To hear people talk about teacher tenure, you’d think that in every third classroom teachers sit around staring down students as the clock struggles to the bell. Or maybe teachers are just eating Pringles and reading the paper while children who desperately want to learn waste away in their seats. Tenure is the root of all evil. Oh yes, even teachers know there are Pros and Cons to the tenure system.
In New York State a group of seven parents has filed a lawsuit to overturn teacher tenure laws. It is tenure, they claim, that keeps their children from learning. It is tenure that creates a situation where their children aren’t reaching academic excellence. It’s tenure that is in control. These parents assume that the 90% effectiveness rate in teacher evaluations should mean that 90% of their students are rated proficient or higher in state tests. Ahhh Statistics 101, you slippery course, you. Continue reading
Did you know that we are living in the most peaceful time of human history? Doesn’t feel like it, does it? What with the television and radio and Facebook and Twitter and Reddit and emails and headlines about Syria and Gaza and Nigeria and The USA and Central America and Afghanistan and on and on and on it hardly seems peaceful. Continue reading
Seeing this in a corner off the Montclair Art Museum‘s lobby reminded me of a stupid night I had with a friend while in college. It must have been my freshman year, and we went to our first “Around the World” party at one of the largest residence halls on campus. Twelve floors of various lounges and rooms that served spiked drinks into paid-for and marked plastic cups. He agreed to watch my drinks, and I agreed to be his female companion at a time before I knew what “A Beard” actually was. Continue reading
Let’s stop pretending that gun violence is all about mental health. I know. If feels good to say that only the “crazies” commit violence, especially the worst kind of violence. It’s all about the other. But the fact is, over half of all mass shootings are related to domestic violence. And the vast majority of violence committed in the United States is a result of escalating arguments or as a part of a cycle of violence. Maybe we should start saying that losing one’s temper is a deficiency of mental health? Continue reading
Anyone who knows my son knows he has been Harry Potter obsessed for the last year. He tore through all seven books and watched (curated) versions of the films. He then quickly moved on to The Spiderwick Chronicles, which took about a week to read. And instead of moving on to Beyond Spiderwick books, he decided to try out The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Admittedly, I played a part in this by 1) buying the book at a garage sale and 2) taking out the audio books from the library. Guided reading at its best.
I have no qualms about nudging my kids into the types of books I loved as a child. And still love. We are starting the Little House books as well. I can’t wait to share the joys of The Hobbit and the adventures in A Wizard of Earthsea. But I am sad, in a regretful, slightly morose way, that there are films out there already. I know it’s so hard to resist — and it absolutely informs the interpretation of characters to see stills and clips and entire tellings. But still — it’s totally worth it for the companionship of these stories.
Exposing his extreme cowardice and an utter lack of leadership ability, Christie eviscerated A2006, a bill to reduce the legal limit for firearm magazines to ten (down from 15). Parroting NRA claims that it’s mental health and not the amount of bullets, Christie showed his ignorance of mass shootings around the world (the USA doesn’t have a monopoly on mental health issues) and common sense (more bullets = more deaths and injuries). Continue reading
Seagulls fight over forgotten fruit and crustless triangles. Unable to raise his eyes, knowing that the lack of joy in hers would harden concrete over her words, he studies a footprint in the wet sand and wishes he’d never answered her song.