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Archive for July 5th, 2010

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The Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University, one of the only accredited Buddhist academies in the US, is in jeopardy. [ht:jh]

The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, founded in 1974 by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, has thrived in the tradition of the Beat movement as a center for avant-garde and experimental writing. But recently, the University has been facing financial difficulty, and as a result of restructuring and layoffs, the future of the program is uncertain.

Students, who have largely been left out of any decision making processes, are demanding their voices be heard by the administration while trying to keep the program intact. They are demanding greater transparency and a role for student input. “Save TKS” has been using social networking sites including facebook to spread their message.

This issue is not just about Naropa. It is about student involvement in US higher education. Should students be treated simply as consumers of this product called education? Or, in the rich tradition of student activism at Naropa and other US campuses, should students be able to take charge of their education? I hope that educators and administrators learn to treat students as the stakeholders that we are in the institutes of higher education, and truly hold us to being intellectually curious when they encourage us to be so.

Maybe students might even have a role in designing programs of study and course syllabi 😉

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In The Nation:

This brings us to the question of why we got the housing bubble in the first place, which goes directly to the issue of inequality. In the three decades after World War II, there were no notable bubbles in the economy. Productivity growth translated into wage growth, which in turn led to more consumption. The increased demand led to more investment, productivity growth and wage growth.

This virtuous circle was broken by Reagan-era policies intended to weaken the power of ordinary workers. Wages no longer kept pace with productivity growth, eliminating the automatic link between productivity growth and demand growth. This led to excess capacity in the economy, which was filled in the 1990s with demand generated by the stock bubble and in the 2000s with demand generated by the housing bubble.

If the institutional changes of the Reagan era had not weakened workers’ bargaining power, these bubbles would not have been possible. Demand would have kept pace with output capacity. The Fed would not have felt the need to lower interest rates to sustain demand.

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