As I wrote last month, the prospective results for the upcoming elections in Italy look very bleak. A right-of-right (sorry, horrible world play) coalition is set to win almost certainly, and might win two thirds of the seats in Parliament due to the existing, very problematic electoral law – which would give them the numbers to change the constitution. The most moderate, least populist element in the coalition is Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia – the fella who catapulted Italy into political ridicule from 1994 to 2011 (I still remember all those “How can you possibly have that guy as Prime Minister?” when I first moved to New Labour Britain in 2002…those were the days). Enough said. Some of my friends, family members, and Italian colleagues are in a state of constant panic, terror and disbelief. We might have the first female Prime Minister that Italy has ever had…and it’s going to be a fascist.

I am worried, too, of course, but not terrified. Some of that is certainly due to the fact that, bar a 2 year return between 2008 and 2010, I basically left the country 20 years ago. But, actually, I still care a lot. The fact that, living in the UK, I have enough to worry about, might explain my state of mind a bit more, but it’s still not enough. [click to continue…]

Conceptions of Equity in Education

by Harry on September 21, 2022

Every semester when I teach about education and justice, and even in most semesters when I don’t, some student sends me some version of this cartoon:

I’m usually good humoured about it, but the cartoon drives me a bit nuts. Both pictures depict equality — one depicts equality of a resource (milk crates), the other depicts the equality of an outcome and, frankly from my point of view, not a particularly wonderful outcome — its not as though they’re watching a cricket match or something enjoyable like that. [1]

So: does ‘equity’ mean ‘equality of outcome’? Not according to the people who use the term in relation to education. In fact… well, people use the term to mean a wide variety of different things, sometimes even offering contradictory definitions in the same document. The multiple ambiguity of the term has bothered me for a long time. Meira Levinson, Tatiana Geron and I have written a shortish paper analyzing how the phrase gets used in educational contexts, using the cartoon as a kind of touchstone. We don’t usually promote our journal articles here on CT, but I’m making an exception in this case because the paper is open access, and was written for a very wide audience. It was also, as you can probably tell if you read it, enormous fun to write. Ideally it would be required reading for everyone who looks at the cartoon! The html version is here and the pdf/epub version here. Both are free. Enjoy!

[1] The cartoon actually has a fascinating history, described here.

You have probably heard some Dems boosted crazy MAGA Trumpists via ad buys in various Rep primaries, obviously angling for victory in November over more extremist, presumptively easier-to-beat opponents. Some of the crazies won!

Here’s a recent WaPo article about it. Quite a bit has been written elsewhere; you can google if curious. Details are colorful. (After the article appeared, Bolduc won!) These R’s who got the boost are all certifiable, whether they are electable or no. And it wasn’t just Dem candidates freelancing this on their own. The DCCC got involved among other leaders. So it wasn’t just some coordination problem where individual candidates acted in selfish, short-sighted ways against the party’s interest, never mind the country’s.

This has outraged people, D’s included. R’s (usually of an anti-anti-Trump bent) have cited it as evidence D’s don’t really believe that MAGA is a threat to democracy. Surely they would not be so cavalier as to play with fire if they thought it would burn the house down!

Maybe I’m getting flaming radical in my old age but, honestly, I just don’t see what the fuss is about. Actually, I thought I did at first. I said that I disapproved. Then I thought again and I just couldn’t see it. You tell me. [click to continue…]