Archive for January, 2011

Endless Possibilities

Jan 04 2011 Published by under borderland,commonplaces,education,politics

Randall Munroe, the creative wizard behind the xkcd webcomic, posted this today, which sparked my curiosity. I looked up the Wikipedia List of Common Misconceptions, and I noted the initial disclaimer at the top, “This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.”

I think, “Yeah. This could be a pretty rich vein.”

Then comes the defining statement, “This list of common or popular misconceptions describes documented ideas and beliefs which are fallacious, misleading, or otherwise flawed; however, these ideas have been commonly repeated as though they are true.” Looking through the list, there are an assortment of items: 1. History: The Americas, Europe; 2 U.S. Politics; 3 Law: United States of America; 4 Cooking; 5 Science: Astronomy, Human body and health, Biology, Evolution, Physics, Chemistry, Scientific method; 6 Sports; 7 Religion: Christianity, Islam; 8 Technology: Inventions, Transportation

But, hey! No Education misconceptions? C’mon now. Surely, in this age of reformist propaganda we could find plenty to add to the list. Source material might include the speeches of Arne Duncan; take your pick. Or we could poke around in the trash published by the Fordham Foundation. But, really, no need to get too exotic; anything put out by a major media outlet will do. Of course, there is more, so much more. Edubloggers could keep the Wikipedia fact checkers busy for a looooong time.


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Seeing Daylight

Jan 02 2011 Published by under borderland

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
-Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

How often do we hear about students falling through the cracks? The way people talk about them, they sound bad, and we sure don’t want to be losing people in these so-called cracks. But from my perspective, people aren’t so much falling into them as much as they’re being herded there. And this is nothing new.

The term "œshatter zone" originated in nineteenth-century geology, to mean "œa belt of randomly fissured or cracked rock that may be filled with mineral deposits." Its meaning shifted dramatically after World War II when it began to be used in political geography to denote borderlands, especially ones to which members of subject or refugee populations migrated in large numbers to escape the pressures of the state and/or the capitalist economies through which the state exerted itself.

Ring the bells that still can ring – good advice from Leonard Cohen, worth remembering.

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