“Dance in America” on PBS Next Week

14 06 2007

Dance in America — Dancing in the Light
Wednesday, June 20, 2007 9 – 10:00 pm
Experience these historic pieces — airing together for the
first time in extended form — spotlighting the pioneering work
of Asadata Dafora, Katherine Dunham, Talley Beatty, Donald
McKayle, Pearl Primus and Bill T. Jones. Actor Taye Diggs
hosts. (CC, Stereo)

Learn more about this performance at the companion Web site.
(Available June 13, 2007)

Catholic Church Endorses Harry Potter

14 06 2007

VATICAN CITY—At a recent press conference, Catholic priest Peter Fleetwood was asked whether the magic embraced by fictional world Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was a problem for members of the Catholic Church. Some religious groups have condemned the Harry Potter series for glamorizing the occult.

Responding that “Harry Potter does not represent a problem,” Mr. Fleetwood, of the secretariat of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, also said that “In each one’s childhood there have been fairy godmothers, magicians, angels and witches, which are not bad things but a help for children to understand the conflict between good and evil.” . . .

Bizarre School Skirmish (Sch-irmish?)

14 06 2007

And this time it’s not sex education, Harry Potter, cupcakes, or even phonics. It’s that most seemingly rational and non-controversial of the three Rs, ‘Rithmetic — although the emotional charges being flung sound, well, not rational at all. Maybe this community needs to revamp their psychology curriculum instead? 😉

Joseph G. Rosenstein, a math professor at Rutgers University who supports reform math, said that it is often the more educated parents who grow angry and frustrated at the approach because they do not understand it. “They want their children’s education to resemble their education because they are successful,” he explained. “They say, ‘It worked for me, why won’t it work for them?’ ”

Few in Ridgewood knew much about reform math until several parents started to mobilize in the past year, stepping up their efforts after the hiring of Dr. Brooks.

Read the rest of this entry »

“Tarting Up and Dumbing Down” – More Thinking About Meaning

14 06 2007

So this time, “homeschooling words and concepts” aren’t at issue, the programs and standards being criticized aren’t educational and aren’t for kids, the money at stake is private and public at the same time, and the women being dissed aren’t homeschool moms.

It’s Dan Rather dissing Katie Couric, with all the competitive backstory between them.
Jennifer Pozner at WIMN’s Voices covers it well here and here, where you can watch her pitch-perfect appearance with John Gibson yesterday, and join the discussion yourself if you feel so moved ( Nance and I did.)

I think that makes it a good case study from which thinking parents from all sides of education controversy, can get a little emotional breathing space — maybe enough to consider how important words and meaning are much more complex than dictionary definitions or a lawyer’s fine print, maybe enough to see how personal integrity and intelligence and affiliations and beliefs and self-interest define our different personal narratives, that in turn get all bundled up into competing public power of story (and then boiled down to some stupid poll question.)

There has in fact been some discussion — among women, can you believe it?! — about the dictionary definition of “tart” as a pastry coming before tart as a prostitute, so maybe Rather wasn’t being sexist after all . . . huh? reminds me of the bad old days when dictionary definitions of homeschooling were trotted out to define and delimit our full-spectrum opportunities and imagination.

And btw, please note that all the adults male and female in this public story, are successful professionals using those “soft” people skills from the Diplomas Count report, rather than quadratic equations and fetal pig dissection. 🙂

Maybe some of us will even apply our insights back to education issues?