Category Archives: Reblogged Post

Blog posts from other WordPress sites around the Internet of interest to Mark, or possibly his readers.

On the Importance of Repetition in Poetry: Robert Hayden and Drake

[Here’s an interesting blog I discovered this morning on Twitter. It’s definitely worth a look.]

Welcome to Pedagogy & American Literary Studies

PALS is pleased to welcome a guest post by Alex Bernstein a poet, teacher, and editor in New York City. Please find below Bernstein’s descriptions of how he made Robert Hayden’s poetry more accessible through Drake. 

Poetry is a great medium for teaching students close reading skills. Usually, when introducing poetry to students who have never enjoyed reading at all, I say that poems are meant to be difficult because they are designed expressly to reanimate and reactivate the language we already know. This disclaimer often leads to relief: if you use language, I say, in any way on a daily basis, you can actively read poetry. The poet and teacher, Matthew Zapruder, says in his collection of essays, Why Poetry (2017), “the true difficulty—and reward—of poetry is in reading what is actually on the page carefully” (18). For me, the “reward” of poetry in the classroom is seeing…

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Low Salaries, High Rents, Poor Teaching Conditions Create Widespread Shortage of Qualified Teachers

[As a nation, we ignore this development at our peril]

janresseger

You’d have to be pretty out of touch to have missed that teachers, who have been striking all year from West Virginia to Kentucky to Oklahoma to California, have been showing us their pay is inadequate and their working conditions are horrible. Schools in too many places feature huge classes (too few teachers) and an absence of counselors, social workers, librarians and nurses. All this ultimately signals a school finance problem stemming from the Great Recession a decade ago and state legislatures and governors determined to cut taxes.

All this is well documented in academic research. Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss recently released the first in a series of studies from the Economic Policy Institute, a report they summarize in a short, policy piece: “In our report we argue that when issues such as teacher qualifications and equity across communities are taken into consideration, shortages are more concerning than we…

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The Atlantic on Homework

This article on homework from The Atlantic–a practice of which teachers really ought to be skeptical–is definitely worth a look.

Bob Shepherd at Praxis

As I have repeated ad nauseam in these pages, Mark’s Text Terminal is not a political or educational policy blog. Any number of reasons suffice to explain this, but I always return to the most salient of them: there are quite a few smart and well-informed people, many of whose websites can be found in the right margin of this site under the heading Blogs Followed at Mark’s Text Terminal, covering those topics. That said, I intend in the coming months to highlight several of these blogs.

The assault on public education has now reached a stage where I can no long remain completely silent. Fortunately, as I say, there are plenty of people speaking and perceptively, and buttressing their arguments with evidence, something that happens less and less in public discourse, about educational policy.

Starting out, I want to highlight the work of Bob Shepherd, who blogs under the heading Praxis. Bob is, as Diane Ravitch noted recently, a polymath. I originally made his acquaintance in the comments forum of Dr. Ravitch’s blog, where I occasionally presume to comment on topics of the day. Bob is an acutely perspicacious and wide-ranging commentator on educational policy, particularly where privatization of public schools and the scandals that often ensue are concerned.

That said, Bob covers a lot of other ground in Praxis. He recently posted a lengthy discourse on the physical and philosophical nature of time, a topic I find abstruse (I dropped Lester Mazor’s “Perspectives on Time” seminar at Hampshire College in the fall of 1994 because I didn’t have the intellectual stamina to keep up with it and plan my honors thesis) and fascinating at the same time. I guess I like to imagine that in another life, Bob and I would be an Intellectual History department of two at some small, lively, and innovative liberal arts college.

If you’re at all interested in issues and problems in educational policy—or to quote briefly from his “About” page, “curriculum design…,linguistics…, hermeneutics…, philosophy…, classical and jazz guitar…, history of ideas…, heuristics for innovation,” (and I’ve enumerated only about one-quarter of this list), then you should by all means point your browser at Praxis.

Please Consider Signing This…

It is time for Betsy DeVos to go. Please consider signing this petition from the Network for Public Education.

DeVos Wants to Defund Special Olympics, Boost Funding for School Choice

[This is disgraceful. I don’t believe this smug, pampered heiress has a decent bone in her body.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Betsy DeVos was grilled yesterday in Congressional hearings about her budget proposals. She was repeatedly questioned about her desire to increase charter school funding from $440 million to $500 million a year. The Network for Public Education report on the waste, fraud, and abuse in this program was cited.

While increasing the charter budget, DeVos wants to cut $18 million from the Special Olympics, which benefits 272,000 children with disabilities. 

To put it mildly, her priorities are wacky. She wants to cut the budget of a successful and valuable program while heaping money on charters that are likely to never open or quickly close.

DeVos said the philanthropic community already funds the Special Olympics. The same is true of charters. Billionaires and Wall Street heap hundreds of millions on charters. The Waltons alone have spent more than a billion on charters. Why does the Federal government add hundreds of millions more?

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A Student in Kansas Writes about How Standardized Testing Makes Her Feel

Diane Ravitch's blog

Kevin Bosworth, a teacherat Olathe East High School in Olathe, Kansas, wrote to tell me about a class discussion of grades and tests. A student sharedher poem with the class, and Kevin shared it with me. The reformers and disrupters now say they are intrigued with social and emotional learning. Let them read this and see what they have learned.

Hello my name is worthless

Name number and date

State your class and hour

Let the rubric pick your fate

Your value as a human

Can be measured by percent

All that matters is the value

That the numbers represent

We promise that you matter

You’re more than just a grade

But you better score one hundred

Or else you won’t get paid

They require our attendance

We’re brain dead taking notes

So we can barf back up the knowledge

That they shove down our throats

Each human life is…

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