George Carlin: education and the owners of America

Believe it

Published in: on December 17, 2007 at 3:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

One Laptop Per Child

Love this! I got sold on it while watching the segment on 60 Minutes. (Just bought one for me and one for a child I haven’t met.)

Published in: on December 3, 2007 at 12:30 am  Comments (4)  

Battle-scarred ‘sub’ in L.A. barrios speaks out

Hi, my name is Migdia Chinea and I’m a recovering LAUSD “substitute.”

Oh, I’m also UCLA-educated with honors, refined, empathetic, college-level Spanish fluent and a Googleable professional screenwriter.

To make ends meet during hard economic times, I became a “substitute teacher” for the Los Angeles Unified School District, or LAUSD – or to put it more kindly, a “guest teacher.” As a guest LAUSD teacher I thought I would be an asset, but the system has never appreciated nor taken advantage of my educational or professional hard-earned accomplishments.

There’s no teaching going on at LAUSD – only confinement of the sort one may find in a penal colony, complete with walkie-talkie-carrying wardens and bullhorns. And I have “confined” at many different schools within central Los Angeles in the last six months. Many students scream “suuuuuuuub” when they see someone like me – a “guest teacher” – in their classroom and trample anyone and/or anything as they push and shove their way inside.

Published in: on November 17, 2007 at 1:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Administration Fights Dem Plan to Boost School Aid for Vets

“The Bush administration opposes a Democratic effort to restore full educational benefits for returning veterans, according to an official’s comments last week.”[. . .]

“The Democratic proposal would cost an additional $5.4 billion a year, the VA estimates — and that’s too much, it says.”

And how long does it take to spend 5.4 billion in Iraq?

Let’s ask my buddy, Larry M:

($5.4 billion/year…HELLO!…That’s what it’s costing us for two weeks–TWO WEEKS–in Iraq now!! (Not to mention 50 Americans and hundreds of Iraqis dead every two weeks.) This denial of supporting our troops for $5.4B is from the same Bush Administration that already has “lost” at least $8.8 billion in cash in Iraq, “lost” 190,000 weapons, and “lost” 135,000 body armor pieces. The inept Bushies have also “lost track” of 115,000 helmets, didn’t provide the proper vehicle armor protection, and, according to the Washington Post, several thousand anti-aircraft shoulder-fired missiles are missing. Also, billions in oil money has gone missing–100,000-300,00 barrels daily. And most tragically the Bush administration “forgot” about the wounded at Walter Reed Hospital. And now Bush and his toady VA says $5.4B is too much to give the returning vets for their deserved–and obligated– GI Bill. Disgusting…!)

Published in: on August 9, 2007 at 11:53 pm  Comments (1)  

What Works – Miami’s Role Model program

“I sure hope Timothy doesn’t come to school today.”

The thought shocked her. If she dreaded Timothy, she says, how must her Hispanic and white teachers have felt about him? And why was it every time she held a disciplinary conference, it was for a black boy? Why were they the ones who always seemed to be in trouble?

So she started meeting with them, “trying to find out why they were so angry and why they were so disruptive and why they wanted to fight all the time.” Then she started calling men in to help her.

Published in: on July 29, 2007 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

US medical scholarship students graduate in Cuba

The students are from a deprived background and could not afford to train as doctors in the US.

They are among hundreds of students from across America and Africa to be given scholarships by Cuba.

[Thx Kylie]

Published in: on July 25, 2007 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  


I just learned about a case of segregation-era oppression happening today in Jena, Louisiana. I signed onto’s campaign for justice in Jena, and wanted to invite you to do the same.


Published in: on July 20, 2007 at 2:43 pm  Comments (1)  

A Voice Raised in Chicago

By BOB HERBERTPublished: July 17, 2007

Senator Barack Obama took his presidential campaign to Chicago Sunday, where he addressed an agonizing issue that has been largely overlooked by the national media — the murder of dozens of the city’s public school students since last September.

[need access?]

