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With “Why I Feel Bad For the Pepper-Spraying Policeman, Lt. John Pike,” Atlantic magazine senior editor Alexis Madrigal provides a useful discussion of the criminalization of protest and related militarization of police response. Madrigal is quite right that we’re missing the point if we pretend that Pike is an “independent bad actor” and “vilify” him […]

By now, you’ve seen the video of UC-Davis police lieutenant John Pike pepper-spraying a peaceful sit-in. You’ve seen his strutting little-man-in-a-big-body sadism, giving his beefy little canister a nonchalant waggle before strolling down the line of nonviolent protesters, aiming the toxic stream into their faces from a few feet away. You might even have signed […]

a guest post by Zach Schwartz-Weinstein November 9, 2011 may prove to have been another turning point in the relationships between the occupation movement and university campuses. Students have played a leading role in the occupations at Wall Street and around the US, not to mention the occupation of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the Spanish indignado […]

The day’s breaking occupation news is the New York City General Assembly’s statement, together with mass events developing in 66 cities over the next few days. How cool is it that the statement is bigger news than rumors of Radiohead joining them for an impromptu concert? Heck, it’s pushed the Amazon tablet and the Prez’s […]

On Saturday afternoon, using the illegal crowd-control tactic called kettling, police riot squads swept the sidewalks near Union Square with orange construction nets. In the same way that ocean trawlers capture indiscriminately, officers penned hundreds of peacefully marching Occupy Wall Street protesters together with bystanders, pedestrians, reporters, and neighborhood residents. Witnesses called police targeting of […]

Chanting “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” the protesters occupying Wall Street are digging in for a fifth day and circulating graphic images and video of escalating police violence and harassment. There are several reports of hospitalizations due to brutal arrest tactics, such as this one showing a protestor tossed headfirst to the […]

So I’m supposed to be finishing my entry, “Labor,” for the second edition of Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler’s widely adopted Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Yay, I’m in the volume, but also totally depressing. I mean, it’s a class war out there and labor’s lost every battle since I started shaving. And by “labor,” […]

Do yourself a favor and give five minutes of any of your 250 or so labor days this year to El Empleo (“Employment”), an extraordinary award-winning 2008 animation by Argentine illustrators Santiago Grasso and Patricio Gabriel Plaza. You won’t need any help interpreting the film’s conceit, which makes visible the complex web of relationships in […]

When we added humorous chapter books (eg Roscoe Riley) to my three-year-old’s story time, we were appalled to find that one of them featured one of the cruder and, we thought, outmoded Asian stereotypes–the New Kid from the Black Lagoon, it turns out, is not the scary blue-skinned alien from Mars that the other kids […]

Nearly three years after his hitch began, Gary Rhoades leaves the AAUP much stronger than he found it. He forged strong relationships between the national elected leadership and the big collective bargaining chapters. He was an especially successful ambassador to AFT and NEA. He made a series of small but important spending reforms. He led […]

Peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of justice. Without justice there will be no peace. –Martin Luther King, Jr. May 17 is the 57th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education, and educators across the country are on the march once again. At 1 pm EST you can catch the live […]

Twenty years of schoolin’ And they put you on the day shift Look out kid They keep it all hid –Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues On March 22, a prominent group of education bloggers agreed to provide statements loosely organized on the theme of “why faculty like me support unions.” Unexpectedly Stanley Fish, a career-long […]

A guest post by Michael Verderame This Sunday a fellow member of the University of Illinois Graduate Employees Organization, Zach Poppel, and I traveled to Madison to support the occupation of the Wisconsin Capitol. We went there in support not just of public workers in Wisconsin, but of the very idea of collective bargaining. Many […]

Most Chronicle readers probably aren’t among the 3 million or so that Neilsen can measure watching the Spartacus prequel miniseries Gods of the Arena, which premiered in January at the number one position among cable shows in its time slot. Episode 5 plays Friday, 2/18 (Starz, but the best way to catch up is in […]

You don’t know the name Elbert F. Tellem, but you will. Just last week, as the acting Director of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) District 2, Tellem issued a potentially historic decision green-lighting contingent-faculty unionization at Catholic-affiliated Manhattan College. In the process, he threaded his way through some of the most dishonest law in the […]

“Jesus Christ was a man who traveled through the land, A hard working man and brave. He said to the rich ‘Give your goods to the poor.’ But they laid Jesus Christ in His grave…. “This song was written in New York City, Of rich man, preacher and slave, But if Jesus was to preach […]

Patrick J. Sullivan: “The people who control our schools … don’t send their own kids to these schools. They have one idea of education for our kids and an entirely different one for their own. The core principle of the Bloomberg administration … is condescension: … one idea for their children and a different idea […]

