Michael G. Kammen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Cornell University’s Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture Emeritus, died Nov. 29 in Ithaca at the age of 77.
He arrived at Cornell in 1965 as an assistant professor of history, served on the Department of History faculty until his retirement in 2008, then returned in the fall 2013 semester to teach – all the while writing or editing more than three dozen books in diverse areas of history. Continue reading
What follows is a guest post by Gordon Bonnet, author of the blog Skeptophilia.
If you want to get a near-violent response from 98% of current public school students, about 75% of teachers, and unknown (but probably large) percentage of parents, administrators, and various other folks associated with education, all you have to do is utter two words: Common Core.
It’s a funny thing, really. On the surface, it seems like such a good idea — creating a set of uniform standards, high ones, that establish what students at every level should know and should be able to do. Of course, there’s the immediate knee-jerk reaction from both the Right and the Left — Right-Wingers resent the intrusion by the federal government into what rightfully should be state or local decision-making, and Left-Wingers hate the infringement that the new mandates will have on the freedom of teachers to teach as they see fit and as their students might need. Continue reading
What follows is a guest essay by William Keating about the opening of the rehabilitated Mount Beacon Fire Tower in June.
The colonials used the 1,400 foot north peak of Mount Beacon along the Hudson River during the Revolutionary War to set warning fires to alert General Washington at his headquarters on the western side of the river of any British presence in the valley below. From this activity, the City of Beacon got its name. Continue reading
What follows is a guest essay by F. Daniel Larkin, Thomas D. Beal, and William S. Walker, the new editors of the academic journal New York History. Editorial functions of the quarterly were recently transferred from the New York State Historical Association to the State University of New York at Oneonta.
In the 1919 inaugural issue of the journal New York History, the iconoclastic progressive historian Carl Becker published an article contrasting Patriot John Jay and Loyalist Peter Van Schaack, which, in an accessible style that appealed to both experts and non-experts, explored central questions of our fledgling democracy. Becker wrote that the story of these New Yorkers offered “a concrete example of the State versus the individual, of personal liberty versus social compulsion, of might versus right.” Continue reading