Legislating Developmental Education: How Colleges are Dealing with Changes to DevEd

My state (Missouri) has proposed legislation that mirrors education reforms many states have enacted in the last few years.House Bill 365, the "Student Accountability Act," aims to ensure college readiness for high school graduates by requiring that any student receiving a high school diploma in Missouri pass at least one of the recognized measures (ASVAB, GED, ACT, Compass, or an exit exam administered by the school that assesses math, communication arts, social sciences, and science). While I'm sure there will be lots of discussion for the impact this has on high school classrooms and high school students, my interests as a community college instructor who teaches developmental classes is on how this will impact college students. Point 5 in HB365 is the most pertinent to these concerns: Every public institution of higher education shall recognize the high school academic diploma as sufficient for a student to be placed in the first college-level course of mathematics and English composition that is recognized for the forty-two-hour general education core requirements ....more

What Does "Adulthood" Look Like These Days?

I'm reflecting on the notion of adulthood this week after a flurry of cultural norms surrounding the topic intersected and met with conflict in front of me. It started when I posted on Facebook to ask for advice on how to respond to parents wanting information about students' college classroom performances against their children's wishes. While I knew that FERPA policies wouldn't allow such sharing, I was more interested in what the appropriate response should be ....more

Rust Cohle, Raoul Duke, and the Meaning of Life: True Detective & Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as Companion Pieces

As usual, I'm behind the times. I finally watched Season 1 of True Detective, thoroughly enjoyed it, and then went to catch up on all of the critical analyses I'd been avoiding because I hadn't yet seen it. (And I'm about to spoil the hell out of it, so if you are also late to the game, go ahead and save this link for a later read.)Most inspiring to me was seeing Rust Cohle's personal philosophy wax and wane throughout the show ....more

Panera's "One-Hour Rule" For Who?

Like a good little doctoral student, I woke up at 6 this morning, got dressed in my comfiest sweat pants, and walked thirty minutes to the coffee shop in order to work on my dissertation for a few hours before the rest of my family got up.One of my normal work spaces is the St. Louis Bread Company (Panera, for those of you outside the St. Louis area, "Bread Co" for those of you inside it) near my house ....more

The Plight of the ABD (Illustrated with Parks and Rec GIFs)

Parks and Recreation is, obviously, amazing, and the fact that it's ending isn't something I can talk about calmly. So instead of mourning the loss of my imaginary best friends, I'm going to pay homage to this cultural touchstone by using pieces of it to describe the highs and lows of reaching the nowhere land gray area of ABD (all but dissertation) status in a PhD program.See, for my particular program, I spent a long, long time taking coursework because I was a part-time student and a full-time employee. This meant I took only one class at a time and the prospect of completing oral and written doctoral exams, completing a dissertation, and graduating were so far in the distant future as to warrant no actual concern on my part ....more

The Cuddle Alarm

I was hesitant to write this post, fearful that putting the words out into the universe would send some kind of cosmic retribution and take their truth away from me. Or maybe that four consecutive years of sleep deprivation had simply left me in the throes of profound hallucinations. But other people have witnessed this phenomenon and affirmed it as a temporal experience, and it has been going on for several uninterrupted weeks, so I feel safe in stating to the world this simple fact: my child has slept through the night ....more

The "This Girl Can" Campaign and Rhetorical Approaches to Feminist Fitness

Fitness, fatness, and my personal relationship to each have been intersecting sources of frustration and confusion for my entire adult life (and part of my childhood). This is something that I have written about on many occasions at this blog (see here, here, here, and here, for example). When I discovered the fat acceptance movement, I thought I had my answer ....more

The Good, the Bad, and the Curious (Links!)

It's a new semester! I love the new energy and getting back to a routine, but I'm only two days in (and don't even have students back yet), and I'm already exhausted. If it's a new semester for you, I hope it's going well, and if you live in the non-academic world, then I hope you're having a great week!Anyway, here are some things I've been reading that made me smile (The Good), cry (The Bad), and think (The Curious) ....more

Blogging to My PhD: Are We Still Living in a Tidy House of 'Remedial' Education?

Today I'm reading a couple of landmark essays on developmental writing by David Bartholomae: "Inventing the University" and "The Tidy House." It's the latter that's really resonating with me and my work as a developmental writing instructor working decades after he published these words: "Basic writing has begun to seem like something naturally, inevitably, transparently there in the curriculum, in the stories we tell ourselves about English in America. It was once a provisional, contested term, marking an uneasy accommodation between the institution and its desires and a student body that did not or would not fit. I think it should continue to mark an area of contest, of struggle, including a struggle against its stability or inevitability....more