Procreating in a World With an Uncertain Future

A few days ago, Aaron Bady asked on Twitter: Do people think about climate change when they think about whether or not to have kids? I m genuinely curious. As might have been expected, this sparked an interesting set of responses. I thought of tweeting a reply, but then decided that I’d rather think aboutContinue reading “Procreating in a World With an Uncertain Future”

Reflections on a Teaching-Free Semester

I started teaching at Brooklyn College eleven years ago, in Fall 2002. Since then, I have taught a varying course-load per semester, ranging from an onerous three to a manageable two and once, a luxurious one. But I’ve never had a semester ‘off’. Till this one: Spring 2013. Last year, anticipating the birth of myContinue reading “Reflections on a Teaching-Free Semester”

The ‘Adversarial’ Nature of Unions

One of the strangest objections to the presence of unions in the workplace is that unions make the workplace adversarial, that they introduce conflict into the relationship between the worker and the manager (or between the two classes), that rather than letting workers and management concentrate on maximizing output (or throughput) and enterprise profit, whichContinue reading “The ‘Adversarial’ Nature of Unions”

With Trustees Like These, Who Needs Enemies? Part One

The City University of New York is a public university. Presumably, its Board of Trustees is staffed by those who have the interests of their constituency–students and teachers–first and foremost. Not so. As faculty and students find out, the Trustees includes many members whose qualifications for this job appear radically antithetical to this university’s mission.Continue reading “With Trustees Like These, Who Needs Enemies? Part One”

The Glamorous Life: Waiting Tables on the Upper West Side

In the summer of 1994, broke and increasingly desperate, I roamed New York City, or rather, just Manhattan, looking for work as a bartender. I had worked as one before, in Newark, and hoped that I would find an employment venue which would provide me with the Holy Grail of bartending work: an interesting barContinue reading “The Glamorous Life: Waiting Tables on the Upper West Side”

Michelle Rhee Shoulda Gotten An Education

Late last night, I stumbled across an ‘interview’ with Michelle Rhee (linked to by John Protevi on Facebook). (‘Michelle Rhee Gets an Education,’ New York Times Magazine, 2 February 2013). The comments section is absolutely priceless, and well worth a read. Here, I want to address a couple of her responses, because they offer usContinue reading “Michelle Rhee Shoulda Gotten An Education”

Narrowing the American Dream to Exclude the American Worker

My sister-in-law works as a labor organizer for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). I’m proud of the work she does and remain resolutely convinced that her efforts to facilitate the unionization of workers count among the most important contemporary attempts to reform the American workplace and reduce income inequality. ButContinue reading “Narrowing the American Dream to Exclude the American Worker”

Bosses Call For Mass Harakiri In Event of Obama Victory

In what some election observers are terming an ‘extreme, possibly misguided–and certainly un-American in its excessive Japaneseness–response’ to the US Supreme Court’s Citizens’ United decision freeing companies from restrictions on using corporate funds to endorse and campaign for political candidates, several large American employers have called for mass, public harakiri in the event that Barack ObamaContinue reading “Bosses Call For Mass Harakiri In Event of Obama Victory”

Camden Can’t Afford Its Police and Its Union Any More

Today’s blog post has little ‘analysis’; all I need do is point. Perfect storms should be ‘admired’ from a distance. When I’m done, let the chants of ‘USA! USA! USA!’ ring out, loud and proud. So, let us get started. Here is a little piece of news: Camden, NJ has decided to disband its policeContinue reading “Camden Can’t Afford Its Police and Its Union Any More”

The CTU Strike: Facile Reliance on Evaluation Won’t Work

Reading responses to the CTU strike has dismayed me: that there is so much hostility directed at teachers and their unions in a country where the path to middle-class success used to be understood as a good public education, but which is now directly under attack from a shrieking horde of carpetbaggers and rent-seekers. (Thankfully,Continue reading “The CTU Strike: Facile Reliance on Evaluation Won’t Work”