Tuesday, April 12, 2011


You have to wonder if any of the congresscritters ever take the time for a walk around the ellipse to marvel at the blossoms. Might improve dey attitood to one of gratitude.

Sakura is a song we learned in the sixth grade choir at Saint Anthony's. In praise of cherry blossoms. Link here to hear how it sounds.

sakura sakura
noyama mo sato mo
mi-watasu kagiri
kasumi ka kumo ka
asahi ni niou
sakura sakura

In the Misc. category.....If you'd rather not pay for a subscription to the NY Times online now, or are just looking for a quick look at what's going on every morning in the news, I think this site, Reality Chex is one of the best condensed news sources I've found, with links to Times and other articles that you won't have to pay for. I'm getting to where I prefer it and BBC. They are both more efficient ways to get so much news than wading through the Times front page links. though i couldn't say why.

Who you callin DUMB AND DUMBER?

I caught this gem by a commenter to Chris Hedges' recent post on Truthdig discussing the deliberate dismantling of american public education. This commenter expresses what I've been trying to express for years, only far better than I've ever been able to manage. I think it's bril and right on the nose. If American public school teachers were half as bright and intelligible as this guy, we'd be in much better shape. Bold indicating thoughts I particularly endorse.

"I despair as many do of public education in this country, and was thankful to teach abroad for a number of years in the Third World where palpable hardships often made a life of the mind, formal or informal, at any level, a rigorous art; whereas in American schools, or at least middle income ones, snazzy infrastructure and special effects technology, and “feel good” pedagogy, disguise an appalling lack of substance, not to mention common sense.

But I can agree only in part with Chris Hedge’s critique. He does correctly identify the corporatist folly of Bloomberg’s “fast food” administrative franchise, and the threat that this thinking poses to public education. However, he does not mention how Schools of Education, who are largely responsible for molding the administrators and teachers that spend their waking hours in public schools, have also degraded the notion of schooling and of pedagogy, producing several generations of kids wallowing in “self esteem.” Many with “learning disorders” are given the best medication that “educationism” can supply, with the “best of intentions,” of course. To believe in the Enlightenment principle of public education should not give one license to ignore how sloppily that principle has been interpreted in America over the past forty years.

I don’t think there will be a renaissance of education fostered by either left or right idealogies. Idealogy, which is an oversimplification of thought, is part of the problem. For example, it isn’t “Which is better: Standardized testing or what is called “outcomes based” pedagogy?” The issue is that the standardized testing offered is shabby and shallow, and that the so-called “natural” pedagogy is mindless and vacuous. The surfeit of digital technology in the classroom wraps both balonies in a fancy skin.

American public education is a twin engine failure, and the airship is going into a tailspin, accelerated downwards by the gravity of general ignorance, increasing every day."

Nice to have sun now and then.

Back to work... later.

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