“From wherever you stood, the opposing side offered respectable, credible views. In today's fractured culture the evening struck a blow for civility.”
- The Huffington Post
September 18, 2015
Just before four law professors take the stage here to debate whether courts or colleges should decide sexual-assault cases, the ABC News correspondent John Donvan polls the audience of about 250 people.
Should all rape allegations involving college students be handled by the criminal-justice system? Or should campuses continue to use a separate disciplinary process, with different standards and sanctions, and give students who allege such incidents a choice of how to proceed?
September 17, 2015
Jed Rubenfeld and Jeannie Suk (for) and Michelle Anderson and Stephen Schulhofer (against) participated in an interesting and extensive debate on this question on September 16; video here. One of the most notable aspects of the discussion was the systematic doubt about the capacity of courts to be fair. Professor Suk noted that campus disciplinary proceedings had a disproportionate impact on the poor and minorities; Dean Anderson responded, to oversimplify, that Ferguson and other incidents make clear that the criminal justice system is worse. All sides agreed that there are excesses in campus discipline which are appropriately being weeded out in courts. Again, to oversimplify, Professor Schulhofer argued nevertheless that campus discipline was necessary for fairness to the accused; given draconian sexual assault sentences, the power of prosecutors, the pressure of sweet pleas, and the unreliability of juries, some form of accountability other than prosecution was necessary so that the lives of minor offenders (or alleged offenders) were not ruined. Taken together, I think most or all parties might agree that the criminal justice system has often been disrespectful of victims, dismissive of sexual assault claims, and also sometimes arbitrary and brutal to those charged with or convicted of sex offenses. If this is so, one wonders what makes the character or ability of professors and administrators so much higher that better results are likely in the academy.
February 26, 2015
WASHINGTON — Before the Intelligence Squared debate held at George Washington University, only one in three audience members said they agreed that liberals are stifling intellectual diversity at colleges and universities, but after hearing both sides of the debate, almost three-fifths of the audience was convinced that liberals are stifling intellectual diversity.
The debate, moderated by John Donvan, an author and correspondent for ABC News, will be aired on National Public Radio stations and is available online.
February 25, 2015
At GW last night, nobody was willing to argue that students should be silenced.
Anyone feeling disheartened by the many ways our First Amendment freedoms are under attack may find solace in the outcome of an event last night hosted by Intelligence Squared at George Washington University. Two teams of two debated whether liberals are stifling intellectual diversity on college campuses—and the side arguing for the proposition won in a landslide.
Interestingly, three of the four participants and both debaters arguing the affirmative indentify as liberals.
February 25, 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a 90-minute campus debate Tuesday over whether liberals stifle intellectual diversity on college campuses, nearly six in 10 members of the audience agreed – they do.
That according to a vote of the audience taken after the “Intelligence Squared Debate” at George Washington University on the topic of whether “liberals are stifling intellectual diversity on campus.”
Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, along with Fox Newscontributor and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, were able to convince 59 percent of those in attendance that there is a pervasive liberal intolerance of different views on campuses, an atmosphere that hinders free speech and debate.
February 25, 2015
Panelists visiting GW debated whether or not liberals suppressed intellectual diversity on college campuses Tuesday.
The debate, hosted by Intelligence Squared, a non-profit group that organizes discussions around the country, engaged about 100 people in the Jack Morton Auditorium. John Donovan, an author and ABC news correspondent, moderated the event.
Audience members were invited to vote on whether they thought liberals discouraged intellectual diversity on college campuses before and after the discussion. When it began, 33 percent said liberals suppressed intellectual diversity, while 21 percent said they disagreed and 46 percent were undecided.
October 01, 2014
A recent debate, “Embrace the Common Core?” hosted by Intelligence Squared, featured some of the nation’s top experts on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The Oxford-style “2 vs. 2” debate show included comments on topics such as whether or not the CCSS are actually right for kids and the rationale behind national standards. In particular, the debate focused on the controversial CCSS-aligned assessments and the cognitive appropriateness of the standards. The debate offered a refreshing take on what is often a politically charged topic. Many other educational bloggers have also offered analysis of this debate, including Diane Ravitch and The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss.
September 25, 2014
On September 9, I attended the NPR-syndicated Intelligence Squared debate, "Should Schools Embrace the Common Core?" Although it has been reported that close to 80 percent of Americans now oppose the Common Core Standards, the initial poll of the live audience showed that 50 percent of the audience was for, 13 percent against, and 37 percent undecided. So one obvious question is: How much of the audience was made up of people who had some skin in the Common Core game?
