I heard a rumor recently that Mary Beth Norton will retire from Cornell University this year*, and I was delighted to hear that she’ll be honored at a conference organized by a few of her recent students. (Apparently, some special people got e-mailed invitations already; I guess mine must have fallen out of one of the fiberoptic Pony Express intertubes in Nebraska, or something! Thanks to reader Perpetua for bringing it to my attention.)
On Friday, September 28th, participants will gather at the A.D. White House for a series of sessions inspired by distinct aspects of Professor Norton’s scholarship and teaching. That evening, attendees will continue the celebration at a catered reception at the Johnson Art Museum. The conference will conclude with a morning roundtable and brunch on Saturday, September 29th. If you are interested in contributing a brief paper to one of the sessions, please email Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org or Susanah at ssromney AT gmail DOT com.
The conference is being organized by two of Professor Norton’s former students (and now historians), Susanah Shaw Romney, PhD ’00, and Molly Warsh, BA’99. The event has received generous support from Cornell’s History Department; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Society for the Humanities; and numerous other on-campus and off-campus entities.
You can go to the conference blog and sign up for updates by entering your e-mail address. I hope that Mary Beth will get a good audience for this event–she has always been among the most enthusiastic of women’s historians, and a very generous mentor and colleague to junior scholars like me. Continue reading
[T—– G—] was boarding a Frontier Airlines flight in Denver a week before the 10th anniversary of 9/11 when he saw two passengers in line ahead of him hand a tin box to a flight attendant.
The flight attendant seemed surprised, but she removed the lid to discover a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, G— said. She thanked the passengers profusely and started eating the cookies and passing them to other flight attendants, said G—, 22, . . . a senior at the University of Michigan.
“Free drinks for you guys,” G— said he remembers the flight attendant saying to the two passengers.
G—‘s thoughts immediately shifted to security. Were the cookies possibly poisoned?
“I was just so stunned by how excited the stewardess was acting,” he said. “You would think the flight crew is trained to evaluate the situation, but she blindly started eating the cookies and handing them out.
“She then goes into the cockpit to serve cookies to the pilots,” said G—, who said he watched intently from his seat in Row 5. “I go, ‘Oh, no, this is getting worse by the second.’ I am thinking something is wrong. I was pretty afraid.”
There is a higher ed angle to this story, of course: it’s not the passenger who complained to the TSA. No, it was his helicopter mother, who of course wasn’t even on the flight in question: Continue reading
Last week, I found myself on a plane to Houston. Although I ordinarily don’t talk to strangers on airplanes, I found myself drawn into conversation with a very affable and intelligent older man. He told me he is an accountant, a successful business owner, and well-connected in Democratic politics in Denver. He was interested to learn that I’m a history professor, and said he thinks that the reason the that the republic is in a shambles is widespread historical ignorance. You know the old saying by heart, I’m sure: if only we knew history better, people would be smarter and wiser, we’d vote for smarter and more honest politicians, and together we’d all make better laws and wiser public policy decisions. (Maybe he was just a nice guy trying to make a connection to my rather abstruse line of work, which most people see as a vocation of buffs, hobbyists, and antiquarians.)
I told the man on the plane that I completely disagreed with him. Continue reading
Photo by Fratguy, 9/6/11
One of the things about living in Colorado that stills thrills me is the number of vintage and classic cars on the road here–it’s almost like California. Although I grew up near Detroit, I never see old cars on the road like the ones we have out here. (They don’t call it the Rust Belt for nothing.) Continue reading
Via commenter Susan, who sent this along with the comment “faculty need to be accountable, but not computers. . ,” In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores:
The class, and the Kyrene School Districtas a whole, offer what some see as a utopian vision of education’s future. Classrooms are decked out with laptops, big interactive screens and software that drills students on every basic subject. Under a ballot initiative approved in 2005, the district has invested roughly $33 million in such technologies.
The digital push here aims to go far beyond gadgets to transform the very nature of the classroom, turning the teacher into a guide instead of a lecturer, wandering among students who learn at their own pace on Internet-connected devices.
. . . . . . . .
Hope and enthusiasm are soaring here. But not test scores.
Since 2005, scores in readingand math have stagnated in Kyrene, even as statewide scores have risen.
To be sure, test scores can go up or down for many reasons. But to many education experts, something is not adding up — here and across the country. In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.
Read the whole thing, if you haven’t already. This gets to one of the big issues embedded in the War on Teachers I’ve been railing about here for the past few years. Continue reading
Happy Labor Day, friends! Today’s post is another lazy (but I hope entertaining) holiday-appropriate pictorial. I hope you’re all planning to do some relaxing and resting to celebrate the labor movement’s great history and (sadly) dubious future. Continue reading