In-Depth Education Reports

A poetry essay is a type of assignment that asks students to analyze and interpret a poem. They are often assigned in literature classes, but they can also be requested in other courses that deal with the humanities.

There is no one specific way to write a poetry essay, but there are a few general things that students can do to produce a high-quality paper. The first step is to read the poem carefully and make sure that you understand it. Next, you should come up with a thesis statement that summarizes your argument about the poem.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or lack inspiration, you can ask essay writing services to do my essay for me can provide customized poetry analysis essay assistance. Then, you should develop that argument by providing evidence from the poem itself. Finally, you should conclude your essay by summarizing your main points and reaffirming your thesis.

Grasp the Significance of Poetry Analysis

To analyze poetry is to delve into the intricate and often profound meanings hidden in the words and rhythms of a poem. It is not simply a matter of understanding what the poet is saying, but also of appreciating the way in which the poem is said. To analyze poetry is to explore the ways in which form and content work together to create an effect on the reader.

In order to write a poetry essay, it is first necessary to understand the basics of poetry analysis. There are four main elements that need to be considered:

1. Theme
2. Structure
3. Style
4. Symbolism

Each of these elements can be broken down into further categories, but these are the main areas that need to be examined in order to get a full understanding of a poem.

When writing a poetry essay, it is important to think about the poem in depth. What is the theme? What is the poet trying to say? What is the structure of the poem? What is the style of the poem? What are the symbols in the poem?

Once these questions have been answered, it is possible to start writing the essay. The first paragraph should introduce the poem and give a brief summary of its main points. The following paragraphs should explore the poem in more detail, examining each of the four elements listed above.

Finally, it is important to conclude the essay by summarizing the main points and giving your opinion on the poem. Was it successful in achieving its goals? What did you think of the theme, the structure, the style, and the symbolism?

Choose a Poem and Understand Its Context

When it comes to writing a poetry essay, it’s important to choose a poem that you understand its context. In order to do this, you need to read the poem multiple times and underline or highlight any words, phrases, or lines that have a special meaning to you. Once you have a good understanding of the poem, you can start to think about the following essay questions:

1. What is the poem’s main point or theme?
2. What is the poet trying to say about this theme?
3. How does the poem’s structure help to convey its message?
4. What is your favorite line in the poem and why?
5. How does the poem make you feel?

Once you have answered these questions, you can start to write your essay. Your essay should introduce the poem and its author, provide a summary of its main points, and then explain how and why these points are important. You should also include your own thoughts and analysis on the poem. In the conclusion, you should briefly summarize your main points and explain why you think the poem is important.

Identify Themes, Imagery, and Literary Devices

When assigned a poetry essay, many students feel overwhelmed. After all, poetry is often seen as more difficult to read and understand than other genres. However, with a little guidance, writing a poetry essay can be a manageable task. In this article, we will discuss how to identify themes, imagery, and literary devices in poetry, and how to use those elements to write an effective essay.

First, let’s discuss how to identify themes in poetry. Themes are the main ideas or concepts that a poem explores. They can be explicitly stated by the poet, or they may be implied. To identify themes in a poem, you need to read it closely and think about what it is saying about the world. Some common themes in poetry include love, loss, war, nature, and religion.

Once you have identified the themes in a poem, you need to think about how the poet explores those themes. One way to do this is by looking at the imagery in the poem. Imagery is the use of words to create images in the reader’s mind. To analyze imagery, you need to think about what specific images the poet uses and what they mean. For example, if a poem contains a lot of images of death, it may be exploring the theme of loss or mortality.

Finally, you should also consider the literary devices the poet uses to explore the themes. Literary devices are techniques that writers use to create effect in their writing. Some common literary devices in poetry include metaphor, simile, alliteration, and assonance. To analyze these devices, you need to think about how they are used and what they contribute to the poem.

Once you have analyzed the themes, imagery, and literary devices in a poem, you can use that information to write an effective essay. Your essay should discuss how the poem explores its themes, and you should use examples from the poem to support your arguments. You should also make sure to explain the significance of the imagery and literary devices that the poet uses.

By following the steps in this article, you can write a well-argued and well-supported essay on any poem.