September 24, 2014
New York public school principal Carol Burris, an outspoken standards critic and defender of leveled reading, recently published an anti-Common Core missive on the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog that was fairly typical of the form. Where, she wondered, “is the research to support: close reading, increased Lexile levels, the use of informational texts, and other questionable practices in the primary grades?”
The blog post, which has already been intelligently critiqued by Ann Whalen at Education Post, expanded on remarks delivered by Burris earlier this month at an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate with Fordham president Michael Petrilli and former assistant secretary of education Carmel Martin. There, too, she demanded evidence of literacy improvements arising from the use of complex texts.
September 19, 2014
Intelligence Squared U.S. sponsored a debate September 9, 2014 on the Common Core State Standards. Four participants argued whether American schools should embrace the standards. They included Carmel Martin, a former assistant Secretary of Education and current executive vice president at the Center for American Progress, Mike Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank, Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in New York in Rockville Centre, New York, and Frederick Hess, director of educational policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Martin, from the "left," and Petrilli, from the "right," argued in support of Common Core. Burris, from the "left," and Hess, from the "right," were opposed.
September 17, 2014
So where is the research to support: close reading, increased Lexile levels, the use of informational texts and other questionable practices in the primary grades? During our recent Intelligence Squared debate on the Common Core the Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrilli told the audience he “spent the big part of the weekend talking to some reading experts.” When I later asked Mr. Petrilli for the evidence of the research on Common Core reading methods he said, “Well, I will be happy to go find it for you after this debate.” I am still waiting.
September 14, 2014
Embrace the Common Core State Standards? Do not embrace the Common Core? That was the question in New York when four people — two for embracing and two against — participated in a recent debate about the controversial initiative.
The event was sponsored by an organization called Intelligence Squared U.S., which offers forums for debates and discussions of topical issues.
September 12, 2014
Petrilli is the current president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and an editor of Education Next. He is a frequent poster and seems to be in the know about many of the education comings and goings. His feed is a good resource if you want to read some interesting articles on education, or if you want to know about the latest education debate (he recently spoke in favor of the Common Core at a "Embrace the Common Core" debate sponsored by Intelligence Squared U.S. -- would you be surprised if we told you Ravitch then blogged about it?)
September 11, 2014
I am not exactly sure what “Intelligence Squared” is, but it sponsored an interesting debate about Common Core.
Speaking for Common Core was Mike Petrilli, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and Carmel Martin, formerly assistant secretary for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Education and a strong enthusiast for Race to the Top as well as the Common Core.
Speaking in opposition to the proposition of embracing the Common Core was Carol Burris, principal of South Side High School in Rockville Center in New York, and Rick Hess of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.
I found Burris and Hess far more persuasive than Petrilli and Martin.
September 10, 2014
Four partisans with strong opinions debated the Common Core State Standards on Tuesday night in New York City as part of the very lively but civil Intelligence Squared U.S. series, which will air on NPR.
May 07, 2014
Is it really a question of bricks vs clicks? In a debate at Columbia University, the question whether it would be bricks or clicks — in other words campus vs MOOCs — in the future of higher education, the clicks won. Now, in all fairness, I believe that the future of (higher) education lies in combining both (and add in other elements) to get the best outcomes for students, but nevertheless the debate, as reported on in the New Yorker, is an interesting one.
May 05, 2014
Beyond issues of retaining students, critics also raise concerns about whether online education provides effective ways to learn and whether it affords students the personalized attention they deserve. Those issues were debated earlier this month at an Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates event, titled “More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete,” at Columbia University.
April 25, 2014
You can never recreate or replace the accelerated learning effect of being able to interact with your teacher and fellow students in person - in physical proximity. At least, this is an argument that is often used by those who are not big fans of MOOCs (massive open online courses). The last time I saw it was in an article about the Intelligence Squared debate at Columbia University on the question: 'bricks or clicks?' But, in our connected world, does that really hold up?
April 22, 2014
On one recent night, the Intelligence Squared U.S. debate series put forth a motion on Columbia University’s campus: “More Clicks, Fewer Bricks: The Lecture Hall Is Obsolete.” This is heavily contested territory, as both the setting and the style of the debate reflected. Columbia itself is the owner of quite a few nice-looking bricks, but, only last month, the university signalled its intention to start producing online courses. The Intelligence Squared events are inspired by traditional Oxford debates, decided by the votes of the audience, but they’re judged electronically. The points and counterpoints were streamed and tweeted live, but in tone the evening still evoked the charm of a winsome classroom professor: percussive jazz-fusion tracks piped in before, friendly anecdotes during, and a reception, in lieu of office hours, after.
