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I’ve got to pull together something for the Atlantic today — I’ve been really, really lazy  — so I’m getting back up to speed on education news.

  • There’s been a PILE of articles about the Sesame Street puppet with autism. I wrote about Julia a year ago. I should have done anther piece last week. Ugh. Kicking myself.
  • Special ed vouchers are BAD news for lots of reasons. I have some other reasons that aren’t mentioned in this article.
  • There’s going to be free tuition at New York State colleges provided that you stay in the state after graduation. There’s absolutely NO WAY that they could ever enforce this rule.

There’s incredible graphics on this New York Times article about London after Brexit.

Evicted sounds like a great book.

Japanese cherry blossoms are clear proof that we are definitely screwed. Sell your beach properties NOW!

SL 686

In the New York Times, Jennifer Senior writes, “Read enough stories about the madness whipping through college campuses right now, and you can’t help but wonder if our institutions of higher learning have put the “loco” in in loco parentis.” She’s reviewing a new book by Laura Kipnis, “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus.”

Senior writes,

Once upon a time, explains Kipnis, female students celebrated their sexual freedom and agency. Today, students and faculty alike focus on their vulnerability. This, in her view, is a criminally retrograde story line, one that recasts women as pitiful creatures who cannot think and act for themselves — and it’s a story they seem to have internalized.

Scary stuff for mothers of boys heading off to college.

Senate showdown over Gorsuch.

College admission counselors are on the hunt for nice people. How can we ruin this?

Dan Drezner has an excerpt from his book (behind the paywall) about the declining influence of academics in public life, as idea influencers. I’m not sure there was ever a time when academics had a big role in shaping the intellectual life outside the university, but I haven’t read his book. I’m more fascinated lately with the impact of non-academics. Love him or hate him, TNC has to be one of the most influential thinkers in the past five years. I’m also fascinated by how much money that guys like TNC make on speaking tours, but that’s off topic.

SL 685

J. D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, writes,

I’ve long worried whether I’ve become a part of this problem. For two years, I’d lived in Silicon Valley, surrounded by other highly educated transplants with seemingly perfect lives. It’s jarring to live in a world where every person feels his life will only get better when you came from a world where many rightfully believe that things have become worse. And I’ve suspected that this optimism blinds many in Silicon Valley to the real struggles in other parts of the country. So I decided to move home, to Ohio.

Ah, the affordable housing stock in Columbus. But, oh, the opioid epidemic. In fact, Vance is moving back to start an organization aimed at combatting the epidemic.

Andrew Sullivan says that the opioid epidemic is the new AIDS.

It occurred to me reading this reported essay by Christopher Caldwell that the opioid epidemic is the new AIDS in this respect. Its toll in one demographic  mostly white, working-class, and rural  vastly outweighs its impact among urbanites. For many of us in the elite, it’s quite possible to live our daily lives and have no connection to this devastation. And yet its ever-increasing scope, as you travel a few hours into rural America, is jaw-dropping: 52,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2015. That’s more deaths than the peak year for AIDS, which was 51,000 in 1995, before it fell in the next two years. The bulk of today’s human toll is related to opioid, heroin, and fentanyl abuse. And unlike AIDS in 1995, there’s no reason to think the worst is now over.

Dan Willingham, a UVA pyschology prof who specializes in education, has a daughter with a chromosomal disorder. He has some advice for parents whose kids gawk at his daugther.

Fun fact of the day, from the Atlantic:

According to a recent analysis of federal Department of Education data by Bloomberg, schools that beat performance expectations during March Madness receive a bump not only in public awareness, but also in the number of applications they receive.

 

SL 684

I’m weighing the pros and cons of walking to the express bus along the side of the highway to get into New York City for a charter school debate.

Con – Been out at meetings all week (tomorrow, too); it would be nice to communicate with my husband. Also, the rain splash factor will be high along the highway.

Pro – Might learn something new. I want to meet one of the participants.

I find utopian communities and hermits fascinating.

A close up look at DeVos’s Christian college.

Nobody wants your granny’s china tea cups anymore.

I adore Cormac McCarthy.

How Donald Trump eats his steak matters.

It’s Friday

Alright, the kids are on a broad spectrum antibiotic to battle strep throat plus a mysterious virus. They are both at school. I have an actual list of things to do today, instead of just putting out fires as they come up. I’m working on an article on this Supreme Court case. I even made it to the gym this morning, where I did a couple of miles while watching HGTV. Win!

I have some random bits and pieces of good things to share this morning.

I really loved this quote in Megan McArdle’s article about divorce.

But more recent research suggests a very different truth about happiness. As Daniel Gilbert argues in the brilliant book “Stumbling on Happiness,” unless our circumstances are truly unbearable, our brains will seek to find their natural level of happiness, like floodwater evening out across a plain. Whatever we are stuck with … whatever we commit to … we will find ways to make it work — and we will be just as happy with it as we would have been with any other outcome.

I’m fascinated by Ayelet Waldman’s LSD trips.

Two state legislatures are debated getting rid of tenure.  Well, most colleges have already gotten rid of tenure informally by hiring adjuncts in higher and higher numbers.

Do you believe that intelligence report on DT?

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I’m strangely fascinated by the diet and exercise regime of “The Rock.”

Cuomo proposes free tuition for middle and low-income students to CUNY and SUNY.

I haven’t tried Korean saunas yet, but here in Northern New Jersey, we’re immersed in Korean culture. Along with our Italian food, Jersey people devour Korean tacos, Korean barbecued beef and short rib, and bibimbap.

The early champions of 401Ks regret their decisions.