Poor Kids Living in a War Zone


July 14, 2007

The colorful playground outside Frederick Funston Elementary School has swings and sliding boards and a heartbreaking makeshift memorial for the 13-year-old girl who was shot to death in the playground a few weeks ago.

[need access?]

Published in: on July 14, 2007 at 12:42 am  Leave a Comment  

SCOTUS Assaults Brown v. Board of Education

Court strikes down school integration plans, ends Term

Affirmative Inaction

Segregation Now, Segregation Forever?

Published in: on June 28, 2007 at 10:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity

Remember that the Antioch College motto, taken from the great educator Horace Mann, is: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

Bob Fitrakis

Published in: on June 26, 2007 at 9:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

What did Brown mean?

The Supreme Court may reinterpret the landmark ruling, threatening racial diversity in schools.

By Edward Lazarus

BROWN vs. Board of Education, the Supreme Court’s landmark declaration that racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional, may be the court’s only ruling in the last 200 years that virtually everyone today agrees was “rightly decided.” It is simply unimaginable that a president would appoint, or that the Senate would confirm, a court nominee who failed to pay homage to the 1954 decision.

Published in: on June 25, 2007 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Presidential scholars urge Bush to ban use of torture

President Bush was presented with a letter Monday signed by 50 high school seniors in the Presidential Scholars program urging a halt to “violations of the human rights” of terror suspects held by the United States.

Published in: on June 25, 2007 at 8:45 pm  Comments (1)  

Study on I.Q. Prompts Debate on Family Dynamics

The new evidence that eldest children develop higher I.Q.’s than their siblings has intensified the debate over two of the most stubborn questions in social science: What are the family dynamics that enhance intelligence? And can they — and should they — be changed?

Published in: on June 24, 2007 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

School to Prison Pipeline

June 9, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

The latest news-as-entertainment spectacular is the Paris Hilton criminal justice fiasco. She’s in! She’s out! She’s — whatever.

Far more disturbing (and much less entertaining) is the way school officials and the criminal justice system are criminalizing children and teenagers all over the country, arresting them and throwing them in jail for behavior that in years past would never have led to the intervention of law enforcement.

Published in: on June 8, 2007 at 10:50 pm  Comments (2)  

Poisonous Police Behavior

June 2, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
By Bob Herbert

You most likely have no idea of the abusive treatment that students and teachers at many of New York City’s public schools are enduring at the hands of overly aggressive police officers and security aides assigned to the schools. (more…)

Published in: on June 2, 2007 at 8:02 am  Comments (1)  

Iran Arrests Grandma

May 30, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Man, was I wrong about Iran.

I thought this regime was powerful and self-confident, and actually felt strengthened since we destroyed its two main enemies — the Taliban and Saddam. That could not be further from the truth. This Iranian regime is afraid of its shadow. How do I know? It recently arrested a 67-year-old grandmother, whom it accused of trying to bring down the regime by organizing academic conferences! (more…)

Published in: on May 29, 2007 at 11:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Educated Giant

May 28, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Taishan, China

With China’s trade surplus with the United States soaring, the tendency in the U.S. will be to react with tariffs and other barriers. But instead we should take a page from the Chinese book and respond by boosting education. (more…)

Published in: on May 27, 2007 at 11:00 pm  Comments (9)  

The Quiet Americans

May 27, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Since my daughter is graduating from college today, I am thinking a lot about the class of 2007 and the world they are about to enter. I’m not sure what they call this generation. (more…)

Published in: on May 26, 2007 at 7:49 pm  Comments (2)  

Laughing and Crying

May 23, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

First I had to laugh. Then I had to cry.

