Pizza qua Vegetable: Acton Finds the Moral Dimension

Well, that wasn’t a serious title: After an hour of reflection, I am forced to admit that pizza qua pizza is a morally neutral proposition. We might have thought it was politically neutral too, until Congress decided this week that pizza sauce still counts as a serving of vegetables in public school lunch lines. Continue Reading...

In Philadelphia, A Model School Kindles Hope

For too long government-run systems have dominated American primary and secondary education. As innovations of the past two decades such as charter schools and vouchers prove, parents, children, and society benefit when government promotes rather than stifles educational reform based on choice and competition. Continue Reading...

A Modest Proposal for Changing Higher Education

In this Great Recession, it is sad to travel through this great country and see the ranks of the unemployed crowded with so many youth. I think we can all agree that this is deplorable—and that we should endeavor to find an equitable and efficient method for improving the lives of our young people. Continue Reading...

Acton Commentary: School Choice Gains Traction

Political discourse and news media have been consumed of late by talk of debt, spending, and recession, but meanwhile the educational freedom movement has been making real progress. State legislatures across the country are giving a green light to vouchers and tax incentives that will in the future pay impressive dividends in the form of better educated students and more efficient schools. Continue Reading...

Commerce and Counseling

My friend Joe Knippenberg notes some of my musings on the field of “philosophical counseling,” and in fact articulates some of the concerns I share about the content of such practice. Continue Reading...

Philosopreneurs and ‘Creative’ Destruction of Higher Ed

Even philosophers can be entrepreneurial when economic reality comes crashing in, creating an existential crisis. That’s one lesson from this intriguing Washington Post story (HT: Sarah Pulliam Bailey), “Philosophical counselors rely on eternal wisdom of great thinkers.” The actual value of philosophical counseling (or perhaps better yet, philosophical tutoring) might be debatable. Continue Reading...

More Comfy Lounges…

There were several comments and comments on comments following my recent “Comfy Faculty Lounges” contribution. In the Wall Street Journal, the author of the book I was reviewing makes her own case regarding tenure and teaching versus research. Continue Reading...

How Comfy Are Faculty Lounges

In the opening scenes of the classic movie version of Thorton Wilder’s play “Our Town” the narrator tells us that the newspaper boy we are watching toss papers onto the porches nearby will go on to college — an ivy league college I recall — but is sent to Europe during WWI and dies. Continue Reading...

Zero-Sum Game Economic Fallacy

Imagine this:  a teacher tells her high school students that they are going to enjoy a chocolate cake, while learning about food distribution and economics.  (As a former high school teacher, I assure you, most of the students heard nothing past the word, “cake”.) The teacher then divides the students into three groups.  Continue Reading...

Call for Universal Preschool Misguided

Michigan’s State Board of Education is now calling for expanded funding to pay for universal preschool for 3- and 4-year olds. One could hope that this news story slipped through a worm hole from a parallel universe in which Michigan has a budget surplus, where businesses are flocking to the state to take advantage of a business-friendly tax structure, and where government-funded preschool strongly correlates with future educational performance. Continue Reading...