Thursday, April 17, 2014

Friday Fragments

I started out this week sick as a dog.  (Regular readers probably noticed a missed day of blogging.)  By dint of timing, when I collapsed back into bed Monday morning, it was 70 degrees and sunny.  When I finally got ambulatory on Wednesday, there was snow on the ground.  I wondered how long I was out.


I’ve been following the story of Virginia Intermont College with interest.  Longtime tweep Chuck Pearson teaches physics and chemistry there, and things aren’t looking good for it.  Its accreditation runs out July 1, and a last-ditch merger plan appears to have fallen through.  With the loss of accreditation will come a loss of eligibility for Title IV financial aid, so I don’t see how it survives.  

Now some good people who did nothing wrong stand to find themselves out of work.  Closure   isn’t technically required, but it’s hard to see the place surviving.

I think it was Niebuhr who wrote of the “spiritual discipline against resentment.”  It’s quietly breathtaking when it happens.

Chuck wrote a quietly breathtaking reflection on the situation here.  It’s well worth the read.


Sarah Kendzior has been writing some terrific, if unsettling, stuff about the new economy.  Her latest, on people doing minimum-wage work in St. Louis, is outstanding.  I recommend it to my colleagues for a useful reminder of the realities of the ways that many of our students live.

Kendzior makes this point only in passing, but I think it’s worth highlighting: you can’t figure out a minimum wage worker’s income by multiplying by 40 hours a week.  Most of the time, the hours vary, and they cluster around a lower figure.  The variability makes it difficult to construct any sort of life, since you can’t build routines when your hours change every week.  Transportation, child care, and even basic life stuff like groceries and laundry are hard to manage when cars are unreliable, bus passes expensive, schedules erratic, and money somehow always varying yet always short.

Kendzior has a point of view, but she respects the integrity of the truth on the ground and mostly lets it tell the story.  It’s depressing, but it accomplishes what journalism should.  Nicely done.


The CCSF saga just gets weirder.  Apparently, it’s considering withdrawing its current accreditation, and then presenting itself as a candidate for a new one; candidacy status would buy it more time.

Credit where credit is due: I would not have thought of that.


Since this week’s fragments are sort of sad, I’ll end with a happy note.  The Boy, who is still a month shy of 13, just tipped the tape at five foot eleven.

How long _was_ I out?