Cliopatria: A Group Blog
Aaron Bady (∞); Chris Bray (∞); Brett Holman (∞); Jonathan Jarrett (∞); Robert KC Johnson (∞); Rachel Leow (∞); Ralph E. Luker (∞); Scott McLemee (∞); Claire B. Potter (∞); Jonathan T. Reynolds (∞)
Hopkins' A World Full of Gods: the strange triumph of Christianity would be a great place to start.
One possible solution, seen in this morning’s Chronicle and referenced below by my colleague, Ralph Luker, regarding another case of denial of academic freedom (Southern Mississippi): increased activism by trustees, alumni, and donors. Few, if any, academics would welcome outside micromanagement, but, on cases of serious abuse of power by faculty or administrators (which seems to be the case in both Penn State and USM), intervention from the outside is essential. Trustees, of course, have a fiduciary duty to the institution, although too often they construe that trust too narrowly. Alumni and donors don’t have to respond to fundraising drives—or, even more admirably, they can imitate the response of some USM donors and actively side with the aggrieved party.
In addition to Erin’s post, Crooked Timber and Brian Leiter also comment on Gerard’s claim that she was denied due process. It certainly is true that the Penn State and USM (where the professors were summarily dismissed) cases are not identical. But it is also true, as Kors and Silverglate point out in their book, that “due process” in the university world means a very different thing than in the judicial setting. The five finders of fact in Gerard’s proceedings included two administrators (who could not possibly be perceived as impartial); all testimony remained confidential; there were, as Gerard has pointed out, no clear rules of evidence; and the ultimate arbiter of the case was the president who initially had terminated her employment. Not exactly a neutral proceeding.
On another matter, for those who missed it, an interesting piece in Friday’s Wall Street Journal on the intellectual diversity movement. This instance involves a case at St. Lawrence University, where an assistant professor in sociology named Robert Torres posts on his blogs analyses about"Fascist, Racist College Republicans” denouncing matters such as"the Saddam s---" (the liberation of Iraq) to"economic policies that favor rich, white f---s" (tax cuts). As for conservative students who fear that these attitudes might prejudice Prof. Torres’ view of their work, not to worry:"Despite my grievances with the right,” the professor assures them, “I work hard to treat people equally in my work as a matter of principle and a commitment to social justice." If I were a conservative St. Lawrence student, I wouldn’t take my chances—which is, of course, most unfair, since students should be able to pick courses based on their interest in the subject matter, not from fear that they might be subject to attacks from intemperate professors.
The Chronicle of Higher Education's Daily Update (subscriber only) also features USM. Beyond what you have read here, perhaps the most important new information in it is the background it offers about how the question of an administrator's credentials led Glamser and Stringer to the current confrontation with President Shelby Thames. Glamser found documents which put those credentials in question in a folder slipped under his office door by an anonymous source on 11 December. He passed them on to Thames, the administrator's supervisor, with a note indicating that the local AAUP, which he led, would prefer not to get involved. Thames turned the matter over to another administrator who came to the university with the person whose credentials were questioned. Since then the question has always been, as a headline in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger asks,"Who's Under Crosshairs at USM?" An effective senior administrator would not have allowed this story to get so out of control.
Oddly, the milestone reminded me of a summer spent in Macon, Georgia, where I was the young, white assistant pastor of the city's historic First Baptist Church, Colored, as it was then known. The civil rights movement was reaching to its crescendo. I had just graduated from Duke and been run out of Durham by the local police for my civil rights activity. So, I jumped into the fire by moving to Macon for the summer. Dr. King was leading demonstrations in Albany and I worked with the movement's leadership in Macon.
In some ways, it was a summer of exclusions: from being run out of Durham, to being thrown out of my best friend's house when his parents found out why I was in town, to getting tossed out of the YMCA when I made the mistake of asking its secretary where 595 New Street was. He knew the address was an old African American one and advised me to take the next bus out of town. Of course, I didn't and that summer still supplies some of my fondest memories.
