“Thirty-three is an ancient number of completion: the age when Christ was crucified; the years in which King David reigned. It also marks the number of divinities in the public festivals of the Persian Empire, and in the Hindu tradition three sets of eleven deities appear frequently as an auspicious pantheon of thirty-three. In Muslim tradition the ninety-nine beautiful names of God are recited with rosaries made from thirty-three prayer beads each used thrice, while the Hizb al-Wiqaya is a prayer of personal protection collected from thirty-three verses that invoke Koranic protection and divine names.
In broader cultural contexts, the number was chosen by Dante to structure his Divine Comedy (composed of three sets of thirty-three chapters); it expresses the number of spiritual ranks within Freemasonry; and the blows with which Shakespeare records death being delivered to Julius Caesar (‘When think you that the sword goes up again? Never, till Caesar’s three and thirty wounds be well avenged’).”
Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.
[There’s nothing I can add to this other than to say it comes as no surprise.]
Diane Ravitch's blog
Franklin Towne Charter High School in Philadelphia has been accused of discrimination against a student with disabilities, reports Greg Windle in The Notebook.
Pamela James was thrilled when her granddaughter was accepted at Franklin Towne Charter High School. Her granddaughter raced off to tell friends the good news, and James gave the school a copy of her granddaughter’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), which included the need for emotional support — a common but relatively expensive requirement among students in Philly schools.
Hours later they were both shaken when James got a call from the Northeast Philadelphia school, informing her that her granddaughter could not attend as a result of her emotional disturbance diagnosis, that the class she needed was “full” and that the school would not accommodate her.
“After I took her IEP to the school, that’s when they shot me down,” James said. “That was really ugly discrimination.”
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“A time of happiness and prosperity. Halcyon in Greek is the word for kingfisher, compounded in hals, “the sea,” and kyo, “to brood on.” The ancient Sicilians believed that the kingfisher laid its eggs and incubated them on the surface of the sea for fourteen days before the winter solstice. During this time the waves of the sea were always unruffled.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
[Lately, I have been concerned–obsessed might be a better word, frankly–with the abysmally low standards of professionalism in the New York City school in which I serve; now comes this. Yeesh.]
Diane Ravitch's blog
Jan Resseger writes here about Betsy DeVos’s decision to overrule a strong recommendation from Department career staff and resinstate an accrediting agency with a terrible record.
Before the Obama Department of Education put the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) out of business in 2016, ACICS had been instrumental in accrediting a number of unscrupulous, for-profit colleges whose fiscal survival depended on attracting students bringing dollars from federal loans. After ACICS was put out of business by the Obama Department of Education, ACICS filed a lawsuit claiming its record had not been fully examined. In March of this year, a federal judge ruled in favor of the accreditation agency—saying that the Department of Education still needs to consider 36,000 pages of information ACICS submitted that was never considered. On April 3, 2018, after the judge’s ruling, Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos conditionally reapproved ACICS pending further study.
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Keeping up with the various themed history months during the year created something of a backlog on other posts here at Mark’s Text Terminal, including this one, which has lingered as a draft for months. A few years ago my Hampshire College pal Gil Roth interviewed, for his podcast The Virtual Memories Show (and if you visit Gil’s site, you’ll see that he has built up an extraordinary archive of shows), a high school friend of his, Matthew Farber, who wrote a book on using video games in the classroom. Mr. Farber was a middle school social studies teacher in New Jersey at the time of the interview posted here, and evidently a talented one at that. He is now Professor Matthew Farber at the University of Northern Colorado.
If you’re interested in his work, here is a link to Matthew Farber’s interview on how he gamified his classroom and how you can too. If you’re interested in his book itself, you can find it here.
Here in New York City, we teachers are vassals to the educational publishers, the tests they make, and the unimaginative bureaucrats who push them on us. So we have next to no latitude to try innovative educational strategies like those Mr. Farber discusses so articulately and passionately. Indeed, while imagination and innovation get talked about in this school system, they are seldom or never actually deployed in the service of teaching and learning.
[I’ve been waiting for Diane Ravitch to post something on this egregious policy move, and here it is. I don’t know what to say about this, other than Secretary DeVos appears impervious to facts and reasoning–and that’s never a good trait in a cabinet secretary in the federal government.]
Diane Ravitch's blog
Betsy DeVos and her school safety commission (three other Cabinet members) will consider all the possible causes of gun violence in schools, except guns.
Alia Wong writes at The Atlantic:
“What should be on the list of tasks for President Trump’s newly minted school-safety commission, charged with studying what can be done to prevent campus violence?
“Perhaps the commission, chaired by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, should look at mental-health resources and student-discipline practices. And perhaps it should consider the design of campus facilities. One thing that would seemingly be an obvious candidate for the commission’s scrutiny is guns, as guns have been the weapon of choice in every major school-violence incident this year.
“And yet it became clear on Tuesday, as DeVos testified in front of a Senate subcommittee to answer questions about the Education Department’s fiscal year 2019 budget request, that will likely not be the case. Amid…
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