Saturday, December 28, 2013

teacherken at Daily Kos This Week 12-28-13

teacherken at Daily Kos:

teacherken at Daily Kos This Week

In 1985, December 29 also fell on a Sunday.  Friends and family gathered from near and far.  And shortly after 4 PM, after more than 11 years of seeing one another, Leaves on the Current and I were married at St Mark Orthodox Church in Bethesda MD, where she still attends. Almost three decades and we have seen our share of times both good and bad. There were times when we thought we would lose the

because it is Saturday, a day on which I usually reflect on my purpose. I am now less than a week away from returning to my classroom - although why we are coming back for Thursday and Friday, when many students will be absent and most of the rest will be unfocused is beyond me.  It would have made more sense to have those days off and not have been off the Monday and Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Charles M. Blow on Greeting the New Year
This is the time of year when many, especially pundits, either look back at the year ending, or look ahead with resolutions, or both. There is some of each in this New York Times column this morning, but the focus is primarily forward, with four resolutions Blow offers as his commitment for the forthcoming year. Let me list them, in bold since this is not a continuous quote, but is word for word,


Incarceration Nation
Most of us here already realize that the US has about 1/4 of the world's incarcerated prisoners, about 2.8 million people total. But imagine you treated that population as its own country.  That helps put some of the data in context, as you can see in this piece at Alternet. The article has a map with the intensity of the color of the state matching the rate of incarceration.  No surprise, the sta
Eugene Robinson on The GOP’s growing divide
The Republican Party, which should have the wind at its back, enters 2014 in disarray bordering on open warfare. That is how the Pulitzer Prize winner begins this column in today's Washington Post The "should" can be derived from the recent CNN poll showing a 5 point preference for a generic Republican over a generic Democrat for Congress, at 49-44, a significant turn-around in the last

DEC 26

Krugman: The Fear Economy
is the title of this op ed for Friday's New York Times. The fear is economic. The fear is not having a job. It is made worse by the cutting off of extended unemployment benefits as of Saturday. It is exacerbated because, as Krugman points out, employment generally involves a power relationship: you have a boss, who tells you what to do, and if you refuse, you may be fired. This doesn’t have to be
A conversation with Andy Shallal on education
Andy Shallal  is an artist, a restaurant owner, a businessman, and now a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Mayor of Washington DC. I have known Andy slightly for a number of years, and briefly worked for him in the bookstores at his Busboys & Poets restaurants until I decided to return to classroom teaching. Readers of Daily Kos have already been introduced to Andy and his positions
Public Education Under Siege
In an important postrevolutionary essay on education, eighteenth-century journalist Samuel Harrison Smith wrote that the free play of intelligence was central to a democracy, and that individual intellectual growth was intimately connected to broad-scale intellectual development to the "general diffusion of knowledge" across the republic.  As we consider what the reform initiatives might

DEC 25

Interesting observation on same-sex marriage by Jeffrey Toobin
in a New Yorker piece titled Same-Sex Marriage, The Legal Deluge. He reviews the big decisions from NM and Utah, but things the real story was in Ohio, where Monday a Federal District Court judge issued an important ruling that has tended to get lost in the shuffle.  Toobin writes: James Obergefell and John Arthur, who lived together in Cincinnati, married in Maryland at a time when Arthur was gra
Wendell Potter on Obamacare
in an interesting piece at Reader Supported News dated yesterday and titled Obamacare: What's in It for You? Plenty, So Take Time to Find Out. He notes a number of things that most Americans do not seem to know, in large part because of how the media has covered the roll-out, starting with this:  the average increased in premiums of 4% much lower than the average of the past decade. Here's a few m
One important Christmas ritual
upon which Leaves on the Current insists is the old Russian tradition of making certain the animals are cared for before we celebrate ourselves. I am not a celebrant of Christmas.  I do not want gifts.  I will occasionally get a specific gift for someone else, this year only two -  for one son of one of my wife's sisters, a middle schooler who thinks he wants to be a Marine, a history of the Corps

DEC 24

Some reflection on Stiglitz and his words on teachers
I realize that others have written about the magnificent piece by Joe Stiglitz titled In No One We Trust.  There were two paragraphs that spoke directly to me, and upon which I would like to ruminate. After writing about the strange idea that financial executives already  being paid millions needs stock options to motivate good performance, Stiglitz offers this paragraph: Similarly, teachers must
Must-read by Barton Gellman on Edward Snowden
that went up some 8 hours ago at the Washington Post website - in fact I am surprised not to see something at the top of the Rec list. The piece is titled Edward Snowden, after months of NSA revelations, says his mission’s accomplished and it is the result of the Post reporter interviewing Snowden in Moscow. The "tease" quote - on Twitter and elsewhere - has been  this line: For me, in t

DEC 23

‘Duck Dynasty,’ meet Pope Francis
is the title of this Washington Post op ed by E. J. Dionne, Jr..  It examines not only the remarks of the Pontiff and the patriarch of the Robertson family, but also the recent defrocking of Methodist Minister Frank Schaefer for presiding over the same-sex nuptials of his son.   I am not going to examine the entire column - you are well equipped to do that on your own. There is a section of three

DEC 22

the Nation's Progressive Honor Role for 2013
is something everyone here should read and ponder. The Progressive Honor Roll of 2013 is authored by John Nichols, and is subtitled We celebrate these heroes both for their accomplishments of the past year and their determination to do even more in 2014. There are those whom we would expect to appear on such a list:  Elizabeth Warren as Most Valuable Senator and Bernie Sanders for his budget propo

DEC 21

Teaching as a relationship of trust
Parker Palmer has been my guide in many things, especialy in the importance of relationship in teaching.  In his seminal work, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher's Life, he describes teaching as a series of overlapping relationships - between teacher and students, among the students, everyone with the subject being studied. With that in mind, one key responsibility fo