Monthly Archives: August 2011

Tocqueville the particularist

I believe that: 1) moral knowledge is irreducibly experiential and particularistic; hence 2) efforts to replace moral judgment with general methods and principles cannot succeed; and thus 3) we need democratic deliberation by people who also have diverse practical experiences. … Continue reading

Posted in philosophy | 1 Comment

service and the 9/11 anniversary

According to the New York Times, the White House has instructed domestic agencies about “9/11 Anniversary Planning”: These guidelines also acknowledge that Americans will expect government leaders to explain what steps have been taken to prevent another 9/11-style attack and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment


I am stuck after nearly a week’s travel because the hurricane has canceled my flights homeward. But Cincinnati is a handsome and impressive place in which to be stranded. I am staying in the Netherland Plaza, an Art Deco extravaganza. … Continue reading

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deep in the thickets of test design

(Cincinnati, OH) I have arrived here for meetings about standards in social studies. We have been sitting around a hollow-square table; a separate round stand holds the projector. There are damp steel water pitchers on the tables, which are covered … Continue reading

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if we are going to put millions in prison, WE should make millions of decisions

(Washington, DC) Our jails and prisons hold 1.6 million people: the highest incarceration rate in the world. One percent of us are incarcerated at any given time, not counting almost 14 million ex-fellons. These rates are much higher for young … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

religious service attendance

I am in DC for NAEP meetings. My post of the day is over at the CIRCLE site, where I track the rates of religious attendance for young adults and older adults. Regular attendance has declined, especially for youth, but … Continue reading

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American students know quite a bit of civics, but do they know the right stuff?

I am en route to DC to help with planning the next National Assessment in Education Progress (NAEP) for Civics. I was also on the design team for the 2011 test, which yielded newspaper articles like “Failing Grades on Civics … Continue reading

Posted in advocating civic education | 4 Comments

where do you turn if you mistrust the government and the people?

If you mistrust the government but trust your fellow citizens, you may be drawn to political changes (such as referenda, campaign finance reform, or electoral reform) to increase the power of “the people,” collectively. That was the main trend of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

going offline

We are going on vacation and offline, so no posts here until August 22. Bookmark on Delicious Digg this post Recommend on Facebook share via Reddit Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell … Continue reading

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assessing the president

Right now, everyone on the left seems to want to criticize President Obama’s leadership or else rise to his defense–yielding a vast flow of commentary. (See, for example, Drew Westen, Matt Miller, or Tom Philips for the prosecution; Kevin Drum … Continue reading

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