Develop a Clear and Coherent Thesis Statement

A poetry essay is a paper that analyzes and evaluates a poem. In order to write a poetry essay, you need to develop a clear and coherent thesis statement. Your thesis statement should identify the poem’s main ideas and themes, and explain how the poet uses language and structure to express them. It should also argue how effective the poem is in achieving its purpose.

To develop a clear and coherent thesis statement, you need to read the poem carefully and make sure you understand its main ideas and themes. Once you have a good understanding of the poem, you can begin to develop your thesis. Your thesis should be a statement of opinion, not fact. For example, you might say “The poet uses images of nature to explore the theme of loss.” or “The poem is effective in achieving its purpose because it uses poetic devices such as metaphor and alliteration.”

Once you have developed a thesis statement, you need to make sure it is clear and concise. Your thesis should be one or two sentences long, and it should be easy to see what it is arguing.

Analyze Specific Lines and Stanzas in Depth

How to Write a Poetry Essay: Analyze Specific Lines and Stanzas in Depth

When writing a poetry essay, it is important to analyze the poem in depth. This means examining the meaning of individual lines and stanzas, as well as the poem as a whole. In order to do this effectively, you must first have a strong understanding of how to read and interpret poetry.

One of the best ways to analyze a poem is to read it aloud. This allows you to listen to the poem’s rhythms and sounds, and to get a sense of the poem’s overall structure. It also helps you to catch any words or phrases that may be ambiguous or unclear when read silently.

Once you have read the poem aloud, it is time to start analyzing it. The best way to do this is to focus on one section of the poem at a time. Begin by reading the section aloud and then asking yourself the following questions:

-What is the main idea or theme of this section?
-What are the main images or symbols in this section?
-What are the most important words or phrases in this section?
-What is the tone of this section?
-What is the structure of this section?

Once you have answered these questions, you should be able to get a good sense of what the poet is trying to say in that section of the poem. Then, you can move on to the next section and repeat the process.

It is also important to keep in mind the poem’s overall structure as you are analyzing it. Poems are not typically composed of one section of text that is neatly divided into paragraphs. Rather, poems are typically composed of a series of shorter, related sections that together form a larger whole. So, as you are reading and analyzing a poem, it is important to keep in mind the poem’s overall structure.

Finally, it is important to remember that poems are not just words on a page. They are works of art that should be appreciated for their beauty as well as their meaning. So, don’t just focus on the words and phrases in a poem. Try to also appreciate the poem’s structure, its images and symbols, and its overall tone.

Connect Poetic Elements to Broader Interpretations

There is no one formula for writing a poetry essay, but there are some basic steps you can follow to help connect poetic elements to broader interpretations.

First, read and analyze the poem closely, looking for all the elements that make it up. This includes the subject matter, the tone, the words used, the structure, and any symbolism or imagery.

Next, brainstorm some possible interpretations of the poem. What is the poem trying to say about the subject matter? What is the tone of the poem? What are the words and images used to convey that tone? What is the structure of the poem? Is it chronological or abstract?

Then, choose the interpretation that you think is most interesting or relevant, and explain why. What evidence do you have from the poem to support your interpretation? How do the different elements of the poem work together to create that interpretation?

Finally, you can conclude by discussing how the interpretation of the poem might connect to broader themes or issues. What is the larger message that the poem is trying to communicate? How does your interpretation of the poem help to shed light on that larger message?

Read more

Educators are currently faced with two important questions: How can we prevent students from using AI tools like ChatGPT to cheat on tests and assignments? And how can we engage students in learning when they have access to distracting technology? According to Michael Hernandez, a teacher at Manhattan Beach High School in Los Angeles, the answer lies in moving away from traditional assessments and focusing on critical thinking and purposeful storytelling.

Hernandez believes that if students are going to put effort into their assignments, it should be for something meaningful. Traditional assessments, such as tests and worksheets, often end up in the trash, which sends a message that students’ work doesn’t matter. Hernandez argues that storytelling, in various forms, can be a more effective way to engage students and promote deep and critical thinking across different subjects.

Instead of simply asking students to create documentaries, Hernandez suggests exploring other avenues like digital books, data visualization, infographics, editorial illustrations, podcast production, and interviewing skills. These activities stimulate creativity and allow students to apply their knowledge in practical ways. Hernandez believes that the true test of understanding is the ability to use knowledge in real-life situations.

