Love for my Students, not the For-Profit System

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I have a personal piece up at the Washington Post today. I fell in love with teaching while working at a for-profit school, thanks to an amazing group of students.

I’ve heard from people across the country who work in the for-profit industry (and this is an industry) that this is a shared experience — the daily struggle between commitment to your students versus the overwhelming feeling that they deserve so much more from their institutions. The devotion to teaching, while despising the exploitation. The love for students, not for the system.

To all of my students from that time, this is for you. You deserve the world and so much more…

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Aftermath of the World Cup

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Taken in Frankfurt, 2006 (Nina Flores).

Taken in Frankfurt, 2006 (Nina Flores).

In 2006 I went to the World Cup in Germany. It is a surreal experience being surrounded by fans from around the world. Among the bigger controversies that year were neo-nazi groups in the eastern part of the country that threatened violence.

As the games come to a close in Brazil this week, the biggest controversy has a human price as there are tens of thousands of people (possibly hundreds of thousands) who are still displaced — forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for stadium construction.

While international sporting events are fun to watch, their destruction in host countries remains long after we turn off our televisions (recall the more than one million displaced in China for the 2008 olympics).

Surely, there has to be a better way.

Daily Political Decisions…

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Increasingly I hear people write off the need to be informed–even on a basic level–with statements like “the news is too depressing,” or “oh, I’m not political.” There’s a difference between just not paying attention, and honestly believing that you are neutral or somehow immune to making political decisions in your everyday life.
Do you watch news that intentionally uses the words liberal or conservative as derogatory terms? This is a political choice. Using the words ‘illegal alien’ or ‘undocumented immigrant’ is a political choice. How you think about marriage is a political choice. Choosing to remain silent (as opposed to being silenced) when you hear misinformation is a political choice.

Our politics is not limited to the divisive right-left, democrat-republican, politician-driven pettiness we’re fed on a daily basis. It’s personal, and it’s created and reinforced by the decisions we make every single day.