Guess I need to renew my subscription to the Nation on the basis of this article.
It’s just unbelievable what this country has done to the young men and women of its armed forces.
The NYT has a brief “let’s talk to some teachers, some students, and some experts” article about the impact of Harry Potter.
The ability to find an educational expert to back up every possible opinion is demoralizing. To wit:
Some reading experts say that urging kids to read fiction in general might be a misplaced goal. â€œIf you look at what most people need to read for their occupation, itâ€™s zero narrative,â€ said Michael L. Kamil, a professor of education at Stanford University. â€œI donâ€™t want to deny that you should be reading stories and literature. But weâ€™ve overemphasized it,â€ he said. Instead, children need to learn to read for information, Mr. Kamil said, something they can practice while reading on the Internet, for example.
This vision will be happily embraced by any and all who are ready to gut whole language and who want to emphasize reading as a skill rather than a love or a vocation. I know I’m a romantic but “reading for information” can’t be the starting point for teachers seeking to inspire their students or for kids learning to read.
This article from Friday’s Times describes the plight of a teacher buried by paperwork.
Nothing new there.
What’s most impressive, though, is the way in which the high-level administrators respond, as if nothing could be more natural than five weeks of paperwork to prepare to teach.
End result: new teacher, with lots to offer, departs for another position.
Bureaucrat in nice suit: promoted.
Not a big fan of Mayor Street, but his adamant refusal to allow police officers into Philadelphia public schools was the right call. The columnist, Bob Herbert, from the New York Times, has been steadily documenting the abuses perpetrated by New York City Police Officers on schoolchildren in NYC.
Today’s article — here
Baker, Russell. “Talking it Up.” New York Review of Books, May 11, 2006.
What I liked was his description of what makes a good conversation:
Both participants listen attentively to each other; neither tries to promote himself by pleasing the other; both are obviously enjoying an intellectual workout; neither spoils the evening’s peaceable air by making a speech or letting disagreement flare into anger; they do not make tedious attempts to be witty. They observe classic conversational etiquette with a self-discipline that would have pleased Michel de Montaigne, Samuel Johnson, or any of a dozen other old masters of good talk whom Miller cites as authorities.
This etiquette, Miller says, is essential if conversation is to rise to the level ofâ€”well, “good conversation.” The etiquette is hard on hotheads, egomaniacs, windbags, clowns, politicians, and zealots. The good conversationalist must never go purple with rage, like people on talk radio; never tell a long-winded story, like Joseph Conrad; and never boast that his views enjoy divine approval, like a former neighbor of mine whose car bumper declared, “God Said It, I Believe It, And That Settles It.”
I’d like to snip this and put it in the opening portion of my next few syllabi…