The Issue at a Glance

A Critic in Full: A Conversation with Tom Wolfe (10.1007/s12129-008-9050-1)

Carol Iannone, National Association of Scholars

Tom Wolfe, renowned journalist and author of Bonfire of the Vanities and most recently I Am Charlotte Simmons, joins Carol Iannone for a gracious, amusing, and always absorbing discussion about everything from the deplorable state of the academy to the role of status in society to the sociology of hats.

Social Work Agonistes (10.1007/s12129-008-9054-x)

David Stoesz, Virginia Commonwealth University

Social work should be founded on a powerful network of diverse practitioners applying the social sciences to advance social welfare today. Instead, social work education operates under the guise of identity politics, reserving its highest appointments for the politically correct and members of under-represented groups, with little concern for scholarly output. The Council on Social Work Education, which accredits social work programs nationwide, backstops these arrangements. In maintaining an ideologically-driven spoils system, social work educators have subordinated their professional commitments to political causes, producing second-rate scholarship that leads to second-rate services and a violation of the pubic trust.

No Service to Learning: “Service-Learning” Reappraised (10.1007/s12129-008-9057-7)

John B. Egger, Towson University

“Service-learning” has been adopted by many colleges and universities as a way of instilling in students an ethic of community service. Its advocates typically distinguish it from simple volunteering, which lacks an academic component, and from internships, in which students acquire practical skills. The author argues that the rationales for service-learning are intellectually shallow and betray intent to indoctrinate students in a political view that derogates paid labor. Ultimately, service-learning erodes the principles of liberal education by attempting to substitute emotions for reason.

SYMPOSIUM:To Read or Not To Read: Responses to the New NEA Study (10.1007/s12129-008-9055-9)

A Woeful Prospect

Mark Bauerlein, Emory University

Readers Are Doers

Lynne Munson and Lauren Prehoda, Common Core

Content Counts

Sandra Stotsky, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Not So Bad

Jay P. Greene, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Snark Hunting

Erin O’Connor, University of Pennsylvania

Americans are reading less; comprehension is eroding. And where reading intersects with academic achievement and participation in civic matters and cultural activities, the results are dire. Thus concludes the new National Endowment for the Arts study, To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence. A divergent group of experts weighs in.

The Silent Revolution in Higher Education (10.1007/s12129-008-9052-z)

Herbert London, Hudson Institute, and Mark Draper, Grantham University

Higher education today fails to exploit the power of emergent educational technology. If it did, the authors contend that “everyone on the planet would already have access to a top-quality college education for pennies a day acquired in less than half the traditional four years.” The authors envision a college education that replaces the lecture format with the opportunity and potential of a hands-on, long-distance—and very cost-efficient—technology-driven learning experience.

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