I took part in commencement this year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of America’s great science and engineering schools, so I had a front-row seat as the first grads to receive their diplomas came on stage, all of them Ph.D. students. One by one the announcer read their names and each was handed their doctorate — in biotechnology, computing, physics and engineering — by the school’s president, Shirley Ann Jackson. (more…)

Published in: on May 22, 2007 at 9:51 pm  Comments (11)  

American Cities and the Great Divide

May 22, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

A public high school teacher in Brooklyn told me recently about a student who didn’t believe that a restaurant tab for four people could come to more than $500. The student shook his head, as if resisting the very idea. He just couldn’t fathom it. (more…)

Published in: on May 21, 2007 at 11:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Graduation Speech I’ll Never Give

Welcome to Reality, Class of ’07

Close Your Eyes

By Tom Engelhardt

Published in: on May 19, 2007 at 4:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ban the Banks

Corrupt Student Loan Biz Can’t Be Reformed

by Ted Rall
April 10, 2007

Published in: on May 14, 2007 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Top Teacher Shown the Door After Showing “Baghdad ER”

Michael Baker worked for the Lincoln, Nebraska, public schools since 1981.

But after he showed the documentary “Baghdad ER” to his geography class on April 18, his career there was over.

Published in: on May 13, 2007 at 12:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

50 Years Later, Little Rock Can’t Escape Race

Fifty years after an epic desegregation struggle, a school district in Little Rock, Ark., is still riven by racial conflict.

Published in: on May 7, 2007 at 11:38 pm  Comments (1)  

Higher Education Conformity

Is a college degree really a sign of competence? Or is it chiefly a signal to employers that you’ve mastered the ability to obey and conform?

By Barbara Ehrenreich

Published in: on May 2, 2007 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gold Stars and Dunce Caps

May 1, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

In this presidential campaign, we need somebody who wants to address the question President Bush once raised: “Is our children learning?”

Published in: on April 30, 2007 at 10:03 pm  Comments (4)  

Hooked on Violence

April 26, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Two days after the massacre at Virginia Tech, a mentally disturbed man with a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun opened fire in a house in Queens, killing his mother, his mother’s disabled companion and the disabled man’s health care aide. The gunman then killed himself. (more…)

Published in: on April 25, 2007 at 10:14 pm  Comments (1)  

A Letter to Bush

To G.W. Bush,

The Virginia Tech mass murder broke an American record for single-handed mayhem, and you claim that you’re shocked – shocked, I tell you! – that such a thing could happen in a country so awash with handguns that a mentally disturbed resident alien could legally acquire a 9 mm Glock, along with 50 rounds of ammunition, in a few minutes, by credit card, making the origins of the .22-caliber rather moot. But that will not prevent you or any other of your anti-handgun control ilk from porking at the NRA trough in return for carte blanche handgun ownership laws, and until that changes, this record stands to be broken any day, any time.

Yet the very people who aim to rectify this most deep shame of America are the ones Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has “nothing but loathing for.” He sputters on, “To those who want to try to make this into some little crusade, I say take that elsewhere.” Two questions, Gov.: how many deaths will enlarge this crusade enough to get your attention? And where else shall we take it – Canada?

We – meaning not those whose family or friends were brutally murdered or those who were mortally terrified by the threat of violent death, but those who just read about it – will get over it, though, as we have always done. In a few days, the pro-gun guys will begin arguing that the problem is too few handguns: if every student and teacher were armed, mass-murderers wouldn’t get far. Republican presidential candidates will liken the Second Amendment to one of the 10 Commandments – ironically, considering the frontrunners’ marriage histories. Even most Democrats will hem and haw, terrified of the power of the NRA. The moment will pass, the status quo will prevail, and somewhere, the genesis of the next mass murder will begin.

While politicians may decry the violence to their full content, all those who are not part of the solution are complicit in the killings. You, Bush, beholden to the NRA: your hands are red with blood. Spare me the tears.

~Bill Baerg

Published in: on April 23, 2007 at 10:03 pm  Comments (1)  

A Killer’s Media Wish Fulfilled

April 20, 2007, 5:31 pm
By Alice Mathias

Every day in my Oral Traditions of Musicianship class, before the rigorous business of learning begins, we go around the room and each of us shares with the class how we are feeling on a scale of 1 to 10. If you’re a 1, that means you’re unconscious and hooked up to a machine that is propelling you through life. If you’re a 10, you’re so elated you could levitate. (If you’re bold enough to claim you are a 10, you actually have to lie down on the floor and prove to the class that you can float. We haven’t seen any successful 10’s yet.)

