The global search for value

In my view, we are now in a Long Depression, centred in the advanced capitalist economies but also affecting the emerging capitalist economies.  The latter do better because they still have ample supplies of cheap labour available to exploit (well, at least some larger emerging economies do).   So absolute surplus value can be increased without Marx’s law of profitability applying too strongly.  What do I mean by that?

Well, capitalists are permanently engaged in the search for value, or more specifically, surplus value.  They can get that globally by drawing more of the population into capitalist production. The big issue is how much longer capitalism can continue to appropriate value from human labour power when the workforce globally can no longer expand sufficiently. Συνέχεια

MOOCs Are Going to Ruin Your College Education

moocs, are, going, to, ruin, your, college, education,

MOOCs Are Going to Ruin Your College Education


Despite ongoing debate about the benefits of massively open online courses (MOOCs), such courses have been greeted with unabated enthusiasm by administrators at financially strapped public universities. The State University of New York, the Georgia Institute of Technology, San Jose State University (SJSU), and many others have signed agreements with the for-profit start-ups Udacity and Coursera, and the non-profit edX, to offer MOOCs through their systems. State legislators have also jumped on board, proposing bills in Florida and California that encourage public universities to use MOOCs as part of their curriculum. But problems with these high-enrollment online courses have come to light. Last week, SJSU announced that it was putting its experimental MOOC program on hold, after the first term of such courses resulted in a low pass rate. On the national stage, some administrators are voicing concerns about the hasty adoption of this new and a largely untested system. Συνέχεια

Diane Ravitch: 3 Dubious Uses of Technology in Schools Technology can inspire creativity or dehumanize learning


Technology is transforming American education, for good and for ill. The good comes from the ingenious ways that teachers encourage their students to engage in science projects, learn about history by seeing the events for themselves and explore their own ideas on the Internet. There are literally thousands of Internet-savvy teachers who regularly exchange ideas about enlivening classrooms to heighten student engagement in learning.


The ill comes in many insidious forms. Συνέχεια

The War on Public School Teachers By Michael D. Yates

The U.S. working-class was slow to respond to the hard times it faced during and after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Finally, however, in February, 2011, workers in Wisconsin began the famous uprising that electrified the country, revolting in large numbers against Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to destroy the state’s public employee labour unions.


A few months later, the Occupy Wall Street movement, which supported many working-class efforts, spread from New York City to the rest of the nation and the world. Then, in September 2012, Chicago’s public school teachers struck, in defiance of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attempt to destroy the teachers’ union and put the city’s schools firmly on the path of neoliberal austerity and privatization. Συνέχεια

The neoliberal era in Britain: Historical developments and current perspectives Neil Davidson

The world economy has experienced four systemic crises since the emergence of capitalism as a global system; the years 1873, 1929, 1973 marked the commencement of the first three. As Gérard Duménil and Dominique Lévy write: “Each of these earthquakes introduced the establishment of a new social order and deeply altered international relations.” However, it is less clear whether, as they also claim, “the contemporary crisis marks the beginning of a similar process of transition”.1 The end of neoliberalism has been proclaimed several times before, often by the same people on different occasions. For example, the late Eric Hobsbawm regularly produced obituaries for it throughout the 1980s and 90s, lastly in his 2002 autobiography.2 Hobsbawm refrained from making a similar pronouncement in 2008, even though it would have had greater plausibility than its predecessors. For states throughout the developed world—including those like Britain and the US which had been most committed to neoliberalism—bought massive and in some cases dominant stakes in failing banks, using levels of public spending we had previously been told were no longer available or which could not be used without distorting the market. Συνέχεια

Guest: There must be a better way to train teachers




IF America’s medical schools were failing to offer their students the academic content and practical experience necessary to provide high-quality health care, we would be outraged.

But that’s exactly what happens in most undergraduate and graduate schools of education. According to a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality — which was funded by 62 organizations, led by the Carnegie Corp. and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation — too few aspiring classroom teachers receive the training and support they need to be effective. And that disconnect has alarming implications not just for them but for the future of K-12 public education. Συνέχεια

TIMSS Implications for U.S. Education

(Cross-posted from the AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, Winter 2013.

The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) released the latest results from the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) on December 11, 2012. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan proclaimed (2012):

Given the vital role that science, technology, engineering, and math play in stimulating innovation and economic growth, it is particularly troubling that eighth-grade science achievement is stagnant and that students in Singapore and Korea are far more likely to perform at advanced levels in science than U.S. students. A number of nations are out-educating us today in the STEM disciplines—and if we as a nation don’t turn that around, those nations will soon be out-competing us in a knowledge-based, global economy (p. 1). Συνέχεια