Telling Trump’s Story to Children: For Book Publishers, It’s Tricky

This is a challenging writing task. Presidential biographies are a staple of children’s book publishing, and of classrooms across the country. Nonfiction for children is a surging category, particularly in light of a Common Core mandate that schools put greater emphasis on it in their curriculum. Publishers like Penguin Young Readers, Scholastic and Time for Kids chronicle stories like the rise of Mr. Obama from Illinois state senator to president,…

Scholars’ unconvincing case about the value of the humanities (essay)

A literary work is a powerful tool for simulating what it’s like to inhabit someone else’s life. Not just tolerating difference, or grudgingly giving “the other side” equal time; but generating real empathy for the diversity of humanity. There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – This Traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of Toll…

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales wants new Facebook feature to burst ‘filter bubble’

It’s extremely important to understand what a wide range of people are thinking about, and that includes being exposed to influential ideas that I disagree with. I’d rather not hide from an idea that has power, especially if it turns out I can do something about the issue. The headline is a little misleading… there is no new feature, Wales is wishing that such a feature exists. “What I would…

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Teacher suspended after pro-Trump yearbook photos altered

Free speech is valuable. It’s dangerous to set the precedent that it’s okay to censor speech as long as you side with the censor and against the position being silenced. A New Jersey school district has suspended a teacher after yearbook photos of two high school students were altered to remove President Donald Trump’s name on their clothing. Wall Township School Superintendent Cheryl Dyer told News 12 New Jersey on…

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The Language of Gender Violence

Oppressors deny their own agency and dehumanize their victims by using the passive voice. I want my students to recognize this deliberate strategy, and to look for hidden actors and dehumanized recpients of injustice. (I try to teach about active and passive verbs in a more lighthearted way, but I only bothered to photograph and caption sillly Lego scenes becuase I wanted more of my students to pay attention to…