Just around the corner from 595 New Street's First Baptist Church, Colored, and up Cotton Avenue were other historic black congregations: Tremont Temple Baptist Church, named for a historic abolitionist church in Boston, and Steward Chapel A.M.E. Church. It was named for an early pastor and theologian, Theophilous Gould Steward. Bishop Henry McNeill Turner had often preached from its pulpit and both Martin Luther King, Sr. and Jr., later preached there. Up around another corner were two of Macon's most imposing white churches. One of them was First Baptist Church, no racial identity then attached. It was the"mother church" of the congregation I served, but none of my members would have been allowed to worship there in 1962. The other imposing church, just around the corner, was St. Joseph's Catholic Church. I wandered into St. Joseph's one day, just out of curiosity. It may have been the first time I'd ever been in a Catholic Church. Its beauty seemed both amazing and mysterious.
There were many confrontations that summer. I got run out of a drugstore for asking why it would not serve a friend at its lunch counter and, then, wrote to Robert Kennedy, the Attorney General, to protest the fact that a post office outlet was in this store which discriminated against my church members. The confrontations grew more serious over the summer. By its end, there was a race riot in Tatnall Square, when some of my African American friends sought to use its public park. One of them had his head busted open in that fray.
The misunderstanding that continues to amuse me, however, was that I never did get the directions given in Macon's deep South dialect when they told me to"drive out past pie-a-nona." What the heck could that mean? It took me years to figure it out. They meant"drive out past Pio Nono." That 19th century pontiff experienced both the loss of secular authority over the Papal States and the declaration of papal infallibility. From 1876 to ca. 1890, the diocese of Savannah conducted a Pio Nono College in Macon and a major thoroughfare there was named for Pius IX. There's still a big religious transformation in Macon at the intersection where Pio Nono becomes Pierce Avenue. It's named for the Methodist Bishop George Foster Pierce. But you won't find either of the 19th century brothers on the maps. Both Pio Nono and his lesser Wesleyan brother are subsumed in the non-denominational Highway 41. Forget about"going out past pie-a-nona." The question is: will John Paul outlast Pio Nono? That will take another six years.
The Hattiesburg American's lead editorial calls on the twelve member state College Board to act to resolve the USM turmoil at its March 18 meeting, even though the matter is not on its agenda, and the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports that it expects that the Board will do so. Marshall Ramsey's cartoon in the Clarion-Ledger captures the situation fairly well. Little Mean Fish and Lord Sutch consider rumors about the background to this struggle that touch on the reshaping of higher education in Mississippi. The Hattiesburg American reports that the MSU Faculty Senate will consider a resolution asking President Thames to resign at its next meeting. Thanks to Lord Sutch for the tip.
Update: The Gulfport Sun-Herald reports that a six person advisory committee has been appointed to hear the charges against Glamser and Stringer. According to President Thames, it will meet in two to three weeks to hear the case, will offer an advisory recommendation to him, and he would forward it and his own recommendation to the state College Board, which would make the decision about whether Glamser and Stringer are to be terminated. The College Board could take some action on the turmoil at USM on March 18 but will delay any action on the status of the two professors until it has the recommendations from the advisory committee and Thames. Two of the six hearing committee members benefitted from Thames's unusual mid-year"merit" pay increases to selected members of the University faculty; and at least two members of the committee did not participate in the faculty's vote censuring President Thames and calling for the re-instatement of Glamser and Stringer.
The Sun-Herald also publishes letters from English Professor Noel Polk and History Professor Douglas Chambers. Polk says that Thames is"like a man who shoots a toe off every day and looks down and says, 'We've got a world-class foot.'" Chambers's letter appeals to my sense of history:
It all seems simple enough. By living out the Jeffersonian dictum of"following the truth wherever it may lead," two esteemed and honorable senior faculty were fired. By doing so, Shelby Thames has shown that he is unfit to be president of a major state university.Then, of course, there is the attitude of Oxblog's David Adesnik that an affair like that at USM is a"tempest in a teapot." When you're a Yalie at Oxford, you have more important things to think about: a world economy to manage, a Middle East to democratize, and Salma Hayek to bed -- you know, the BIG picture. I prefer the attitude that says: "the frame of reference that matters isn't Swarthmore or Harvard or the University of Michigan. It's Southern Mississippi which is more representative of the breadth of academic life by far ...". Tim Burke's words are exactly on target. At Liberty & Power, do not miss Robert Campbell's thoughtful comparison of the current struggle at USM with similar struggles at Clemson in the past decade.
He has brought disrepute and ignominy on the University of Southern Mississippi, which likely will be officially censured by the national Association of American University Professors. This is serious. Though Dr. Thames apparently has no shame, we should be ashamed of his actions.
