What do I want to do when I grow up?

I don’t usually use this forum for work-related stuff, but I put a thread up on Twitter this morning about education, especially PhD education, and it has the kind of geopolitical feel that made me want to echo it, and maybe expand it a little, here. The road to a PhD has always been hard. Mine was considered relatively short, at five years, but it wasn’t easy and it was full of stories of faculty members making me feel like shit, and just generally feeling like shit, but also full of stories of feeling incredibly fulfilled and accomplished. If you spend any time the side of Twitter where academics roam, especially graduate students, you might wonder why anybody would ever even try to get a PhD. How is this geopolitical? Because I think its roots are in classic America-good-and-others-bad propaganda.

Continue reading “What do I want to do when I grow up?”

Another missed opportunity

Betsy DeVos was just confirmed by the United States Senate to be the Secretary of Education. She was a controversial choice (understatement), and it was the first time in history that a Vice President needed to use a vote to confirm a cabinet nominee.

Once again, the missed opportunity pains me. President Trump could have seen how much resistance there was against DeVos’s appointment, and said something like, “I hear your voices, I know you’re concerned. I will withdraw this nomination because my number one goal is the unity of the Nation.” And the crowd goes wild. The GOP is happy because they don’t have to support somebody like DeVos (who many of them don’t love), and the democrats are happy because somebody like DeVos isn’t in charge of education policy for the country. He could easily find somebody who feels the same way as DeVos about education, but who has some experience in public education, and that’s the ballgame. He gets what he wants politically, and earns respect while doing it.

It’s a win-win, but only if there’s a shred of magnanimity in Trump…and it’s becoming more and more clear that there isn’t.