Hernandez provides examples of how teachers can implement these approaches in the classroom. For instance, a science teacher in Texas had students customize pictures of the insides of bones by adding their own labels. This assignment encouraged students to make personal connections and demonstrate their understanding in unique ways. Another example involves an AP chemistry teacher who has her students create explainer videos for younger students, which helps them engage with the concepts they are learning. Similarly, a science teacher at Hernandez’s school had students create infographics to explain scientific concepts to a nonscientific audience.

When it comes to assessing these projects, Hernandez suggests moving away from traditional letter grades and encouraging peer evaluation and feedback. Students can workshop each other’s work through class discussions or provide feedback individually. The goal is to make learning a collaborative and transparent process where students can learn from one another.

Despite the benefits of these alternative assessments, there are factors that discourage educators from implementing them. These may include concerns about the time required to design and evaluate projects, the lack of standardized grading systems, and resistance from parents or administrators. However, Hernandez believes that the benefits of engaging students in critical thinking and storytelling outweigh these challenges.

In conclusion, educators can address the issues of cheating and student disengagement by embracing alternative assessments that promote critical thinking and purposeful storytelling. By shifting the focus from memorization to practical application, students are more likely to be motivated and actively involved in their learning. Peer evaluation and feedback can further enhance the learning process and foster a collaborative classroom environment. Though there are potential obstacles to overcome, the benefits of these approaches outweigh the challenges, ultimately leading to more meaningful and effective education.

Having a principal who acknowledges and appreciates the significance of your contributions in enriching the children’s lives through creative projects can truly have a transformative impact. As opposed to a leadership approach that solely focuses on meeting educational standards or preparing for tests, this understanding from the principal makes a world of difference. Luis Hernandez expressed the importance of having a supportive principal who recognizes the value you bring to the students through your innovative endeavors.

Read more

The Ohio Supreme Court has reached its final decision on a longstanding state school funding case that has lasted for 12 years. The court reaffirmed its previous judgments in multiple rulings, stating that the current education financing system violates the state constitution and that the responsibility to resolve this issue lies with the legislature. However, in its 5-2 final ruling, the court also made it clear that the case has concluded and that neither the state high court nor any other court has jurisdiction over it. This declaration leaves the plaintiffs with no mechanism to ensure that the current unconstitutional system is rectified, at least in the eyes of the court.

William L. Phillis, the executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, which initiated the lawsuit in 1991 under the name DeRolph v. State of Ohio, expressed his interpretation of the ruling. He likened it to being declared guilty but still being set free. Phillis believes that the chances of the legislature fixing the current funding system are slim, especially considering that they failed to address the system’s fundamental issues during the years when the court had jurisdiction over the case.

The final ruling was in response to the plaintiffs’ attempt to have a lower-court judge, Perry County Common Pleas Court Judge Linton D. Lewis Jr., oversee a conference on how the legislature would adhere to the supreme court’s judgment. Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro requested that the supreme court reject this request. In its final ruling, the court clarified that the case was indeed concluded, and no further action regarding it should take place in any state court.

Governor Bob Taft acknowledges his and the legislature’s responsibility to ensure that the state’s education system is both comprehensive and efficient, as mandated by the Ohio Constitution. Ann Husted, his communications director, explains that the governor also has a constitutional duty to balance the budget. The budget for the fiscal year 2004 is currently being debated in the state Senate.

Senator Robert Garner, a Republican and chairman of the Senate education committee, argues that the legislature has already taken considerable steps in the past decade to address problems with the funding system. For instance, he states that per-pupil funding for Ohio public school students has more than doubled since the DeRolph lawsuit was filed. Additionally, between 1997 and 2021, the state has spent $3.6 billion on school facilities, compared to only $174 million between 1954 and 1997. Garner believes that the urgency of the situation is no longer present.

Phillis, representing the plaintiffs, counters Garner’s arguments by pointing out that the lawsuit served a purpose. According to Phillis, the state would not have increased its spending on school facilities to the extent that it did if his coalition had not filed the lawsuit. He also highlights that the case compelled the state to clarify that the legislature’s obligation to provide a "thorough and efficient" education to Ohio’s students meant offering a high-quality education rather than simply keeping schools open. However, Phillis asserts that the state failed to implement the structural changes mandated by the court’s decisions. He claims that lawmakers have neglected to link the funding level with the actual cost of delivering a high-quality education.