I am reminded of the words of a true Mississippi hero, the famed civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer. She lived in a world where those who spoke up against rank injustice risked losing their livelihoods, their homes, and of course even their lives at that time. But there came a time when she had had enough. She said simply that she was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Crisis can be a test of character. Shelby Thames has once again failed his, and in doing so he has failed this university.
Many of us have become sick and tired of being sick and tired and the longer one has been here the deeper must be the sadness and the pain. It is clear that for the good of this university, for its students and its faculty who together are the heart and soul of this institution of higher learning, for its professional reputation, for its future, for the noble venture which it represents, the IHL Board must immediately review Shelby Thames' performance in office.
An objective assessment of the current situation at USM suggests that, in tandem with our times, what is called for is"regime change."
Yesterday, after a formal campaign appearance before a group of Chicago factory workers, John Kerry went over to pound the flesh with a group of them, and he forgot to turn his microphone off. He thus could be heard to refer to Republicans as"the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen." (See this morning's Washington Post or just about any other news source for details.)
Not surprisingly, the condemnation from the usual suspects on the GOP side of the aisle was swift and predictable. One could almost hear a collective case of the vapors set over Dennis Hastert, Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum, and others as they lined up to express their outrage. I half expected to hear each of them say"Well, I never . . ." before fainting dead away.
Funny thing is, while it was a long, long time ago, if one steps into the Wayback machine and cranks the dial all the way back to that halcyon, sepia-toned year of 2000, there was a similar l'affaire pottymouth. It was a Labor Day rally, also in Illinois, coincidentally enough, and George W. Bush was getting ready to sit down with Dick Cheney, his vice presidential nominee. Bush recognized longtime New York Times political writer Adam Clymer in the audience, turned to Cheney, pointed out Adam Clymer, and in his own felicitous way called the Times writer a"major league asshole." Cheney responded,"Big time." (While a good search engine will get you dozens of articles if you plug in the right words, try here and here.) At the time I thought it was much ado about nothing. Indeed, a friend and I agreed that"Big Time" would be a great title for a book about down and dirty presidential politics. However, suddenly the GOP's hypocrisy is showing. Again. One can expect that the fulminations of folks like DeLay will spew forth (a man many consider to be a bit of an"Adam Clymer" himself) and Republicans will try to make hay off of this, especially now that Kerry has refused to apologize. Somehow I highly doubt that the fact that Bush, too, similarly refused to apologize after his 2000 comments won't make much difference to the Republican guardians of propriety.
"Accused Spy Is Cousin of Bush Staffer" (AP)
"Ex-Senate Aide Charged With Giving Iraq Secrets" (MSNBC)
"Ex-Aide in Congress Charged as Iraq Spy" (AP)
"US Woman Charged With Spying for Iraq" (CNN)
"Ex-Congressional Aide Charged with Spying" (Salon)
Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit asks the partisan political question about why the AP headline highlights Susan Landauer's relationship to a Bush administration official (Andrew Card). Volokh bothers to read the news reports and interrogate them:
She may well have committed various crimes, and being a covert agent of the Iraqi government is hardly good behavior in my book. But is there really any charge that she gave the Iraqis secrets, or even that she had any secrets to give them?Volokh cites the AP report with a headline referring to Susan Landauer as an"accused spy." The body of the story explicitly notes that she was"not directly charged with espionage.""Am I missing some important details here?" Volokh rightly asks. The MSNBC headline is, apparently, an outright lie; and all the headlines beg the question of what it means to be"a spy."
He mitigates his conclusion in his closing paragraphs by asserting
If you accept President Bush's premise that this nation is at war with terrorism, then you have to applaud the restraint his campaign has shown so far in exploiting the attack that began that war.
Far better than criticizing his ads, ask why Bush is not calling on comfortable Americans to make any sacrifices for the war effort and why he refuses to raise the revenue to pay for what he calls a life-and-death struggle.
Those are the legitimate issues.
I think there is something to be said for both arguments, though I am going to focus mainly on the first. I am not certain how far I would push an analogy between the current political environment and that of 1944, first of all. Second, however, Democrats and liberals simply need to deal with it. Is there something unseemly in using images of 9-11 for partisan purposes? Yes. Of course there is. But this is politics. Some may say that there is something unseemly in using veteran's status, an attractive family, or inrodinate wealth to run for the presidency also. But much as me might all wish that politics could be simply struggles about ideas, it is not.
