Uptalk. It’s the curiously female habit of ending a sentence on an inflection, aka positing statements as questions. The verbal equivalent of writing each sentence to end with a question mark? I’m not really sure about myself and what I’m saying? The inflection will help make me seem more tentative? And so if I’m proven […]

pigpen’s dirty cloud: why tolerance and respect are dangerous words

I teach college-level English. Part of my mandate as an instructor of a general education college-course is that students will graduate with an ability to “critically think.” Both course and college outcomes at all the colleges and universities at which I’ve taught have endorsed the ability to think critically as a hallmark of a college […]

bloom’s taxonomy is not bloody critical thinking, ok?

In 1995, an ambitious study by Richard Paul, Linda Elder, and Ted Bartell sought to define what constitutes critical thinking in American higher education. Faculty and students at 38 public and 28 private Californian universities were interviewed, and while 89 percent of respondents claimed that critical thinking is a primary objective of instruction and learning, […]

soporific morons

The inimitable Noam Chomsky has said that “as long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.” I will add to that the silencing of the critics; forget the […]

the jesuit: chicanery; deception; perversion

Came across an interesting observation this morning in one of my favorite books — an old thesaurus — quickly followed by another, connected, interesting observation in yet another of my favorite books, an equally old dictionary on historical principles. I’ll start with the latter first. The word I came across was “Jesuit,” from 1550, with […]

fine tuning the whining

Spring cleaning some of my files this week, I came across a document I wrote in October 2012, when in higher education administration. At the time, I was reflecting on “fine tuning” the whining that can be encountered in the ubiquitous realm of The Student Complaint. Here’s what I wrote. There’s a phenomenon I have seen […]


Rachel Jeantel cannot read cursive. She is nearly 20 years old and entering the twelfth grade. This is a national disgrace. We don’t admit the brightest students into our education programs, despite constantly reiterating that “our children are our future.” If this were so, we would be actively recruiting the most dynamic, intelligent, forward-thinking, smart […]