This quote pretty sums it all up.
“This experience makes me wonder, if I am this hungry, what do people who have physically demanding jobs feel like? How does a parent who works two jobs find the time to prepare and cook nutritious meals? How are these folks making it on $5 a day?”
via Council members’ week on food subsidy both personal and political – The Washington Post.
I wonder how this nation would fare if members of Congress did a similar exercise.
This weekend the Washington Post printed a mea culpa from Kenneth Bernstein, a retired high school history teacher, in which he warns college professors about an impending onslaught of students with poor writing skills. Bernstein identifies the high stakes testing environment imposed by 2001′s No Child Left Behind as the reason for the demise of writing and critical thinking skills. However, if one reads Bernstein’s piece closely, it’s not NCLB that’s the culprit, rather the AP industrial complex that has sprouted up over the last twenty years. Yet, Bernstein conflates the two throughout his editorial:
My primary course as a teacher was government, and for the last seven years that included three or four out of six sections of Advanced Placement AP U.S. Government and Politics. My students, mostly tenth graders, were quite bright, but already I was seeing the impact of federal education policy on their learning and skills.
via A warning to college profs from a high school teacher.
Unlike NCLB, AP courses are not federally mandated and schools have wide latitude in deciding whether to adopt AP courses. Many schools are hesitant to eschew what has become a sacred cow of American secondary education because of the prestige that it bestows upon schools that can boast offer a significant number of AP courses, not to mention the teachers who get to cherry pick their enrollments.
Also, unlike NCLB, AP courses are not generally seen as a bane of quality education/teaching. For example, at private schools throughout this country many of the same parents who proudly boast about not sending their children to public schools because they don’t want them being taught to a test, are the same ones fighting to preserve AP courses–even though the AP curriculum essentially demands teaching to a test.
Had Bernstein focused his energies more directly on teasing out these connections then this piece might have opened up another dialogue on the demand to reintegrate innovative pedagogical approaches into the classroom. Instead, this letter reads like a dated apology for a future that is not only already here, but one which has been here for quite a while thanks to the toll that AP courses exacted on secondary curriculum long before NCLB was enacted.
This should be interesting…
Design Thinking for Educators is…A creative process that helps you design meaningful solutions in the classroom, at your school, and in your community. The toolkit provides you with instructions to explore Design Thinking.
via Design Thinking for Educators.
If the lust to acquire and consume is one defining feature of the city, so too is its complement–deprivation and economic disparity. David Harvey, author of Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution, describes Manhattan as “one vast gated community.” He describes the process by which the rich push the city’s less well-off to its peripheries and take hold of urban life. Tracing the history of urban uprisings from the 1870s to Occupy Wall Street, Harvey argues that cities have long been contested spaces, where the interests of money collide with the public good. Beginning in the late nineteenth-century—when modern New York took shape—one finds the dawning sense that for the city to be made safe for consumption and its contented, bourgeois destiny, it needed to be purged of the blemish of the poor.
via Rebel Cities by Kanishk Tharoor – Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics.
Mashable reports that Sean Eldridge, husband of facebook co-founder and New Republic publisher Chris Hughes will be running for congress in 2014. An Eldridge victory would inject much needed youth-and not just in terms of age-into the democratic caucus.
via Husband of Facebook Co-Founder Running for Congress.
Sommers’ conclusion about the plight of boys in America echoes the findings of the 2008 report “Why we Can’t Wait” that was written and edited by Marcus Littles, Ryan Bower and Micah Gilmer.
As a teacher and parent, I was particularly struck by this passage in Sommers’ article:
As one critic told me recently, the classroom is no more rigged against boys than workplaces are rigged against lazy and unfocused workers. But unproductive workers are adults — not 5-year-olds. If boys are restless and unfocused, why not look for ways to help them do better? As a nation, can we afford not to?
I agree that as a nation we have not settled on effective strategies to engaging boys. However, I do know that my colleagues and I work very hard to do this on a daily basis. One of my growth experiences this year as a teacher has been on allowing for some of the restless chaos induced by boys to manifest in order for them as individuals and the class as a whole to succeed.
That said, I also believe that there are countless other factors that impede our work as teachers. It’s mind-boggling why so many schools are still intent on holding athletic practices in the afternoons/evenings rather than in the morning when students have the most energy, and more prone to distractions because they are looking for ways to exert this energy.
Another surprise is that so many schools have moved away from “shop” classes. Even if kids are not learning how to build a bookcase, there is merit in having classes on gardening and vehicle maintenance that will serve not only boys and girls well. These classes force students to focus and be engaged in a different manner, which will in turn provide more outlets for them to show exhibit different skill sets.
Ok, enough from the soapbox…click on the link below for the full text of Sommers’ article
via The Boys at the Back – NYTimes.com.
In this post Rob Fields offers a good profile of some of the software applications that he uses to manage his social media & tech ventures.
Read Here: My Productivity Tools | Rob Fields.
Thanks to my dear colleague Alondra Nelson for bringing this post to my attention and introducing me to Paul’s work. Paul’s insights in this post are spot on and this is something that I have felt myself as a student and observed countless times as an educator. And quite frankly, try as we might as educators, we do not always succeed in making students feel as they belong in our classrooms, or better yet, in that exalted sphere of “promising” “gifted” etc. students.
The level of comfort we feel in another person’s presence can powerfully influence how intelligent we feel, and in some sense, how intelligent we actually are, at least in that moment. Now multiply that one-on-one interaction by tens or hundreds, and you start to get a sense of how important a sense of belonging to a learning community can be.
Read the rest: Do You Feel Like You Belong? Why It Matters For Learning « Annie Murphy Paul.
Here’s my latest Q&A for Bold As Love. This profile is on Trenton, New Jersey based filmmaker and producer, Tanji Gilliam.
Young filmmakers working outside of LA, NY, or Atlanta and Austin, often find themselves spending as much time working as evangelists for their hometowns and building the necessary infrastructure needed for a filmmaker to thrive as they do working on their films. Such is the case of this week’s Q&A feature, Tanji Gilliam, Founder & Principal of Trenton New Jersey’s Oil House Productions.
Read More: The Q&A: Tanji Gilliam (Founder, Oil House Productions) | BoldAsLove.us.
As expected all of Lance Armstrong’s boosters have reiterated being oblivious to his use of PEDs. Armstrong definitely deserves the criticism he’s received since his public admission. A group that has received far less scrutiny and criticism for their actions during Armstrong’s run are the sports reporters who covered Armstrong and who opted to look the other way. Or as in the case of ESPN’s Rick Reilly, at times did Armstrong’s bidding for him:
Wrote it, said it, tweeted it: “He’s clean.” Put it in columns, said it on radio, said it on TV. Staked my reputation on it.”Never failed a drug test,” I’d always point out. “Most tested athlete in the world. Tested maybe 500 times. Never flunked one.”
via Lance Armstrong’s history of lying – ESPN.
Athletes have long been powerful and mesmerizing, but over the last two decades, many athletes have managed to turn the press into courtiers. Rather than serving as truth seekers, writers of Reilly’s ilk have opted to instead to go along for a joy-ride with their idol du jour.