You’ve probably been watching or reading about a remarkable event here in California–a group of parents at Compton’s McKinley Elementary using the nation’s first “trigger law” to transfer management of the school. It’s an important story, raising interesting questions about a potentially useful law that is already being imitated across the country. The problem is […]

Unaccompanied by any actual proposals, much less commitments to funding, Obama’s latest rhetorical sally-forth has him touring the Hooverville of the south Atlantic states and promising the moon. Okay, not the moon–the race to the moon, which was our way of changing the rules on the space race (double or nothing, since with Sputnik we’d […]

What’s worse than a fat lip? How about a one-term presidency? The post-Thanksgiving White House news was all about Reynaldo Deceraga, whose elbow connected with the Presidential face during a basketball game. But those twelve stitches are nothing compared to the potentially career-ending injuries caused by another of Obama’s hoopsters, Education Secretary Arne Duncan. There […]

When the president named Arne Duncan as his first Secretary of Education, he was doing a lot more, and a lot worse, than just naming a Chicago crony and basketball buddy to a critical Cabinet position. He was adopting one of the most aggressive, least tested, top-down, pro-corporate philosophies toward education administration ever promoted in […]

An interesting piece in last week’s Chronicle, Goodbye to those Overpaid Professors in their Cushy Jobs, attempts a possibly premature farewell to a stereotype, the enduring myth that “college professors lead easy lives.”  According to reporter Ben Gose, once-rampant complaints about the imaginary prof on a three-day workweek are now hard to find. Nonetheless he […]

Should The New York Times (NYT) exist? Ha–you’re thinking, “What an unfair question!” Or “You’ve framed the debate in an obviously unfair or careless way.” And right you are. But since I’m a rich and powerful chunk of media capital with a stake in the answer, I don’t care what you think, and I’m free […]

Let’s say you teach at an M.A.-granting state school with 2,000 new first-year undergraduates entering annually. Let’s further say they take half their load with faculty on part-time appointments. Controlling for other variables, one new multi-campus study suggests that this degree of contingency in faculty appointment could play a significant part in 600 students dropping […]

Across the planet for the past two years, university management has been opportunistically putting the screws to faculty, staff and students with bogus claims that “the economy made us do it.” Professor of accounting and AAUP Secretary-Treasurer Howard Bunsis has made a second career of flying around North America debunking these hilariously dishonest claims, a […]

So when I heard Anya Kamenetz, once the passionate shoot-from-the-hip spokesperson against student debt, was reinventing herself as the passionate shoot-from-the-hip analyst of new media in education, I was prepared to give her a listen. I thought, well, at least she has enough dignity and intelligence not to turn herself into a pimpette for learn-while-you-sleep […]

A new survey conducted for AFT adds confusion to the already muddled debate about the majority of faculty serving outside the tenure system. Ultimately the union is interested in a particular problem–organizing–for which in many states part-time status represents a legal boundary for the construction of bargaining units. This legalistic definition of the group, and […]

  Eric Lee’s Labour Start clearinghouse for global labor news has just announced nominees for its first-ever award, Labor Video of the Year. Two of the five finalists are inspired by working conditions in higher ed. I think both are among the three likeliest to win. My top choice is the clever, often hilarious series […]

What’s worse than David Horowitz’s brand of right-wing drivel giving yellow journalism a bad name? A ghost-authored Horowitz sequel, padded with over 150 witless, tendentious summaries of courses that the compilers erroneously imagine will frighten middle America into hauling the faculty up the nearest telephone pole. The current issue of American Book Review highlights their […]

Slow dissolve: Manhattan, fifteen years ago. I walk a few blocks from my place on Third Street– next to an anarchist squat, across from the NuYorican Poets Cafe–to the headquarters of the Modern Language Association (MLA), then in Astor Place. I explain the agenda of the Graduate Student Caucus (GSC) to the director of the […]

A guest post by Henry Giroux In 1977 I took my first job in higher education at Boston University. One reason I went there was because Howard Zinn was teaching there at the time. As a high school teacher, Howard’s book, “Vietnam: the Logic of Withdrawal,” published in 1968, had a profound effect on me. […]

Okay, let’s imagine the impossible of total supply-side control. Clamp off admissions to EVERY doctoral program in history immediately and what happens? They all keep pumping out new PhDs at contemporary levels for ten years. Scratch that. They actually pump out higher levels, because fewer of those enrolled will drop out, believing that they have […]

A funny thing happened on the way to the AHA this year — American Historical Association staffer Robert B. Townsend issued his annual report on tenure-track employment in the field. Unsurprisingly, he concluded that holders of freshly minted doctorates face grim prospects. What raised my eyebrows — and those of many others doing scholarship in […]

