Monthly Archives: November 2009

Wikipedia entries as class assignments

Jon Beasley-Murray, a Canadian professor of Spanish literature, assigned to his students the task of writing Wikipedia entries on various important Spanish-language novels. Each student would receive an A if his or her work achieved “GA [good article] status,” and … Continue reading

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the Center for Civic Education audit

The Center for Civic Education, a national nonprofit organization that is mostly funded by the United States Department of Education, was recently audited. In USA Today, Matt Kelley’s article is headlined, “Audit: Civic education group misused $5.9M.” The Center is … Continue reading

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accountability: relational and informational

Borrowing an idea from the Kettering Foundation President, David Mathews: Today’s policymakers and experts tend to define “accountability” in terms of information. For instance, No Child Left Behind requires schools to collect and disclose reams of data about students’ performance, … Continue reading

Posted in education policy, populism | 1 Comment

how to get better citizens

In the Sunday Times, Tom Friedman lists some of our grievous national problems and concludes: The standard answer is that we need better leaders. The real answer is that we need better citizens. We need citizens who will convey to … Continue reading

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burning carbon

(On a flight from Miami to Boston) I have a budding friendship with the airport taxi dispatcher in Watertown, MA. A TSA guy at Logan has recognized me: “You’re the one with the DC driver’s license.” This fall, I’ve gone … Continue reading

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some balance, please, on ACORN

I’ve been critical of ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) for its internal financial scandals and for its hard-edged, rather scripted mobilizing strategy which I have often observed to conflict with the kind of diverse, asset-based, skill-building, … Continue reading

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online civic games

On a frenzied work day, these are sites I should not be visiting–but they are great ideas. Impact-Inc. is a game (modeled on Mafia Wars) that lets you simulate running a nonprofit organization. This is where to click and play … Continue reading

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tensions over technocracy

Ina very valuable piece for National Affairs, William Schambra argues that Barack Obama is the epitome of a policy-oriented progressive; in fact, he is the first “genuine, life-long true believer” in that philosophy ever to occupy the Oval Office. The … Continue reading

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where the corruption lies

I haven’t seen polling on corruption, but I suspect that most Americans see some aspects of our society as “corrupted” in an important sense of that word. Institutions’ appropriate, original purposes have been twisted or adulterated until they serve harmful … Continue reading

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why community organizing is essential

(On a flight to Atlanta) For my class on social networking, I have put together a series of readings that make the following argument. I believe this argument is important and broadly applicable. 1. Uncoordinated human behavior can produce tragic … Continue reading

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