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I do not claim it is of any great importance, but since I am involved, I thought I might mention it.
Last fall a friend who was the faculty editor of Academe, a publication of the American Association of University Professors, asked if I would as I had retired from teaching write a piece telling college professors what to expect from the students now arriving at their institutions, having spent their education under the strictures of No Child Left Behind and its progeny. It went up on their website in early February, people asked if it could be republished or crossposted (yes, with appropriate credit and a link to the original). That let to Valerie Strauss posting this piece at her Answer Sheet Blog. It went viral. It got over 100,000 Likes on Facebook, several times that number of page views. I got several hundred direct communications, was interviewed live on radio shows and for college papers and documentaries. I was invited to be the keynote speaker for a retreat of the faculty teaching the mandatory freshman seminar at an elite college.
A few days ago the piece suddenly took off again. As far as I can tell, the Post did nothing to promote it. One of my former students did a Facebook post about the piece. Since Wednesday it has gotten another 32,000 Likes on Facebook, I have received several dozen direct communications, and it is still among the most popular pieces on the local section of the Washington Post, having been the 3rd most read piece on the entire site on Wednesday. It is again being redistributed, I am being asked permission to include it in college and graduate school materials.
Of course, as regular readers here know I have un-retired and will be back in the classroom shortly. As a result I have written a followup piece for Valerie Strauss that will appear either Sunday or Monday as things now stand.
When I checked, I could find tens of thousands of references to the Post version of the piece, and hundreds to the original.
I was somewhat surprised when the piece took off last February. I absolutely do not understand why that has happened again.
Not complaining. It is somewhat humbling to realize that hundreds of thousands of people are reading something you wrote.
Make of it what you will. I do not claim to understand the phenomenon.
Originally posted to teacherken on Fri Aug 09, 2013 at 10:05 PM PDT.