Surviving Trumpism. Restoring Democracy.

With apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton,… How does an unhinged, thin-skinned, son of a Scots and a Klansman, born into privilege and wealth, a thug who loves only himself, his money and his station, become the next leader of this nation? There are many reasons, including the false equivalency of the media (Clinton’s emails being…

Election 2016 in Picture Books; or, What Will We Tell the Children?

This election. You’re tired of it. I’m tired of it. And… it’s finally over. Today. Or, at least we hope it will be resolved today. Given that Mr. Trump has vowed only to accept a Trump victory, it may not be resolved today. Either way, the 2016 U.S. Election is one for the history books…

Children’s Lit vs. Brexit

According to my unscientific survey, most creators of children’s literature and YA literature thought that Britain should remain in the European Union. They did not see the EU as without problems, but rather understood that remaining a member was far more advantageous than leaving. Here, then, are a few responses to the Brexit vote. I’ve gathered some from…

How Do We Stop the Trump on the Stump? The Truth Is in Seuss!

Many have likened Donald Trump to a “schoolyard bully.” Back in September, Mr. Trump even admitted that his own campaign rhetoric had been “a little childish.” To best understand a candidate who addresses voters at a fourth-grade level, we need the stories of one of our most plain-spoken political analysts — Dr. Seuss. These four…

Created Equal: The Planned Integrated Community of Village Creek, Conn.

For America’s Independence Day, here’s a little-known chapter in the history of American anti-racism. Following the Second World War, progressives founded a dozen planned integrated communities across the country. While working on my biography of Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, I learned about one of those communities — a section of Norwalk Connecticut directly adjacent to where Johnson…

The Committee for Harmony, Loyalty, and Discipline: The Mixes

Because every revolution needs a soundtrack, I assembled a couple of CDs of songs for the drive to and from Topeka, for yesterday’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting. True, the drive is not in fact that long (only an hour each way), but creating playlists is a form of thinking. It’s something I do for fun. Really….

The object of power is power: a report from today’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting

“The object of power is power.” — O’Brien, in George Orwell’s 1984 To support the basic right to freedom of speech and to stand up for academic freedom, faculty, staff, and students from Kansas universities attended today’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting in Topeka, Kansas. The room was packed: standing room only.  The Board of Regents…

Kansas Faculty Senates ask Regents for “Freedom to speak without fear of reprisal”

Here is the statement from the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, read at today’s Kansas Board of Regents meeting, about 20 minutes ago. As the Council of Faculty Senate Presidents, it is our responsibility to express to the Board the concerns of the faculty we represent. When the Social Media Policy was introduced in December,…

New Words, Same Tune: Kansas Board of Regents’ Revisions Fall Short

The Kansas Board of Regents’ revised social media policy grants academic freedom with one hand, and takes it away with the other. It adds the language of the work group’s model policy, but refuses the work group’s intent. It retains nearly all of the Board’s original language that drew such criticism — grounds for dismissal still include making statements “contrary to the best interests of the university,” or that “impair discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers,” and so on. But now, the policy begins by affirming principles of academic freedom.