Category Archives: Articles of Note

The exact opposite of how school funding works

This is a description from a great article from Pete Wells about new restaurants in NYC and the ways in which they are created. His larger point about how many groups are excluded is set up by this description:

Most restaurants, though, are funded by loans and private backers. Aby Rosen, one of the owners of the Seagram Building, recently told a reporter for Town & Country how he had raised $32 million for the Pool, the Grilland another restaurant the Major Food Group is building there. He and the restaurateurs solicited investments from “a nice mix of hedge fund guys, fashionistas, rich guys — an interesting group of 100 people who then bring 20 or 30 of their friends, and suddenly you have 2,000 people.”

Sadly, this approach doesn’t work for new schools.

Humility; being humbled

There’s a cool piece in the paper today about the original meaning of humility, of “being humbled.”

Yesterday, while participating in a panel at Educon, I had talked about the necessity of humility in a teaching practice, particularly in terms of the mentoring relationship. In some ways, humility is a necessity for a mentor teacher, because if you’re at all self-aware you’re going to be humbled by your students, usually in an embarrassing way and usually after you’ve just explained how you might approach curriculum (the kids hate it), management (the kids ignite something), community (a fight breaks out), deliberation (they start screaming), documentation (they submit blank papers). You get the idea.

There’s nothing wrong with this as any teacher has good days and bad. But what I hope I’m trying to teach my students (and any poor soul unlucky enough to be student teaching with me) is how you keep moving right through these moments, that you can expect them even if you can’t predict them.

Why you read

I try and read something every night. Not always successful. Really liked this review but liked being able to give this paragraph to a student trying to make an argument about climate change:

More recent—and possibly more powerful—is the “ecosystems services model,” which is an attempt to cost out all the various services that nature provides, as if nature were a giant utility in charge of cleaning the water and freshening the air and sheltering coastlines from damaging storms but incapable of presenting us with a bill we can understand. The point of commodifying nature in this way is to give us a means of putting our actions—destroying mangroves, for instance—in perspective, showing us the hidden costs of what would otherwise look like rational economic behavior. The flaw here is that we can only value the ecosystems services that bear some resemblance to the things we’re used to assessing. Or as McCarthy puts it, “Worth is attributed only to services whose usefulness to us can be directly measured.” But what value, he asks, “do we give to butterflies which, when I was seven, captured my soul? What value do we give, for that matter, to birdsong?”

Pair of readings on influence of kajillionaires

For-profit entities

Knee, Jonathan A. “Why For-Profit Education Fails.” The Atlantic, November 2016.

Barkan, Joanne. “Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools.” Dissent Magazine. Accessed November 29, 2016.

Two food articles I thoroughly enjoyed

Reading The Baffler and Heather Havrilesky here. She quoted this article:

If shopping and cooking really are the most consequential, most political acts in my life, perhaps what that means is that our sense of the political has shrunk too far—shrunk so much that it fits into our recycled-hemp shopping bags. If these tiny acts of consumer choice are the most meaningful actions in our lives, perhaps we aren’t thinking and acting on a sufficiently big scale.

Havrilesky, Heather. “Delusion at the Gastropub.” The Baffler. Accessed November 29, 2016.

Lanchester, John. “A Foodie Repents.” The New Yorker, November 3, 2014.

Another article for the “why read?” conversation

Money all the way through; I would love to have students keep the first and last paragraphs and then rewrite the middle paragraphs based on the novels, stories, and poems they’ve read.

Last paragraph:

So reading is not merely a diversion or distraction from present pain; it is also an enlarging of our universe, our sympathies, wisdom and experience. The act of entering into the consciousness of another being, another sex, or sexual preference, social group, political outlook or religious persuasion, allows a respite from private and parochial preoccupations. That widening of our concerns may entail entering another location, or period in history – or an arena of which we would otherwise be ignorant. Education, as people are never tired of repeating, is a process of leading out, which suggests another benefit: that in being led by reading into previously unknown territory, we learn.

Source: “Move over Freud: Literary Fiction Is the Best Therapy.” The Guardian, November 26, 2016, sec. Books.