Furthermore, this is yet another debate in the political dialogue where the two sides have coalesced around an issue that in and of itself is not inherently ideological. In other words, there is no reason for Republicans to rally around the idea of the President appropriating 9-11 in his ads, or Democrats to rally against the idea any more than there were logical ideological reasons for the two sides to have coalesced around the issues in the aftermath of the 2000 election as they did. I have a sneaking suspicion that if President Gore were running for reelection and using the same sorts of ads (and is anyone going to argue with a straight face that he would not be doing so?) Republicans would be up in arms and Democrats mounting the defenses over the exact same issue, just as had the tables been turned in November 2000 both sides would have argued precisely the same as what the other side did argue.
In other words, maybe it is time to stop with the mock outrage, or at least the contrived outrage, that all adds up to a noisome hypocrisy. I know it comes as a shock to people, but both Kerry and Bush are going to try to win this election, and they are probably going to push the envelope of what the other side will call good taste. If we know this, maybe, just maybe, we can reduce the moral otrage that both sides manage to muster up at the drop of a hat. Somehow, however, I doubt that this will happen.
Update: The Gulfport Sun-American reports that President Thames has withdrawn an offer to allow Glamser and Stringer to return to the classroom for the remainder of the semester. The executive committee of USM's alumni association implores the state College Board to investigate and resolve the matter expeditiously. The College Board meets on 18 March, though the trouble at USM had not been on its agenda.
Dr. Johnson: Where is my dictionary?Not so fast, says Margaret Soltan at University Diaries. Lester's her hero. He's an expert on suicide prevention, who is giving good advice to depressed and neurotic academics."Not now, mother. I've got two books in process and exams to grade. There's a backlog of e-mail and telephone calls to answer, three committee meetings tomorrow, and jury duty next week. The President at USM is about to lose his job and I'm trying to find a place for him among the prison guards at the Fulton County jail. I can't take it; I can't take it any longer. It's all too much!"
Edmund: And what dictionary would this be?
Dr. Johnson: The one that has taken eighteen hours of every day for the last ten years. My mother died; I hardly noticed. My father cut off his head and fried it in garlic in the hope of attracting my attention; I scarcely looked up from my work. My wife brought armies of lovers to the house, who worked in droves so that she might bring up a huge family of bastards. I cannot—"
Belle Waring and John Holbro at John & Belle Have A Blog have been having fun with the libertarians lately. It began with a libertarian roundtable at Reason, which included The Volokh Conspiracy's Randy Barnett. With a keen eye for the flaws, Belle caught them in an odd moment of speculation about the libertarian last end of things and followed it with a commentary on libertarian illusions about human nature. John followed with a piece on the folly of the focus on final ends. I don't know that the folly is uniquely libertarian. Whether it's a libertarian, a Christian, or a Marxist one, eschatologies have a way of being embarrassments to the whole enterprise. They are there as a statement of the end toward which you believe things move, but they don't bear scrupulous analysis. By contrast, it seems to me, classical conservatism and classical liberalism express no eschatological hope. They are, a libertarian, a Christian, or a Marxist might say, easy compromises with the interim.
What is quite remarkable is the widespread influence of libertarianism on the academic net, far greater, I suspect, than in academic communities in general. They are especially effective as critics of state action, of course, and have a substantial influence in setting the discussion agenda. Bryan Caplan's Libertarian Purity Test is circulating among libertarians and conservatives on the net. On a scale of 0-160, says Caplan, 0 means"You are not a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination. You are probably not even a liberal or a conservative. Just some Nazi nut, I guess." 160 means"Perfect! The world needs more like you."
Well, the returns are in on some of us. Steve Horwitz at Liberty and Power gets a 117. [Steve: Otherwise, you sound like a very reasonable guy!] Gene Healy at L & P gets between a 105 and a 111. The fellows at National Review Online report scores from Romesh Ponnuru's 73 and Charles Murray's 72 to Jonah Goldberg's 41 and a 29 for Robert P. George of Princeton."A bit higher than Aristotle would have scored," says George."Probably about where St. Thomas Aquinas would have ended up, give or take a few points in either direction." By that reckoning, Oxblog's Josh Chafetz's 21 may fall just shy of Aristotle's golden mean. But my 13 and, at Brian's Study Breaks, Brian Ulrich's 12 tell you why we're not posting over at Liberty & Power. We're not in Caplan's"Nazi nut" camp, but David will just have to think of us as missionary territory.
