Thursday, December 6, 2018

CHARLES EMERSON RIGGS

December 5, 2018 (Sudbury, Massachusetts) The Concord Review this week welcomed its new editor, Charles Emerson Riggs, to the organization. Mr. Riggs succeeds TCR editor William Hughes Fitzhugh, who will remain Head of the parent organization he founded, The Concord Review, Inc.

Mr. Riggs, who is currently finishing his doctorate in American History at Rutgers University, is a graduate of Harvard College, summa cum laude, in History. He has more than a decade of experience as an editor, researcher, historian, and educator, having worked for Morgan Reynolds Publishing, Let's Go Publications, The Immigrant Learning Center, and Rutgers University. In the summer of 2018, he acted as dean of The Concord Review's summer programs in San Francisco, Boston, and Seoul, a role he will continue to occupy in 2019 and beyond.

A native of North Carolina and a descendent of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mr. Riggs is a scholar of American intellectual history. His Ph.D. dissertation, which he recently completed and will be defending this spring, is about the confluence of religion, existentialism, and psychoanalysis in mid-twentieth-century American thought, with a focus on the German-born theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich.

His first task at TCR will be editing the Review's 120th issue, to appear in the Spring of 2019. Under Mr. Fitzhugh, The Concord Review has published 1,307 student academic research papers in History from more than 40 countries on a quarterly basis since 1987. Incidentally, that is also the year of Mr. Riggs's birth.

Mr. Fitzhugh expressed his congratulations on the arrival of the new editor. "I am very glad that Charles Emerson Riggs has a deep commitment to both History and to academic expository writing, and he understands and believes in the mission of The Concord Review to encourage and celebrate the achievements of secondary students around the world in both areas."

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

READING AND WRITING

 

RealClearEducation


A Simple Page-Per-Year© Formula Could Increase Students’ Ability to Read, Write, and Think

By Robert Holland   November 30, 2018

The never-ending quest for a magic formula to educate all children brings to mind this lyrical lament from a 1980 Johnny Lee country tune: “I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.


Rarely does anything loveable, or even merely useful, come from wandering the maze of government agencies, huge foundations, textbook publishers, and assorted ed-tech or pedagogical soothsayers. A review of a century’s worth of grandiose schemes, designs, and boondoggles—Common Core being the latest—would be hard-pressed to identify more than a few that have succeeded.


By contrast, a spark of inspiration for helping children can emanate from an individual who has no institutional axe to grind and is willing to sacrifice for the cause.


Will Fitzhugh fits that mold perfectly.


Three decades ago, Fitzhugh quit his job as a history teacher at the High School in Concord, cashed in his small pension, and put all his energies into creating a quarterly journal to be filled with the finest history essays written by high school students. His mission was to show students—and the rest of the world—what they are capable of producing.


Operating without the gargantuan grants that fuel the merchants of ed-biz faddism, The Concord Review has published 1,307 scholarly articles under the bylines of student authors from 45 states and 40 countries. Fitzhugh imposes no arbitrary word limit on submissions. Published essays average 7,500 words, complete with endnotes and bibliography.


The Concord Review is the only quarterly journal in the United States [in the world] devoted exclusively to publishing secondary students’ writing about history. The range of topics is eclectic and the writing is engaging. Here is a small sampling of topics over the past year: “Machine Politics,” “Black-Jewish Relations,” “The Scopes Trial,” “Food Guide Pyramid,” “Coups in Pakistan,” “Sino-Soviet Split,” “Roaring Twenties,” “Chinese Feminism.”


Fitzhugh’s blog makes plain how The Review’s essayists have justified his confidence in them. Many students have written him to say they reached a point in reading about history where they strongly felt a need to tell people what they had discovered. 

 
In short, as Fitzhugh put it, “reading and writing are inseparable partners.” When motivation springs from knowledge gained, writing can follow a natural progression of writing, reviewing a draft, revising for clarity and correcting omissions, reading for additional content, and rewriting again.


In other words, The Review’s authors exhibit “all the natural things that have always led to good academic writing, whether in history or any other subject.”


Unfortunately, in most high schools, writing is a heavily regulated and restricted process far removed from the ideal of students being able to express something they have learned. Fitzhugh describes the current practice:


“When teaching our students to write, not only are standards set very low in most high schools, limiting students to the five-paragraph essay, responses to a document-based question, or the personal (or college) essay about matters which are often no one else’s business, but we often so load up students with formulae and guidelines that the importance of writing when the author has something to say gets lost in the maze of processes.”


Learn something then write about it. Now there is a novel concept.


Fitzhugh has developed a Page Per Year Plan© (and even copyrighted it) that, if ever implemented widely, could lead to substantially increased time devoted to student reading and writing.

 
His idea is that all public high school seniors would be expected to write a 12-page history research paper. However, that requirement would not just be plopped on them. They would have written an 11-page paper as juniors, a 10-pager as sophomores, and so back down the year-by-year ladder to a 5-page paper in fifth grade, and even a one-pager on a topic other than themselves in the first grade.


With a Page Per Year Plan© in place, Fitzhugh figures that “every senior in high school will have learned, for that 12-page paper, more about some topic probably than anyone else in their class knows, perhaps even more than any of their teachers knows about that subject. They will have had in the course of writing longer papers each year, that first taste of being a scholar which will serve them so well in higher education and beyond.”

 
It is highly doubtful that a government-run school system would ever adopt anything as rigorous, yet sensible, as this page-per-year© ladder to writing success. Perhaps there are private-sector innovators including homeschoolers bold enough to give it a try.


Meanwhile, anyone looking to find evidence of a love of writing by inspired students will continue to find it every three months in the pages of The Concord Review.


Robert Holland (holland@heartland.org) is a senior fellow for education policy for The Heartland Institute.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

MAYA KRISHNAN

9 November 2018

All Souls College, Oxford


Dear Will,

Greetings from Oxford! It’s been a few years since we have been in touch—I hope all has been well with both you and The Concord Review since then (I was excited to see the titles of the papers in the latest issue). 



I wanted to get in touch to let you know that I recently received the good news that I have been elected to All Souls College in Oxford as an Examination Fellow. This is a position that gives me seven years of unconditional funding to pursue whatever research I choose, while being a part of the community of scholars at All Souls. I’ll plan to complete a DPhil in Philosophy and then work on a book project during these upcoming seven years. 



This opportunity feels like a continuation of the process of doing (and learning how to do) original research that got started for me when I first decided I would try to submit a paper to The Concord Review. To that end, I didn’t want to miss the chance to thank you once more for all the work that you do in order to make it the case that high school students have the chance to experience the thrill of doing original research. If you ever think of anything I can do on behalf of the Review and its mission, please do let me know!



Best wishes,
Maya

[Maya Iyer Krishnan
Richard Montgomery High School, 2011
Socialist Realism, TCR Fall Issue, Volume 21
Stanford Class of 2015
Rhodes Scholar, 2015]