Read more

The recent efforts by the Obama administration to address the issue of racial and ethnic disparities in school discipline have received criticism during a public briefing before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Last spring, officials announced a new approach that not only focuses on intentional discrimination against students, but also examines the disproportionate impact of policies on specific groups, even if there is no intention of discrimination. The goal is to ensure that schools are implementing discipline fairly, taking into account the unique needs of each school and student.

During the briefing held on February 11th, Ricardo Soto, the deputy assistant secretary for the Education Department’s office for civil rights, provided further details on the new policy. He emphasized that the administration is utilizing all available tools, including the "disparate-impact theory," to ensure fair discipline in schools. Soto acknowledged that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to discipline, as each school and student population is different. However, Commissioner Todd F. Gaziano expressed concerns about the administration’s interpretation of disparate-impact analysis, stating that it places an undue burden on schools to justify any disparities.

Several teachers who spoke at the briefing echoed Gaziano’s concerns. Allen Zollman, an English as a second language teacher at an urban middle school in Pennsylvania, expressed opposition to having to consider disparate impact when removing a disruptive student from his classroom, as he sees it as a constraint on effective discipline. Jamie Frank, a teacher with 11 years of experience in the suburban Washington area, highlighted the pressure on school administrators to reduce overrepresentation of disciplinary action against minority groups. She shared an example of a policy change in her district that eliminated a penalty for students who failed to attend class, which she believed unfairly burdened teachers to compensate for lost work.

However, some school district administrators who testified at the briefing supported the focus on disparate impact. Hertica Y. Martin, the executive director of elementary and secondary education for New York state’s Rochester public schools, reported that the district successfully reduced the overrepresentation of expelled African-American males through the implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support. This approach has helped promote fairer disciplinary actions. Some commissioners also expressed sympathy towards the civil rights focus on disparate impact, suggesting the opportunity to offer best practices to school districts. However, they also emphasized the need for transparency in examining the effectiveness of remedies to eliminate disparate impact, in order to address concerns that the federal government may be interfering for the sake of "political correctness."

The briefing marked the first meeting for a new slate of commissioners appointed by President Barack Obama and Congress. The commission’s new members include Dina Titus, Martin R. Castro, and Roberta Achtenberg. One seat on the commission remains vacant, but it is expected to be filled by Michael Yaki. These new commissioners will play a crucial role in shaping the direction and policies of the commission.

Read more

Richard Marquez is highly qualified for his position in the federal government. However, if you knew him as a teenager, you would probably find it hard to believe that he would one day become an assistant to the Secretary of Education. Marquez did not have an easy time in school, as he dropped out at the age of 17. However, he later earned a General Educational Development diploma while serving in the Army. This personal experience of feeling like a failure in the educational system gave him a unique perspective on labeling and the flaws of the system itself.

Marquez’s philosophy, influenced by his own experiences and years as an educator, is that most school failures can be attributed to institutional problems rather than shortcomings of students. He believes that the solution lies in making the education system less bureaucratic and more responsive to individual needs. This philosophy aligns well with the Bush Administration’s focus on school restructuring and flexibility. In his new role, Marquez’s responsibilities include identifying effective dropout prevention programs and replicating their success. He also aims to improve data on the dropout problem by working with the department’s research branch.

What excites Marquez the most about his new job is the opportunity to encourage educators to challenge bureaucracy and bring about change in their schools. He truly believes that he has answers to the problems plaguing the education system. As a reminder of the issues at hand, he keeps a note on his computer that questions whether American students are inherently inferior or if they are simply products of an inferior system.

When Marquez was a student, the Dallas school system did not work for him. He felt disconnected from school and saw no reason to stay. However, he eventually recognized that his lack of education was holding him back, so he left his job and went to college. Marquez decided early on that he wanted to be a teacher, believing that his own mistakes could be valuable lessons for other students.

He started his teaching career in middle schools, teaching history and Spanish. His supervisor recognized his potential as an administrator, so he pursued a master’s degree in educational administration at night school. After graduation, Marquez worked in various roles, including running special programs and serving as an assistant principal. In 1983, he became the principal of Anson Jones Elementary School, which had a disproportionately large Hispanic student population. Marquez’s greatest achievements include his tenure as principal of Sunset High School, where he significantly reduced the dropout rate and increased enrollment in advanced-placement classes.

