Thinking About Hitting and Children

30 04 2008

How do we look ourselves in the mirror after putting up with things like this in the headlines day after day?

Legal journey to begin for children removed from Texas polygamist compound

Mea culpa: penitent Pope meets victims of sexual abuse by priests

This week’s —

Police found teenage boy in shackles

How do we continue to hide behind religion and culture and commit these violent crimes against the people we have brought into this world?
Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Birthday Harper Lee, Boss Boost to Barack Obama

28 04 2008

Frisky cock of the snook to Don at the Gookins for the latter, and to Favorite Daughter for the former.

I connect these in my own mind — small towns and big hearts, racial and social and economic justice, words and music and story with real meaning for real people, characters we care enough about to “step into their skin” for a little while and begin to understand, and become better ourselves for it.


Dear Friends and Fans:

LIke most of you, I’ve been following the campaign and I have now seen and heard enough to know where I stand. Senator Obama, in my view, is head and shoulders above the rest.

He has the depth, the reflectiveness, and the resilience to be our next President. He speaks to the America I’ve envisioned in my music for the past 35 years, a generous nation with a citizenry willing to tackle nuanced and complex problems, a country that’s interested in its collective destiny and in the potential of its gathered spirit.
A place where “…nobody crowds you, and nobody goes it alone.”

At the moment, critics have tried to diminish Senator Obama through the exaggeration of certain of his comments and relationships. While these matters are worthy of some discussion, they have been ripped out of the context and fabric of the man’s life and vision, so well described in his excellent book, Dreams From My Father, often in order to distract us from discussing the real issues: war and peace, the fight for economic and racial justice, reaffirming our Constitution, and the protection and enhancement of our environment.

After the terrible damage done over the past eight years, a great American reclamation project needs to be undertaken. I believe that Senator Obama is the best candidate to lead that project and to lead us into the 21st Century with a renewed sense of moral purpose and of ourselves as Americans.

Over here on E Street, we’re proud to support Obama for President.

Bruce Springsteen

And here’s how Harper Lee fits into our story, as homeschoolers and booklovers: Read the rest of this entry »

Hands Off the Hands-On in School Math??

27 04 2008

Okay, I’m not explaining, just reporting this:

Dr. Kaminski and her colleagues Vladimir M. Sloutsky and Andrew F. Heckler did something relatively rare in education research: they performed a randomized, controlled experiment. Their results appear in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

Though the experiment tested college students, the researchers suggested that their findings might also be true for math education in elementary through high school, the subject of decades of debates about the best teaching methods.

Rapt regular readers will recall that in all those decades of debates or touted teaching tracks, nothing ever made math manipulable for Favorite Daughter.

Probably this kind of “randomized, controlled experiment” in math education won’t help any individual learn math better, since it is geared to the institutional classroom and switching to a new standard rather than switching out of standard mode in the first place. At best this kind of “science” about math education then, will just illuminate better ways to manipulate the subjective minds of the generalizable aggregate to meet the objective standards of the generalizable aggregate. I can’t glean much from it for helping my own two unschooling children compete in schoolish math and science standards step-dancing, but that was never our educational focus anyway.

So it rivets me not as unschooling mom but as former education policy pro and Lifelong Thinking Citizen, to notice this as a way I can learn more about how we the American people obsess over — and subsequently overvalue — school math instruction and test performance, as a scientifically defensible merit ranking mechanism equally applicable between individual children, classrooms, schools, cities, states and countries across the globe. Read the rest of this entry »

Doc Kicks Jack As[s] Representative Homeschool Critic

24 04 2008

“Homeschooling critics, haven’t they learned anything?”:

I’m going to flame Jack’s stupid “essay” to make an analogy between his ignorance, and the ignorance he fears some homeschool children are being taught. . .Jack is what I like to call an “edutard”.

Just Because He’s Cute!

22 04 2008

Angus the Highland Bear from The Scotweb Store:

Doing a Favor for a Friend

21 04 2008

. . .is what has kept me from posting much lately but also why I’m posting right now.

(Nance made a special request for a new post to bump that ugly art off the top!)

The other favor is about education and Nance will think it’s cool, I predict, as soon as I get time to go into it. Meanwhile, on a completely unrelated topic, we’re researching bagpipes for beginners because Young Son is on the cusp on leaving his practice chanter behind and taking the leap, and it’s all very exciting. And so here’s art of — um — another saggy bag??

David Naill Bagpipes

Legislative “Nutz” Scraping “Bottom” of Issues Barrel

18 04 2008

Tallahassee Democrat editor Bob Gabordi today:

For the record, wearing baggy shorts or hanging Truck Nutz is probably
bad form, and the wearers of either should get sent to their rooms by
their mamas. But who really thinks we need or want the government
deciding what we wear and/or hang from our trucks

Meanwhile, the absolute s**t about Ben Stein’s documented propaganda as “evolution academic freedom” continues to be excreted in my state capital’s chambers, as the education funding crisis and all sorts of kid-harming school policy issues are sat upon or just “pooh-poohed” (thus keeping this juvenile lower body parts obsession going) . . .

Btw, will they be banning this Dr. Phil Favorite in Florida next??