Disconnected Thoughts

September 5, 2016

Brainstorming

Here are some things I’ve been thinking today. If we were eating a meal together, I would probably figure out a way to inject them into the conversation. But because I have no social life, I am sharing them here, in this blog post, with random strangers, lurkers and family members checking up on me.

  • Why We’re Hearing More Racist Comments in “Polite Society”
    • I believe that future social scientists will come to the conclusion that one result of Barack Obama’s presidency was a resurgence in public sphere racist dialogue. Not just as a reaction to Obama, but Obama gave racists an opportunity to say racist stuff that heretofore had been discouraged in public, under the guise of complaining about a President, and it just grew from there.

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How Differentiated Instruction Misses the Point

September 28, 2011

The groundbreaking developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky described a zone of proximal development where children can learn best. It is a place between that which is too easy and that which is too hard; a productive space where the guidance of a person more competent in a task can help a learner to reach his or her potential. The most effective teachers work to create these zones to meet the learning needs of individual students.

Read the rest of this entry »


Ten Reasons to Actively Oppose Standardized State Tests in Schools

September 3, 2010

Congratulations, me; that is the longest title I have ever written for a blog post. It is exactly ten words long, which is fitting because I now present ten crazy things about standardized tests in primary and secondary schools. This list should be enough to spark a revolution. But if you’re still not sure you want to dedicate your life to changing the system, please refer to the links at the end for further incitement.

  1. Standardized tests assume that children come standardized, which they don’t. Not only is there a huge developmental span between children in the same grade, but it’s normal and healthy for there to be a span. They aren’t factory widgets, folks, they are developing humans. Read the rest of this entry »

A Teacher’s Perspective on School Reform

March 5, 2010

When people talk about problems with our schools, I hear a lot of blame: blaming, teachers, blaming parents, blaming kids. And when they talk about how to reform schools, I hear a lot of “get tough” measures: get tough on schools, get tough on teachers, get tough on kids.

What I don’t hear are the sort of obvious, logical reforms that educators – people who have the most direct experience in education – advocate.

None of my ideas are original, but I have compiled them here to give you a sample of what what one teacher, one person who actually works with students on a daily basis, strongly believes would make a difference. Read the rest of this entry »


Poverty, Race, and Education in a Capitalist Nation

December 8, 2009

The following essay is adapted from a paper I wrote in 2006. One can only imagine how much more dire the situation is in the wake of the recent recession. The original paper, with references, may be downloaded from the box labeled, ACADEMIC PEACE PAPERS, to the right of this post; click on the “Central High School” link.

Central High School: The Failure of a City

Providence: A City of Contrasts

Central Career and Technical High School is located in and draws its students from Providence, Rhode Island. The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce boasts of Providence’s recent inclusions in three major lists of top places in the United States to live or do business. Providence was Rhode Island’s first permanent settlement, on land purchased from the Narragansetts, and was later established as the state capital. The city is home to several universities and has long been a center of wealth and commerce in New England. However, even with the loudly touted downtown improvements of the last several years, the rate that children under the age of 18 lived in poverty in providence was a shocking 40.5% in 2000. Read the rest of this entry »


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