Politics, Moderate



Illegal immigrants pay taxes, too

CHICAGO -- The reason immigrant appreciation efforts, like the “Day Without Immigrants” events this past February, fall flat is because few people really feel any pain.

Sure, some may have faced the minor inconvenience of not eating at their favorite restaurant, but it barely made a ripple on most non-immigrants’ day-to-day lives.

Even ...Read more

‘Sexual paranoia’ arrives on campus

CHICAGO -- If Laura Kipnis thought she was under fire in 2015 after writing an essay for The Chronicle of Higher Education criticizing an emergent “sexual paranoia” on college campuses, then her new book will surely catapult her into public-enemy No. 1 status in the eyes of legions of angry feminists.

Kipnis’ aforementioned essay earned ...Read more

I’m Glad I Didn’t ‘Redshirt’ My Child

CHICAGO -- There are a few precious moments in every parent’s life when you realize you didn’t inadvertently torpedo your kid’s chances at success and happiness. Last week, I had one.

My vindication came courtesy of a new paper to be published in the Summer 2017 issue of Education Next, a policy research journal. The paper focuses on all ...Read more

Guys, Are You Trapped in a ‘Man Box’?

CHICAGO -- A new study on young men’s attitudes about manhood has found that just as women feel bound by rigid gender stereotypes, men can also find themselves trapped in a “Man Box.”

This Man Box is a construct put together by researchers Brian Heilman, Gary Barker and Alexander Harrison as a shorthand term for speaking with men about ...Read more

Hispanics Need You to Go to Bat for Them

CHICAGO -- Last year, in the Harvard Business Review, Avivah Wittenberg-Cox wrote that in order to get more women and minorities into corporate America, diversity initiatives must harness the credibility, power and political capital of white men.

“Most of the work of diversity and inclusion approaches in companies to date has focused on ...Read more

Is the American Dream on a ‘Self-Defeating Quest’?

CHICAGO -- Most of economist Tyler Cowen’s new book, “The Complacent Class: The Self-Defeating Quest for the American Dream,” is a mega-depressing read.

Inequality is rising. Segregation by socioeconomic class, educational attainment and race is skyrocketing. The country is generally less dynamic and more risk-averse -- when people have ...Read more

A Reminder from Behind Bars of the Rewards of Persistence

CHICAGO -- It is said that about 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are broken by the second week of February. I didn’t make it that far.

My 2017 vow was about my underwhelming progress in becoming a proficient piano player. “I’ll never be a concert pianist. But my New Year’s resolution is to amp up my practice to daily because I ...Read more

Our Nation’s Schools Should be ICE-Free Zones

CHICAGO -- Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are all over America’s public schools.

Not physically, of course, but they are ever-present in the minds of millions of students who are either in the country without legal status or have parents who are.

It comes out in countless ways -- fidgetiness belying anxiety, depression ...Read more

Hispanics Show a Diversity of Opinion --Iincluding on Trump’s Border Wall

CHICAGO -- There was a moment in the now-defunct Fox animated sitcom “Bordertown” when the protagonist, a Mexican immigrant named Ernesto Gonzalez, rails against newcomers.

Ernesto, a successful landscape business owner, is bemoaning unlawful immigrants sidestepping a newly built border wall to move in and take his lawn-mowing jobs when all...Read more

Put Down Your Device and Try Talking with Someone

CHICAGO -- Voices from all walks of life are uniting to spread the word about the importance of getting back to more face-to-face conversations and fewer “likes” and tweets.

The rebellion against our addictions to the smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and activity trackers that avert our gazes from people’s faces, crosswalks or the ...Read more

Despite How the Census Bureau Now Treats It, ‘Hispanic/Latino’ is Not a Race

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Census Bureau has been experimenting with alternate versions of the race and ethnicity section of its National Content Test Research Study. The bureau hopes that by the next census in 2020, it can more accurately tally Hispanics and other newly prominent minority groups.

Basically, the bureau found in its recently released ...Read more

Our Education System Won’t Be Fixed by Dumping More Devices Into the Classroom

CHICAGO -- Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently issued a plea for greater student access to high-tech tools.

“The persistent lack of access to world-class educational resources and technology in far too many communities is at the heart of this issue,” Duncan wrote on the Brown Center Chalkboard, a blog of the Brookings ...Read more

Is Your Phone Eavesdropping on Your Conversation About Cannibalism? Mine May Have.

CHICAGO -- If you were to read biology professor Bill Schutt’s new book “Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History,” you’d have lots to talk about at the dinner table.

There are, for instance, sections on how cannibalism is portrayed in popular culture, news stories and historical texts. Schutt investigates -- with dark humor -- how ...Read more

Teens More Exposed To Alcohol-Related Content

CHICAGO -- Moms and dads: Do you know what your teen is doing on the internet right now?

It’s never easy to tell with kids always on their phones and plugged in to the newest social media platforms, but they could be tuned in to alcohol advertising.

According to a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which ...Read more

What Happens When You Pay Entrepreneurial Teenagers $100,000 to Not Go to College?

CHICAGO -- In 2011, billionaire Peter Thiel made headlines when he announced that he would pay 20 teenagers $100,000 each to drop out or delay college and start businesses in biotechnology, finance, energy and education.

Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, a venture capitalist and early investor in Facebook, wanted to underscore his belief that ...Read more

Racism and the Trump Effect at the High School Where I Teach

CHICAGO -- My two sons used to come home from a day at high school complaining that ludicrous accusations of racism were as common as the desks in the classrooms. I chalked it up to adolescent exaggeration.

After having spent the current academic year as a teacher surrounded by rowdy high-schoolers, I can attest that they were right.

In the ...Read more

On Immigration, Trump is Wilfully Ignorant

CHICAGO -- Is it just me or does anyone else get the feeling that President Trump and others in his administration don’t see any difference between unauthorized immigrants and those residing in our country legally?

This seemed obvious in his first immigration-related executive order -- halted by the courts -- barring refugees and citizens ...Read more

Betsy DeVos May be the Least of Public Education’s Worries

CHICAGO -- Newly confirmed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos may just be the most reviled woman in America today.

Protesters recently blocked her from walking in through the front door of a Washington, D.C., school. She’s been accused of being too rich and privileged to comprehend public education and mocked for being concerned about the threat...Read more

Meaningful Work Need Not be ‘Fun’

CHICAGO -- My students know I care deeply about them. They know I love to joke around and keep things interesting as we investigate topics they might find dry. But they also know I am waging a one-woman crusade against “fun.”

It’s not that I don’t like to have fun, it’s just that young people moving from high school to college and, ...Read more

A Latino Health-Outreach Program is a Reminder That it’s All in the Name

CHICAGO -- If culture can be used as a currency to understand and serve a community, it can also be a trap, if the culture is painted with too broad a brush. We think we “know” the so-called Hispanic community -- generalizing to certain tropes about language, love of family, deference to authority figures, etc. -- and we rarely stop to ...Read more


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Steve Benson Nick Anderson Ken Catalino Michael Ramirez Darrin Bell Gary Markstein