Category Archives: Quotes

Quotes, from a variety of sources, related to teaching and learning–somewhat more loosely defined than in other categories on Mark’s Text Terminal.

Bibhuti Bhusan Banerji (1894-1950)

[As I’ve begun to transcribe entries from Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia for use as reference material on Mark’s Text Terminal, I have begun to notice that some of its entries disclose a blinkered and mildly Eurocentric view of writers from around the globe. This excerpt is no exception. I needed to conduct only cursory research to learn that the writer profiled here is better known as Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. Otherwise, this squib correctly describes Mr. Bandyopadhyay as a major figure in Bengali letters.

I frequently struggle with issues of style and formatting on Mark’s Text Terminal; indeed, I am working up a style sheet in the interest of maintaining something like consistency here. Still, when I excerpt from reference books and the like, I also feel an obligation to remain faithful to the style of the of book from which I draw, mostly out of respect for authors and editors smarter and more accomplished than I. Hence the header on this text, which is how this author is listed in Benet’s.]

“Bengali novelist. Banerji was an immensely popular author of over fifty books, including novels, short stories, translations, and books on the occult and astrology. His masterpiece Pather Panchali (1928; tr The Song of the Road, 1968), set in a small village north of Calcutta, is essentially an episodic childhood idyll of Apu and his sister Durga. The novel and its sequel, Aparajita (1932), became international classics after Satyajit Ray’s screen adaptations, Pather Panchali (1954), The Unvanquished (1956), and The World of Apu (1959).”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Yasunari Kawabata (1899-1972)

“Japanese novelist and literary critic, winner of the Nobel Prize in 1968. Although selected for the prize on the basis of the traditional values his work was perceived to embrace, Kawabata was recognized in Japan as an innovative and experimental writer of the most modern sensibilities. His works are pervaded by a sense of alienation and loss, and by a longing for pure, unearthly beauty often found in a maiden or maidenly person. Izu no odoriko (1925; tr The Izu Dancer, 1964), Yukiguni (1948; tr Snow Country, 1957), Sembazaru (1952; tr A Thousand Cranes, 1959), Yama no oto (1952; tr The Sound of the Mountain, 1970), Nemureru bijo (1961; tr. The House of the Sleeping Beauties, 1969), and Utsukushisa to kanashimi to (1965; tr Beauty and Sadness, 1975), all present a lonely man trying to find solace in the innate beauty and goodness of a young woman, though each story shows different thematic variations. Influenced by both Japanese and Western varieties of symbolist poetry, Kawabata’s novels make their statement through sign and image as much as through plot and characterization. Kawabata was president of the Japanese PEN club and active promoter of fledgling writers. He committed suicide in 1972.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.


Modern Japanese theater movement. A term meaning ‘new theater,’ shingeki is one of the many cultural developments of the Meiji period that reflect the complex interplay of tradition and modernization. Shinkgeki refers specifically to a modernist movement led by Osanai Kaoru (1881-1928). Reacting against the stale conventionalism of kabuki and the failed attempts to establish a modern kabuki style (the so-called shimpa movement), Osanai broke with the native theatrical tradition. Having spent years attempting to promote. Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw, Pirandello and Strindberg, he finally succeeded in establishing Japan’s first modern theater, the Tzukiji Shogekijo, in 1924. Shingeki ultimately went beyond stagings of Western classics like A Doll’s House and The Cherry Orchard and promoted modern dramaturgy among Japanese playwrights as well. Shingeki-style modernism was much influenced by the advent of film.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

An Interview with a White-Collar Criminologist on DeVos’ Program to Protect Predatory For-Profit Colleges

[More squalor from the callow heiress who bought herself the Secretary of Education cabinet post, Betsy DeVos.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bill Black, a specialist in white-collar crime, discusses Betsy DeVos’ plan to dismantle the U.S. Department of Education team investigating fraud at those predatory for-profit colleges and to staff the Department with veterans of the institutions under investigation. Like many people, I have described her actions as “putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.” Black says it is far worse than that. The right metaphor, he says, is putting the vampire in charge of the blood bank. What is happening now is not just a policy dispute; it is a deliberate program to protect institutional behavior that should be treated as criminal fraud. The victims are college students who are poor and middle-class, who have every right to expect that the government will protect them against fraud, not enable the fraud.

This is only a part of the interview. Open the link and read the rest.


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Akiko Yosano (1878-1942)

Japanese poet. Akiko’s first volume of tanka, Midaregami (1901; tr Tangled Hair, 1935) startled her contemporaries with its bold affirmation of female sexuality and exerted an enormous influence on later poets who sought release from semifeudal morality as well as conventional forms of tanka. Akiko’s translations of Japanese classics, such as the Tale of Genji, into the modern vernacular were highly influential, as were her pioneering and passionate essays on woman’s rights.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

How New York City Department of Education Protects Principals Accused of Sexual Misconduct

[In my 15 years of service to the New York City Department of Education, I have wondered, as teachers are regularly pilloried in the local and national press for being incompetent, but protected by their union from discharge, why incompetent and corrupt school administrators–and God knows I’ve seen my share here–enjoy an apparent immunity from accountability. I hope this blog post from Diane Ravitch, and the report it chronicles, can do something to change that. As a New York City taxpayer and educator, I would like to see principals and assistant principals held responsible for their failures, something I really have not seen in my tenure here.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Susan Edelman, reporter at the New York Post, often gets scoops, and this one is a doozy.

Several principals have been accused of sexual harassment. Some have caused the city to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars for their misconduct, but they are seldom punished. Instead they are reassigned to headquarters with their pay and pension intact.

When Shaunte Penniston complained that her principal was making sexual demands, the city Department of Education not only failed to investigate, she alleged, but immediately notified the principal — who promptly had her fired.

The teacher then filed a lawsuit, which has dragged on in court for five years, the city fighting it at every step. But even if Penniston wins her case, it’s too late for the DOE to punish her alleged tormentor, Antonio K’tori. Under state law, educators with tenure cannot be brought up on disciplinary charges more than three…

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Taisuke Itagaki (1837-1919)

(1837-1919) Founder of Japan’s first political party, the Liberal Party. In the 1860s he became military leader of the domain of Tosa, and under his command Tosa’s troops participated in the Meiji Restoration. He served sporadically in the new government, but discontent led him to found first a political club and then a national ‘Society of Patriots’ in support of greater democracy. In 1881 he formed the Liberal Party (Jiyuto). Though he retired in 1900, he remained its symbolic leader.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.