“Fables of School Reform.” The lead of Audrey Watters’s essay says it all: “Over the past five years, more than $13 billion in venture capital has been sunk into education technology startups. But in spite of all the money and political capital pouring into the sprawling ed-tech sector, there’s precious little evidence suggesting that its trademark innovations have done anything to improve teaching and learning.”
“In Praise of Useless Reading.” Jessica Hooten Wilson commends reading imaginative literature.
“It’s All Over.” Justin E. H. Smith warns that big data is eroding our ability to recognize one another as human souls: “human subjects are vanishingly small beneath the tsunami of likes, views, clicks and other metrics that is currently transforming selves into financialized vectors of data.”
“Liberal Critics of Liberalism.” Gerald J. Russello reviews George Scialabba’s Slouching Towards Utopia: Essays & Reviews and finds much of merit.
“Nothing Before Us: Weighing the Case for Progress in an Age of Anxiety.” George Scialabba reviews three recent books and finds that “assurances of progress alternate with threats of catastrophe; promises of endless improvement are answered by warnings of terminal decline; every Steven Pinker produces an equal and opposite Wendell Berry.”
“To Promote Viewpoint Diversity, Land-Grant Universities Must Return to their Roots.” Stephen Gavazzi encourages land-grant universities to admit more rural students in order to fulfill their original mandate.
“Different Races, Same Boat.” Senator Mike Lee looks at the way the injustices of slavery continue to be felt, and he calls for a “populist conservatism” that would “find the right balance between promoting personal responsibility and addressing economic, social, and policy barriers to success.”
“Today’s Cultural Engineers.” Joel Kotkin argues that our increasingly woke popular culture “reflects the loss of contact between creative elites and much of the country.”
“In Britain, Enraptured by the Wild, Lonely and Remote.” Stephen Hiltner explores some of Britain’s bothies.
“Why Davos is the Capital of the Resistance.” Matthew Walther points out that the plutocrats gathering in Davos are united in their resistence to Trump, but their more important allegience is to whatever politician will allow them to keep making lots of money.
“Edible Landscapes Are Un-Lawning America.” Stephanie Parker finds that more Americans are ploughing up their lawns and planting gardens.