Duncan’s legacy: The cold take

The Conversation has just published a short piece on Arne Duncan’s legacy by ASU doctoral student Amanda Potterton and me. Below is the full text and then some comments on the writing process and what we left out: Arne Duncan’s legacy: growing influence of a network of private actors on public education Sherman Dorn and Amanda […]

Hillary Clinton higher-ed initiative as Shrek

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is issuing her complicated anti-college-debt plan today, and the analyses are starting to pop up. It may be useful to think of the plan as operating in several layers: Campaign promise as symbolic politics. Campaigns call out to various constituencies in hopes of attracting support on the basis of various symbolic and real […]

A year since Michael Brown’s death

A year ago, Michael Brown’s body was lying in the street in Ferguson, Missouri, and would continue to lie in the street for several more hours after being shot by police. No one should wonder why Ta-Nehisi Coates uses the vulnerable body as the keystone concept in Between the World and Me–yes, it becomes his atheist counterpoint to […]

Jeb Bush and me

Well, no, not really. While he was governor, Jeb Bush and I had one short e-mail exchange, about a disability policy issue. That’ll prove disappointingly mundane if it’s in the cache of emails that Bush’s office has already released or will soon be releasing. But I do have a written record of comments on Jeb Bush as […]

Mandates don’t matter; power does

One more short piece on the midterm elections. I do not care whether a 4% (or 8% or 12%) margin of victory in a 25% (or 35%) turnout translates into something pundits love to call mandates. That’s a foolish concept for a number of reasons, but most importantly is this: elections are not designed to […]