Well, it is now finals week, and after a jam packed November, I find myself very far a wee bit behind on these wrap-up posts. While I’ve been buried under grading and my own projects, my students have continued to produce top-notch blogs about various issues of American public policy. To make sure their work is duly honored, I’m addressing the three rounds of posts here in this SUPER POST! (If I call it a super post it sounds better than just saying a bunch of posts talked about all at once, right?)
Despite my tardiness, I am incredibly proud of the work that these students have put into their blogs, and the course more generally. I hope that they are as well. If you agree with me, feel free to drop by their blogs and leave them comments. Moving forward, the blogs are their own, so some may choose to continue to post while others may not. Regardless of their choice, they have already all done superb work.
In her last three posts, Sam looks at how Title IX functions, and potential ways it could do more to ensure equality in collegiate athletics. Sam writes about how the ERA would have interacted with Title IX had the ERA been ratified. Sam also describes how Title IX relates to pregnant student athletes regarding participation, scholarships, and their position on their team. Sam ends her blog by reflecting on a semester’s worth of blogging, how it relates to her final paper for our course, and the future of Title IX.
Ben’s final posts focus in on the importance of reliable, accurate information, especially in the contexts of public education and mental health issues. Ben shares more of his personal struggles, while also arguing for better education and information for health care professionals to share with parents and their children regarding mental health issues. Ben also addresses much of the controversy surrounding Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, including her decision to remove 72 different guidelines pertaining to protections for students with disabilities. In his final post, Ben wrestles with the utility, and problems, with genetic testing regarding what they can offer, but also what you are giving up to the companies that administer these tests.
Kelly’s last few posts this semester get into the overall costs, defined broadly, of current American immigration politics, with a special focus on the ending of DACA. Kelly takes a break from writing about the human cost of immigration policies and ending DACA to discuss the incredibly high economic cost of ending DACA. Kelly also explores the dehumanization in how we talk about and treat “immigrants” as a class in the United States. Kelly’s final post involves both a story from one of her classes, and her reflection on her own position regarding the current state of American politics around questions of immigration.
Hermina’s final posts continue to zero in on the effects of current changes being made to Title IX, as well as various activist efforts to push back against the harm being done to victims under the changes to the implementation of Title IX. Hermina writes about the differences between criminal and civil law, including burden of proof, and how this relates to the changes the Department of Education is pursuing regarding Title IX. Hermina also explains that a group, Equal Means Equal, is suing the Department of Education over its recension of the Dear Colleague Letter put in place by the Obama administration regarding the handling of Title IX incidents on campus. Hermina’s final post examines the accomplishments that Title IX has brought about, but more importantly she writes about all the work left to be done, and how it can be accomplished.
As has been the case with his blog this semester, Sung continues to explore various areas of the American economy and American economic policy. Sung explores the role of U.S. currency in international markets and what this means for the U.S. economy. Also, Sung evaluates the House of Representatives’ version of the tax bill, looking at what it means for various segments of the economy and the American public. Sung’s final post addresses the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the recent power struggle taking place at the head of the Bureau.
Nick wraps up his blog for this semester by looking at comedy and music, and what these intersections tell us about free speech and policies pertaining to obscenity and otherwise offensive speech. Nick takes a little bit of a deviation to talk about the comedian Lenny Bruce, and how his comedy challenged some of the policies around obscenity and free speech. Nick also writes about the Supreme Court case ruled on last term pertaining to trademarks and offensive language involving The Slants’ efforts to trademark their band name. Nick, in his final post, talks about George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” monologue, and how a broadcast of it sparked an important free speech case involving the FCC.
Alex’s final posts all pertain to what is happening with DACA now as various actors scramble to try to come up with a replacement after Trump has begun to end the program. Alex explains that there is increasing support among some Republicans in the House of Representatives to pass legislation creating a permanent fix for DACA. Alex also addresses some of the changes happening to DACA, including who may still renew their applications, and what is required to actually do so. Alex, in his last post, discusses the two major pieces of legislation currently being developed to replace DACA, the Dream Act and the BRIDGE Act.
In her final posts, Taylor explore what is wrong with current education policy, as well as offers up some potential solutions to address the large-scale problems she has blogged about all semester. Taylor explains how changes at the Department of Education are further impacting those who have been advantage of by for-profit schools. Taylor also provides a clear overview and explanation of what charter schools are and involve, given the Department of Education’s push to embrace charter schools at the expense of traditional public schools. Taylor’s final post involves her pitch for more centralized control over public education as a means to cut down on inequality and inconsistencies in the current system.
In his last few posts, John discusses various aspects of current American law and policy that further challenge the idea of a separation of church and state. John writes about the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act (RLUIP), what it does, and some of the controversy around how it has been used in a few situations. John also addresses, and critiques, three different arguments put forth on behalf of maintaining tax exempt status for churches and religions. John’s final post looks at the tax exemption for housing allowances for various religious officials and discusses this in the context of contemporary American politics.
These students have demonstrated a remarkable grasp on the policy areas they have been studying, and often how these policies intersect with various areas of contemporary politics. As a professor, I could not ask for more regarding the level of engagement, learning, and professionalism on display in these blogs.