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Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Urban schools"

Dear Ashley,

Thanks for taking the time to express in some detail your concerns about my latest Roundtable Implementation Committee report titled “Hub of Mediocrity: Inviting the Playground into our Classrooms.”

You state: “the way we frame our urban schools directly impacts” [our personal and professional lives] and you continue on to provide examples from your own observations and experiences.”

I agree. My RIC report has framed “the aspirations of our urban public primary and secondary schools” as “trashed” by student “discipline problems and anti-academic attitudes.”

Now here is the way John Hechinger of the Wall Street Journal has framed our urban schools in his report titled “Math Gains Stall in Big Cities” (Wednesday, December 9, 2009, A3):

“Most urban school districts failed to make significant progress in math achievement in the past two years, and had scores below the national average, according to a new federal study.”

“Urban school districts are central to federal efforts to improve U.S. education, especially among poor and minority students, who are disproportionately taught in underperforming schools.”

In sum, "urban schools" are city schools. Common usage as such in one of the America's major English-language newspapers validates my intentional use of the term in my critique of the draft Roundtable Implementation Committee report.

Yours In Cordial Correspondence, Jim


A suggestion said...


In light of some of the confusion regarding the nature of the blog and its relationship to A&S Council, (which you highlight with the new disclaimer) would it make sense to drop the "(The Blog Formerly Known as Arts and Sciences Council e Forum)" from the blog title?

I think everyone who posts on here has some memory of the blog's history and I'm not sure the A&S Council history or connection is relevant any longer.

Bloggie said...

Bloggie is not sure there is any confusion, but will take your suggestion under advisement. Maybe we can have a poll, or a contest for a new name. Thank you for your suggestion.

Bloggie has been considering adding "University of Toledo" to the blog title, somewhere, since many of the matter we discuss here apply generally to the university.

Love to all,


Anonymous said...

Here's what: There are important A&S Roundtable implementation issues at hand and the future identity of the A&S College is at the top of the list. Do we as a professoriate want to work together to achieve a top-tier academic ranking and assure our accreditation? Or, do we want to choose to be ranked mid- or low-tier in future rankings and perhaps risk being perceived nationwide as a degree mill and thus risk our hard-earned and valued academic accreditation? Learn from Owens! Get off the pot willya with your picayunish policing and harassment of this free-speech Arts & Sciences College Forum! Embrace Excellence this A&S College while a choice remains!

sirLawrence said...

as long as we don't know who the blog author is, or who any of the posters are (with the exception of the respected j.nemeth and a.pryor), can we really say it is an "Arts & Sciences College Forum"? most of you are so damn self-righteous (me too) that you miss nemeth's point. discuss the roundtable, which may change the college. don't get sidetracked on racism or other interpretations of individual faculty comments. i don't know where in the roundtable report it says "reduce academic standards", or even implies it.
-lawrence anderson-huang

Bloggie said...

It's interesting that when David Nemeth uses his real name he is attacked and slandered by in an apparently coordinated campaign simply because he said something critical that a few roundtable proponents did not like. So they resorted to personal, vicious attacks (anonymous, too, although not on this blog) in an attempt to destroy his reputation.

No, Sir Lawrence, Bloggie loves you, but anonymity remains an option on the blog so that people can speak their minds without fear of reprisals affecting their careers.

Nemeth is brave. And Bloggie thinks that many people have now actually gone back and read his words, rejected the claims made by the craziest detractors who cannot stand to see their Shibboleth doubted , and that people have also seen the desperate nature of the detractors who tried to resort to the academic equivalent of murder--i.e. labeling someone as a "racist." Bloggie would like to imagine that the blog too emerges as a moral winner in this matter.

But Sir Lawrence, surely you do not expect everyone to subject themselves to such reprisal and ugliness merely so they can take part in a conversation, even if the conversation is important. And Bloggie noptice you too are writing under a pseudonym.

Beside, anonymity and pseudonymic expression is a tradition in political and philosophical literatures. Without it there would have been no Enlightenment. (And we would not have beautiful music such as Greensleeves, attributed to Anonymous, but Bloggie suspects not crafted by the same Anonymous writers that contribute to this Blog. ) Be glad that such a venue is available--or you would first have to submit all your remarks and ideas to some Larry Burns to see that your thoughts passed the "Happy Test " which characterizes official communication on this matter.

And thank you for your admirable comments.



Notice that Bloggie has not authored hate mails

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response, Jim. Sir Lawrence, in discussing the Roundtable Report Jim made some claims that provoked the charge of "racism" and later, "elitism." I asked him to clarify his meaning so as to better assess these charges, and asked him a simple question: why focus only on urban kids when discussing disciplinary problems and/or anti-intellectual attitudes, etc. His answer to this question, and to my request for clarification of his terms is: urban=city.

I appreciate that Jim posts under his name and that you do too, Lawrence. It is hard not to notice that some of the most reprehensible statements have been posted anonymously, and that even with the IC attention to the board, some still are content to post comments that unambiguous attacks on some of our students. My hope is that these people will cease and desist this kind of attack for the good of our college.

Ironically, this post will appear as anonymous up top bc. I do not have a Google account. But in case there is any doubt, this is Ashley, who will always post on this board using her name.


Willfully Anonymous said...

"Reprehensible? "

Ashley, you are mischaracterizing, based apparently on your reading-in of meanings that are not there.

The only thing I've seen reprehensible on this blog is your attempt to falsely tag contributors with labels such as racist and anti-student, based apparently on you reading evil intent into innocuous posts and some very bad but apparently innocent jokes.

Are you perhaps from the Humpty Dumpty school of interpretation? H.D. says, and I am only paraphrasing, "When I use a word it means exactly what I want it to mean, no more and no less." And for this reason there is no arguing with Humpty Dumpty.

Stop being so virtuous. The dazzle of moral arbitration is hurting my eyes.

Willfully Anonymous

Bloggie said...

Bloggie is beginning to find these "he said/she said" attacks tiresome. Especially when they become a battle of personalities rather than issues. "Anonymous" options may contribute to better discussion because vanity is not, then, so much an issue.

Anonymous said...

Bloggie, you are so right: Nemeth is brave--far braver than I am, far braver than most of us, I think. He is also an example for us of how to deal with a situation like the one he's recently been dealt: with class, dignity, and respect. He truly is an outstanding teacher, in and out of the classroom. The rest of us can be proud to have a colleague like him.

Anonymous said...

I remind you that this is about the corporatisation of the University of Toledo.

It is time that you review the following video: