it.
let me say this: if there is government education, then what your children eat in school - as well of course as what they learn and how they learn - must be political questions. if you federalize the thing - for example by creating a department of education - then they must be political questions to be decided, let's say, by john boehner and harry reid. if you're expending taxes, the policies must be answerable to the people, as their will is expressed in their representatives. if you fund the arts by taxpayer dollars, then what is art and what art there should be is a matter for joe biden or michelle bachman to decide. it ought to be; it has to be. then you will be subject to alternating political correctness and reactionary philistinism, etc. well, you asked for it; you demanded it; swallow it without chocolate.