Update: you’ve got to watch this video. Yesterday the UC Regents walked into a room packed with gasoline and nonchalantly lit their cigars–handing down tuition increases that will hike 2010 rates 44% over 2008, turning higher ed into a gated community for the offspring of California’s “Real Housewives” class. Their bet is the usual bet […]

Does your idea of public higher education include values like fairness and diversity? Yeah, me too. Ditto for the several hundred grad students drumming in the rain in Illinois today, after their union struck to defend tuition waivers.Get updates and join their 2,500 fans on the GEO Facebook page. Charging tuition to working graduate students […]

Everywhere you look, students and faculty are hitting the streets–digital music in their ears, cell phone cameras in hand, uploading their manifestos from occupied dean’s offices. It turns out civil disobedience doesn’t have to be boring. The membership of the grad student union at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign just overwhelmingly authorized their leadership to […]

This is the text of an email blast sent out by AAUP to 370,000 faculty, announcing the release of a draft report on conversion to tenure, co-authored by me, and featuring several examples of different ways that different institutions have moved to stabilize their faculty. We’ve already received over 150 comments, most positive and most […]

In response to the massive re-orientation of education toward job training, privatization and the standardization of curricular outcomes mandated by the Bologna Process, students across Europe have been turning out by the thousands. This past June, as many as 250,000 students, parents, schoolteachers, college faculty and staff coordinated a week-long education strike in 90 cities […]

In lower Manhattan, students demonstrate in solidarity with protesters at UC Santa Cruz. The Occupy California group peacefully ended their weeklong occupation of a UCSC facility last Thursday, but announced that they left “in order to escalate” their confrontation with the state and campus authorities. During the event, messages of solidarity poured in from Britain, […]

Another scarily bad article from The New York Times on the economics of higher education is making the rounds. Purporting to explain why college costs keep rising, columnist Ron Lieber does a job so superficial, so thoughtless, so unresearched and unfact-checked–in sum, so embarassingly bad–it really wouldn’t have passed editorial review in many responsible college […]

I’m acquainted with Joel Russel, chemistry prof and president of the AAUP chapter at Michigan’s Oakland University. Courteous, soft-spoken and gentle to the point of self-effacement, he’s naturally conflict-avoidant and careful with his speech. But yesterday’s scheduled start of classes found him walking a picket line with most of his colleagues and several hundred supportive […]

The professional opinion of the chair of the George Mason University economics department is mistaken for the punchline to a Cajun joke. Last Thursday, 350,000 faculty members–most of them without any hope of entering the dried-up tenure stream–received a militant blast email from the AAUP: The AAUP serves notice that we are working to end […]

I just came across Mike Stanfill’s cartoon from last week, which captures a truth about the way the coding of the words “public” and “private” function in our debates about our laughing-stock-of-the-developed-world system of “health care.” (You know, health care for those who can pay and aren’t sick, health care as a reason to stay in a […]

Late last night, disabled faculty veteran Gerald Davey posted to the adjunct faculty discussion list (join) to explain that he’d been fired, less than a year after blowing the whistle on San Antonio College administration’s scheme to defraud contingent faculty by forcing them to sign waivers relinquishing pay and eligibility they had earned under state […]

Bob Samuels is the president of UC-AFT, the union representing nontenurable faculty at University of California campuses across the state. Like thousands of others, he recently received a layoff notice in the wake of the chancellor’s assumption of ’emergency powers’ (the academic equivalent of martial law). On his blog recently, Bob explained how 3500 U.C. […]

x-posted: Swift Notes, April 2010 Since it’s long been proven by solid metrics, such as admittances to the best colleges, that private boarding schools are the best schools, creating the best sort of citizens and leaders (“decision makers” or “deciders”), I think we should arrange private boarding schools for everyone. You’d think it would be […]

Are you ready to give shared governance an F? Maybe it’s time we learned our lesson about shared governance. Four decades of earnest collaboration with management have done little for the tenure stream partners in governance–except to see their steady replacement by instructors, moonlighters, staff specialists and student workers, including undergraduates. This summer’s events on many […]

Last week President Obama (He Who Must Not Be Criticized From the Left) proposed throwing some chump change at higher education–12 billion or so to community colleges, much of it intended for such great ideas as more spending on facilities, online education, assessment tools, and a standardized national curriculum–excepting where potential employers want to dictate […]

A short piece forthcoming in the tenth anniversary issue of Pedagogy (Duke UP). For me the most compelling question in English studies today is the tension between the figure of reading and the figure of writing, especially as it plays out in what David Downing calls managed disciplinarity, the disciplinary division of labor between writing […]

This essay is drawn from the final issue of minnesota review to be edited by Jeffrey Williams, featuring a series of statements of professional commitment or belief–credos–by representative scholars. It’s a very special series of essays, and a worthy capstone to Williams’ extraordinary run as editor. I’ll follow up with more about Williams’ accomplishments, and […]

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