changing gears

As you might know, I’m beginning a new PhD program this fall. This one is in philosophy and education, instead of just philosophy. I’ve been very interested in education for a few years now, and I know some things about it, but basically just enough to be dangerous and to write a decent admissions application. This summer needs to be a time of transition to my new specialty field.

To that end, I have recently begun reading a LOT more education stuff – probably quadrupled the number of blogs, and I have a number of education-related books on deck. One thing that has become immediately apparent to me is that education, particularly ed policy, is crazy complicated and very highly interdisciplinary. It involves psychology, sociology, history, economics, statistics, etc.

While I’ll be doing a concentration in ed policy, my work will have a more overtly philosophical orientation than other policy people’s. I’m interested in distinctively moral questions surrounding education. Answers to moral questions are informed by empirical information, but not always straightforwardly. As such, and as I’ve written before, I don’t see this move as leaving philosophy at all. It’s just a strategic move that is likely to be more rewarding personally, and possibly professionally.

Even so, I want always to know exactly what’s going on in education today. Most of my colleagues at Teachers College will *not* be philosophers, and most of the professors and guest speakers will be more on-the-ground in education. I can’t demand that they all become interested in philosophy on my terms, but I can try to make myself a very interesting philosopher who speaks to them and their interests. I don’t like the idea of spending a lifetime doing philosophy that no one outside of philosophy really cares about, so achieving this is important to me.

So, you’ll see my Google Reader sharing, tweets, and blogging turn substantially in this direction. Please pass along any education-related items of interest (book recommendations, news articles, etc.) that you think I should know about. I look forward to being that friend of yours who fills the education niche in your life.


  • Are you excited? :)

    I look forward to the interesting education-related stuff in my Google Reader/Buzz/Twitter feeds. I definitely am under-read in this area!

  • zomg, so excited. We just got word today that we can move into Columbia’s housing early, on July 30th! 2 months to go!!

  • Awesome!

  • The only learning-related book I’ve read that I could recommend would be Writing to Learn, by William Zinsser. About how writing is one of the best tools for learning a subject; also talks about some consulting he did with schools to try and get more cross-discipline writing intensive programs going (IE, get more writing done in the science and math classes, not just English and History).

  • zomg, so excited. We just got word today that we can move into Columbia’s housing early, on July 30th! 2 months to go!!

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