Published in: on April 21, 2007 at 11:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Books or Bombs


Published in: on April 19, 2007 at 11:18 pm  Comments (1)  

A Volatile Young Man, Humiliation and a Gun

April 19, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

“God I can’t wait till I can kill you people.”
— A message on the Web site of the Columbine killer Eric Harris.

In the predawn hours of Monday, Aug. 1, 1966, Charles Whitman, a former marine and Eagle Scout in Austin, Tex., stabbed his wife to death in their bed. The night before he had driven to his mother’s apartment in another part of town and killed her.

Later that Monday morning, Whitman gathered together food, water, a supply of ammunition, two rifles, a couple of pistols, a carbine and a shotgun and climbed the landmark 30-story tower on the campus of the University of Texas.

Beneath a blazing sun, with temperatures headed toward the mid-90s, Whitman opened fire. His first target was a pregnant teenager. Over the next 80 or so minutes he killed 14 people and wounded more than 30 others before being shot to death by the police.

Published in: on April 18, 2007 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Holocaust survivor blocked shooter, letting students flee

Liviu Librescu

“It wouldn’t amaze me he would do such a thing,” fellow engineering professor Muhammad Hajj said. “He’s that kind of person, willing to take care of others, protect others.”

Published in: on April 17, 2007 at 11:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Black Day in the Blue Ridge

A few months ago, when I returned from a trip to Sierra Leone, a country I lived in for years and one still reeling from the effects of a brutal civil war, I was filled with relief to be returning to a crime-free place like Blacksburg.

by Lucinda Roy, co-director of the creative writing program at Virginia Tech

Published in: on April 17, 2007 at 11:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Accomplices: Sundance George and Butch Reid and the Virginia Tech Massacre

He had accomplices. Don’t kid yourself: 23-year-old Cho Seung-hui didn’t forge his two little pistols in his smithy shop.

by Greg Palast

Published in: on April 17, 2007 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Eight Years After Columbine

Yesterday’s mass shooting at Virginia Tech — the worst in American history — is another horrifying reminder that some of the gravest dangers Americans face come from killers at home armed with guns that are frighteningly easy to obtain.

Published in: on April 17, 2007 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

For God’s Sake

April 13, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

In 1981, Gary North, a leader of the Christian Reconstructionist movement — the openly theocratic wing of the Christian right — suggested that the movement could achieve power by stealth. “Christians must begin to organize politically within the present party structure,” he wrote, “and they must begin to infiltrate the existing institutional order.” (more…)

Published in: on April 12, 2007 at 10:34 pm  Comments (3)  

6-Year-Olds Under Arrest

April 9, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Avon Park, Fla.

When 6-year-old Desre’e Watson threw a tantrum in her kindergarten class a couple of weeks ago she could not have known that the full force of the law would be brought down on her and that she would be carted off by the police as a felon. (more…)

Published in: on April 8, 2007 at 11:51 pm  Comments (23)  

Cellphones, Maxi-Pads and Other Life-Changing Tools

April 6, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist


For decades, the world has asked: How do we free Africa from its yoke of poverty, disease and misgovernance? In asking Kenyans that question, I’ve been struck at the simple, common-sense solutions they offer. Four in particular stand out: transparency, telephones, Tergat and Kotex. (more…)

Published in: on April 5, 2007 at 10:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Understanding How Good People Turn Evil

Renowned Psychologist Philip Zimbardo On his Landmark Stanford Prison Experiment, Abu Ghraib and More

In 1971, psychology professor Philip Zimbardo created the Stanford Prison Experiment in which 24 college students were randomly assigned the roles of prison guards and prisoners at a makeshift jail on campus. The experiment was scheduled to run for two weeks. By Day Two, the guards were going far beyond just keeping the prisoners behind bars. In scenes eerily similar to
Abu Ghraib, prisoners were stripped naked, bags put on their heads and sexually humiliated. The two-week experiment had to be canceled after just six days. Zimbardo tells the full story of the landmark study in his new book, “The Lucifer Effect.”

