ArchiveJanuary 2022

Confessions of a Philosophical Neophyte


Confessions of a Philosophical Neophyte This is a piece I wrote pre-pandemic. I was reminded of it by my friend Bruce Thomas who was responsible for introducing me to the reading that inspired it. He wanted to know why I hadn’t used it in my blog. I wasn’t really sure, but in this time of existential crisis in education it seemed out of step with the basic survival mode in which s schools and...

The Power Broker


A couple of months ago a package arrived that was large enough to fill almost all the available space in our small mailbox. I had a premonition of what it contained and the prospect of opening it made me uncomfortable, but open it I did to find, as I suspected, a copy of The Power Broker: Robert Moses and The Decline of New York by Robert Caro. It was from my friend Peter who had told me a while...

I Debated the Founder of Critical Race Theory: A Guest Posting


Several months ago, I told the story of reconnecting with Professor Thomas Pettigrew whose passion for racial equality influenced me deeply during my years at Harvard, eventually leading me to the decision to work in Mississippi when I finished my degree. Last week he wrote to ask if I could give the piece below some space. When I read it, I realized that it was far more important than what I was...

Vicarious Pleasures


“You’re only as happy as your least happy child,” is a quote often attributed to Michelle Obama without much supporting evidence. Whoever first said it spoke for all parents who have stood by helplessly while their child weathered a crisis in their personal, school or work lives. Rosellen and I have been through those dark periods which are particularly painful when they occur simultaneously with...

Demoralizing Teachers


Late last night my phone announced the arrival of a text message. We were in the middle of watching Succession, that entertaining paean to everything we hold in contempt – selfishness, greed, cruelty, bigotry – so I waited till the show was over to read the message. It turned out to be the perfect anti-venom to what preceded it. My long-ago student, Stephanie, in Austin, Texas (I think she won’t...

Follow Me

Recent Posts