One of Marquez’s most acclaimed accomplishments at Sunset High was the intensive program he implemented for students who had failed the 9th grade. However, he emphasizes that his efforts were not limited to just that program. He believed that everything in a school is interconnected and contributes to the overall goal. One of the major issues he faced at Sunset High was low expectations from teachers, particularly when it came to Hispanic students. They had a belief that Hispanic kids were incapable of learning, which Marquez worked on changing.

Instead of making visits to the residences of truant students from Sunset School and escorting them to school, as he did at Anson Jones School, he took an approach of addressing each student and teacher individually. He acknowledged that this takes a significant amount of effort, which is why many people avoid it. He explained that managing through uniformity and standardization is simpler. In Mr. Marquez’s view, educational systems often become bureaucratic organizations that suppress creativity. Therefore, he was not surprised when people started referring to him as a "maverick." However, upon contemplating this label, he posed an interesting question: "If being a risk-taker and a maverick is necessary to make an urban school successful, does it imply that urban schools are not designed to benefit children?"

Read more

Conservative activists are taking action to address what they perceive as the corruption of colleges by liberal and left-leaning academics. They are launching a venture to eliminate bias from public schools across the country. David Horowitz, the author and organizer of a conference held on April 7, believes this movement has the potential to become a large grassroots campaign. The conference was hosted by Students for Academic Freedom, a division of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, which promotes conservative views among students and the public. Horowitz, president of the center, stated that the long-term goal of the attendees is to prevent ideological agendas from infiltrating K-12 schools.

While Horowitz acknowledges that the effort aims to combat both liberal and conservative bias in education, many speakers at the conference expressed particular concerns about the influence of left-leaning administrators and teachers. Several college students shared their experiences of professors, campus administrators, and previous high school teachers promoting liberal positions and suppressing conservative views. One student, Sean Allen, received an award at the event for recording critical comments made by his teacher about President Bush in a geography class. This incident gained national attention earlier in the year.

Horowitz emphasized that public schools, unlike private colleges, have a responsibility to present lessons impartially as they are financed by taxpayers. He predicted that public outrage over political bias in classrooms will continue to rise. Therefore, school officials need to familiarize themselves with the principles of academic freedom out of self-interest, according to Horowitz.

Students for Academic Freedom plans to encourage state legislators to introduce measures that ensure objectivity in classroom lessons. Bradley Shipp, the organization’s national field director, defended these proposals against potential criticism that they restrict speech. He explained that their aim is to raise public awareness of potential bias through nonbinding resolutions. State Representative Samuel E. Rohrer, a Republican from Pennsylvania, attended the conference and intends to hold hearings later in the year on political leanings in K-12 schools.

Horowitz also claimed that there is evident political bias in recent large-scale protests against proposals aimed at curbing illegal immigration. He argued that some teachers and administrators have tolerated and even encouraged these student-led events. Horowitz, who has transitioned from a radical leftist to a political conservative, frequently speaks on television and campuses about his crusade against intolerance in academia, as depicted in his book "Uncivil Wars."

While some believe that the left is attempting to influence public schools, others suggest that recent evidence points to a push by right-leaning individuals instead.

"He mentioned that they take great pride in the distinctiveness of their missions."

Read more

Renowned philanthropist Eli Broad, well-known for his contributions towards education, has recently announced his retirement from the foundation he established with his wife. However, experts believe that Broad’s influence on policy and politics, particularly regarding the role of private funding, will continue to shape the future. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, based in Los Angeles, has gained national attention due to Broad’s significant impact on the charter sector. Through a training academy, hundreds of school district leaders have been shaped by Broad, many of whom currently head the largest systems in the country. Additionally, Broad Prize has encouraged school districts and charters to seek recognition and financial reward. With Broad’s departure, concerns arise regarding the foundation’s future dedication towards education issues.

Broad himself confirmed his retirement on his official Twitter account, expressing his eagerness to spend time with family, read, and enjoy movies. Although a new president, Gerun Riley, was appointed at the foundation in 2016, Broad has remained actively involved. Megan Tompkins-Stange, a public policy professor at Michigan State University and an expert in education philanthropy, describes Broad as an influential figure who represents the hands-on approach of philanthropists who strive for quick outcomes and hold grantees accountable.

