I Support the Seven Principles of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education! You Should Too!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Aliza Keddem (1930-2012)

With great sadness I am reporting that my mother, Aliza Mizrachi Keddem, passed away on July 19, 2012.  My brother Dan, his wife Rachel, my wife Gretchen, and myself are tending to the affairs that arise in such events, including making arrangements for a memorial/celebration gathering in Aliza's honor.  The celebration is on August 11, 2012, at 1 pm, in the Old Library at Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, Oregon.  For driving directions, please visit http://www.marylhurst.edu/about-marylhurst/contact/driving-directions.html. If you knew Aliza, and would like to join others in celebrating her life, please join us. I'm now posting an extended version of the obituary Dan and I wrote that will be published in the Sunday (8/5/12) edition of the Oregonian.

  Aliza Mizrachi Keddem (born April 29, 1930), a Portland resident, long-time educator, and social activist, passed away in her home on July 19, 2012.
  Aliza was born in Jerusalem to Sarina Laniado-Perera and Isaac Mizrachi, the second of their four daughters who include Rachel, Adina, and Vicky (Nizhia). As a teenager, Aliza was active in the Gadna – the Hagannah’s youth corps. Later in New York City she helped obtain needed supplies for pre-independent Israel under the direction of Teddy Kollek, who later became Jerusalem's Mayor. Following Israel's independence, she worked in the Israeli Consulate in New York City. She later worked at the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C.
  Aliza attended Columbia University in New York, and graduated in 1957 with a B.S. in Mathematics. In New York, she met and married Stan Shively, and they later had two sons David and Daniel. During her years with Stan, they lived in New York City, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Santa Monica California, Norman Oklahoma, Corvallis Oregon, and Hong Kong. She taught mathematics at Midland Park High School in New Jersey, and assisted in social sciences research at Columbia University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
  Aliza commenced her graduate studies at the University of Oregon in 1973. She earned a M.A. in Political Science in 1975, and a Ph.D. in Sociology in 1984. Her doctoral research was on "The Integration of Wives into Wage-work and the Working-class' Struggle to Maintain
Its Standard of Living." She next moved to Portland, Oregon, where she taught mathematics at Roosevelt High School from 1984 to 2000.
  Before her retirement from Portland Public Schools, Aliza began teaching night courses in Sociology at Marylhurst University. Her course subjects included critical postmodern theory, gender, family, and inequality. She continued teaching at Marylhurst until last spring. Her “third career” was her most rewarding, and she reveled in engaging her students in thought, analysis, and discussion.
Aliza will be long remembered by family and friends for her strong determination and passion for social justice and equality, the environment, and progressive politics. She is survived by her son David and his children Rio and Ari; her son Dan and his children Matt, Amber, Travis, Ashley, and Matthew; and her sisters Rachel, Adina, and Vicky.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why Can't Ponyboy Get a College Degree?

Big Ups to Ohio for the rejection of a state law that limits the right of public sector employees to engage in collective bargaining (see http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/09/ohio-election-results-union-curbs?newsfeed=true)!!!

To the topic for today:

Ponyboy Curtis is a Greaser, and the protagonist of S.E. Hinton's novel The Outsiders.  My son Rio is playing the role of Johnny in Missoula's Hellgate High School's stage adaptation of the story, and while Johnny dies (as a result of a heroic action saving schoolchildren from burning to death inside an abandoned church he and Ponyboy had taken refuge in after Johnny killed a Soc in self defense), Ponyboy it seems will go on to transcend his lower class existence by drawing on his inherent sensitivities and literary interests to attend college and have social mobility.

The story (sorry, but see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Outsiders_%28novel%29 for a synopsis) is about class warfare between adolescents or young adults. In the late 1960s, when Ponyboy would have matriculated to college, the American public universities were just entering their glory years as highly accessible and affordable institutions of higher education, but today they have begun to resemble and function more like exclusive private schools that even the Soc's of Tulsa would have had difficulty gaining admission to. How can this happen?

