Should Educators Encourage Student Activism Online?

28 09 2006

PBS Teacher Source blog is linked here now:
Should Educators Encourage Online Student Political Activism?
by Andy Carvin

Earlier today I had the opportunity to speak at a forum hosted by George Washington University on the impact of online social networks in politics.

It was the last place I expected to be talking about teachers and media literacy, but somehow the conversation ended up steering in that direction. . .

SEED Mag’s Business Math Homework

28 09 2006

A billionaire ex-mathematician believes he has a simple formula for improving math education and making America more competitive.
by Joshua Roebke
September 19, 2006

Math for America started over a game of poker. . . .When he looked around the room, it struck him that the assembled brainpower and capital could be used for greater good. Chatting with a few other former mathemticians, Simons put forth an idea to improve the state of math education in America. It was a notion he’d unsuccessfully tried to publish as a New York Times editorial a few years before:
. . .Even the best curriculum in the world, the reasoning goes, isn’t going to inspire students if unqualified individuals are teaching them. . .

Read the rest of this entry »

A Mesmerizing Thought . . .

28 09 2006

I’m having fun here at because your chosen categories subscribe you to cool posts by “tag” that you’d never find or even know about, otherwise. Just saw this for instance from The Monochromatic Knight:

I’m not really interested in advocating mesmerism since it’s mostly nonsense but it did have a very curious affect on society leading up to the French Revolution.. .
In the end it wasn’t mesmerism which played a role in the French revolution as much as it was the idea of the French establishment acting against the interest of its people.
According to a recent poll, over a third of US citizens believe the government was involved with the attacks on 9/11.
Just a thought…

“Nothing is True and Everything is Permitted”

mesmerizing illustration

Gloria Steinem — Unschooler?

28 09 2006

An unschooling Mom sent this along — Gloria Steinem’s “This I Believe” article — it sounds an awful lot like unschooling to me.  🙂

All Things Considered, August 22, 2005 

Is it nature or is it nurture, heredity or society? In that great debate of our time, conservatives lean toward the former and liberals toward the latter.

I believe both are asking the wrong question. I believe it’s nature and nurture, and this is why.

I didn’t go to school until I was 12 or so. My parents thought that traveling in a house trailer was as enlightening as sitting in a classroom, so I escaped being taught some of the typical lessons of my generation: for instance, that this country was “discovered” when the first white man set foot on it, that boys and girls were practically different species, that Europe deserved more textbook space than Africa and Asia combined.

Instead, I grew up seeing with my own eyes, following my curiosity, falling in love with books, and growing up mostly around grown-ups — which, except for the books, was the way kids were raised for most of human history.

. . .

But Don’t You Worry Your Pretty Little Head

28 09 2006

This is the county just north of me. But I shouldn’t worry, the superintendent assures me. There’s no separation problem here. . .

St. Lucie churches, schools may work together to boost FCAT


September 28, 2006

FORT PIERCE — The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test likely won’t be included in Sunday school lessons, but if the St. Lucie County education chief gets his way, a group of local churches will be joining the school district to boost student achievement.Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon plans to present the idea next month at a luncheon of religious leaders, seeking to build a relationship with them on everything from mentoring students to providing FCAT assistance.\

. . .

What Banned Books Are You Reading This Week?

28 09 2006

Silver anniversary image
Happy Silver Anniversary to BANNED BOOKS WEEK, you’ve lasted half my life!
Hope you’ll be around for the rest of my life, or we’re doomed.

“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”—Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas,” The One Un-American Act.” Nieman Reports, vol. 7, no. 1 (Jan. 1953): p. 20.

Eryn Haley-Brothers, who graduated from Fayetteville High last year, got a firsthand lesson in civic action when she organized students to oppose any restrictions on library books.

“The scary thing was that not many teenagers knew what was going on,” said the 18-year-old, who had read more than half the books on (book-challenging parent) Ms. Taylor’s list.

Push by Sapphire, a novel available in the school library about a young girl who suffers through poverty and incest, “was the saddest book I ever read,” Ms. Haley-Brothers said. “I could understand why someone with a conservative eye would want to ban it, but if you really look at the core of the book, it’s about poverty in America and how it affects everyone.”

Defining Fat and Happy as Family Values

28 09 2006

“The feeding and misfeeding of children has become a tense, awkward point of debate between parents and baby sitters. . .” (see “Memo to Nanny: No Juice Boxes” by Jodi Kantor, September 28.)

Can federal accountability laws for it all be far behind?
Sounds a lot like the growling ascetics who say School must be
about hard work, discipline and denial, breaking one’s will and ability to self-govern.

Fortunately the school-is-to-food analogy works in reverse too – many parents and teachers enjoy both learning and eating with kids absent force-feeding in either classroom or lunchroom:

“The empty plate club,” referring
to kids who successfully clean their plates,
sounds so sad.

“Full plate” sounds much more nurturing.

MLF Kennedy portrait

“Through her artful essays on food and life, which she first began writing in France in the 1930s, Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher transformed the mundane activity of eating into a passion. A unique blend of thoughtful instruction, sense-awakening recipes, and reflections on life’s values, Fisher’s writing is everywhere informed by her conviction that our basic human needs for love, shelter, and food are indivisibly connected.”

For further reading and thinking:
The Anti-Pleasure Principle: The “food police” and the pseudoscience of
self-denial by Jacob Sullum. Reason magazine, July 2003.

Consuming Passions: The Anthropology of Eating
by Peter Farb and George J. Armelagos. HoughtonMifflin, 279 pp., 1980.