Tompkins-Stange highlights Broad’s distinctive style, which differentiates him from other philanthropists in the education sector such as Bill Gates and the Walton family. Her research, detailed in her book "Policy Patrons," commends Broad’s unapologetic desire to bring about rapid change.

Born in Detroit, Broad amassed his wealth through construction and insurance, establishing his empire in Los Angeles after relocating there as a young businessman. Broad has heavily invested in expanding Los Angeles’ charter schools, specifically those catering to low-income, minority students with a focus on college preparation. Moreover, he has financially supported pro-charter candidates in school board elections, aiming to create a more favorable political environment for the growth of charters. With Broad’s financial assistance, the recent Los Angeles school board election became the most expensive in U.S. history, resulting in a majority of pro-charter members. Steve Zimmer, the former president of the Los Angeles Unified School District, supported by the teachers’ union, acknowledges common goals with Broad but expresses disagreements on the means to achieve them.

In addition to his national influence on the charter sector, Broad’s philanthropic endeavors have significantly impacted the city of Los Angeles. He has contributed to the redevelopment of downtown Los Angeles and established a $140 million art museum in the city center in 2015. Steve Barr, founder of Green Dot Public Schools and CEO of Future is Now, highlights Broad’s uniqueness as a self-made individual who recognizes the importance of the public education system from which he benefited.

Broad’s legacy also includes the establishment of a highly prestigious prize.

"When you accepted an investment from Eli Broad, you were committing to very specific performance metrics," stated Barth. "I would say he was ahead of his time in setting clear expectations. He was doing this before the concept of ‘venture philanthropy’ or an investment approach in philanthropy became popular."

Critiques of Imposing Change

While Broad has many supporters within the charter sector, he has also garnered critics. According to Jeffrey Henig, a political science and education professor at Teachers College Columbia University, the most common complaint is that Broad, as a powerful billionaire, has influenced public institutions without being held directly accountable. "The focus of this reform movement that Broad is a part of is addressing the achievement gap, which is commendable," said Henig. "However, the flip side is that predominantly white institutions and predominantly white donors are leading a charge that primarily affects minority communities." Tompkins-Stange also expressed this concern and suggested that the Broad Foundation can improve its future funding decisions to align with the changing demographics of the nation. Henig explained that Broad is part of a trend among emerging philanthropists in the last two decades who may become frustrated with the outcomes of their investments. He believes that Broad’s impatience led him to shift his philanthropic focus from traditional school districts to charter schools, particularly large and well-established charter school networks. This change in focus can be observed with the discontinuation of the Broad Prize for urban school districts.

"When it wasn’t immediately successful, when it wasn’t evident that the winners of the Broad Prize continued to improve, and when it wasn’t clear that other districts were adopting those strategies with equal success, the Broad Prize began to emphasize recognition of charter networks," explained Henig. Barbara Jenkins has a personal perspective on Broad’s impact. She credits him with helping her achieve a successful career in education. Jenkins attended his academy in 2006 and later became superintendent of Orange County Public Schools in Florida. In 2014, her district won the Broad Prize, sharing the distinction with Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia. These were the last traditional public school systems to be awarded the prize. Jenkins highlighted the immediate impact the $500,000 in college scholarships had on her students. "Regarding the academy, it was the most impactful professional development I have experienced," she said. "The standards and expectations were high. Philanthropists have the right to allocate their funds as they see fit, and for individuals like Eli Broad to recognize the importance of investing in education speaks volumes about their belief in its significance."

Getting Involved

Patrick Dobard joined the Broad Academy shortly after being appointed superintendent of Louisiana’s Recovery School District (RSD). The RSD is not a typical district as it is state-run and responsible for turning around failing schools in Louisiana. Dobard, who currently serves as the CEO of New Schools For New Orleans, faced unique challenges in his role. "Through the Broad Residency and Academy programs, they have been instrumental in attracting talented individuals to work in various organizations throughout the city of New Orleans [after Hurricane Katrina]," Dobard explained. "Whether it be in local charter schools, the New Orleans Parish school board, or even at the state office, their investment in human capital has had a lasting impact on the city." While injecting private funds into the public service system may seem promising to proponents of free-market ideology, it can be concerning to those who fear that wealthy individuals are influencing policy-making.