April 22, 2014
Have you ever had a moment when you heard an argument that made you examine a long-held belief?
I had a moment like that recently when listening to an NPR Intelligence Squared podcast on college admissions. Intelligence Squared is a high-quality product, as the debate is civil, fact-heavy, and performed with great skill. In other words, it's everything that cable news is not, sort of like reading the best of the college football internet as opposed to relying on Holtz and May to analyze team strength.
April 03, 2014
As higher education evolves, has the lecture hall model become obsolete? In a debate hosted by Intelligence Squared on the campus of Columbia University, two teams of academic experts squared off to settle that question.
March 20, 2014
The intellectual case for preferences is looking increasingly shaky. Last month, a packed auditorium at Harvard Law School featured an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on whether “affirmative action does more harm than good.” Harvard professor Randall Kennedy, the author of the book For Discrimination, and Columbia professor Ted Shaw, the former head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, argued that diversity is an important and noble goal that universities must pursue. UCLA professor Richard Sander, author of the book Mismatch, and University of San Diego professor Gail Heriot, a commissioner on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, presented statistics from over 20 peer-reviewed studies that showed how the good intentions of affirmative-action supporters have had disastrous results.
March 04, 2014
What if affirmative action actually hurts minorities?
Badger Pundit has the rundown on a debate at Harvard Law School over the proposition in the title of this post, Epic smackdown of affirmative action at Harvard — following debate, audience’s opposition rises nearly a third.
It’s a discussion that people on campuses don’t like to have. Good for Harvard Law School for hosting such a debate with well-qualified speakers arguing each side. Too often the argument against affirmative action is denegrated as racism.
A speaker in favor of the proposition argued that affirmative action is an “epic policy failure” because it actually hurts — not helps — minority achievement through lower graduation and professional accomplishment rates.
February 28, 2014
A panel featuring Harvard Law School professor Randall L. Kennedy and others debated the pros and cons of affirmative action Thursday evening at the Law School’s Ames Court Room.
Arguing that affirmative action does more harm than good, University of San Diego Law professor Gail Heriot and University of California, Los Angeles Law professor Richard H. Sander asserted that affirmative action reduces the percentage of minorities who succeed at selective academic institutions.
On the opposing side, Columbia Law School professor Theodore M. Shaw and Kennedy argued in favor of affirmative action as a means of advancing university goals while benefitting the educational experiences of all students.
February 28, 2014
Intelligence Squared presented a very lively debate last night at Harvard Law School — “Resolved: Affirmative Action On Campus Does More Harm Than Good.” Arguing for the motion were Gail Heriot, professor of law, University of San Diego School of Law and member, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; and Richard Sander, professor of law, UCLA School of Law. Arguing against the motion were Randall Kennedy, professor of law, Harvard Law School; and Theodore Shaw, professor of law, Columbia Law School.
The debate largely focused on Rick Sander’s empirical work, which tends to show that affirmative action actually harms its intended beneficiaries. Regular readers will recall that Rick guest-blogged about this provocative work two years ago.
It was particularly striking to see this prominent debate on the Harvard Law School campus–since, ironically, it can often seem, on elite campuses, that the very topic of affirmative action on campus is taboo.
November 06, 2011
A recent Intelligence Squared debate tackled the proposition that “Too Many Kids Go to College.” Arguments in favor: the cost of higher education is rising out of proportion to its value; it stifles entrepreneurial creativity (because Plan B is to found a million dollar software company, natch); and the bachelor’s degree is a “false credential” that doesn’t accurately signal what a college graduate knows and can do. Arguments against: Post-secondary education is the best hedge against poverty, unemployment, and dead-end jobs.
October 25, 2011
The value of a college education is under attack. While more U.S. students are enrolled than ever before, a perfect storm of soaring costs, rising student debt and shrinking job prospects have led critics to increasingly challenge whether college remains a worthwhile investment. Among those leading the attack is PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who charges that higher education has become a dangerous bubble.
October 18, 2011
“True or false: too many kids go to college.” That was how John Donvan, an ABC News correspondent, began a debate last week about the necessity of an undergraduate degree.
October 16, 2011
The Intelligence Squared Foundation, which hosts and televises Oxford-style debates in New York, recently made its Chicago debut on Oct. 12 with the premise that "too many kids go to college."
October 13, 2011
Paypal founder and Facebook angel investor Peter Thiel appeared in the Windy City as a part of Chicago Ideas Week, offering his views on the local tech scene, why a college education is unnecessary and Groupon’s pending IPO.