Gene Wolfe declared "unfair" by snotty brats. Wolfe, a man who has given us some of the finest fantasy novels of the past three decades, was slated to teach writing at the Odyssey workshop. He graded the manuscripts with tough comments. But the students took this personally and complained to director Jeanne Cavelos. Wolfe, being the gentleman that he is, left the workshop. Here's a sample of one student's arrogance. Now if I had the opportunity of learning from a master and he told me that my shit stank, then I'd listen. Why have workshops and educational opportunities prioritized feeding this "I'm okay, you're okay" narcissism over developing talent?
In Philadelphia, the ratio of students to librarians has increased dramatically. Schools are not only cutting the jobs of librarians, but they are failing to hire those who are qualified to perform the task. Some people, including principals, seem to have the notion that school libraries are a nonessential facet of high school education or are adopting idiosynchratic measures to keep school libraries in existence. The Toronto District School Board, for example, has decided that it will only offer a full-time librarian to schools with more than 710 pupils, leaving school libraries that are closed half the time or that remain substantially inaccessible to students. Laura Bush's Foundation for America's Libraries is an admirable idea, but will merely talking about the importance of libraries hammer the point home? What does it take to convince administrative types of the importance of school libraries? Where did the idea of the school library go astray? And what can we do to ensure that a reasonably accessible school library is there for any student who needs it?
Bush wants to turn back the schoolclock to an eduational epoch sometime before 1972. Thirty years after educational gender bias became a legislative reality, Bush has announced that he's pushing for single sex schools, offering no specific reason for this backwards waltz. But what kind of message does this send to tomorrow's graduates about equal gender opportunity? Is there really any discernable advantage in a single sex educational institution? Or is Bush possibly intimidated by the overwhelming number of female graduates that are dominating males these days?