Class Notes

Foundations of Educational Thought — fourth meeting Class began with the prompt for the next writing assignment, along with several remarks about how one might approach this prompt and the ones to follow. The final paper is a descriptive assignment using a long biography or autobiography. The purpose is to try and find the foundations of educational thought within a life, an act of self-disclosure, not only in the literature or in “theory.”  We then moved to Jean Jacques … [Read more...]

Class Notes

Historical Foundations of Education — fourth meeting I lectured for three hours straight. Sure, there were questions, a comment or four, and I showed two short YouTube clips, but the class was a full three hours, non-stop. Once again, this class keeps exceeding my expectations. Not so much in terms of their own work, which varies in quality thusfar, but of myself and my teaching stamina. Like a good coach: they seem to push me a bit further than I thought I could go before. We took an … [Read more...]

Music at Gather4Good

This upcoming Sunday, I’ll be returning to Minnesota to play at the Gather4Good community service event in Albertville, MN (at Central Park), sponsored by Catholic United Financial, with Albertville native, Shawn Kolles on drums. We’ll play covers and standards, originals, and childrens music. If you’re nearby, come out for a great, FREE event. You can pre-register here. … [Read more...]

Class Notes

Foundations of Educational Thought — third meeting “It lets all the air out of the room; and you spend the rest of your time trying to get it back.” This is what a perceptive mentor told me today about handing-out graded papers at the beginning of class. And she’s right; at least she was about yesterday. Those who know me know that the first assignment is generally a low stakes descriptive essay — that I grade mercilessly. I have never given out a perfect score on … [Read more...]

A Beautiful Email From a Former Student and Present Friend

Rocha, If you are about to eat dinner, then put off reading this email. It is about dissections. I have been in anatomy class for three weeks now. A huge portion of the class and my favorite part of it is the lab. For about ten hours every week we cut and pull, prod and poke, rip and tear and break a human corpse. It is simply wonderful. Often I am disgusted by what I am doing. It confuses me, challenges me, and disturbs me. Yet in and through these emotions I find beauty, so much beauty. I … [Read more...]

Class Notes

Historical Foundations of Education — third meeting Yesterday’s class seemed doomed from the outset. Because of a shortage of books, and my still-absent personal library, I was unable to retain a personal copy of the text for the day. Thankfully, I’ve read and taught Robert Church’s Education in the United States many, many times. But I was winging it. As it turned out, the simple insight in what I call the “creation story” of compulsory schooling was powerful enough on its own. Compulsory schoo … [Read more...]

A column at First Things

The essay — “Real ‘School Choice’” — that grew from the two notes I posted (and then deleted) here last week is now available at “On the Square,” the online column published by First Things.  The construction of this essay has taught me an important lesson: writing cannot be planned or scripted. At least mine can’t. First Things was the first intellectual journal I ever read. In it, I found my first regular engagement with big ideas. Although … [Read more...]

Literary News

I just became aware that one of my favorite short stories — Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” — was translated into Spanish by Jorge Luis Borges. (Read it here.) Even if you don’t read Spanish, I’d still highly recommend reading it in the original English. It’s a remarkable, strange story. I use it every semester in some class or another. The prospect of reading it translated by such a literary mind like Borges is worth one of … [Read more...]

Essay and Radio Update

Two quick, exciting updates: 1. I’ve deleted the previous two notes on schooling and education; they’ll appear as a single, extended essay for First Thoughts (the main weblog for First Things) this coming Tuesday. I’l post a link when it appears.  2. The radio show I recorded with host Eduardo Duarte (a.k.a. “Professor Iguana”) will air this Sunday, from 6:30ish to 7:30ish pm, on WRHU Radio, the radio channel for Hofstra University. The content is an extended dis … [Read more...]

Class Notes

Historical Foundations of Education — second meeting The readings for yesterday’s class were the first part of Gerda Lerner’s Why History Matters, “History as Memory” and Susan Moller Okin’s article “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?” We began by watching the short film The Art of Farewell. The impact of the film was hard to follow, but that was the point. There was much covered, many details and boardwork, but, as I noted earlier, there is … [Read more...]


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