Monthly Archives: November 2016

Rotten Reviews: On Charles Dickens

“We do not believe in the permanence of his reputation…. Fifty years hence, most of his allusions will be harder to understand than the allusions in The Dunciad, and our children will wonder what their ancestors could have meant by putting Mr. Dickens at the head of the novelists of his day.”

Saturday Review, 1858

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Paying a Price

“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

Derek Bok, Universities and the Future of America (1990)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.

A Thanksgiving Week Text

OK: tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for the day off, and for the short break of which it is a part. Here is a word root worksheet on the Latin word root ver; it means true. As you can see on the worksheet itself, ver is at the root of several key words in the academic lexicon.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Oh–and Happy Thanksgiving!

A Day in the Life of Your Quantified Child

Here’s something from Diane Ravitch’s Blog that is an issue of concern at Mark’s Text Terminal.

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is a very interesting and important graphic about “The Quantified Student.”

If you are concerned about data mining of your child or yourself, you are right to be concerned.

Our government and the corporate sector wants to know everything about us. They want to quantify our lives and use what they know to create Big Data.

Big Data can be useful in tracking public health trends and needs, but it can be destructive in defining solely as our data.

We are humans. We are not robots. Take a look at the graphic.

We must protect our privacy, our individuality, our voice, our uniqueness as human beings.

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Rotten Reviews: Alice in Wonderland

“We fancy that any real child might be more puzzled that enchanted by this stiff, overwrought story.”

Children’s Books

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, ads. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

The Mess We’re In

“America is the only nation in history which miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.”

Georges Clemenceau

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Portable Curmudgeon. New York: Plume, 1992.

The Weekly Text, November 18, 2016

We hosted parent-teacher conferences last evening, which means we were here until almost eight o’clock. Long day, to put it succinctly if in agrammatical style.

A couple of hundred years ago, when I was studying Russian in college, I fell into confusion when my professor introduced the accusative case; nouns used as direct objects in Russian are inflected differently–there are five oblique cases–i.e. cases other than the nominative in Russian–than they are as subjects. For example, kniga, the word for book, becomes knigu when it is the direct object of a verb, as in “I am reading a book.” My ignorance at that moment felt legion to me (I was in my early thirties as an undergraduate). Discovering that I didn’t understand the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs only exacerbated the extent of my ignorance.

Students in high school really ought to know the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs for a variety of reasons, and studying inflected languages is certainly one of them. For that reason, this week’s Text is two Cultural Literacy worksheets on transitive and intransitive verbs. These are short exercises that I use at the beginning of lessons on recognizing these verbs and understanding how to use them.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Vice President Savonarola

You might find this reading on Renaissance bluenose Girolamo Savonarola timely, as well as the reading comprehension worksheet to accompany it.

Jonathan Pelto: Charters Pose a Fiscal Risk to Public Education

Here’s something Diane Ravitch picked up from Jonathan Pelto, who maintains the Educational Bloggers Network (of which Mark’s Text Terminal is a member). If you have charter schools in your school district, chances are they are aggressive in their expansion plans. There are quite a few reasons to oppose charters, not the least of which is the fiscal malfeasance discussed in this post.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Jonathan Pelto, writing at thehill.com, warns of the fiscal burden that charter school pose to states, school districts, and public education.

In most states, charters have little or no oversight, even though they are funded by taxpayers. Charters have gone to court to fight public audits.

It is time for charters to demand accountability and fiscal oversight, lest they be overcome by scandals in their own backyard.

While the subprime mortgage crisis remains the epitome of what occurs when greed and corruption go unchecked, a growing number of experts and observers are warning that a new economic scandal is taking shape in the United States.

In an article published earlier this month, Business Insider observed: “We just got even more evidence supporting the theory that charter schools are America’s new subprime mortgages.” The magazine wrote: The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released the results of a damning audit of…

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An Epigram for Our Time

“The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done—men who are creative, inventive, and discoverers.”

Jean Piaget (1896-1680)

Excerpted from: Howe, Randy, ed. The Quotable Teacher. Guilford, CT: The Lyons Press, 2003.