Streams

Smart = Cool

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tricia Rose, professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and author of The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop-And Why It Matters, discusses how Barack and Michelle Obama have changed the image of smart cool and Jeffrey Henig, professor of political science and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, on what to expect from Arne Duncan as Education Secretary.

Guests:

Jeffrey Henig and Tricia Rose
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Comments [34]

Sally from L.E.S.

I agree with Comment #1/Marisa: I am a Tricia Rose fan, loved Black Noise, but why is she a guest on this topic?This is unbelievable.

The teacher bashing has to stop. The problem is not teachers, or teacher training. The problem of public education is that it's an institution in a society rooted in racism and inequity.

And that's the short, simplistic truth.

Jan. 15 2009 01:53 PM
laura

The difference btw prvivate and public schools are the incomes of the students. A lot of the educational research shows that income, rather than priv vs. public education, is the primary predictor of ed outcomes. I think that was what the teacher college speaker was referring to.

Also, instead of getting rid of tenure for teachers, why not make it more challenging and use internal and external reviews, as you see in higher ed?

Jan. 15 2009 01:32 PM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

If teachers were paid more, maybe they would have more incentive to teach with more enthusiasm. Not many people are working because it is their "passion" anymore, some people need their paycheck.

Jan. 15 2009 10:48 AM
hip_hop_says from manhattan

I really detest folks who are not of the hip-hop generation trying to speak on its behalf. 'cool' is not a 'black' slang term (swag - arguably is), and further more hip hop has never had a problem with 'smart' individuals...its problem is (and has always been) with 'sell-outs'...those individuals who equate moving up the social ladder with an abandoning of a black/urban identity (because at the end of the day hip-hop is just another class conscious philosophy). for hip-hop (despite pres.-elect obama not being of it) obama is very hip hop and his intellect is not in question. He's on his dean (as in the swagger james dean personified), and whether he likes it or not...obama had hip-hop at 'hello' (which is not a white-woman slang term).

Jan. 15 2009 10:44 AM
Jay F. from manhattan

The reason public schools will never be run like private schools are unions.

Jan. 15 2009 10:44 AM
Leo in Staten Island from Staten Island

Despite the best efforts of teachers, administrators and education activists, most of the American public education system is a bad, bad joke. The entire discussion -- not just on Brian but in the whole culture -- seems utterly disconnected from the reality that teachers and students live every day.

Most of school is warehousing children because society doesn't really know what to do with them, combined with deadening them enough to produce efficient little workers who don't mind doing data entry all day long because they have spent the first sixteen years of their lives chained to a desk already.

Read a biography of John Adams or Thomas Jefferson and you'll find kids who went hunting and had adventures and got to really be a kid, but also graduated college having learned Latin and French and Greek and mastered most of the science that was known by then. Most of the kids I know graduated exclusive private colleges barely able to express themselves on paper, incapable of explaining how a bill becomes a law, and generally ignorant of the physical principles on which the universe operates.

Our education system sucks not because kids are under-tested, or because we don't run schools 24 hours a day. Our schools suck because we don't even pretend to try to get kids curious and invested in learning about the world. Kids learn what they learn because they're required to. Period.

Jan. 15 2009 10:43 AM
Tosha from Brooklyn

The fact that Brian Lehrer is the only one talking about the ed sec. confirmation hearing proves just how cool Education is within society as a whole.

Jan. 15 2009 10:37 AM
hip_hop_says from manhattan

I really detest folks who are not of the hip-hop generation trying to speak on its behalf. 'cool' is not a 'black' slang term (swag - arguably is), and further more hip hop has never had a problem with 'smart' individuals...its problem is (and has always been) with 'sell-outs'...those individuals who equate moving up the social ladder with an abandoning of a black/urban identity (because at the end of the day hip-hop is just another class conscious philosophy). for hip-hop (despite pres.-elect obama not being of it) obama is very hip hop and his intellect is not in question. He's on his dean (as in the swagger james dean personified), and whether he likes it or not...obama had hip-hop at 'hello' (which is not a white-woman slang term).

Jan. 15 2009 10:33 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

It's hip to be square.

Jan. 15 2009 10:32 AM
brian

What's the difference between public and private schools? Parents, parents, parents. Even charter schools require parent involvement. When kids go home to chaos at home, and the parent(s) has no interest in what the child is doing at school, what do you expect?

Jan. 15 2009 10:31 AM
Edward from NJ

One of the guests mentioned better outcomes from private schools as a model. Private schools can be selective during admissions and easily expel failing and problem students. Public schools have to try to teach everyone.

Jan. 15 2009 10:31 AM
jessica from NYC

I absolutely understsand the need to focus on ill performing inner city schools but my biggest problem with the "no child left behind" program is that it focuses on just that. I'd hope that the new administration will focus on not only no child left behind but rather, "every child to reach his/her highest potential".

Jan. 15 2009 10:30 AM
Brian from Brooklyn

Let's put all children in private school... like Obama.