For Mr. Delavan, preparing to portray so lethal a character has involved research into famous murderers, both historical and comparatively recent. He traces the roots of the work beyond the 1973 play by Christopher Bond (also called"Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street") that inspired Mr. Sondheim and his librettist, Hugh Wheeler; beyond"The String of Pearls," the 1848 play by George Dibdin-Pitt that inspired Mr. Bond; and even beyond the reports of a murderous barber who was hanged in London in 1802. For Mr. Delavan the roots of the story go all the way back to Sawney Bean, a 15th-century Scottish murderer and cannibal.I'd always wondered about the historical roots of this particularly grisly drama. There's a Victorian music-hall song "Sweeney Todd, the Barber", which includes the immortal lines
He shouted out"Police!", nine times or tenAnd of course cannibalism has always been fodder (sorry) for popular interest. But it's nice to see that the historical roots are being strengthened, rather than attenuated, in this revival.
But no policeman came, it wasn't no wonder
Police weren't invented by then.
*7th grade - American History - junior school football coach
*9th grade -"government" - not bad, though the teacher was reputedly a charity hire; he was certainly odd, without being crazy enough to be vivid or fun
*10th grade - European history - the chainsmoking registrar, the only class he taught. Misery. I read the textbook to pass the time, and when I finished that started snaffling books off his shelf. Guess that's why I did well on the AP.
*11th grade - American history from a man who was a historian. Bob Bailey, r.i.p, was a fine teacher and a fine historian. If he did anything outside the classroom for the school (and it was the kind of place where every teacher did something) I don't remember it. We were his priority. Little as I have grown up to enjoy the kind of historian who wears costumes which reflect his favorite period this man could make us think that history was interesting and that writing the history term paper was a mild imposition.
I have no problem believing that most people learned little from their history teachers, given how little I, who seemed to be destined for the subject, learned from 3 out of 4 in high school.
Was your experience different?
Now before anyone jumps on me for being anti-religious, I am not. While I am not especially devout, I admire those who are, and I realize how important religion is for millions of Americans and indeed billions around the world. Furthermore, I have coached at a Catholic high school in the past and at various times have embraced religion more than others. I will also, however, be the first to admit that my tolerance has some limits. This weekend, Bob Jones University opened my eyes. It also reminded me of those limits.
Many of you best recall Bob Jones from the 2000 Election campaign when George Bush made a campaign appearance there to shore up his fundamentalist base but that also served to anger many more secular Americans. (There are literally thousands of articles available on the web. A good piece in Salon appears here) My first impression was not good, and I was probably courting disaster, or at least my share of fire and brimstone, when I blurted out in front of the coffee and donuts and with others in the room, “One would think that God would demand better architecture.” Fortunately that got (mostly) laughs. But the buildings at Bob Jones are ugly. I mean Joe Torre ugly. They have a sort of smoker’s tooth yellow brick theme going on that may have been all the rage among the Catholic- Jew- and Black-baiting crowd at mid-century, but it has not held up well. Campus itself is nice enough, and the people were super-friendly. Just joined a cult friendly. I expected them to start showing me lima beans shaped like “The Leader” (Simpson’s reference, folks).
My best friend, Matt, with whom I stayed in Asheville last week and who wanted to see a real live academic conference (shockingly, his wife passed), and I decided that with time to kill before my panel, we’d go check out the campus bookstore. It was like stepping in to another world. I am a pretty well read guy, especially in history. I kid you not – between the history and biography sections, I did not recognize more than ten books (Though I did pause to check out “Legalized gambling: America’s Bad Bet” – take that Bill Bennett!) Then I found the truly entertaining locations – the one set of shelves categorized “Cults” and another, “Creation Science.” Giddyup. Perhaps my favorite inclusion in the “Cults” section was a book simply titled “Roman Catholicism.” Under Creation Science (this one is like shooting fish in a barrel) perhaps the most representative title was “Evolution: The Fossils Still say No,” which might spark a good fundamentalist shoutin’ match when paired next to the book “56 reasons Why the Dinosaurs Did Not Exist.”