"I believe he is well-positioned to continue making a significant difference due to the extensive relationships he has cultivated. It is challenging to label him within the confines of a highly polarized environment," remarked Tompkins-Stange. She expressed uncertainty regarding how distant Broad may be from the work he has passionately dedicated himself to for two decades. "However, his deep involvement on the forefront enables him to witness the direct impact he is making. Moreover, he has a reputation for speaking up and taking action when he identifies something that requires attention. Therefore, we have reservations about any potential change in this regard."

Read more

Do you go by Longnose or Sheepshanks, Vuggles or Halfknight? Even if you’re a Smith or Jones, there’s likely a curiosity brewing inside of you about the origin and evolution of your surname. My surname, Tickle, hails from the town of Tickhill in the old West Riding of Yorkshire and is not as rare as one might think.

Thanks to a grant of £835,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, this curiosity may soon be satiated. Launching in April at the University of the West of England (UWE), a research project into UK family names will provide a publicly accessible, online database offering meanings and origins for up to 150,000 current surnames.

Engaging with this database may reveal connections to an aristocratic history, or it may pinpoint the Middle Age’s decision to name the local squire’s preferred pig-keeper after you. Though many surname dictionaries exist, principal investigator Richard Coates, linguistics professor, claims these resources are unreliable in interpreting old forms of a name. He also highlighted the problem of the suggested interpretation not aligning with known familial history. Alongside Dr. Patrick Hanks, collaborating lexicographer, Coates and three researchers will seek out the names that have slipped through the cracks by scrutinising old county rolls, medieval archives, and parish registries.

To create a profile for each name, they will gather information on the name’s spelling variations, the time and place of its first appearance, frequency, and social and regional distribution. Coates explains that originally, people did not concern themselves with surnames. They came to be out of the necessity to protect inherited wealth. The wealthy required a way to ensure the fortune would pass to the correct Edward, Henry, or William, with their wealth also being taxable. “There were far more given names in Anglo-Saxon England than in the 12th and 13th centuries. At the end of the Anglo-Saxon period, only the aristocracy have second names. As the number of given names reduces, so the need for distinctive second names grows.”

Once second naming became fashionable, aristocratic naming patterns trickled down to the lower classes rather rapidly throughout most of England. Surnames came about during the late Middle Ages for most of the UK, with the trend spreading from south to north; although, in certain regions such as Wales and Lancashire, their prevalence is seen much later.

Four classifications of surname exist. The first identifies an individual by their relation to another; for instance, a person adopting their father’s given name resulted in Jackson or just Jack, and in Gaelic Scotland, Macdonald. The second identifies location or profession; Coates’s name means “cottages” in Middle English and originated from the place name Cotes in his grandfather’s ancestral county of Staffordshire. The third way surnames are formed is by description, often relating to hair or skin tone; examples include White, Short, Armstrong, or Russell. Finally, occupation-based surnames such as Naylor (a nail maker), Baxter (a female baker), Wheelwright (a wheel maker), and Leech (a doctor) are common.

Decoding how surnames changed with variations in location and spelling is a task that will be undertaken by the research team. Moreover, Coates notes that women have not always adhered to taking their husband’s name. “Then there’s the question of illegitimacy. In one sense, it wouldn’t matter what an illegitimate child were called if there was nothing to inherit, but if you and your mother were abandoned, an identifying surname would be crucial to establishing which parish was responsible for paying to look after you." Lastly, Coates mentions that the funniest surname he came across was inappropriate for print in a family newspaper.

The peak moment in this type of investigation occurs when you realize that you have accumulated adequate information to arrive at a conclusion that has never been reached before about how a particular name was acquired, according to Coates.

Are there any surnames whose origins the team might never be able to uncover?

With a grin, Coates acknowledges that some will inevitably be incomprehensible. If the team can account for each name that has more than 100 people, they would be satisfied. Even better would be if they could account for many names with fewer than 100 people.

What about names such as Lickerish that seem quite odd?

The names on the list below all had no more than 200 people with them in 1881. It is uncertain if any are still in use today.

Bolus which is Old Norse for ‘poleaxe’

Champflower which is from a village in Normandy

Gwatkin which is apparantly a welsh-influenced form of Watkin or ‘Little Walter, from the Herefordshire area

Halfknight which may refer to someone who held half of a knight’s fee, or was simply intended as an insult.