This story is as much about class warfare as The Outsiders, and is rooted in the structural and fiscal transformation of the American economy and politics that have occurred since the ascendancy of neoliberal policies beginning in 1980.  The fact is that U.S. public universities are choosing to attempt to improve their ratings (nebulous ones from US News, ABC News, and Forbes) by diverting what was previously need-based financial aid from those who needed it to those who "merit" it based on SAT and ACT scores and their high school resumes. Why?  These ratings help to boost the recruitment of out-of-state students who will pay higher levels of tuition and help, in a large way, to sustain the economic viability of the university in an era where public spending for higher education has been steadily decreasing because of the neoliberal agenda that promotes decreased taxation on the 1% and state responsibility for higher ed funding.  Enter the Tea Party.  So Ponyboy has been squeezed out, as have been countless young people of the working and lower middle classes and people of color.  The statistics show that such groups produce a lower proportion of potential students who have the required level of merit as the middle middle and upper middle classes, and the 1% of course. And Ponyboy is less likely than ever to complete his education - so he will have a huge debt and no degree and a lower wage too!

These facts are well documented in two fine books, The Future of Higher Education by Dan Clawson and Max Page of UMASS Boston, and Saving State U: Why We Must Fix Public Higher Education by Nancy Folbre of UMASS Amherst (full references below).  The are highly accessible (digestible) and highly affordable ($10 and $15, respectively)!  It is notable that both books were written by scholars in the UMASS system, which has undergone considerable neoliberal stress in the last few years and which has spawned PHENOM (Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts).  I highly recommend both books to anyone and everyone with an interest in higher education (an economic necessity for individuals and the nation at large) including students, parents,grandparents, guardians, teachers, professors, contingent faculty, administrators, and legislators. This is as essential reading today as "_____ for Dummies."  Check them out and vote to support higher education!

Clawson, Dan, and max Page.  2011.  The Future of Higher Education.  New York: Routledge.

Folbre, Nancy.  2010.  Saving State U: Why We Must Fix Public Higher Education. New York: The New Press.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Second National Conference of the CFHE

I'm in Boston where the 2nd annual meeting of the Campaign for the Future of Higher Ed just concluded.  I'd post a picture or two from the event, but they're not out yet!  Stay tuned.

I wasn't able to be involved with the Campaign last year because I was traveling, but am happy that I can be now.  This national organization (see the link at right and the Seven Principles above) is tackling the critical issues that impact America's ability to deliver quality public higher education to the people who need and want this. The facts are:

1) People of color and those who don't have much in their pockets are being squeezed out of colleges;
2) Most of the 99 percent are going into deep debt paying for a basic college education;
3) Established faculty are being squeezed out by temporary workers (contingent faculty), contingent faculty are being denied the right to stable employment, salaries that afford a very basic quality of life, and essentially have no academic freedom;
4) The quality of higher education is under serious assault;
5) Big business is staging a massive takeover of the American system and institutions of higher ed.

Enough Already!

If you are a student, a parent or guardian, or a college teacher, you need to learn more about these issues and what you can do about them. We can't be complacent any longer!  This blog will provide information, resources, and connections to organizations that are tackling these issues community by community, state by state, and nationally.

I'm a professor because I believe in the power and value of education - I know you do too! Support your local college or University; Mel Brooks would.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Back Home in Montana

Greetings All,

I’ve been negligent in writing to let you know of my activities recently, and to let you know of upcoming plans for my research.

The family and I returned from our overseas sabbatical travels in mid-April. Our destinations included Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, France, Spain, Israel, Beijing, Tokyo, and New Zealand. The travels and research went very well! We camped the majority of the time except for about 2 months out of 9 during the winter (in Spain, Israel, Beijing, and Tokyo). I tried to keep up with this blog most of the trip, though updating it frequently was a challenge due to time and technology constraints. I hope to get back to it as I wade back into the writing component of the research.

After arriving back in the US, we spent a week in Seattle at the annual conference of the Association of American Geographers. I gave a paper there on the sabbatical research, saw some old friends, and made a couple of new ones too. Then we spent a month in Oregon visiting family, I worked on research, Rio on his online high school courses, Ari on his homeschool projects, and Gret for her sister on her organic farm near Dallas, OR. I returned to Montana in mid-May to attend a faculty workshop on integrating sustainability into the university’s curriculum, did some committee work with students, and spent a week or so in the field collecting more data for the research project [Pics are of Upsata Lake in the Blackfoot Valley, Holter Dam, and the mighty "Mo" (Missouri River) below Holter - all in mid-to-late May].

