When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.
When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.
Dana Goldstein, author of The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession, spoke to Fresh Air about how teachers have become both “resented and idealized” over 200 years of history.
In the interview Goldstein explains how teaching became a woman’s profession:
"A lot of people are surprised to learn that back in 1800, 90 percent of American teachers were actually male. Today we know that actually 76 percent of [them are] female, so how did this huge flip happen?
The answer is that as school reformers began to realize in the 1820s that schooling should be compulsory — that parents should be forced to send their kids to school, and public education should be universal — they had to come up with a way to do this basically in an affordable manner, because raising taxes was just about as unpopular back then as it is now. So what we see is this alliance between politicians and education reformers in the early 19th century to redefine teaching as a female profession.
They do this in a couple ways: First, they argue that women are more moral in a Christian sense than men. They depict men as alcoholic, intemperate, lash-wielding, horrible teachers who are abusive to children. They make this argument that women can do a better job because they’re more naturally suited to spend time with kids, on a biological level. Then they are also quite explicit about the fact that [they] can pay women about 50 percent as much — and this is going to be a great thing for the taxpayer.”
The group Boko Haram is part of a new generation of Islamist extremists. It was founded in 2002, but few Americans were aware of it until April when it kidnapped more than 200 girls after raiding a school in northeastern Nigeria and threatening to marry the girls off or sell them as slaves. Some of the girls escaped, but many are still missing.
Journalist Alex Perry wrote a recent cover story for Newsweek about the group and the new e-book The Hunt for Boko Haram: Investigating the Terror Tearing Nigeria Apart, published by Newsweek. He says Boko Haram doesn’t have logical reasons for the atrocious acts it commits.
In today’s interview he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross whom Boko Haram targets when it posts gruesome videos of killings on YouTube:
They’re quite grandiose. They imagine that they’re speaking to the world, they imagine that they’re speaking to the president of the U.S., and the reality is that they’re really only speaking to the people [who] are immediately around them.
The uncomfortable problem that that sets up for Western campaigners who, very naturally expressed concern for the girls [who] were kidnapped, is that these guys were looking for attention. And with the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign that went viral on Twitter … and [how it] got people involved from Angelina Jolie to the president of Nepal [Ram Baran Yadav] to Malala [Yousafzai] — the girl from Pakistan [who gained prominence after being shot in 2012 by the Pakistani Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education] — to whoever — well, that gave Boko Haram the kind of attention for which it only could ever have dreamed of.
Image: HARUNA UMAR/ASSOCIATED PRESS via Mashable
April, 21. 2014. Security walk past burned government secondary school Chibok, were gunmen abducted more than 200 students in Chibok, Nigeria.
I was not a good student through my entire life. My mind was out the window. I drew underneath the desk. I drew pictures. I wasn’t learning the way I was supposed to learn and I think I realized that my education was going to happen when I got out in the world and engaged with other cultures, other places, other languages and had the adventure of exploration and I felt: That’s my education.
— Robert Redford speaking to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross about why he left college
All educations, we realized then, are not created equal. For Ryan and me, of Pahrump, Nev., just an hour from the city, the Vegas boy was a citizen of a planet we would never visit. What we didn’t know was that there were other, more distant planets that we could not even see. And those planets couldn’t see us, either. A study released last week by researchers at Harvard and Stanford quantified what everyone in my hometown already knew: even the most talented rural poor kids don’t go to the nation’s best colleges. The vast majority, the study found, do not even try. For deans of admissions brainstorming what they can do to remedy this, might I suggest: anything.
All educations, we realized then, are not created equal. For Ryan and me, of Pahrump, Nev., just an hour from the city, the Vegas boy was a citizen of a planet we would never visit. What we didn’t know was that there were other, more distant planets that we could not even see. And those planets couldn’t see us, either.
A study released last week by researchers at Harvard and Stanford quantified what everyone in my hometown already knew: even the most talented rural poor kids don’t go to the nation’s best colleges. The vast majority, the study found, do not even try.
For deans of admissions brainstorming what they can do to remedy this, might I suggest: anything.
Claire Vaye Watkins in The New York Times on the subject of college recruiting.
Watkins was on the show a couple weeks ago talking about her childhood in Nevada and writing. You can listen here.
As college tuition has consistently outpaced the ability of people to pay out of pocket, debt has been the safety valve of our higher education system. It is what has allowed everything to keep running because people know they have to go to college — they don’t feel they have any choice — so they just continue to borrow and borrow and borrow.
They empiricized a sense of higher education quality that revolves around three things: wealth, exclusivity and fame. It’s the wealthy institutions that have the smallest admissions rate and are the most well-known for their students and their professors that always stay atop the list. It’s not a coincidence that every year Harvard and Princeton go back and forth between 1 and 2. US News didn’t invent the idea or the thought that status was a function of wealth, fame and exclusivity. You could say that about lots of things. What they have done is let fuel to the fire and created a mechanism by which universities that haven’t been around for hundreds of years to climb up through the ranks and claw their way past their competitors from a status standpoint.
— Kevin Carey, on US News and World Report college rankings. [full interview here]
Professors are recruited and paid on their academic reputations, not whether they’re any good at teaching. And there is a desire for status. There is a constant competition with one another. And the thing with reputational competition is that there’s no end to it. You don’t ever reach some point where you’re as good as you can be because the only question is, ‘Are you as good as the university in the next state?’ So there’s no ceiling to how much money colleges and universities can spend competing with one another.
— On today’s Fresh Air, what’s driving college costs higher.
The average college senior in the U.S. now carries $25,000 in student loan debt.
— Today’s show: the rising cost of college education in the United States.
The prime minister of England and the German chancellor both lost a son, as well.
I’m not sure if this should be classified as fun…but it certainly is astounding.
If you’re in college/grad school/high school, you might want to look through our archives if you’re writing a research paper this year. I never thought to go to NPR as a source when writing/researching in college, but all the transcripts are up and searchable. (primary sources FTW!) Plus, you can embed audio in a powerpoint presentation, which should go over nicely. (cartoon via newyorker)
On Monday’s Fresh Air, Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Martha Woodall details her ongoing investigation into Philadelphia’s charter school system, where 19 of the 74 charter schools operating in the city are under investigation for fraud, financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest.
It’s not about giving up on public schools but it is about acknowledging that right now, when you step back, [only] 8 percent of low-income kids can expect to get a bachelor degree by the time they’re 24….[and] when you have a system that produces 8 percent of the low-income kids getting out of college by the time they’re 24, something is wrong.
— Educational consultant Andrew Rotherham. [complete interview here]