Jan. 15 2009 10:30 AM
jean bond from upper Manhattan

Duncan's language is troubling -- he speaks of "the education business." Critiques I've seen charge him with having a corporate model in his head for education. With heavyweights like Jeff Howard of the Efficacy Institute in Boston, and MacArthur awarded Jeff Canada of New York, Duncan seems a strange and questionable choice.

Jan. 15 2009 10:28 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Thank God, we have a smart, cool person in the White House that we can be proud of and if it inspires students of all ages and backgrounds, fantastic!!! My students at Queens College were thrilled that he won and feel very inspired by him.

Testing can be a very informative tool for a teacher in that it gives the teacher a good idea about how well he/she is communicating with each student and how much the student understands about what he is learning. It is only one tool. Testing is only one gauge as is talent.

Jan. 15 2009 10:27 AM
Gabriel Reich from Richmond VA

Brian,

Dr. Hennig made the point but I'd like to stress it further: Barack Obama represents very little change in how education will be dealt with at the policy level, period. This means that a number of wrong-headed ideas will continue to guide ed. policy at the federal and state level:
1) testing is the most effective way to raise achievement.
2) teachers and students are motivated by negative consequences for poor performance.

Jan. 15 2009 10:27 AM
Cammy from NYC

I'm sorry. I'm only 30 years old, but I too am Ivy-League educated and have taken many classes in African American studies, history, literature, and sociology, and I just cannot agree with both the idea that "cool" is racially charged (that it ever was is news to me) or that, by Obama's intelligence making education more appealing to some populations, one is basing his comments on dangerous and racist assumptions. Moreover, the reference that the Professor from Brown asserted regarding that Obama does have an advantage of being younger is just wrong. She used the example that Bill Clinton was also smart and cool, but much older. This is just blatantly wrong. Both men were 46 when running for President, and I believe Obama is slightly older. Either way, it is not an argument. Moreover, Bill Clinton was cool, but did still seem part of another generation. In the 16 years that have passed, the baby boomers have aged as well, so that Obama's relative youth connects much more closely to Gen X and Y, which again alters the context of "cool."

Jan. 15 2009 10:27 AM
Leo in Staten Island from Staten Island

You wanna know about Arne Duncan? Listen to this episode of This American Life:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=275

About Chicago public schools.

Jan. 15 2009 10:25 AM
Pung from NY

Cool as a racially charged term is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know any black/minority kids these day use “COOL”. The only person I associate “COOL” with is Fonzie. Tricia is so old school.

Jan. 15 2009 10:24 AM
John from Rochester

"Cool" is a "black slang" word? While it may have originated that way, someone needs to inform your guest that Americans of all races have been using the word for about 30 years. It has virtually no racial connotations for regular people who don't study it academically.

Jan. 15 2009 10:24 AM
antonio from park slope

This sounds exactly what happened when Michael Jordan became mainstream except it effected white kids; White kids everywhere embraced mj, "be like mike!" etc. I have a feeling we will see the same positive outcome with children of color.

Jan. 15 2009 10:23 AM
Anne from NYC

As a teacher in NYC, I think Ms. Rose is speaking defensively rather than realistically. There is still a widespread belief among black students that being smart and getting good grades is "acting white." If all Obama did was to finally end this self-destructive belief, he would be a great president. Perhaps she can comment on this.

Jan. 15 2009 10:23 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

It's not even "cool" to use the term "cool" anymore. Just ask the kids, they'll tell ya.

Jan. 15 2009 10:23 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Exactly wrong male caller, "Inner-city" kids have access to CNN as well.

Jan. 15 2009 10:19 AM
Rupert

"Cool" is not a black language slang word anymore. Maybe it was 40 years ago but it certainly isn't now. "Cool" isn't even slang anymore.

Jan. 15 2009 10:19 AM
Kate

I think that "cool" stopped being a racially-charged word long ago. For a long time it has been the de facto term for, well, cool.

Jan. 15 2009 10:19 AM
Ana from Summit, NJ

please comment on the article in the new yorker: "most likely to succeed"

Jan. 15 2009 10:19 AM
Paulo from Paterson, NJ

Obama was up for sexiest geek of 2008 on Wired.com

Jan. 15 2009 10:19 AM
josh from brooklyn

i just laughed out loud at this women.
I think she should talk more about the etymology of "cool"...

Jan. 15 2009 10:18 AM
Todd from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Give me a break, Tricia.

Jan. 15 2009 10:17 AM
lafou from nyc

Cool is a racially charged term? Please.

Jan. 15 2009 10:17 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Barack Obama is not aligned with the "HIP-HOP" generation.

Jan. 15 2009 10:16 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

"Barack Obama the Rockstar?" Brian, That sounds disrespectful to me. Ridiculous. Exactly, too flippant!

Jan. 15 2009 10:15 AM
Marisa from NYC

i love Tricia Rose, but what in the world does she know about K-12 education?

Jan. 15 2009 10:14 AM

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