I moved back into our house on June 1, and Gret and the boys returned on the 8th . We’re now fully ensconced back in the house, have the dogs and cat back, are back at work, and missing the tents! Western Montana has been experiencing high river discharges and floods ever since I returned, and it will still be another couple of weeks until the rivers are safe to float and fish. Just yesterday a woman drowned on the Blackfoot River – one of many such incidents this summer. The high waters are a result of the best winter snows since 1996-97, I’ve been told – there is still snow at moderate elevations in the mountains around town and across the state!

It is good to be back home and into the routine again, and we look forward to being able to get back outside to some outdoor activities soon. Western Montana is simply beautiful, and should you get a chance to come and see for yourself – take it! And let us know you’re coming of course.

Well, if I visited with you in connection with the research project or academics in general during our travels, many thanks for your time and hospitality! I will be communicating further with you in the very near future as I work on fully developing the research project’s case studies. For the fellow travelers we spent time with during the trip – we hope you are all well and enjoying whatever place you are in at the moment. We hope you stay in touch and we will try to do the same. You can always find me at the University of Montana’s Department of Geography (http://www.cas.umt.edu/geography/).

So, until later, Peace All!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Back in the PNW!

Hi Folks,

We've been back in the Pacific Northwest for about 3 weeks now and enjoying our first Oregon Spring in many, many years. I attended the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers in Seattle from April 12-16, where I gave a paper on the sabbatical research, visited with old friends, colleagues, and students, and took part in a great boat tour of the Port of Seattle (see pic above) organized by my former student, Michael Ewald. We toured the dockyards and up the Duwammish River mouth in which most of the port facilities are located to see several restoration projects - nice stuff!

Following our return to Oregon, and in between visits with family up and down the verdant Willamette Valley, I joined my brother Dan with several of his colleagues for a float on the McKenzie River. The crew included Tom Wolf and Karl Mueller from Oregon Trout Unlimited, Jim Capurso who is the Region 1 Fisheries Bioloist for the US Forest Service, and Jason Dunham of Freshwaters Illustrated - see the link at right for his organization that promotes aquatic awareness. The river was high but clear and cold on the nicest Spring day to that date, and while the fishing was slow the talk of conservation, food, and comraderie was second to none. Oregon Trout Unlimited, and the McKenzie-Middle Fork Willamette Chapter in particular, are championing the restoration of native McKenzie redsides (rainbow trout) to the lower river that Dan and I enjoyed so much years ago. The continued presence of these fish suffers from a put and take hatchery trout fishery that operates there today, and their restoration is imperative for the river and the green image of Eugene. I'll be learning more about this in the next two weeks and will report here and in the book later.

I'm returning to the mountains in mid-May to complete the fieldwork - have some fishing to catch up on too!

Cheers for now,

The Shive

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Wet Weekend

Our weekend in the Rotarua area was WET (see our blue-tarp shelter off the back of the car - the envy of backpackers all over NZ). We stopped to see the Ohau Channel diversion wall (see pics) in the Kaituna Arm of Lake Rotoiti that diverts warmer water from Lake Rotarua into the Kaituna Stream outlet of Rotoiti thus protecting Rotoiti from degraded water quality. This has, according to Matt Osborne of Fish and Game (Bay of Plenty), and Dr. Brendan Hicks at the University of Waikato, worked to protect the Rotoiti from the effects of eutrophication that have plagued Lake Rotarua.

Next we were off to the Lake Tarawera outlet to camp at a Department of Conservation campground there. This is an important spawning and rearing area for Tarawera's rainbow trout, and there is a 150 m spawning sanctuary there at the outlet (see pic - the large rainbows spawn at the lake outlet and the juveniles move upstream into the lake itself). Gret and Ari took a hike to Tarawera Falls some 3.5 km below camp, and Rio and Dave hung out in camp under the blue tarp. We followed up our visit to Tarawera at Kawerau's public pool (free) which features a natural geothermally heated hot pool for soaking. Nice!

Now, some 200 km away near Taumarunui at another DOC campsite, we're on the Forgotten World Highway on the Whanganui River (muddy after the rains) and catching up on work at the public library which features the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa that provides free internet and broadband wireless access to the public as a part of the NZ Digital Libraries project. Rio is wrapping up his studies before Spring Break begins for him in a week, and we have sunny skies again! Until later, Cheers All!