Lickerish which means ‘Randy’

Marmion which is Old French for ‘monkey’

McCambridge which is Anglicised Gaelic for ‘son of Ambrose’

Pitchfork which is a rare variant of Pitchford, a place in Shropshire

Prettyjohn which is a variant of Prester John, a legendry oriental ruler from the 12th century

Puddifoot which is ‘Fat Vat’

Slorance which is Scots and has an unknown meaning

Stiddolph which is from the Old English ‘hard’, ‘wolf’

Read more

Michael Banton, a distinguished professor of sociology, passed away at the age of 91. He was the first person to hold this position at Bristol University and remained the head of the department until his retirement in 1992.

Apart from his work at Bristol University, he led the Social Science Research Council’s Research Unit on Ethnic Relations from 1971 to 1978, which looked at issues surrounding migration from south Asia, Caribbean and African countries. The unit later moved to Warwick University and became the Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations.

In 1978, Michael was selected as a member of the Royal Commission on Bermuda, which investigated the civil disorder that unfolded after the execution of the men responsible for assassinating the then-governor, Sir Richard Sharples. He also served on the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure from 1978 to 1981 and later joined the United Nations committee on the elimination of racial discrimination. Michael held the positions of chairman from 1996 to 1998, and rapporteur from 1990 to 1996 and again from 1998 to 2001. His extensive experience in these positions led to the publication of two books, International Action Against Racial Discrimination (1996) and The International Politics of Race (2002).

Born in Birmingham, Michael was the son of Francis Banton, who worked at a cement company and Kathleen Banton (nee Parkes). He studied at the London School of Economics and was appointed as a lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Edinburgh in 1950. He later became a reader before moving to Bristol.

Michael’s research methodology focused on the relationships between individuals and the choices they make, including those that lead to social exclusion or to increasing one’s social advantage. His book, Racial and Ethnic Competition (1983), explored this theme.

I had the pleasure of working alongside Michael for over 40 years at Bristol University. During our last meeting in 2017, he remained engaged in his work and continued to be a source of intellectual inspiration.

Michael was survived by three children – Dagmar, Ragnhild, and Christopher. His wife Marianne Jacobson passed away in 2007, and he lost his son Nicholas in 1994.

Read more

My husband, John Needham, passed away at the age of 84, and was an active member of the Labour party, a highly regarded permanent secretary of the Open University Students’ Association (OUSA), and a lifelong fan of Arsenal football club.

John was raised in a tenement flat near King’s Cross station in London. His parents, Lydia (nee Pateman) and John Needham, both worked at Whitbread’s Brewery. When John was two years old, the second world war broke out, and his father enlisted, leaving him and his mother to spend much of the war in underground shelters. Their building was also bombed twice.

Leaving William Ellis school at the age of 15, John worked as an office boy in the City. In the 1960s, he became an active member of St Pancras North Labour party and was eventually elected to Camden council. As chair of the libraries and arts committee, he oversaw the construction of the St Pancras library and Shaw theatre.

During the 1971 Housing Finance Act, he was one of a small group of councillors who stood with tenants during the rent strike and was later surcharged as a result. This huge debt lingered over him for years until it was eventually revoked by the House of Lords. It was during the run-up to the February 1974 general election that John and I met. He was the agent for St Pancras North, and I had signed up as a campaign volunteer.

In the early 1970s, John was one of the first to enrol in the Open University and studied both the social science and science foundation courses. After the OU negotiated with several universities to admit students with OU course credits instead of A-levels, he became one of Lancaster University’s first full-time mature students. At the age of 40, he earned his degree with a 2:1 in organisation studies and sociology.

John later moved from working at Sunderland Polytechnic to becoming the general manager of the student union. In 1983, he moved to Milton Keynes, where he became the permanent secretary of OUSA. As someone who strongly believed in the Open University’s mission, he had firsthand experience of its power to change lives. When the university was under threat from a hostile Tory government, John spearheaded a campaign to support the OU by engaging students throughout Britain. It resulted in a 160,000-signature petition that was delivered to 10 Downing Street in November 1985. He retired in 1999, and in 2001, he received an honorary master’s degree for services to OU students.

During his retirement, John dedicated much of his time and effort to campaigning for patient and public involvement in the NHS. He was also an avid golfer.

He is survived by me, our daughter Jessica, and our grandchildren Teddy and Poppy.

Read more