welcome to the ANOVA

Hi there, my name is Freddie deBoer. I’ve been blogging off and on since 2008. I’ve also written for many newspapers, magazines, and websites. (You can see some of my published writing by clicking the My Work tab above.) In my professional life, I work at Brooklyn College in the City University of New York in the Office of Academic Assessment, where I work with faculty to help them develop and implement faculty-led assessments of student learning, and as coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum program. This project, a new blog called the ANOVA, is designed to combine those two parts of my life while narrowing and focusing my engagement.

The ANOVA will be about education research and education policy. That way, I can continue to work and research in education in my professional life, and take the reading and engagement I’m doing and make them useful for a popular audience. I will discuss major trends in education, legislation and federal policy related to education, new and existing research in the field, and the philosophy and purpose of education. I expect I will post 3-4 times a week. One of these posts will be a Study of the Week, where I look at a prominent, problematic, or interesting research study in education, whether old or new, discussing the findings and what they mean for the broader world.

I will be attempting to monetize this blog through Patreon, so please consider pledging to support this project financially. Those who contribute $5 a month or more will get access to a weekly book review. If the amount of contributions exceeds my expectations, I will think of other ways to reward patrons. You can also make a one-time donation on PayPal.

Why “the ANOVA”? Because the term, which stands for Analysis Of VAriance, refers to a statistical technique commonly used in education research; because the attempt to define how variance in educational outcomes are determined by predictor variables is perhaps the essential question in quantitative study of education; and because it’s a beautiful word.

I will not avoid talking about the political dimensions of education. Education is an inherently political topic. However, this will not be a political blog and will feature no political writing that is not narrowly focused on education. I will not, for example, weigh in on the campus political wars in this space. When in doubt, I will err on the side of not engaging if a subject is not clearly directly concerned with education. Please bear that in mind if you’re thinking about contributing. It should go without saying that this project will not be affiliated with or endorsed by Brooklyn College in any way, and that I will not be working on it during my regular work hours.

I’ve gotten a lot out of writing online, but it has had downsides, especially concerning people targeting my employment. Online politics, are not good for my mental well-being. As someone with poor impulse control and bipolar disorder, it’s best to limit my political engagement in digital mediums that favor immediacy over thoughtfulness. I also have found much better ways to utilize my political energy in recent months. Since moving to New York I’ve gotten involved in my own union, in a tenant’s union, and in local education politics, along with attending many protests. This has been wonderful for my mood and sense of political purpose. Online politics leave me discouraged and unhappy; offline politics make me hopeful and energized. So I intend to keep my political engagement squarely offline.

This is a modest project with modest goals. I want an outlet where I can write for a small audience of interested people and share a little of my expertise and my opinions. I’m hoping to carve out a niche where I can engage productively and professionally about topics related to my expertise and which I am passionate about. I hope you join me.