In any case, soon enough I had my panel, which was on the rise of the Republican Party in South Carolina. Although I was invited, my paper did not fit especially well, as it was titled “Into the Maw of Dixie: The Freedom Rides, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Politics of Race in South Carolina” and where it dealt with the panel theme at all it did so only inasmuch as it addressed, in some depth, racial conservatism in South Carolina up to 1960, and in any case, racial conservatism in South Carolina at that point was Democratic party issue. I did have one overt reference to Bob Jones, which I had written in long before I ever knew about the conference, in which I wrote, “The political climate went hand in hand with the cultural climate in much of South Carolina. Bob Jones University proved to be a bulwark against integration and just about any form of social advancement among South Carolina’s fundamentalist white denizens.” I was not stricken by lightning, though perhaps because preceding me was a quite solid paper by a Brown University ABD titled “The Cross and the Elephant: Southern White Evangelicals’ Commitment to the Republican Party, 1960-1994” that may well have warranted God’s wrath via Bob Jones III even more than mine.
In the end, the chair of the panel, the estimable Jack Bass, really liked all three papers, including another on General Westmoreland’s ill-fated 1974 run for the GOP nomination for South Carolina’s governorship. After the session ended, Matt and I took one last walk around Bob Jones, with its friendly faces, pretty women in long skirts (no wanton Achilles-heel-showing), and askew perspectives on history, politics, and God, and went in search of barbecue. We had survived.
Erin O'Connor at Critical Mass tells the story. Eugene Volokh says that"... on its face, it seems like an extraordinarily serious academic freedom violation." Here, at Cliopatria, KC Johnson and Oscar Chamberlain (see the comments) and there, at Liberty & Power, David Beito (also here), King Banaian, and Charles W. Nuckols have added to the hew and cry. For a second time now, the Faculty Senate at the University of Southern Mississippi has voted no confidence in the administration of President Shelby F. Thames, who apparently runs the place as if it were his plantation and he its boss. My colleague at Cliopatria, Tim Burke, puts it best when he says:
In a way, this shows you why some of the discussions we have on academic weblogs are, though interesting, somewhat irrelevant. Because the frame of reference that matters isn't Swarthmore or Harvard or the University of Michigan. It's Southern Mississippi which is more representative of the breadth of academic life by far ... the tinpot dictatorship of its current president seems to me is widely typical of academic administration once you get past the places where there is wide public scrutiny. The key thing is that those of us in much better situations can't afford to wash our hands and look on with distant dismay: if ever there was a place that the thunderbolt of academic wrath should fall upon, it's this one. Every sanction that we have in our quiver should be unloosed.Tim and Oscar may be right to correct my case for Mississippi exceptionalism. In any event, it is a remarkable instance of the dirty underside of American academic life. The AAUP, FIRE, and the National Association of Scholars can agree on this one and we can't afford to lose on it.
Update: It's a special pleasure to report that USM's remarkable contrarian/historian William K. Scarborough is said to be leading the resistance to President Thames. He knows a good bit about plantation management and some people know how to hit a plantation boss where it hurts. NB: Always pay close attention to what Eugene Volokh says. See also: Lord Sutch, Matt Weiner, Michael at Phluaria and Scott Rogers at Little Mean Fish. Thanks to Erin O'Connor at Critical Mass and Kieran Healy at Crooked Timber for links and tips.
The bad news is that our collective knowledge was lousy then, too.
An intriguing thought is raised later in the article. Sam Wineburg of Stanford makes the point when he criticize the standards approach to pedagogy.
Wineburg said the history standards that teachers must cover are often so detailed that the main points of the American story are lost, and few schools teach the subject well in any case. Teachers skip quickly from topic to topic, he wrote, while"the mind demands pattern and form, and both are built up slowly and require repeated passes, with each pass going deeper and probing further."
To some extent his comment may be a defense of the social studies approach. That is a problem from my perspective. However, it does echo some musings of my own lately. The detailed mandating of content—something that is creeping into universities, by the way—reflects the assumption that many of the people who teach don’t really know what matters. As a result too many educators are discouraged from making the stories of history their own.
The best, of course, work around the limitations of standards. But I fear that, no matter how well designed, detailed standards are procrustean in impact. They force people to stretch or cut history into shapes that no longer live.