Monthly Archives: February 2005

civic education: the case for smaller schools

The nation’s governors met this weekend to discuss high school reform. They identified real problems, including a high-school completion rate of only about 70% and a set of curricula and standards that obviously aren’t working. But their conversation apparently focused … Continue reading

Posted in advocating civic education | 3 Comments

“trackback spam” (an ethical dilemma)

Blogs originally formed a “commons,” even according to a narrow and technical definition of that term. They were always privately owned, of course. I’m the only person who can post here, because I pay the $9.95 monthly fee. However, the … Continue reading

Posted in Internet and public issues | 1 Comment

why Dante is “good to think with”

The Cambridge philosopher Miles Burnyeat says that Plato is ?good to think with? (pdf, p. 20) I believe the same of Dante, which is why I chose to write a book about current moral issues by interpreting sections of the … Continue reading

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reading and civics

It’s hard to modify the current regime for elementary education in America, which revolves around annual high-stakes tests in a few subjects. However, without changing the fundamental structure now in place, we could infuse civic ideas and values in reading … Continue reading

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who’s more powerful, Bill Gates or Kim Jong-il?

This is a silly question, except that it can prompt some serious thinking about the nature of power, the state versus the market, and monopoly. Let’s say that “power” is the capacity to do things you want to do. Clearly, … Continue reading

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the aesthetics of suburbs

This post was prompted by a family weekend in some beautiful parts of northern Virginia?which necessitated a lot of travel through ugly northern Virginia suburbs. I’ve always been a city person, prone to disparage suburban life on political, ethical, environmental, … Continue reading

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service instead of politics? blame Clinton

When trying to explain trends in civic participation, we shouldn’t overlook major political events and how they influence ideological groups. When I was in college, in the late 1980s, I played a very small role in national discussions about how … Continue reading

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the latest on our local work

For the last year, with generous support from the National Geographic Foundation, my colleagues and I have been working with high school kids to study the environmental causes of obesity in their community and display the results on public maps … Continue reading

Posted in a high school civics class | 1 Comment

the torture lawyers

My friend and former colleague David Luban has a very useful article in Slate explaining why the lawyers who advised the Bush administration to allow torture (“former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, vice presidential counsel David Addington, Justice Department lawyers … Continue reading

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academic freedom

In my usual style, here is a very belated comment on two once-“hot” news stories: Larry Summers and Ward Churchill. For all their differences, these men are both university employees who got into trouble for their public speech. In both … Continue reading

Posted in academia, Uncategorized | 4 Comments