Published in: on March 30, 2007 at 5:09 pm  Comments (1)  

Alec Baldwin Offers Soldier Tuition Help

Baldwin was so moved by a March 4 New York Times story about Pvt. Resha Kane‘s last day with family and friends before going for training to prepare for serving in Iraq that he not his people tracked down Kane’s mother at a discount store where she works to offer his assistance, his spokesman said.

Published in: on March 30, 2007 at 9:28 am  Comments (1)  

Advocacy and Teaching


Delray Beach, Fla.

When a bill before a state legislature bears a woman’s name, it is usually because someone has been abducted or raped or murdered. But in Missouri, House Bill 213, or the Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act, is under consideration because someone was given an assignment.

Published in: on March 23, 2007 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stepping on the Dream

March 22, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

One of the weirder things at work these days is the fact that we’re making it more difficult for American youngsters to afford college at a time when a college education is a virtual prerequisite for establishing and maintaining a middle-class standard of living.

Published in: on March 21, 2007 at 10:32 pm  Comments (8)  

Education, Education, Education

March 5, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

It’s an article of faith that the key to success in real estate is location, location, location.

For young black boys looking ahead to a difficult walk in life, the mantra should be education, education, education.

Published in: on March 5, 2007 at 9:47 am  Comments (3)  

Scientifically Illiterate (Part I)

The good news: America’s science literacy rate is up from a pathetic 10 percent in 1988. The bad news: it’s still only 28 percent.

Published in: on February 23, 2007 at 3:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

‘A Skull Full of Mush’

February 20, 2007

“The Paper Chase” is the book you’re supposed to read before you go to law school. “Paper Chase” or “One L.” Me, I read Scott Turow’s memoir of his first year of law school, “One L.” I’d seen the movie “The Paper Chase” when it came out in 1973, but not because I had any thought back then of going to law school. I didn’t. It was just a good movie about a young guy’s struggle with an authority figure, like so many other movies we saw back then. The authority figure just happened to be a law professor.

Published in: on February 19, 2007 at 11:19 pm  Comments (5)  

Dick Cavett: It’s Only Language

February 4, 2007, 2:22 pm
It’s Only Language

Being the offspring of English teachers is a mixed blessing. When the film star says to you, on the air, “It was a perfect script for she and I,” inside your head you hear, in the sarcastic voice of your late father, “Perfect for she, eh? And perfect for I, also?”

In these days of just about enough perils facing our nation, there is plenty of evidence around to conclude that our grip on our glorious language may be loosening. And the current administration, as in other matters, is not among the good guys. Let’s get everybody’s favorite example out of the way: the leader of the free world’s goofy inability to pronounce what is arguably the most important word in his vocabulary: “nuclear.” What is so hard? A school kid botching it Bush’s way — “nuke-you-lur” — would have to stand in the corner. Fortunately, an oval office has no corners.

Published in: on February 16, 2007 at 3:18 am  Comments (1)  

‘Ulysses’ Without Guilt

February 13, 2007
Guest Columnist

There are two ways to approach our cultural crossroads. You can either wring your hands and lament — as an eloquent school librarian did recently in The Washington Post — that literacy today has less to do with Wordsworth or Faulkner and more to do with “how we find our way through the digital forest of information overload.” Or you can be a sport about it, slip your earbuds back in and pick up a copy of Pierre Bayard’s best-selling “How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read.” (more…)

Published in: on February 13, 2007 at 12:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Fighting Quakers?

A friend writes:

Guilford has a reputation of one of the most progressive minded colleges in the country. At the onset of WWII they brought Japanese American students to Guilford to get them out of the “relocation camps” to continue their education. So this came as quite a shock.

US college students attack Palestinian students

3 Guilford students arrested in alleged on-campus attack

Guilford Football Player Recalls ‘Retaliation’ Incident

Guilford College must address troubled culture, speakers say

Students seek healing while community takes sides

Published in: on February 9, 2007 at 1:34 am  Leave a Comment  

The Racial Politics of Speaking Well


Published in: on February 7, 2007 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment