Category Archives: education

“teaching to the situation”

I have another post up at Kosmos: “Teaching Advice: Teaching to the Situation“

social welfare, the handicapped, and special education

Common sense may suggest that increases in social welfare are more easily obtained by focusing resources on the mentally and/or physically handicapped, rather than using those resources instead to marginally improve non-handicapped individuals’ lives. The capabilities approach, as developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, would also imply that resources are well-spent when devoted to […]

“great books”: de jure or de facto?

I recently began reading Louis Menand’s The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University, picked up on a whim from the library. Menand makes an excellent point in passing about so-called “great books” curricula (aka “general” or “liberal” education, and possibly “common core“), a point which I had not previously seen made […]

“education is like a series of micro-traumas”

Said by a professor in pop culture class today, with a certain air of… resignation?: “Education is like a series of micro-traumas. You do an assignment, hand it in, get evaluated, feel badly about yourself.” So, so true. Must it be this way? Sigh.

educational technology: the great teacher heterogenizer?

I finished this book, “Liberating Learning,” in the fall, and somehow forgot to post a review. Chubb & Moe are important players in education policy, having previously published influential work regarding school choice & competitive forces in education markets. This newer book is about technology and ways in which it can disrupt the structures and […]

on the non-unequivocal goodness of questioning authority

Look, friends. I’m far from a fan of authority, per se. On any given day there’s like a 30% chance that I will assent to full-on anarchism. But I need to discuss how annoying (and possibly pernicious) this “question authority” catchphrase truly is. The concept of authority is pretty closely tied up with that of […]

I don’t care about the original intent of value-added models

I’m taking a break from end-of-semester madness to offer this mini-rant, inspired by a passage in this WP article, “Leading mathematician debunks value-added“: When value-added models were first conceived, even their most ardent supporters cautioned about their use [Sanders 1995, abstract]. They were a new tool that allowed us to make sense of mountains of […]

have your college and eat it too: consuming education

Today, I want to make what, to my economics-ish friends, are probably some painfully obvious points. However, I had never explicitly considered this angle on college/education before taking economics of education last semester, and I suspect that it’s something many others of even my rather intelligent friends and colleagues have also failed to consider in […]

garbage can model of ed policy: random, unpredictable, or both?

Ok, so yesterday I tweeted this: Annoying: when people conflate the difference between random and merely unpredictable processes. It received a fair bit of attention. This is my attempt to explain the context. Please bear in mind that I am neither a statistician nor a scientist of any kind. These are just my reflections on […]

a state guaranteed education?

The first comments that struck me while reading Harry Brighouse‘s interesting article, “What’s Wrong With Privatising Education?,” were the following, made in response to some arguments made by James Tooley in favor of privatizing schools: “Tooley himself sometimes endorses a principle that we might call the ‘Adequacy Principle’, that everyone has a right to a sufficiently […]