Tag Archives: news

New Reports Confirm Persistent Child Poverty While Policymakers Blame Educators and Fail to Address Core Problem

[Jan Resseger, whose posts I will occasionally reblog here, is one of the most observant, astute and patient–because I certainly would not have the patience to analyze statistics the way she does, let alone remain patient with what they far too often demonstrate about the idiocy of current educational policy in the United States–analysts of educational policy and performance out there. She is also a gifted and compelling prose stylist.]

janresseger

On Tuesday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer published a stunning analysis, by the newspaper’s data analyst Rich Exner, of the school district grades awarded by the state of Ohio on the state report cards released last week.  The new report cards are based on data from the 2018-2019 school year.  I encourage you to follow the link to look at Exner’s series of bar graphs, which, like this one, present a series of almost perfect downward staircases, with “A” grades for school districts in communities with high median income and “F” grades for the school districts in Ohio’s poorest communities.

The correlation of academic achievement with family income has been demonstrated now for half a century, but policymakers, like those in the Ohio legislature who are debating punitive school district takeovers, prefer to blame public school teachers and administrators instead of using the resources of government to assist struggling…

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The Comtu Trio at the Rockingham Meeting House, August 18, 2019

Elsewhere on this blog I have written about my good friend Walter Wallace, who serves as a docent at the Rockingham Meeting House in Rockingham, Vermont. Walter has arranged a series of concerts in the Meeting House. This Sunday, August 18th, the Comtu trio will perform a program of early American music arranged for trio, as well as selections from the classical repertoire, e.g. Vivaldi and Telemann.

The meeting house per se is worth a visit, and its warm, resonant acoustics make this event well worth attending. On this occasion, Karen Engdahl, the pianist of the Comtu Trio (and proprietor of the Springfield Piano Studio), will perform on the Meeting House’s Estey Reed Organ, manufactured in nearby Brattleboro.

If you happen to be in the Connecticut River Valley–or anywhere else in Vermont, for that matter, since everyplace here is near everything else–take Exit 6 off I-91 and travel west by northwest on State Route 103 for two miles toward Chester. The Meeting House is on Meeting House Road, and is clearly marked on 103 in both directions.

The Current Number of The American Educator

Elsewhere on this blog, I have sung the praises of The American Educator, the quarterly published by my union, The American Federation of Teachers. Let me belabor my point a tad further here by saying that I think this is a first-rate journal of educational theory and practice; it’s where I first encountered Daniel Willingham, who really is doing as much as anyone out there (with his “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column in The American Educator as well as his excellent books) to assist classroom teachers in applying research to practice.

The current number of the magazine addresses the issue of teaching traumatized students. I started my career working with traumatized adolescents in one of New England’s “ivy league” psychiatric hospitals, and I have continued to work with these kids as a teacher.

A discussion of this population’s needs is long, long, overdue. I cannot sufficiently or strongly encourage teachers to read this issue of The American Educator from cover to cover. This is vital stuff every teacher should know.

Walter Wallace Decodes the Rockingham Meeting House Cemetery

While I realize that it’s not most people’s idea of fun, I like to spend time in cemeteries. I appreciate funerary art. I enjoy the solemnity and quiet of cemeteries. I benefit from the perspective cemeteries provide. And, since the advent of the smartphone, I enjoy using cemeteries as a primary source in historical research. One can learn a lot about the demographics of a town by its deceased citizens.

So, I am pleased to see that my pal Walter Wallace, in Springfield, Vermont, has worked with a local cable access production company to offer this video on Puritan symbolism on gravestones at the Rockingham Meeting House, in Rockingham Vermont, where he is a docent. Incidentally, this meeting house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

Great work, Walter!

Surreptitious (adj)

OK, if you can use it, here is a context clues worksheet on the adjective surreptitious. It means, of course, “done, made, or acquired by stealth” and “acting or doing somethings clandestinely.”

I’m off this morning to take the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL) in English. Wish me luck on this four-hour test.

If you find typos in this document, 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.

The “Homework Gap” and the Flipped Classroom–Redux

Here’s something I just cannot let pass.

Last year about this time, I published this blog post on the pedagogical fad of the “flipped classroom.” The theory of the flipped classroom was presented at a professional development meeting as a fait accompli several months earlier in the school in which I served. When I asked in this session about students living in homeless shelters, or in other circumstances where broadband internet is unavailable, and therefore the various videos on which the flipped classroom depends, the presenter and his administrative enablers had no answer.

So, I am not at all surprised to find in Google headlines this morning this report on the homework gap and its relation to students’ struggle in school. The culprit?  Why it is none other than the absence of a reliable internet connection. My reaction? Roll “Theme from ‘The Vindicators'” by The Fleshtones.

Follow Up: Better Late than Never for Justice

Readers of Mark’s Text Terminal may recall that I posted this this item earlier this year about a particularly egregious incident of police violence in the dismal school in which I have worked this year.

I’m pleased to report that  justice prevailed

In this instance, I hope Dr. King was right: “Let us remember the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”